the forgotten wallet, and other tales of woe

So, parenting a 2.5 year old has its challenges.

My sweet little E has acquired the ability to morph into a wild-eyed, screaming, kicking tornado of a boy at the drop of a hat. For awhile it was happening with alarming frequency, and I was afraid we’d never be able to leave home again.

But, things have calmed down quite a bit, and now we know that certain conditions are especially conducive to the tantrums of doom, and we endeavor to avoid those circumstances. That makes it sound like we just give him his way to appease him and stop the madness, but that’s not what I mean. It’s more that we, like the geniuses we are, finally figured out that things like late nights don’t work for E. I mean, he can handle life 30 minutes past bedtime, and still be an adorable human. But.

Anything past that 30 minute window and you’re taking your life into your hands. He remains sweet and convivial up to the moment you mention bedtime (or something equally heinous). Then, all bets are off. He transforms into a shrieking ball of pure energy, all focused on being as illogical and contrary as humanly possible. It’s impressive.

The same thing can happen right around lunchtime, but it’s usually not as intense. A few days ago, even as I was in the midst of preparing his lunch, I had to stop and put him down for his nap because he just couldn’t handle life for one minute longer. He woke up, had his lunch at 2:30, and was lovely to be around for the rest of the day. The boy just needs his sleep.

On Friday, he was in time out because of a small matter of disobedience. His (ONE MINUTE) timer was seriously 9 seconds from going off, and he made the questionable decision to rise up from his “orange thing” (the time out cushion) and push me. I sat him back down, restarted the timer for 2 minutes (yep, I’m a monster), and proceeded to change A’s diaper in the meantime. E started crying softly, and then called, “MOOOOMMMYY! I can’t do this time out right now! I just need a nap, Mommy! Pleeeeeaaase!” I went in and asked him if he was sure and he said, “Yes, I’m sure. If I can please take a little nap then I can do my 2 minutes after I wake up.”

Guys. Is that not the sweetest, saddest thing you’ve ever heard? I assured him that if he needed a nap he could take one, and that if he took a nap I was sure he wouldn’t need to do his time out, because he’d probably feel much more ready to be nice afterward. Still, though, he slept for over an hour and when he woke up he called, “Mommy, I’m ready for my time out!” just as happy as could be. I waived his sentence for good behavior. Anyway, I’m taking his self-imposed nap at 11 am to be a sign that he’s learning a little bit about how to regulate his temper. He’s got a long way to go before I’m off the hook, but I’m glad he’s starting to make the connection between his level of grouchiness and his sleepiness. Update: I tried moving both lunch and nap 30 minutes earlier today, and it seemed to help. I mean, we had already happened to have an early morning meltdown, but the rest of the day was fine.

E has also made the transition away from a crib, as he demonstrated during one tantrum that he could (with scarcely any effort involved) climb out in less than half a second. He’d never tried before, but lack of experience was apparently not an issue. All in all, he’s done really well with his big boy bed. He gets up once in awhile, and fell asleep half in and half out of bed the other afternoon, but doesn’t get up and play while he’s supposed to be asleep, for the most part.

BUT, last night Ben was in a meeting so I’d put E down for the night and was working on getting A ready for bed, when I heard E’s door open. I heard about 3 footfalls and then the door closed, and the bed thumped. This happened again and again and the 4th time it happened he definitely took a longer trip outside of his room. When I heard him return and close the door again, I pulled up the monitor on my phone and enabled the microphone to tell him “Do not get out of your bed again!” He looked up at the camera and told me sweetly, “Okay Mommy, I won’t!” And was asleep 5 minutes later. This morning, when I went in to get him (in spite of the fact that we took the side of the crib off, he won’t get out of bed in the morning unless we are in the room) he asked me, “Why did you talk to me on the camera?” I told him. And then I asked him, “What was wrong? What were you doing?” He said, “Not anything was wrong, Mom. I just forgot my wallet in the living room.” Then he held up his hand to show me his imaginary wallet. Ugh. It was so adorable.

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As for Baby A, he is pretty easygoing and doesn’t give us any of that tantrum trouble. He’s army crawling all over the place, complaining only when he gets stuck. He plays so well on his own now that he’s mobile that I have a new (but, as it turns out, completely false) sense of freedom to accomplish things around the house. Unfortunately, if I use my eyeballs to do anything but watch him play on the floor, he eats things like E’s stickers, small toys, and our shoes. Yesterday I turned my gaze for 4 seconds and when I looked back he was gagging on something. I could see it on his tongue so I swept it out with my finger and, upon examination, I realized it was part of a stink bug carapace. Well, then we were both gagging (and one of us screamed a little).

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E and A are discovering the joys of brotherhood. Baby A’s face lights up whenever he sees his big brother, and he loves to laugh at anything E says at the dinner table. E is finding it more difficult to share his toys with his little brother now that A can actually play with them, but for the most part they play nicely together. The other night E offered to read A some books to “cheer him up” for me (though he already seemed perfectly happy). It was awesome. E kept explaining to A that “I don’t know how to read all the words, so…” The story involved Dr. Luke (from the Bible) going to a house made of straw and telling the little pig inside that his house should have been built on the rock. But, then there was a shipwreck and in the morning everyone ate breakfast with Jesus by the fire. I’m sure I’ve lost some of the major details of the story, but Baby A was on the edge of his seat the whole time.

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The weather has turned all summery this week, so apart from the sticky heat of doom (I’m ready for fall), things are pretty nice around here. E has been loving being able to play outside more. He’s picked plenty of our dandelions, tons of deadnettle, and (against my wishes) one of my few double tulips. We’ve been traipsing about photographing jays, woodpeckers, ducks, starlings, and cardinals. And today, covered from head to toe with sidewalk chalk, E got to watch a robin feed her babies in the nest she made under our eaves.

Well, I’m tired, hungry, hot, and behind on my chores, but tomorrow is a new day, and, as I told my son (right after he hit me, “to see if it would get your glasses off, Mommy!”), we can start fresh and ask Jesus to help us make good choices.

I’m looking forward to it.

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a happy little update

Life with two little ones is crazy, and I haven’t gotten around to writing a post in way too long. Don’t worry, I’ve been neglecting other things too…though we did get most of our Christmas cards sent out in the past couple of weeks. Next year we’re still going to start working on them in November, but we’ll make cards that say “Happy Easter” instead.

My boys are coming along nicely. E has been ataxia free for awhile now, so we feel quite relieved and thankful that scary little chapter of his life seems to be completed. Most days he still assures us that he’s “not feeling sick anymore,” so we know the experience is still pretty vivid in his mind, but he’s doing well. In fact, in the weeks since the whole ataxia experience, all three of my guys had the flu (or something flu-like), and they have each recovered from that as well.

A is my squishy one, all cheeks and rolls, and his smile lights up the room. I’d forgotten quite how much fun this 3-6 month age can be, with the sweet whole-body smiles, and the brand new giggles. He loves to practice standing and recently became a rolling machine. We frequently find him in very different places than we set him down. He’s also enjoying his new foray into eating purees.

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E frequently delights and horrifies us with his ability to remember (and repeat) everything he’s ever heard. His favorite thing to do right now is anything with music. He loves to listen to records, watch Mormon Tabernacle Choir videos, “direct” music with Lincoln Logs, and uses various items to play violin, guitar, ukulele, cello, trombone, trumpet, and piano on a daily basis. The newest (and my favorite) development in his love for music, though, is playing “family orchestra.” This is a game in which we all head to the family room (where his little toy piano is kept), and we are each assigned an instrument and he chooses pages in the hymnal for us to play and sing. It’s a pretty terrible cacophony, but it definitely fits the criteria for making joyful noise to the Lord.

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Side story: When E was in the hospital, they wanted to know what kinds of cartoons/shows he liked to watch so they could distract him with videos while placing the IV, drawing blood, etc. Well, Emmett hasn’t ever really watched anything except carefully chosen Youtube videos of songs, so the nurses looked at us like we were more than a little crazy when we bribed him with promises of watching the Hallelujah Chorus on our phones. It was quite the scene in there: the Mormon Tabernacle Choir belting out the Messiah, and Emmett screaming (but still holding the phone and watching). I know the team really felt like singing right along with the choir when they finally got the IV in, though.

Baby A, who slept through the night regularly from 3-4 months of age, had a 4 month/Christmas vacation sleep regression like his big brother did (I’d foolishly hoped we’d sail through it this time), but is now back into the habit of waking up infrequently during the night. He doesn’t view morning naps as strictly mandatory, but takes nice long afternoon naps, so I guess we still don’t have too much to complain about.

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E is the perfect age to really be excited about sledding this winter, and took his first solo runs down (pretty small, but decent) hills in January. Hopefully we’ll be able to take him out sledding again, but winter is failing us woefully this month.

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All of us are doing well and we are having a good time settling into this four-person family life. It’s not all fun and games around here, but I’m going to keep this post to the good stuff. Trust me, I’ve got some good material coming soon that will focus more on the hardships of life (two-year-old in the house!), but that can wait for another day.

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drowsy, but awake

So if you read anything about teaching your baby to fall asleep without rocking or feeding them to sleep every single time, you know that you’re supposed to lay the baby down “drowsy, but awake.” This implies that the tired little bundle’s heavy eyelids will sweetly droop shut as you lay him down and tiptoe on your merry way out of the room.

Not in my house.

Baby A has been shamelessly spoiled (on account of the fact that we’re too exhausted from properly sleep training the first kid) and is accustomed to certain comforts. When I feed him anywhere near bedtime he falls asleep instantly, and can only be awakened by being placed gently in his crib. Realizing this, I have tried feeding him way before bedtime and letting him get “drowsy, but awake” to lay him down in this ideal state. The problem with this is that no level of drowsy (except, sometimes, deep sleep) is drowsy enough to withstand the jolt of wakefulness he receives when his little head hits the mattress.

We actually usually do stay strong and let him fall asleep on his own (often from a state of complete alertness). He’s a pretty happy guy, and we don’t let him scream and cry for any extended period of time (in case you were worried about that). We’re soft. But sometimes he stages a serious protest at what he perceives as our gross mistreatment of him, and we spend two hours trying to get. that. kid. to. fall. asleep.

Well, tonight I was too tired for all of that, and I just didn’t do it. I fed my baby. He fell asleep 4 seconds later, and I super stealthily got up from the rocking chair to put him in his crib.

Of course, my first step was onto a Duplo, which, although not as painful as a regular Lego, still inflicts considerable pain. I lurched forward, squelching my would-be cries of suffering in order to preserve the precious slumber of my baby.

And landed on a elephant teether. A squeaky elephant teether, which, in addition to making A’s eyelids fly open, startled me half to death.

I’ve never felt so much like a cartoon character in my life.

Shockingly, he went right back to sleep, allowing me to place him in the crib and sneak out.

Is it any wonder that I look like this?

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Here I am: drowsy, but awake.

Happy Sabbath. May your floors be free of Duplos, and your path devoid of squeaky toys.

(And don’t worry. I won’t go to church looking like this. Tomorrow I will take to heart the song often on my toddler’s lips, “Good morning, it’s Sabbath, the day that I look the very best!”)

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in case you were wondering

Almost two weeks ago now, our Baby Guy, E, was playing all morning as he usually does. He was his usual self, a nonstop ball of energy who finally slowed down to snuggle in his crib for a hard-earned afternoon nap.

And all of a sudden, he looked grey.

I asked him if he felt okay, and he said he did. So I said, “are you just tired?’ and he admitted that he was, which is quite strange. But I pushed my concerned aside because I figured a nap would do him good, no matter what the issue was, and I kissed him and headed to Baby A’s room to feed him and try to get a two-kid nap time going so I could accomplish some housework.

It didn’t take long until E was yelling for me to take him potty, and I told him he had to wait until I could lay Baby A down, which just made him angry. If you have ever borne the wrath of a tired toddler, you know that asking one of them to wait for anything is pretty much equivalent to poking out their eyeballs. He was not happy. So finally, fearing for his clean, dry sheets, I laid A in his crib (now also screaming at me) and went to take the toddler to the potty before disaster struck.

In the five seconds it took me to get into his room, he’d stopped yelling and was looking up at me with his big blue eyes in his too grey face–his pillow, blankets, and clothes covered in vomit and saying, “Mommy, I’m sorry I spit up.”

I took him out and tried to get his clothes off before we went to the bathroom, but the hysterics started as soon as I touched him, and he refused to stand (or even sit) when I set him down to undress him. He was screaming that he needed to go potty, and he wouldn’t even hold his head up as I tried (and failed) to get his shirt off without making a huge mess all over the floor. I held his chin in my hand and looked right into his eyes, telling him to hold his head still so I could take his shirt off, and as soon as I let go, his head rolled right back.

I was starting to feel freaked out by this rag doll behavior, but I really thought I was just dealing with a sick/stubborn/tired toddler tantrum. I finally got him undressed as he lay limp in a little heap on the floor, screaming at me.

By the time I carried him into the bathroom and set him on the toilet, he’d stopped screaming and was quiet and calm. I sat him on his little seat and put my hands on his shoulders because he was leaning so far forward. Instantly his head rolled all the way back and smacked the toilet tank. After it hit, he really didn’t react, but his head seemed to bounce off and come all the way forward until he lay flat on his own legs. At that point, I was feeling much more fearful that his behavior wasn’t a tantrum, but that he was really, really sick. He threw up again while we were still in the bathroom, and then I carried him back to his room and laid him on the floor to change the sheets in his crib.

He didn’t move a muscle except to close his eyes. He fell asleep in the awkward position that I’d set him down in, and didn’t even stir when I took his temperature 3 times with two different thermometers because I couldn’t believe that the 95.4 degree reading was accurate. I covered him with a blanket and sent a text to my husband asking him to come home as soon as he could, called the pediatrician’s office to ask for their advice, and then I just waited. I left E’s door open and ventured to the next room, but checked on him every 3-5 minutes until my husband got home.

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E kept throwing up, about once per hour, until around 2 am. We offered him Pedialyte and he’d take little sips, totally unable to sit up without us propping him, and still seemingly unable to support his own head. My husband spent the night on the floor with E, and I lost track of how many times he came into our room that night to change into a clean t-shirt.

In the morning, E felt a little bit better, but he was exhausted and weak. He ate a bit of applesauce and drank more Pedialyte, but it was clear that he still couldn’t sit up for long. He lay on the couch all day, never asking to get down and play, and for the most part, not even wanting me to read to him. He slept a lot, and finally in the evening wanted to walk to the bathroom. I held his hand, but even in doing that I had a hard time keeping him upright. He kept veering off to the side and stumbling in strange ways. My husband and I talked about it and figured he must just have been weak from lack of food and all the vomiting.

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The next day E wanted to eat and play. He had better meals, drank some water, and got off the couch late in the morning. But when he walked it reminded me of when he was 12 months old and just learning to walk. He was walking with his legs spread farther apart than normal, and had to hold on to furniture every few steps to stay upright. I emailed his doctor about it through our patient portal and took a few videos of his strange walking with my phone, just in case. When my husband came home from work, E wanted to go to him to greet him, and started out crawling, instead of walking. He did stand up after crawling a bit, and held on to chairs to make his way to his daddy. My husband immediately confirmed my feelings that things were just not right, and I immediately called the doctor’s office to leave a message for our pediatrician.

We got a call back later, and E’s doctor took time to talk to me about the whole situation. When I mentioned that I’d taken some videos she asked me to send them to her, which I did. She offered to make an appointment for us with one of her colleagues at the office first thing the next morning, and we took her up on it and felt better knowing that someone would look at him the next day.

Well, awhile later, E’s doc called us back to say that she’d consulted neurology about his case, and she had a name for the walking issues he was having: ataxia. She’d even made sure that if the pediatrician who would examine E the next morning thought he needed more care a neurologist was ready to see us the same day. Of course, if you know me at all you know that I immediately fell down a Google rabbit hole. Reading about ataxia doesn’t make it less scary, but I did learn that the most common cause in toddlers is viral. Sometimes a virus just causes an ataxic reaction, and most of the time the kid just recovers with no further issues. This is best case scenario. There are a lot of worse case options out there.

So we went to the office the next morning (in the midst of a huge snowstorm) and the pediatrician confirmed that E needed an MRI to rule out some major possible causes. We were already guaranteed a spot in Kalamazoo, but the weather was really awful for traveling, and we were much closer to South Bend, so she called and got us a spot there, and we headed straight to admitting. I’d had a feeling that we needed to be prepared, so we’d packed overnight bags for all of us, and as much of E’s safe food as we thought he could eat that day. We were thankful for that as we checked in.

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After being a perfect angel at the pediatrician’s office, E had a change of heart in the hospital, and definitely responded negatively to the hospitalist’s exam. But, eventually, they sent a nice woman with a tablet and a bubble gun to distract E (ha!) while they placed an IV and she stayed with him as they wheeled him down to MRI and even went into the room with him until he was fully asleep for the test. We took Baby A back up to E’s room and waited. When E came back, he was quiet, but not upset. He was ravenous, and we fed him most of the food we’d brought with us and then ordered him a full hospital meal (after asking MANY questions about the ingredients) which he devoured.

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The results of the MRI and the subsequent blood tests all came back good, so they discharged E because there wasn’t much they could do for him and it would be much easier for him to relax and recover at home. Since major problems had been ruled out, they guessed that this was a case of ataxia caused by a virus. We were sent home with instructions to see the pediatrician again as soon as possible for follow-up and referral to a neurologist, just in case.

Over the weekend, we did see improvement, though E was still wobbly. We’re still waiting on an appointment with neurology, though we have the option to cancel if his symptoms disappear before it happens. He’s feeling great otherwise, but falls more than usual, and I find myself constantly analyzing his movements.

We know many of you have been praying for E and our family, and we are so, so thankful. Most likely, the ataxia will keep fading and eventually disappear. I’m not sure when my worry will fade, but I’m trying to only worry a reasonable amount. Thank you for keeping my little guy in your thoughts and prayers as he continues to recover.

I’m in the midst of writing a general update about life with two kiddos, and I will finish it someday soon, but so many of you have asked to stay posted on this, and we haven’t really been keeping up with letting people know what’s happening with E’s situation, so it seemed like it would be a good idea to write about it here. Thanks for loving our boy.

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thanksgiving

I’m sitting here on the living room floor at 5:40 am next to a baby who thinks it’s a great time to play, and I’m tired. I’ve been awake since 4 (though the Nugget didn’t wake up for an hour after that) and I have a feeling that by the time he’s ready to go back to sleep my bigger Baby Guy will be ready to party.

But this early morning time with Baby A is pretty much priceless. He’s fresh and happy because he sleeps 6-7 hours straight at night pretty regularly now. I’m almost fresh and very happy because at three months old his brother wasn’t even close to sleeping like this. In fact, when E was this age, I’m pretty sure I would’ve desired (just a little bit) to punch anyone who told me that their baby slept this well. If you’re in the same predicament that I was, though, please console yourself with the knowledge that I’m still not sleeping 6-7 hours straight because I can’t shake the habit of the waking up and waiting to hear him breathe or wiggle before I can fall back asleep. Still, my rest level is pretty high considering that I have a two-year-old and a fresh little tiny one.

There is much for which I am thankful.

My list is long, but here are my top 3:

  • My God, who loves me, has provided everything I have and gives me comfort in times of pain
  • My husband, my partner, who is my best friend and most ardent supporter and an amazing dad
  • My little boys who are awesome. They are sweet, funny, and adorable (if I do say so myself).

Really I have thanksgivings without end, but Baby A is back asleep, and Mr. E is not up yet, so I’m going to go add a few extra minutes of sleep to my Thanksgiving list!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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nugget in the house

The Nugget is more than a month old now, and he’s been home for a few weeks. We were blessed to only have him in the NICU for ten days, but what a blessing the care he received there was to our family! We do not miss the commute, the wires, or the separation from our boy, but we are truly grateful for the excellent people who watched over him day and night when we could not.

Nugget with his NG tube in the NICU

Things at home have settled a bit, but let me just say that the presence of a sibling has made its mark on my Baby Guy. He loves his baby brother immensely, but the increase in naughtiness seems exponential. This is exacerbated by my inability to pick him up. Right after the new Nugget came home I went to my first postpartum appointment, foolishly hoping I’d be granted permission to lift my underweight eldest son, but alas, I was informed that no toddler lifting would be permitted until six weeks after surgery. I was pretty bummed (and still am) about that. It’s not easy managing a crib-sleeping, potty trained, defiance practicing almost two-year-old without picking him up. So, we have designated a special orange cushion in his room as the time-out cushion (instead of imprisoning him in his crib, which was customary). I have explained to him that he needs to sit for two minutes because he is almost two years old, and then I set the timer on my iPhone and tell him to wait for my phone to make a noise before he gets up. Well, today we realized that time-out is making some kind of impression, anyway, when Baby Guy picked up my husband’s phone and told Siri, “Set timer for two minutes.” She obliged. Then he informed us (in a slight panic) that he didn’t want to “go sit on his orange fing.”

No, it’s not all sunshine and roses with a new sibling in town, but it’s not all tantrums either. Baby Guy is still pretty sweet. He’s been singing a lot lately, and he loves playing with Lincoln logs. “Conversation” is one of his favorite new words…he overheard his dad say it. He loves giving his brother kisses, high fives, and fist bumps. He can’t walk by the Tiny One without saying “He is so cute!” or “He is so tiny!” with a proud smile.

‘Building Lincoln Logs’ with my boys

The little Nugget is doing well. He sleeps fairly well at night, and is gaining weight fast, as is evidenced by his generous chins. He naps pretty much all day, and is very easygoing. He is even usually content to do his tummy time, and very impressively rolled over from his belly to his back once before he was two weeks old. Only the one time, but still, we were impressed. Even more impressively, he has already given us two consecutive nights with only one waking between 10:30 and 6:30 am, which is pretty awesome considering his older brother’s unfortunate sleep history. I have high hopes that this one will keep up the good work with the overnight sleeps. So far I have been in tears zero times in the middle of the night with this one, so I’d say we’re miles ahead of where we were with Baby Guy at this point in the game.

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Please take note of his glorious chins!

As for me and my husband, we are tired but having a great time with our two little boys. Last week when, on the morning my mom was heading back home and we would be left to fend for ourselves for the first time, Baby Guy woke up with croup and an ear infection, we felt a bit overwhelmed. But he’s doing better now and the Nugget hasn’t shown any signs of respiratory distress, so hopefully we have made it through the worst of that. I’m not going to claim that we have the hang of parenting two children at once quite yet, but I’m optimistic that we can figure it out well enough to hold on one prayerful day at a time.

 

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a second-time mom

Well.

I’m not a first-time mom anymore.

Isn’t that a weird thing, though? When people talk about first-time parents they mean that the parents only have one kid, right? But, is anyone ever really a second-time parent?

On Sunday I went to the hospital because I was concerned about some bleeding I was having. As it turns out, the bleeding (coupled with some contractions I’d been having off and on since Friday afternoon) meant that I was actually in labor. This was an unexpected turn of events, so I called my husband and let him know that he’d need to get Baby Guy ready for a day at our friends’ house. Of course, I was still laboring (ha!) under the false impression that the medicine they gave me to stop the contractions would work. Well, by the time the mister had our son all squared away with our amazing and kind friends and was en route to the hospital, I was being denied transport to the nearest hospital with a NICU and found myself asking the doctor if the c-section would wait a few minutes for my husband to make it to be with me in time.

He did.

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We felt like first-time parents, as, for the first time, we were welcoming a second son into a cold, bright operating room, buzzing with a surgical team for me and a whole fleet of pediatric specialists for our new little one.

We felt like first-time parents as we watched the transport team wheel our baby out for his ambulance ride to the NICU an hour away from us.

We felt like first-time parents with our Baby Guy spending his first night away from both of us.

It wasn’t supposed to feel like this. We were supposed to have a better handle on the whole thing this time. We’ve done this having-a-son thing before, so we knew to expect the unexpected, but we didn’t know just how unexpected things would be.

I wasn’t ready. The house isn’t clean and organized. The baby’s room isn’t decorated. His hand-me-downs aren’t folded neatly in his dresser, and we haven’t decided on a carseat.

I wasn’t ready for a c-section. I can’t lift Baby Guy for another week and a half (at least), which means I can’t take him out of his crib when he wakes up in the morning, and I can’t put him in at night. I can’t lift him onto the potty, and, worst of all, I can’t hold and comfort him when all he wants is a mommy snuggle.

I wasn’t ready for a preemie. There’s no way to prepare yourself to have your baby be away from you from the moment he’s born. Mommies shouldn’t be visitors, it’s just not how we’re made.

But there’s a first time for everything.

I know I am blessed. My little one is a trooper. He was big for his age, and he was 33 weeks when he was born, so not nearly as far from being ready as many premies. My husband is awesome and has been caring for Baby Guy with the extra love and attention that he needs right now. My mom started driving immediately and is here now, helping us care for our home, our sons, and ourselves. My dad flew in today, bought some groceries on his drive from the airport, and washed our dishes while he was waiting for us to come home from the hospital. Our friends and family all over the world are praying for us and for our new baby boy.

Thanks. Seriously.

Thanks to the nurses who not only cared for my physical needs while I was in the hospital, but who kept asking about my new little one even though he wasn’t with me there, and let me know that they were praying for him. Thanks to the NICU nurses, doctors, and other staff who have been caring for my son around the clock since he was born. They are genuinely interested in his progress, and have been so patient and welcoming with Baby Guy (who is not always a quiet, well-mannered visitor). I am so thankful for each of them.

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The baby is doing really well. He’s been free of his IV for days now, and free of his breathing mask even longer. He’s out of his isolette and his labs are consistently coming back looking great. He still has a feeding tube, but he’s eating well enough for many of his meals that it doesn’t always have to be used. He is still struggling to wake up long enough to eat the calories that he needs, but that’s to be expected for a 33 weeker. He is perfect and precious and he is loved.


Keep the prayers coming, but know that we are okay. We’re tired and eager to bring our baby home, but we’re trusting that he is in God’s hands and we are glad that he is getting the care he needs.

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father’s day

Lately, nothing has gone according to plan around here. Last week, my husband was supposed to leave for campmeeting pitch Monday afternoon, and actually he did…but I called him back home (he hadn’t even arrived for his supper yet) to tell him I was taking myself to the hospital because of less than ideal pregnancy symptoms I was having. Thankfully, we have kind people in our community, and our good friends took Baby Guy on short notice (and without complaint) so I could go get checked out before the mister drove all the way back home. 

Here I must interrupt myself to relate the sad reality of motherhood vs. fatherhood (in my house at least). When my husband had said his goodbyes to Baby Guy and I earlier that afternoon-he was planning to be away for a couple of nights-our son clung to him as if to be left alone with his mother was the most horrifying and tragic thing that could be perpetrated against him. Weeping. Wailing. Gnashing of teeth. “Sad! Miss daddy!” he sobs. Fast forward two hours and I’m dropping him off with our friends (who are lovely people by the way, but who are not his mother), and he refuses to shed one tear and doesn’t even look back at me as he holds their hands and walks willingly away from me. Really?!

Anyway, everything is fine with baby-boy-to-be (and me), so I came home and we commenced preparations for campmeeting. Of course because my husband had missed so much campmeeting prep by this time we decided we’d all go together so he wouldn’t have to come back and get us. That meant that I’d be heading out a couple of days earlier than expected, and we’d be spending 11 consecutive nights in our tent.

Well, we’re 4 nights into it and I think there’s been a thunderstorm in every one of those, so far. I like camping just as much as the next girl (possibly more), but rain and camping are not my favorite combo. Yes, the pitter pat of raindrops on the tent do make for a nice sleep situation, but torrential downpours with deafening thunder and wind that periodically flattens the tent walls into your face do not. Also, please keep in mind that I am a giant pregnant lady, deep into the second trimester. My choices are dehydration or middle-of-the-night bathroom visits. The bathroom is approximately a billion feet from our tent, so the (much closer) outhouse is a necessity in these dire times. So far I have managed to only make these wee hour trips between downpours, but with 7 nights to go, time is not on my side. 

Our trusty tent does keep us dry, though, as long as we stay inside, so when we woke up this morning and the rain had stopped we became foolishly reckless. We chose to make breakfast outside. Pancakes with strawberries for Father’s Day! Here I’m just going to breeze by the awful truth that my husband made his own (as well as the rest of our) pancakes. They were delicious and we enjoyed them in spite of the sprinkles starting. However, by the time I’d begun gathering the dishes to wash, things were taking a turn. The rain was incredible and the wind was crazy. 

After pancakes, but before we fully comprehended the fury of the wind and rain.


In no time, my right pant leg was soaked and my left was beginning to follow suit. My husband was drenched and it was all we could do to keep our little boy from getting soaked too. I decided to go for the van, which we’d parked away from our campsite just in case we’d needed to leave the grounds on Sabbath. As I was walking the short distance down the road, a car came barreling through the huge puddle I was slogging through and left me dripping with mud all the way down my left side. I will admit to feeling some road rage as the car continued on its merry way without a look back. I wallowed in my misery as only a persecuted noticeably pregnant woman in a bright red raincoat (read highly visible to oncoming traffic) could. 

I drove up to the campsite where my husband buckled the boy in, grabbed the ever present potty bag, and hopped in the passenger seat. We escaped to a nearby Target, wherein mama got a brand new pair of maternity pants (and the dressing room attendant wrote me a note to give the cashier, explaining that I’d be wearing the new pants out of the store because my “original pants were wet.” I had a brief internal struggle with the ignominy of that incomplete and suggestive phrasing, but I let it go. 

Now dry and itching to celebrate, we headed to the grocery store to buy lunch fixings for our son, having neglected to bring any of his food with us when we made our break for it. Then, after a little walk around town we went out for some Chinese food, which I passed off as the Father’s Day gift for my man (since I’d gone to the hospital instead of shopping for Father’s Day while he was gone). 

If you ignore the fact that we came home to a mudpit and a wind that kept blowing our tent vestibule and cooking shelter down, it was a very nice day. 

My husband says he had a great Father’s Day, and I have to believe him, even though it was terrible in so many ways. I had a wonderful time with our little family this morning, and what makes my husband such a great dad is that he just loves spending time with our little boy, even if it means entertaining him in Target while I try on pants or carrying Baby Guy in one arm and pounding tent stakes down with the other because he’s too much of a softy to ignore the plaintive “hold you!” demands of our son. 

I’m blessed to have married a great dad. Happy Father’s Day to my little boy’s hero. We love you, Mister! Maybe next year we’ll get you a gift. 

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potty time

Alright, here’s the thing: thanks to the lovely first trimester I had, I’m still running at least 3 months behind on everything, so writing life updates hasn’t been at the top of the priority list lately. I’ll try to catch you up briefly, but I can’t make any promises.

On the FPIES front, Baby Guy is doing well. We’ve just finished a 14 day trial of almond butter, and he has passed almonds (we think…the GI will make the final call on that pretty soon), which means that ditching formula for homemade almond milk is on the horizon! Assuming he will drink this almond milk, we’re thinking it will be a real win for the grocery budget.

The boy’s vocabulary has exploded, and although I had almost despaired of him ever learning his colors, he has made great progress in this area in the past week or so. He can count to eleven, and is beginning to recognize his favorite letters on signs all over town.

The big thing, though, is that about six (maybe seven now?) weeks ago-right around the eighteen month mark-Baby Guy decided he wanted to start using the potty instead of diapers.

He was really serious.

At first, we just sort of gave him opportunities to use the toilet in between diapers, but he began protesting diapers more often, so when we were at home I’d let him run around with no diaper on and he was pretty consistently using the toilet (with frequent reminders) and a few accidents here and there. I’d put a diaper on him anytime we’d leave the house and of course during nap and bed times (and anytime he wanted one). He wanted underwear pretty desperately, so I started putting a cotton prefold on him with no diaper cover once in awhile. It was the best I could do because training pants generally don’t come smaller than 2T, and my son’s waist and hips are not even close to 2T.

One day, about 2 weeks in, I got brave and took him to the store (right here in town) with no diaper on. I did stick a prefold under him in the carseat, just for a little bit of insurance, but we were out of the house successfully for about 30 minutes with no accident, so I started to get even braver. I bought an inexpensive toilet seat topper so that we could set him on the potty without fear of him falling in, and he loved it. We started taking it everywhere, and I quit forcing him to put a diaper on whenever we left the house. I gave him a choice every time, and just tried to trust him to tell me if he had to go.

I found some relatively inexpensive underwear on Amazon that actually fit a tiny little person like my son (I ordered the 6-12 month size, no joke). They’re nothing fancy, but he is so proud to wear them and they’re pretty adorable.

Honestly, about 2-3 weeks in he was successful even outside of the house almost all the time. He didn’t like public bathrooms at all, because they are “yowd.” But I could usually distract him from the loudness by getting him to count the tiles on the bathroom floors or something or other, and he’d get through it usually. There were a few times he was just too scared of the public toilets (even with his special seat topper), and he asked me to just put on his diaper instead, so I did. We figured that there’s no reason to force an eighteen month old to use the restroom constantly if he wasn’t comfortable doing so.

About 3-4 weeks in, he started choosing underwear instead of diapers for nap time, just once in awhile at first, and then every day.

Now, the only time he wears a diaper is overnight, and it’s dry in the morning more often than not. So far, we’ve never had a naptime accident, and we spent all day Monday out and about in Grand Rapids with no changes of clothes necessary.

I have read about a bajillion things about potty training at 18-19 months, and some people say it’s a horrible thing to do to your child and will lead to a certain horrible future of chronic constipation and constant UTIs, but please rest easy–we have not potty trained baby guy. This was his idea and we are pretty much letting him tell us what he’s comfortable with. Also, I consulted his GI about it and the good doctor assured me that my son was not being harmed in any way by this gentle “method” (if you can even call it that) of potty learning. He also assured me that regression is not out of the question, especially once baby number two makes an appearance.

This new stage has its pros and cons, of course. Onesies are not as convenient now that he’s in underwear, so we’re increasing our stash of toddler t-shirts for the summer. I’ve pretty much ditched the diaper bag in favor of the “potty bag” (a large wet/dry bag that I store the potty seat and extra clothes and snacks in). I have to always have an idea where the nearest bathroom is, or be willing to plop the potty seat out on the side of the road if there’s not a restroom handy. We have campmeeting soon, as well as some road trips that will be exciting, I’m sure. But, I no longer have to seek out changing tables, and instead of washing a load of diapers every other day, I can do it once a week (and only that often because I don’t want to wait longer than that). The dirty diapers we do get are only ever wet…I haven’t had a poopy diaper since the first week he tried the potty. That’s good enough for me. My biggest challenge at this point is finding pants that are long enough and will stay up around his teeny tiny waist without the aid of a diaper. Seriously guys, he’s wearing his 6 month shorts from last summer.

Just out mowing in his 6 month size shorts…


We are not discounting the possibility of the boy losing interest or just plain old regressing, but for now we’re basically diaper-free and loving it.

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you say cookie, I say bread

This morning my husband made my son one of our tried and true breakfast recipes for him: banana blueberry fritters. Baby Guy loves these things, and lately he’s been rebelling against his daily oatmeal regimen, so we’re shaking things up a little. Unfortunately, in the month or two that we have exclusively breakfasting our little man on oats, he has apparently lost his taste for banana fritters, so the giant bowl of batter we thought would take us through a few breakfasts looked like it would be going to waste.

Until, that is, I thought of the brilliant idea of turning it into banana blueberry bread. I mean, Baby Guy will eat anything bready. He loves muffins, biscuits, naan, pizza dough, pancakes, and (obviously) bread. So I whipped up a loaf of quick bread this afternoon and it was all ready when suppertime came and my husband walked through the door.

Baby Guy drawing as I bake

He asked me what the bread was, and I told him. I did make a disclaimer about it not tasting like my usual banana bread because I’d decreased the amount of sugar in the recipe (yeah, I’m that kind of mom). Then, after he tasted it, I remembered that I’d also replaced half of the all purpose flour in the recipe with white whole wheat (not because I’m that kind of mom–I am–but because I was too lazy to open the brand new bag of all purpose flour that I’d gone out to buy this morning). I confessed my whole wheat flourings to my long-suffering husband, who assured me that the bread was good, though more “healthy granola” than my typical banana bread. He was eating a second piece at the time, so I believe that he enjoyed it even if you don’t.Upon further reflection, I have realized that I neglected to mention a number of other modifications I made to the recipe, which include using ground flaxseed and water instead of egg (Baby Guy can’t eat eggs, if you’ll recall), and subbing coconut oil in for vegetable oil (soybeans are in everything). Plus, this batch has blueberries in it (but I’m thinking he realized that without me having to say so).

All in all, the recipe is fairly unrecognizable, and I guess it’s just a hazard of being a healthy granola FPIES mom.

Now it’s confession time: My son ate the bread during supper with great gusto. The only thing that made me feel a little sorry for him was the fact that, although I kept correcting him, he insisted on referring to his bread as a ‘cookie.’ This sent me on a little bit of a guilt trip because on this very morning I received a package from my own mother with a real life chocolate chip cookie perfectly unsullied by flax, whole wheat, or any coconut products at all whatsoever, which I ate while the little man was napping. It was awesome, and what he doesn’t know won’t hurt him, right?

And tomorrow I’ll be happy to feed him another ‘cookie’ for breakfast.

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