Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bad Medicine

Apparently the only way we can keep Nick out of the hospital is by having frequent visits with his pediatrician. Today will be his third visit to the doctor since his cold moved into his lungs on Friday. On Saturday it was determined that he has pneumonia in his right lung, and was put on albuterol (luckily we still had that handy nebulizer from his last bought of pneumonia) and antibiotics. Yesterday we added an oral steroid.

Today's trip will likely include a chest x-ray and an additional antibiotic. Once he final shakes this round of pneumonia, his doctor wants him to be on a preventative medicine throughout the entire fall and winter, in an attempt to avoid pneumonia if he gets (or should I say when) he gets sick again.

Back Story: In June Nick got sick with croup twice. The second time, apparently it moved into his lungs and likely cause Pneumonia. However, we only found this out when he had a seizure and fell off our bed in reaction to his fever. We called the paramedics (and boy is it fun to have about eight paramedics in your bedroom), and they checked him for a concussion. They didn't see any signs of trauma, but recommended we take him to the ER just to be safe. What scared me was that he was very lethargic after having the seizure, which is such a foreign state for Nick. Inova Loudon Hospital in Landsdowne has a separate pediatric ER, so they took us there.

Nick was checked out and it was determined that he did not have a concussion and the seizure was likely a febrile seizure, but hey his lungs don't sound so good and his oxygen levels are really low, so let's admit him. They immediately put him on oxygen. We ended up being in the hospital for three days, until Nick could sustain his oxygen levels consistently on his own.

Not that being in the hospital is ever any fun, but the care we received and the amenities in the pediatric ward were fantastic. It really helped make a bad situation tolerable. We were also lucky that my MIL was available to care for Gabe, so that Oscar and I could focus on taking care of Nick.

I really hope that Nick gets better soon, because he's still wants to to run and play, but he's supposed to be taking it easy while he recovers. He's also cranky, and doesn't want to sit and be still every four hours when he's supposed to get a treatment with his nebulizer. Luckily he doesn't fight me when it's time to receive his other medications.

We're going to take every precaution necessary to keep him as healthy as possible during the upcoming cold and flu season, but I'm still afraid that even with the necessary preventive steps, he's still going to get really sick again.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I've been posting a lot about Gabe lately, just because of all the new things happening in his life, but I thought I'd take this post to talk about Nick.

Nick is almost two and a half, and like many toddlers his mood swings are quick and fierce. His tantrums are epic, and his love is heart-melting. It's hard to say no to a toddler who wants to sleep with you at night when he says, "Mommy, I'm lonely. I need you," and then goes and gathers up his pillow and his two chosen lovies. I have a hard time resisting him. The feeling of him in my arms as he buries his head in my shoulder, the sweet smell of freshly washed toddler... Very hard to resist.

His hair continues to be long and fluffy and red. He loves to dance. We recently discovered Pandora, and he loves the Doo Wop channel. He especially loves when I dance with him. We also recently discovered YouTube and at times he'll demand Little Bunny Foo Foo or Animal Fair or the Manamana song. Sometimes he'll want me to put on a cartoon, such as an old Chipmunks short or Scooby Doo.

He misses his brother, now that Gabe's in school, although he enjoys the undivided attention he gets from Grandma, Grandpa, and Aunt R. He wants to be in school because Gabe is in school. With his eagerness to do everything Gabe does, I think he will probably start reading when Gabe does. While I don't doubt Gabe's intelligence it is a struggle to get him to focus on learning to identify letters in words and what sounds they make together.

Nick's new fascination is with my in-laws country house. Whenever he asks where anybody is, regardless of my answer, he responds by telling me that they are at the country house. He had a great time there last weekend when we went up for Labor Day. Although he did come home with two burnt fingers from getting too close to the fire when he was roasting marshmallows (I wasn't there, Oscar and I were a county fair watching a TNA wrestling match).

Nick continues to love meat over carbs, which is just the opposite of his brother. His main meal is usually chicken nuggets, fish sticks, or hot dogs, whereas Gabe prefers noodles with butter or Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (yes, it must be Kraft). For Nick I've tried to pick the healthiest versions of his favorite as possible, but it's hard to ensure they are both eating healthy. The only vegetable Gabe will eat is carrots, and Nick will eat Carrots, Potatoes, and Corn, sometimes grape tomatoes and cucumbers. They do eat a lot of fruit.

Nick can chatter in full sentences and is understandable at least 90% of the time. He's running and jumping like a champ. He's in the process of getting his two-year molars. Two have popped through so far. He knows his colors, can count to 10 consistently, sometimes to 20. He knows most of his letters, and can sing almost the whole alphabet song.  He continues to amaze me every day.

But his sweetest words are still "I love you, mommy," sealed with a hug and a kiss.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Who's on First

So, there's a great skit by Abbott and Costello about baseball, and if you've never read it/heard it, I highly recommend that you go take a look.

The reason I bring this up is because Gabe has started t-ball. Last night was his second practice and this Saturday will be his first game. Watching five and six-year-olds learning how to play baseball reminds me of the confusion in that skit. I'm also baffled by the convoluted plan the coach came up with to cycle the kids through all the positions and up to bat. It took so much time after each at bat to figure out which child belonged where (Costello: All I'm trying to find out is what's the guy's name on first base. Abbott: No. What is on second base. Costello: I'm not asking you who's on second. Abbott: Who's on first.) Because of this our hour long practice stretch to 90 minutes. 

While I'm not sure that Gabe will ever excel at any sport, he is after all my child, and I have no coordination whatsoever. When it was time for racquet sports in P.E., I had to go play with the wall, because I was so awful. The wall usually won. Any way, to top off Gabe's lack probably lack of coordination, as I've mentioned before, he also has ADHD. So if there is nothing going on, or rather, nothing immediately for him to do, he's trying to build dirt mounds or pick grass. Or anything but paying attention to the coaches and watching the ball. 

It is cute. He has baseball pants, and cleats, and a team uniform. They are the Padres, and as I had to ask someone, the SD on their hats stands for San Diego. They are the San Diego Padres. I wasn't aware that San Diego had a baseball team. But then again, what I know about sports could fit on the head of a ballpoint pen, probably with room left over. I have however purchased a book titled, "The Smart Girl's Guide to Sports: An Essential Handbook for Women Who Don't Know a Slam Dunk from a Grand Slam". I am promised that when I find the time to read this book, I will have a comprehensive knowledge of sports. 

Gabe isn't too bad when he actually thinks about what he's doing and makes an effort. The coordination for catching isn't quite there (and he likes to put his glove on the wrong hand), but he can throw decently and hit decently. But the key is when he pays attention and focuses, which is extremely hard for him. 

The biggest problem I have with t-ball is that practice occurs at 5:30, and makes a long day of having to behave even harder. Yesterday was a prime example. His classroom has four tables each with their own color. Well-behaved tables get awarded a color stick in their color pot, with the goal to collect five sticks. When your table does, you get to pick out a prize from the treasure chest. Gabe's table was the most well-behaved yesterday, so he came home with a prize. 

He then proceeded to be difficult the entire evening, and Oscar and I were sorely tempted to not take him to t-ball practice because his behavior was so lousy. Julie at A Little Pregnant explained it so much better yesterday. It's so frustrating to hear about how good a day he had at school and then having to deal with arguing, complaining, and back-talking. Then to add t-ball on top of it all, and expect him to be fully engaged is a lot to ask. 

I wonder, how do other parents deal with this behavior in their children?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Yes, I Cried

So, yesterday was Gabe's first day of Kindergarten. His backpack, jacket, hat, and name tag were set by the door (with care), and his lunch was made and waiting in the refrigerator. His outfit for the first day of school was carefully picked out, and sitting on his bookcase. His alarm was set for 6:00 AM, to make sure he had plenty of time to get ready and eat breakfast. And then we drove him to school.

We parked the van and walked him in and yes, I cried. I didn't want to let him go. My baby is no longer a baby. He's in school now. My husband met him after class got out, to make sure that he got onto his bus for his afternoon class at the local multipurpose center. I was so worried about him. I'm still worried about him. But he seems to be doing okay.

He enjoyed school, and while he was disappointed that they did not get any recess time, he was excited about getting a tour of the school. And explained how they were supposed to walk through the halls - in one straight line with a finger to the lips and a hand on the hip. He brought home a picture he colored, along with a packet full of paperwork for us to read and fill out. When we picked him up yesterday afternoon, he was so happy to see us and so excited to talk to us about his day. He was like a wriggly little puppy.

My MIL dropped him off this morning, and I just called to check on him. She said he was Mr. Independent and asked that she just pull up to the door in the Kiss and Go lane and let him get out because he knew the way to his classroom. And I cried. My baby has gotten so big. So very big. I'm so glad he's doing well, although I know that today is only day two.

It's amazing how quickly the time goes. It feels like he was just born yesterday. I can vividly remember the start of my labor, and the night while the contractions got more frequent. The delivery is a bit of a blur - there were so many people in the room. I can remember bringing him home to our apartment and our first walk around the block, and how painful that was. I remember each of his birthdays. But it still feels like it happened so quickly, that five years were gone in a flash.
Then again, my ten-year high school reunion is next month, and I'm wondering where those years went.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Twas the Night Before Kindergarten

Tomorrow Gabe starts kindergarten. I'm worried that we're not ready. The school supplies have been delivered (along with checks for his weekly Scholastics magazine and daily milk). His backpack, jacket, hat, and lunch bag have been labeled and are ready to go. He's very excited to show everyone his very cool Buzz Lightyear backpack.

So it's not the physical readiness that I question. It's the emotional readiness. I can't believe he's already starting school. I worry that he's too young. He's such a very young five. He also has ADHD, which is not going to make it any easier. I worry that he hasn't spent enough time interacting with his peers and having to listen to someone who is not family.

At the recommendation of his therapist, we have also enrolled him in an afternoon program at the local rec center. The teacher knows the curriculum of Gabe's teacher, and her program is designed to build on what he learns in his A.M. kindergarten class. He'll have to learn to eat lunch on a schedule, and will have no choice beyond whether or not to eat what is packed for him. Gabe doesn't do well on a schedule, and he's used to eating whatever he wants all day. Life with Grandma watching him has been an easy one.

Grandma, for her part, is concerned with how little he will be getting to eat. Only his milk in the morning and his lunch midday. She's also worried about the fact that recess is considered a privilege and not a right, and that bad behavior will result in a loss of recess. The first two weeks will be a little more lenient as the children get used to school, but after that they will all be expected to know and understand the rules of the classroom.

What I'm most amazed with is how much school has changed since I was a little girl. There are no holiday parties. No Halloween party or Christmas party. Kids will not be allowed to wear costumes on Halloween. There also is a no food rule, kids can't even bring cupcakes in on their birthdays, although I think that is particular to our county, rather than public schools in general. We're also not allowed to walk our kids to their classrooms. A teacher will meet the kids outside to ensure they know where to go, but parents are only allowed in for special events and parent teacher conferences.

I really want this to be a good experience for Gabe. I want school to be something he enjoys and looks forward to. So far, he is really excited, but he hasn't started yet. It's going to be a huge change for him, and I'm not sure how it will go. I guess only time will tell. I'm just hoping that it won't be my child that visits the Principal the first week of school.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

I Think it Might be Broken

When I made the decision to get pregnant, I knew there would be some changes to my body. I expected many of them, and am okay with most of them. The saggy boobs, the squishy midsection (although I'd really like to fix that), the silver stretch marks, the red scar across my stomach. Even the joy that were hemorrhoids. But I was not the least bit prepared for prolapse, especially a diagnosis nearly two and a half years after the birth of Nick.

I finally went to the doctor on Thursday to get my lady parts examined, and will shortly have a referral for a gynecologist that specializes in prolapses. My excitement can not be contained. It's so frustrating to feel like I'm broken. I've thought about more children, and despite my ability to get pregnant, I feel like it's not a good ideal health wise for me to have more children, with the prolapse being just the latest in my medical issues. And let's not get started on the apparent threat the umbilical cord seems to pose to my children.

I've never been bothered by doctors, or really concerned with any procedures. "Oh, so you want to give me a bunch of random shots in an auditorium, sure, why not. Sounds like fun." But the prolapse thing does kind of scare me. I realize that I've caught it early, my doctor said on a level of 1 (mild) to 4 (severe) it was only a 1, and that there were plenty of nonsurgical options at this stage, but I just feel so broken. It makes me feel as though the option of having another baby is being taken away from me.

I'm glad I went in, but I worry that I might be a hypochondriac. I've seen my doctor at least once every other month this year for something, often the same something, but I fear that Dr. Google might be leading me astray. Does anybody else try to self-diagnose?