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Sometimes you get just what you need.

Between the neverending snow and seemingly everlasting illness we are at the end of our ropes. I'm pretty sure every person living in the Northeast is dreaming of May. YAY, more snow on Saturday! I've got a lot hats right now; the Mom hat, the work hat, the wife hat, half a housekeeper hat, half a chef hat. Just when I started to feel completely overwhelmed with all those hats and oh yeah, the neverending juggling with the snow days and sick and snow, just when I started thinking "can I beg for a 32 hour week?" today happened. It was a hard day, a day that really pushed me and I'm feeling rejuvenated.

Today I sat with a woman I have sat with many times before, but I'm quite sure she thought she was seeing me for the very first time. Her advanced illness prevented her from remembering all the times I've set up her CD player to play the hymns she still knows all the words to. Her mind kept her from recognizing what I hope is a kind smile and warm hands. I could see in her eyes there was was no real recall, but it did not stop me from being with her, holding her hand, stroking her hair gently, reminding her that she was not alone that I was there and it was going to be ok. I didn't really know if it would be, but it felt like the right thing to tell her. She was vocalizing repeatedly, breathing shallow breaths, and I thought it wouldn't be long.When I left the room to make some calls to family she was worse, trying to get out of bed. I knew my place was by her side and when her daughter arrived I offered her support, explained things as best I could and retreated back into the wallpaper giving them the privacy and space to say a proper goodbye.

I haven't heard yet if her other daughter made it there. I haven't received word that she is gone, but there is nothing about this morning and those three hours I would take back. This work is important. This work is special. This work is amazing. I've still had enough with the snow and sick, but I know 150% that this is where I should be and that hat is worth wearing everyday of the week.

Birthday Sing A Long




hey there mister mister

on the radio, stereo, the way you move ain't fair you know. (how many times did Caroline sing this to you over the past year?)

In the blink of an eye our son's incredibly insane first trip around the sun is complete. In Connor's first year he lived in two states, three houses, and six bedrooms if you count both his and our bedrooms since we all know he slept in ours as much as his own if not more. We are sure Connor enjoyed the quiet solitude of his first days home with Mama as much as the days when there were many hands on deck for him to charm and hearts for him to steal away. Though we can't be sure of his perception of this important first year, I like to think that we provided if nothing else an interesting 365 days. Our boy, our sweet smiley, hot tempered, stubborn, selective listening belly laugher from heaven.

Connor you could not be more different than your sister and yet you are infatuated by her every move. You mimic her actions, you watch over her shoulder and push your way to her side to get involved despite her protests that you "stop Con Con, no big boy!" As much as she is irritated to lengths completely unacceptable for a nearly four year old, she loves you more than all her baby dolls, all her play dough, her tiny scissors, and probably even the tiny objects we watch her put purposely out of your reach. She misses you when you are not there, she asks us if you missed her, she tries to hug you like you are a big boy and not a 12 month old. The two of you have started playing alongside one another, together, and I often find you smiling and laughing at something secret between just you two.

You are into everything, particularly things you should NOT be into. Your attention span is approximately 12 seconds and you have gotten so quick on your feet that if we blink you are off licking an electric socket or inches from bashing in your skull on the hearth. You learned just this week how to put half an animal into the fridge farm and Daddy is so proud that you might just be showing a preference for your left hand. You are snuggly and nothing melts your mother's heart more than putting a pillow on the floor and watching you trip over everything in your path just to put your head down with that innocent sweet smile. You are inquisitive and yet you still like to sit in my lap for whole moments at a time reminding me that while you are growing you still need me, or at least want to make me believe you do. Though we are still not quite there in the sleeping department (a full year later!) the nights that you don't rouse me from sleep at 2 or 3 or sometimes earlier at 1 or even 11:30PM to come and collect you, I wake up feeling like something was missing from the previous night. I know that eventually, someday, I will probably miss all the bonus time I have with you in the middle of the night. I know that if I try to ignore your whimpers you won't stop and go back to sleep. You will in fact wake yourself completely up and won't go back to sleep for exactly 2 hours. You will in fact wake up yoursister requiring the other parental unit to somehow convince her that it is too early for Playhouse Disney or a Pop Tart. If sleep has been the low point of your year, then the highlight has been how you have enriched our family's life with your sweetness, playful spirit, and ability to take a rotten day and turn it inside out within 60 seconds.

Connor you are a joy. We often wonder if you are getting less of our attention than was given to your big sister during her first year. We worry that we are not boasting about each of your silly firsts. We celebrate your accomplishments, but due to the nature of our crazy life here in the place you will grow up, we move on and forward at a clip that makes us at times feel as if we are depriving you of something important. In the end we realize it all evens out. As you learn to walk your sister is explaining to me what traffic is, identifying another car on the road as being "like Daddy's," drawing pictures of snowmen and princesses, and writing letters. The two of you together bring such collective happiness into our lives and just as we could not imagine our life without your sister, we equally could not imagine being here on Earth without you.

You took your time getting here, despite an interesting end to your gestation, and as we look back over the last year it is easy to see now that we weren't quite ready for you until January 18th. It has been an amazing year, a challenging year full of hills and valleys, smiles and tears, joy and frustration. It has been a year like the year we fought to have you in our lives and it prepared us for challenging, amazing, wonderful you.

Happy first birthday to our son. You are likely the last baby we will welcome into the world, but that's more to do with the balance we feel in the house with you in it than the many challenges you presented. Connor means much wanted and strong willed and you sweet Bubba, are both.

Eating! Snow day pancakes!

Hope you are also home, safe, and warm.

January so far...

Despite all the sickness, we've had some fun this month. We are all eagerly awaiting our snow day tomorrow. Snow angels, naps, snuggling under blankets, watching Toy Story III. It's gonna be a good day... It has to be a good day.




Will power

Is driving by

the past four nights

In summation, they could go like this.

The one
...when Steve almost tossed his own cookies after being completely covered in vomit.
... where we thought we were out of the woods, but "taking the day off from school - just in case." fools
... that it all.started.over.again.
and last night,
... that between BC's emotional loss and Connor's restlessness seemed completely neverending .

Connor upchucked his bottle again this morning, in the highchair, immediately after downing it. I was mid hair dry. Work clothes halfway on. Makeup part way done. The hair got pulled back. The jeans went on. The baby got packed up and taken to the pediatrician's morning sick hour. We were the last sick hour patient they saw. I can't blame them, a kid with the stomach bug? Judging by what I have seen and read lately, we are just one of countless families coping with this ridiculous won't quit bug, so yeah, I wasn't surprised that we waited a bit longer than I would have liked to. The nurse was taken aback when I told her we had been doing this since Wednesday night. Wedenesday night. Good God, ENOUGH.

The new plan is to "eat through it." Offering small and frequent mini meals. He has eaten half a dozen small pieces of bread, a small bottle of half water and half pedialyte which I am supposed to start decreasing back to plain water, half a Mott's Tots. The kids hasn't tasted apple juice until this sickness, but now I'm all Juice? "SURE!" Danimals Drinkable Yogurt "YOU GOT IT!"

My poor bub.

Steve has been just... well... superb. He is typically amazing and I don't tell him that enough. I know often in the day to day I tend to dwell on not switching the laundry over or putting something where it doesn't belong or a myriad of other little nit picky NOTHINGS, but Steve held it together this weekend when I was completely out of commission barely holding my own stomach down.

This morning made me say something I hadn't expected to say, "Don't get me wrong, I love my job, I love what I am doing, but weeks like this make me want to work part time again. If I just had more time..." Truth be told, it hasn't been a good month and I have only been working at this new job for two. I have tremendous flexibility that enabled me to finagle a quicker than average day on Friday with minimal fires to put out and got me headed home by 2pm and to Kiki's with two fever reducers, two flavors of pedialyte, a new jug of Maalox, and a pumpkin muffie by 3:15. That just wouldn't have been possible at the hospital or any other full time job I'd venture to guess. This morning I phoned my supervisor and left her a message that Connor was still sick, that I had to be the mom today, that I was going to try to make a few calls, but that I couldn't commit to anything more than getting him better. She hasn't bothered me. I got what I pray to God is the last load of pukey laundry into our amazing wonderful machine. I gathered the final lingering pieces of Christmas together and put them "to sleep" under the stairs. I put together a crockpot lazy lasagna. I checked my work voicemail and deleted it all.

I don't think I NEED a part time job. I think what I have going is working because I can't think of a single job that would work with what we've been coping with. There is a lot of horrific stuff happening out there in the real world. All the more reason for me to take today to be Mom, to snuggle my sweet turning one next week jeeez boy closer while he lets me, to prioritize what is my singular priority; my family. The reason I am, the reason I do, the reason I work, the reason for everything. Sickness makes me prolific, it makes me introspective, it makes me crazy, it makes me appreciate the good times even more.

looking forward to some good stuff soon

Paperwork

Parked at castle island, listening to jets flying right above to Logan. Waved to H street for Kiki who is home with sickie sick connor who had a fever this am after another pukefest last night. One more visit to go.

Pukeapalooza

Oh the woe that is the stomach bug in a child who cannot yet tell you that he hurts, that his tummy feels wierd, that "oh my God, I'm going to puke!" Last night after Connor had been asleep for about an hour we heard some grunts and whines and we thought - OH NO, it's the teeth. Oh how I wish it had been teeth. Teeth would have been beautiful.

Instead Steve found Connor's face slimy and wet and covered in puke and I walked upstairs just in time to watch Connor gork all over Steve. "Help me." I was frozen, jaw on ground because where do you even begin when two people, a carpet, bedding is covered in vomit? We stripped him, got him clean, got him comfortable, put him into new pjs and he proceeded to puke again with just as much gusto. He fell asleep on my chest resting on a towel, another wrapped around him. He puked again. and again. and again. and he had nothing left to puke but he kept gettting woken and we kept putting a bowl under his chin and whispering calming things to him. My poor baby.

He eventually fell asleep with us and there he slept through until 4am when he suddenly woke up and made a mad dash for my bedside table. His cup. His water. It was against my better judgement, but that boy drank the entire cup of water, layed back down beside me, stared up at the ceiling and fell back asleep until almost 7. He had an entire bottle for breakfast and we sent him to school - he was feeling better, he looked better, he must be feeling better.

Except he wasn't. He refused his other bottles all day. He was uninterested in food except for cheerios. He had part of a bottle with our dinner. He played happily before bed. He loved his tub. I diluted a bottle for him at bedtime. Three ounces in I was wearing eveything he had in his stomach and he was running around the family room, lifting a gallon of poland spring up like hercules. He eventually tired out and went down, but we're calling it a day on school for Connor this week and watching the ticking time bomb of doom that is the stomach bug in hopes that no one else in this house starts to feel icky. The last thing I want to do is spend the weekend with two sick kids, or a sick husband, or staring down the barrel of my toilet bowl myself.
We're concerned about dehydration, kid hasn't drank anything but water. That sippy cup is going to hold some watered down pedialyte tonight.

Connor has a play date with Kiki for Friday to kick off a long weekend away from school.

Private island? Trip around the world?

Why not? Someone has to win right?

Besides, there is nothing more fun than imagining what you would do with all that cash. Start a charity, dedicate a topnotch NICU, set up a scholarship at our Alma maters, fun to think about.

Are you playing??

Not at him, about him

I did. And then steve did when he was awake from 3:30-5:00am. For no reason. One step fw, two steps back. What gives little man???? Mommy was just starting to feel better.

I ignored my 6am alarm. I slept in until 6:51. I left con in bed with sleeping steve. Not a peep from caro until 7:30. We got a late start today and my day has been crazy.

I spent about two hours trying to help a family plan for the potential transport of their family member back to Africa after death and I learned all about Muslim death traditions in an effort to help them decide whether to send her home or not. It was a lot. It involved calling the embassy in dc. They still haven't decided - I'm holding my breath for her to live until they make up their mind.

I started my day being told, "I don't want to be rude, but there are too many people involved here and I think I want to just get through this on my own." this was after I brought her the paper that had been left in her mailbox: my little attempt to connect with her.

Today: colossal waste of time and feeling like I made a tremendous difference. We'll call Monday a draw.

if I heat brahm's lullaby one more time...

I'm going to hope that when that cradle from the other song falls from the tree top, I fall with it. I spent an hour tonight trying to lull my baby boy to sleep. He's typically perfection at bedtime - a tub, jammies, medicine droppers, a bottle, pacifier, a round of Brahm's Lullaby on his music box and zzzzzz - snoozeville. He's been fighing his naps and bedtime the last couple days. I could make a hundred excuses as to why this might be; he is walking and wants to just keep practicing, he is not eating as well and is hungry, he is teething, his ears never fully cleared, he thinks nothing is funnier than lulling his mother into believing he is sleepy only to wretch in agony the moment she removes her hand from his back. Each and every time (and we are talking about a dozen times) I put him down for bed tonight he laid on his side, contented, only to raise himself to his knees suddenly as I backed my way to the door. An HOUR of my life swaying, bouncing, shhing, kissing his nose, rubbing his head, pressing the weight of my hand onto his shoulder or back. We let him cry for almost 15 minutes while I collected myself - swore at him - remarked at how I had sweat through my clothing putting my nearly one year old to sleep. With all the bouncing and swaying I have been doing the last couple days I should have abs of steel people. ABS of STEEL. Instead I make it to the couch defeated by an eleven month old craving the Reese's trees and Crunch bells sitting in the big bowl of holiday candy.

Do hunger strikes lead to sleeping strikes???

My plan: put up with the crazy tired behavior as long as possible to ensure that he absolutely cannot keep his eyes open a single moment more before I put him to bed. I love the kid, but an hour to go to bed, yeah no.

brandy new year

It would be impossible to top the excitement of 2010. The birth of a baby, the move, the house sale, the house purchase, the new jobS, the new school. Steve and I made it all the way to midnight last night, our ninth one together. We were impressed to make it that late as the plague continues to haunt our home. I cannot seem to shake this sickness. The kids are making a recovery, thank goodness for school vacation after all.

As we sat together watching the ball drop we decided that all we want for 2011 is a much less eventful year. We want less drama, less excitement. We want more time together just being, more hugs, more lazy Sundays. We want to enjoy and savor this year that with any luck will be borderline boring to an onlooker, but will be cherished gold to those living it. In just a few weeks Connor turns one. Have I done anything to plan for this - no. In just over a month Caroline turns four. Have I done anything to plan for this either? No.

I know it will all come together. It always does. I'm struggling with how to make it special for each of them. I need to order cakes, I need to order food. I need... to clean my house.