Thursday, January 30, 2014

I hope they call me on a mission

Did you know that sometimes blogger just can't figure out how to turn pictures correctly? This is one of those times.

This is my boy, wearing his awesome shirt-tie (age: 2 months). (He wore it once, because by the time we took him to church, he had outgrown it. It's not buttoned to the top, his neck was too big. But still awesome!) I never expected to have a boy. Oh, well, maybe when I was young, because having only brothers for a long time, I figured I knew about boys, but not about girls. But then in college I realized that I would have girls, because I was good at being female. I knew how to balance the art of nurturing and helping with ambition and smarts. (Now, if I could only do my hair and make-up then I would be truly amazing, but luckily I have friends and family who can help with that.) I expected I would have girls. And I did. By the time child number three was coming, I just expected more of the same.

Plus we were good at girls.We had lots of girl clothes, and lots of girl toys, and lots of pink, pink, pink everywhere. So when the ultrasound technician announced it was a boy, there was some silence on our part.

So now 10 months after learning I would have a boy, as he's approaching six months of age, I am still wrapping my head around this concept. He doesn't whine, he growls. He doesn't look at toys, he bangs them. We have a baby toy with leaves that go in circles, he tries to pull them off. He is clearly a boy (although a boy who rarely pees when his diaper is open, huzzah!) and I keep realizing that this means that he will be parented differently - largely because he will be different. (Not that the other two don't need vastly different parenting styles...) Maybe I really mean he will be taught differently, that his future holds different expectations.

Kiddo is old enough to talk about what she will be when she grows up. She used to want to be an artist, but now she wants to be a mom. (Babs of course has always wanted to be a mom, with six kids, I believe.) I encourage her in this desire. But I also want her to think about what additional things she will do. Motherhood is paramount, but there is a need for an education, or a trade, her other passion.(Did you know your mom has an advanced degree? I used to be a teacher?) Motherhood is enriched by having more experiences than just being a child. And motherhood often doesn't come on our timetable. And although I hardly believe it right now, there are other seasons of our life... Perhaps a mission for them too?

I will tell my son about the priesthood, and honoring it. I will talk to him about his upcoming mission (only 18 years away). I will explain about supporting his family, taking care of his family, but taking care will mean something quite different to him than it will to the girls. I am overwhelmed by this, because this is not the life I lived. Thank goodness I can point him to his father, and his grandfathers as examples of men who magnified their responsibilities as men in the Gospel. There are people in his life who understand his story.

I want them all to know we all have our roles and responsibilites. And I want them to be prepared to fill them.

Friday, January 24, 2014

understanding her time out

Between snow days and sick kids, the three kids and I have been in the house all week long. We made it this long with our sanity intact because being sick slowed Babs down, but she is back to herself again, and there was some friction between the girls.

As I explained to them, I was entirely unclear whether I was more exhausted from Babs' pushing (both literally and figuratively) Kiddo around, or Kiddo wailing each time it happened. But then there was hitting; Babs smacking Kiddo for one reason or another. (Had it been the other way around, it's entirely possible I would have ignored it.)

By round two, she had an immediate time out. By round four, Daddy was home, and he enforced the time out. After Babs was let out, he asked, "Now, do you understand the difference between hitting and playing?"

She immediately replied, "Punishment."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

best FHE lesson ever

Kiddo volunteered to give the Family Home Evening lesson this last Monday. She didn't ask for any help.

She collected some pictures, and then was ready.

"We should prepare for the second coming of Jesus Christ (picture). We should do this by following his example.

We should be baptized like he was (picture).

We should pray (picture).

We should be kind like the Good Samaritan (picture).

We should have courage like Nephi (picture).

Well, I guess that's it. Amen."

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Bab's problem

Here was the plan: I would feed the Boy, then me, then my girls. But before I fed the boy, I left his room to do something (throw out a diaper?), which was when Babs ran out of the play tent crying, and told me:

"We have a problem! I swallowed some money!" Knowing that she sometimes puts coins in her mouth I asked the obvious follow-up, "Was it brown or silver?" "Silver," she replied, and threw up all over the floor. Then she threw up again. I walked her to the bathroom, trying to mentally triage. Clean up the mess? tend to the baby? call the doctor? A third throw-up with no coin made the decision for me. Text my nurse sister-in-law, and call the doctor. The doctor's office told me an x-ray was in order, come as soon as possible. A brief phone call to my good friend around the corner (Babs has swallowed a dime! Send one of your daughters, now!) followed.

As soon as Babs stopped throwing up, I left her standing in the bathroom (because I figured more was coming) watching a show on my iPhone, while I went to feed the Boy. I left Kiddo with important instructions, "When the babysitter knocks on the door, let her in. If it's not her, shut the door as fast as you can." She arrived, I left the Boy and Kiddo with her, and was on my way. (I also called my husband. "Come home now." I am deeply grateful that he has a job where this is possible.) 

As time elapsed, the discomfort grew on Babs, so I started carrying her. It hurt to swallow, so she was producing enormous amounts of spit, that were left on floors, on my shoulder, down my back, etc. She looked so incredibly small as the x-ray was taken. She felt pretty small as we gently rocked while we were waiting for the films. While the initial instructions from the doctor's office were to go home after the x-rays, then call in about an hour, the technician told me to go right back to the doctor's office. I looked at the films in the car. There was a huge spot in her throat. This was no dime.
Bab's xray, pic taken in the car

The physician's assistant told me I needed to get her to a pediatric emergency room, so take her to Baltimore. I sighed, said I'd go home, figure out what to do with the kids, and be on my way. "You need to go soon," she quietly insisted. "Yeah," I replied, "but I also have two other children, one whom is still dependent on me." I called my husband, told him to pack the diaper bag, grab my phone charger, and call another friend to watch Kiddo for some indeterminate amount of time. We dropped her off (I took her to the door and looked at my friend. I said "I don't know when we'll be back," and she just told me not to worry). Then the other four of us drove to Baltimore.

After parking we walked forever, then finally found the pediatric emergency room, where they checked us in. We told the story again and again: She swallowed a coin, around noon. She's 3. She's breathing fine. She won't talk any more, but we're not sure if she can't or she won't. She's very drool-y. Here is an x-ray.
Before surgery, not happy, not swallowing

They took another x-ray, whatever it was was not moving. So they took her upstairs for surgery. They knocked her out, then scooped out the coin, then woke her up again. It's so simple to say, it was so awful to experience. The doctor, a very calm man, who had clearly done this procedure many times (apparently she was the third one to come in during the last 24 hours), brought us out the quarter. He told us that it's not common for someone so little to be able to get such a big coin down. I figure he doesn't know the determination of our little girl.

After, clearly all is better.
When she woke up, it was clear that everything was back to normal. I hadn't heard her speak for hours, now she wouldn't stop. She picked stickers, ate popsicles, pointed out her fancy light-up bandaid (oxygen/pulse monitor), and was fine. We heaved a sigh of relief, said a prayer of gratitude in our hearts, and went home.

I'm so grateful she's fine. I'm grateful that a good pediatric hospital is 25 minutes from my door. I'm grateful that she always could breathe. I'm grateful for friends who helped with the other two kids, and those kids' patience with the crazy day. I'm grateful for health insurance, and my husband's job that provides the insurance, and lets him come home so we can use it. I'm grateful for doctors who know what they're doing, and nurses, and how friendly and caring they all genuinely seemed. As good as the hospital experience was, I'm grateful it only lasted four hours. I'm grateful for my pediatrician, who was out of the office for all the fun, but when she went in the next day, saw the x-ray order, and called me to see how things were. I'm grateful for Babs, who makes me smile every day.