Sunday, November 23, 2014

Mobile Moments, 11/17-11/23

For most of this week, we have all been sick, sick, sick. It seems at just around the time Michael managed to pick up some random bacteria that just so happened to settle into his lungs and give him pneumonia, the rest of us (and probably Michael, too, on top of everything; perhaps it's what caused the additional bronchiolitis he's suffering from) managed to pick up some nasty kind of cold virus that we are still having a ridiculously hard time fighting off.

Tom and I have mostly been achy and fatigued, though I have been dealing with some annoying sinus issues as well. Abby, however, has developed a pretty nasty-sounding cough, and Mia's is even nastier-sounding, which is part of the reason I finally had Tom take her in to see the doctor a couple of days after Michael's revealing visit.

As it turns out, her recent extreme crankiness and poor sleeping/napping (which began when the cough started) have been due to an ear infection, which should have occurred to me and didn't because my kids so rarely get them. The wheezing- which was what really got me alarmed, especially in light of Michael's issues- turned out to be due to croup, and earned us a second prescription for steroids, this time oral instead of inhaled, as Michael's were.

And so, right around the time that Michael was finishing up his own antibiotics and breathing treatments, Amelia began a round of her own. This was also around the time that I started feeling pretty awful, so the week has largely been a blur of managing the coughing and breathing issues of all the littles while attempting to ignore the pain in my own head, and trying to keep up with laundry and basic household maintenance despite my extreme fatigue. Sadly, the near-constant videos I had playing in a desperate attempt to keep the kids calm and resting so that I could try to do the same had a diminishing effect on the older two as the days went on, and proved a completely useless distraction for Amelia, who would have attached herself to my breasts every minute of the day if only I could have remotely tolerated it. Instead, I have spent many long stretches of time trying to deal with her near-inconsolable tears in other ways.

I have one word for it all, and that is exhausting, and since even thinking about it now is exhausting me more, I'm moving on to the pictures, which are the whole point of this post anyway.

The one bright spot in the week: Figuring out how to deliver Michael his breathing treatments in a way that he actually enjoyed.
By the end, everyone looked forward to "Mask time," and missed it when it was gone.
"Abby, what are you drawing? Is that a caterpillar?"
"No, Daddy. It's a green circle with lots of dots that I'm pretending are rats."
Quite possibly the saddest patient in the pharmacy line.
All tired out from her appointment.
Turns out everyone wants Mommy for story time when they are not feeling so hot, even though Mommy is probably feeling the least hot of all...
Getting our energy back, and possibly hinting that we'd like a tricycle for Christmas?

Overheard this week:

Between Abby and me

In the midst of a conversation between Tom and me, in which we began inventorying our medicine cabinet when we realized that Abby is now old enough for cough medicine but that we probably didn't have anything appropriate in the house: 

A: "Can I have some of that?"
M: "Abby, that's grown-up medicine, not big-girl medicine."
A: "Well, can I borrow it?"

Between Tom and Abby

While trying to sort out an altercation:

T: " Abby, what happened? Do you know why Michael pushed you?"
A: "Because he didn't want me to stay not pushed; he wanted me to be pushed."


"Want mask."
"I no want."
"I say no."
"I need a hug."

Between Tom, Abby, and Michael

T: Teasing, when he didn't quite catch what Michael requested at breakfast, "Michael, you want a Tardis?"
M: "Yeah! Want Tardis!"
A: "Maybe you should ask for one for your birthday so you can get one."


"What frog make? Ribbit!"
"I sorry."
"Apples, strawberries"
"Please (peese)."
"Clap hands!"
"Shhh. Quiet!"

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Mobile Moments, 11/10-11/16

How to begin when I feel too exhausted to even string words together? The week has been patterns of chaos, ebbing and building. Recovery from partying and temporary rearranging of the major rooms of the house, followed by a brief respite mid-week as the country took a moment to give thanks for the sacrifices of our veterans, and Tom got a nicely-timed day off. In the midst of the lull, I even managed to put together a mid-week post about Abby's graceful handling of her four-year physical and the vaccines that came with it.

But then the coughing began. Innocent at first and suddenly worsening, causing unexpected vomiting after a Friday afternoon nap and a rough and restless night for all involved. Saturday morning was no better, and Michael's racing heartbeat and shallow breathing prompted a second call to the advice line and an evening visit to Urgent Care which stretched for hours and incorporated blood draws, IV antibiotics, breathing treatments, and a chest X-Ray. The tests all pointed to bacterial pneumonia and bronchiolitis, and we've spent a great deal of our time since nursing a high-spirited and headstrong but very sick little boy.

Though we are home now with medicines galore to treat his infection and aid his breathing, the process of administering them has been far from easy, and his improvement is not yet discernible. Already tonight we've come to his rescue for the first of many wails in the night, this time with his fourth breathing treatment of the day, which he fought so fiercely that we had to concede to doing the best we could about 3/4 of the way through the dose.

So on to the pictures, and the quotes, and the final end to the wrap up so that I can pretend to close my eyes for awhile before the next cries ring out, and the next...

Tunnel tumbling.
Blowing bubbles with her favorite veteran (Mei Mei is hiding behind the camera).
Abby's first bob (and my first attempt at cutting one).
Looking so grown up.
My little sickie on his first bad afternoon.
Mia warms Michael's makeshift floor seat while he's up and about, having recovered a bit.
Stiff upper-lips at Urgent Care, where my brave boy endured a battery of tests, and excelled at the chest X-Ray in particular.
Not to be outdone, Mia proves that she can eat her eggs with a fork as the girls have dinner alone.
First breathing treatment at home was no fun (nor were the second, third or fourth ones).
So happy to be done!
Teddy love.

Overheard this week:


In response to my admonition that she should stand back from the very strong onion that I was cutting, as it could hurt her eyes: "It can't hurt my eyes! They're smaller than yours."

Between Abby and Tom

A: "Daddy, could you stay in the kitchen?"
T: "Why?"
A: "Because I don't want you to see me reading."


In defiance of his father's request that he stop channeling Maximus from Tangled and swinging his play frying pan around: "No! Hit bad guys!"


"Stop it, Michael!"
"Puff, puff, chug chug."

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Got to See Her Be Brave

As I anxiously drove Abby down my least-favorite highway towards her doctor's office for the four-year physical last Friday, one of her favorite songs came on the radio. She recognized it from the first few lines, and though I love to hear her little voice piping out the lyrics from the far back seat, I turned it up anyway, knowing it's the way I like to hear the songs that I love best.

She knew every word:

You can be amazing,
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug.
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody's lack of love.
Or, you can start speaking up...

Like me, by the second verse she had started to falter, but her soprano came out clear and strong even over the increased volume as the chorus began:

Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out.
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave with what you wanna say,
And let the words fall out.
Honestly, I wanna see you be brave.

The spirit of the moment was temporarily forgotten as I hurriedly aligned the van in a parking space and got coats pulled on and buttoned for the long, windy walk through the cold, dark garage. Indeed, from that moment on we were constantly in motion, from the check-in desk to the nurses' station for weights and measurements, to the room in which we would be seen.

Abby was full of wonderment and questions, the nurses full of laughter, kindness and compliments on the recently-birthdayed girl in her adorable outfit and hot pink dress shoes from her awesome Aunt Ali. She removed them agreeably enough to have her weight measured (all 45 lbs of it) and height taken (just over 42 inches), but was quite insistent on putting them back on again for the short hallway walk to our exam room.

She was also quite cooperative as she had her blood pressure taken for the first time, awed as she was by the process.

Unfortunately, she was far less taken by the process of donning a paper gown, eyeing it suspiciously as I worked to get it unfolded and draped properly over her miniature shoulders.

As I set my phone down after snapping the above picture, I could see the tears of uncertainty begin to form in her eyes, and I had to jump in quickly with words of distraction and comfort. Before her quiet protests at the strangeness of the experience began to escalate into a familiar wail of defiance, I chose a fun-looking picture book and sat down to read it to her. We had just enough time to reach the end when her doctor came in the room.

Though she was responsive and polite, I could tell that Abby was a bit more apprehensive in the presence of her doctor than she had been with the nurses. Though she's seen him many times in her life, I suspect this is the first time she's really "seen" him at all. Even the little examinations of mouth and ear that she'd been through many times before clearly seemed new and strange to her, on this first appointment in which she was finally old enough to truly be aware.

The realization that she might see the experience through these new eyes was not a novel one for me. I had suspected for some time that this appointment would be different for her than any other, and as I observed her reactions to each part of the process, my suspicions were confirmed. And so it was that I approached the scheduled vaccinations with great trepidation. I remembered my own childhood, and the anxiety that I used to feel over the prospect of receiving them, and was determined to do whatever I could to help her combat those same feelings in the future.

As we waited on the nurse who would administrate the prepared syringes, I felt at a loss for words. How was I to describe to her how it might feel without actually scaring her? I started off by attempting a simple explanation of what the shots were for: to teach her body how to fight off very bad infections. Then I added the caveat that they would not feel very good to receive, but that the feeling would not last long, I would be there, and that everything would be okay.

Her little face was stoic and I could not tell if she had truly understood what I had told her, but I had to hope. Sadly, that hope did little to stem the flow of tears that threatened to burst from my face as I held her tightly in position, tiny legs trapped between my own, skinny arms pinned down by my tight embrace. I urged her to look away, look away, and even lost my hold a few times as I gently turned her head towards me.

In the end I accepted that she would learn what was most comfortable for her, and watched in utter shock as she accepted the first injection with nary an expression on her face, let alone a sound of protest. Next came the second shot, which earned the same lack of reaction. For once, I took my cues from her and felt the shudders still within me as my breaths began to resume in proper sequence. It was done, and she really was okay, and so was I.

I bought two cookies from the snack bar as we waited the recommended fifteen minutes within sight of the doctor's office, since they came in pairs. However, I tucked mine away, instead choosing to marvel at the sight of my big girl enjoying her well-earned treat after doing the unexpected.

I'd been worrying about this appointment for days for a myriad of reasons, many of which revolved around its timing in the middle of all of my last-minute party preparation. But in the end it gifted me with an amazing experience that buoyed me through a bit of the unavoidable stress, and gave me a new story to boast about in the midst of the revelry that came after.

Because that afternoon, in the chaos of my usual scatterbrained rushing and fussing and panicking, I got to see my Abby be brave.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Mobile Moments, 11/3-11/9

There's so much to say about this week, and so little at the same time. I largely note it for its emotional impact, which is difficult and exhausting to put into words. Suffice it to say, though it hardly feels that sufficient time has passed for the occasion, Abby finally turned four on Monday. After fighting back tears the night before that I had forgotten to gaze upon her with the intention of memorizing her three-year-old features one last time, I woke in the morning so dazed by the usual sleepy fog that it took me time to remember the day at all.

Though I made a great effort to be present for the day of, remembering her pride, joy, and youthful beauty in her special birthday dress, I was so overcome with lingering exhaustion from my maladjustment (and the kids' as well) to the time change that I had to cut corners in all sorts of ways. Instead of imposing the usual two-hour video limit, I gave the kids screen time for the entire afternoon, napping in short spurts as I tried to keep one eye open to track the various activities of my youngest and most curious child. I couldn't bring myself to plan a meal, much less prepare one, so pizza was ordered, and Tom was dispatched to pick up a last-minute cake.

In the end, though, I think it was a wonderful day for the birthday girl for- as Tom so sagely pointed out- if his mother had allowed him near-unlimited TV time and a pizza dinner for his birthday, he would have considered it the best one ever. I only hope that even at a mere four years old that truly ended up being the case for Abigail.

As for the rest of the week, it's a blur in my mind of panic, anxiety and party planning. Though I hardly had a straight thought in my head anymore by the time her party began, I still rediscovered those moments within that make all the worry and work worthwhile: the familiar faces, the happy meetings of friends and acquaintances and pleasant conversations over good food and children's laughter. Many good things. Many priceless things. Many wonderful distractions from the unavoidable fact that- despite the unbelievableness of it all- my very first baby is a baby no longer.

The birthday girl in her birthday dress.
Getting her favorite dolls, which now include a genuine Elsa, ready for bed.
After many weeks of successful independent spoon-feeding, this is now how we yogurt. Apparently, the spoon is just a distraction.
Typical evening around here these days: Elsa is dressed for bed, but Abby is not.
Move over, Linus!
Abby is determined to re-create the scene.
This is exactly how I feel about the time change, too. Too bad I can't catch a cat nap on my mommy when the morning feels too long.

The morning after the party, a furry neighbor goes after the bowl of nuts we left, forgotten, out on the deck. Can you spot the little thief as he makes his escape?
Abby discovers the true purpose of Autumn leaves while Mommy tries to overcome her terror of all the theoretical ticks that may be lurking within.
Somehow, the only picture of the week that includes Michael, and it wasn't even taken by me... Whoopsie.

Overheard this week:


In response to my imposed requirement that she had to use the downstairs bathroom after declaring a need to go again when I had finally gotten her, kicking and screaming, down to the basement for the morning: "I'm allergic to the downstairs bathroom!"

To her brother, as they played together the morning before her party: "Michael, we're gonna have a party, and we'd better start getting the room clean so all of my friends don't hurt their toes. I don't want my friends to get hurt!"

Between Tom and Abby

T: "I think I'm going to put on your new princess cape because it's so warm."
A: "No, Daddy! You can't!"
T: "Oh, Abby, I'm just joking."
A: "This is no time for joking."

Between Tom and Michael

T: "Michael, there's no need to scream. Just say, 'Abby, don't sing.'"
M: "Abby, no sing!"


"Want more fruit."
"Winnie the Pooh"
"Mulan fights bad guys!"
"More goldfish"
"Throw leaves [at] Abby!"


"Hi, Mama!" (This her greeting to me nearly every afternoon when I collect her from her nap, and it makes my day.)

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mobile Moments, 10/27-11/2

Tomorrow morning, when I greet my oldest daughter, I will be greeting a four-year-old. No longer will I have the privilege of being able to boast of my three, two, and one-year-olds. No longer will my Abby be three.

Worst of all, this realization came to me after I had shut the door and said good night. After I lost my last chance to look upon her little face just one last time before the reality must necessarily, officially, set in. Though I did manage to work in a post earlier this week, filled with pictures of the littles enjoying our new deck, perhaps you will forgive me if I write no longer this night, my last night with a three-year-old (until January, anyway, when Michael gives my heart another wrench by turning a year older too).

Beautiful butterfly.
Fence beginnings.
Fence endings.
Hiding out from the electrician during lunchtime (we're still not fans of strangers).
Mama said there'd be days like this...
Finally putting those lawn chairs to proper use.
Halloween play date fun.
A pumpkin for each pumpkin. Abby wanted a bat, Michael a skull, and Mia (according to Abby, anyway, a kitty).
Counting her Halloween winnings.
The most prized trophy of the night: a Kinder Egg.
Hangin' with the coz.
Selfies with Daddy.
Fun at the park on a brisk Fall day.

Overheard this week:


As her Aunt Ali, Uncle Joe, and Cousin Joey were leaving for home after a weekend visit: "But I'm going to miss you!"


"I want some cake."