Our Drawn Out Dominoes

After RL started off September with the fever germs, LT decided last week to end the month/start October with a similar seeming virus. While he didn’t quite get the migraines that she did, he did keep popping fevers for four solid days and then sported a cheek-to-toe spotty little rash that was just lovely and kept him home from school for three days last week. We made a new family special sicky fort with a dinning room chair and blanket to block to the light and then did our best to keep the baby away from him (and failed, clearly).

We then had a lovely little Thursday/Friday/Saturday with the normal comings and goings of allllll the activities, and then came to today, Sunday, with the plans of going to Sunday School and church so we could partake in the communion service for which our kiddos helped make the bread at their Wednesday night programming. Thankfully, with the change in season, this morning was slightly less sweaty at church and I maybe even heard bits and pieces of the message. But I also noticed partway through that Truman was only going from Ben’s lap to mine and not in a bouncy way, but more in a “hold me, rock me, love me” way which for my active crew is never a good sign. (I mean, they do love on us when they’re feeling good, but extended daytime snuggles like that? Nope; not typical).

Sure enough, Little Dude skipped eating one of his favorite ever lunches after church (Gorilla Cheese and Tomato Soup) and then he voluntarily curled up on the couch for most of the rest of the day. And yep – he’s now sporting quite a fever to boot.

So, first of all, my apologies to anyone who was around him this morning. We had no idea he was going to take such a nosedive today, much less start it before the end of church.

Second of all, if you’re a praying person or a good vibe sending person, please throw some our way because this drawn out illness trading is way too similar to last fall and I’m not really sure I have the stamina to keep up with one kid after another after another with all this. Granted, it’s no easier to have a handful of sick kids all at once, but as we all know, the never-endings are just as brutal. img_5394

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The Fourth Turns Four

Oh, Trumy! My Trumy. How can it be that you’re no longer three?!

Sweet Boy, today you are FOUR!

Because we’ve been here before, three other times, we know – to an extent – what lies ahead in the next twelve months.

Four is an age unto itself; one that comes with the highest of highs (new accomplishments, new achievements, new independence) and the lowest of lows (4yos are like little cranky lawyers sometimes; it’s not their fault, just their nature. That said, it isn’t always easy to share a roof with a little cranky lawyer, even when you love them so much your heart could burst).

I am so excited for you, Tru-man, in all that you will learn and do and become in the next year. You’ve got more school and sports and activities on your plate than ever before; I know you live to play, so all of this is going to be great fun.

And even though you’re not our first four-year-old, I also know you will bring us a great deal of learning and action and becoming as your new year unfolds.

Why? Because you are you and you are your own.

I have never met anyone with quite so much spark in them as you. From your nose-crinkle grins to your constant (oh, wow – SO constant) requests to play Legos or build with you, to your brighter than bright blue eyes that shine so much light and love and life…I know that Year Four with you will be a whole new journey simply because it is yours.

We are honored to be on this ride with you. We are the luckiest to call you ours. You are the third little boy that stole our hearts and this world just wouldn’t be the same without your energy and your vibrancy.

Happiest of Birthdays, My newest 4yo.

(A pic on the last night of Three and one on the first day of Four)

In Bits and Pieces

Like many people, especially in Nebraska, our January was neither terribly healthy nor very happy at times due to rolling sickness in our household. Spending eight days of various children coming down with various degrees of fever was exhausting and even though we’ve been fever free for a week now (knock on ALL the wood), we’re still recovering.

Today also marks the end of our first full week of school since the Christmas break. That’s in part due to breaks and weather, but mostly illness, and holy moly cow, we are feeling it. Or, at least I am, as it feels like the only word that truly describes this week + my children would be: RELENTLESS.

img_2967Actually, that’s not fair. It mostly pertains to one particular child who absolutely will not leave my side (NO: I am not pregnant. It is not that kind of clinging) and will not let me get anything done because he wants me to build with him all the live-long day. And it’s not just asking, it’s whining and demanding and oh. my. gosh. Do you know how many Lego towers and gas stations I have built this week? Me neither, but I wish I had a nap for every one because I bet in that case, I’d feel a whole lot better than I do right now.

How am I writing this then, if TJ has been so stuck to me? Finally, a blessed bit of Netflix to the rescue. Now, if only I could decide which of the 50 things I need to do most in this moment of quiet (grade papers, fold laundry, read a book, pee, do the dishes, eat, yoga, absolutely freaking nothing). But instead, I need to write because January sucked for that and long as they are, these days are worth documenting, too.

Now, it doesn’t help that our house is in bits and pieces still, too. And will be….forever, it seems, but really at least for the very distant, foreseeable future as not one of the five (so help me Baby Jesus) spaces is actually complete yet and we’re already two months in to the process. I am not going to complain about the fact that we are working and able to make our house work better for our family, but I am going to lament the hell out of the fact that progress is slow, my day-to-day privacy is nill, and there is still SO much left to be done before we can get back to normal.

For the sake of fairness, not all of January was crap. It got me through 2/3 of my first time teaching two classes in one term for BU. It gave me (OK, I took by staying up too late) time to read. I did 30 Days of yoga through an online challenge AND attended some kick ass public classes taught by friends, including one with sweet RL on the mat next to me. I even added some yoga teaching back to my schedule for the coming month.

But bless it, I really need a respite from the building…of Legos, of house stuff, of all the things that are distracting the bejeebies out of me right now because it is crazy making.

And of course none of that is possible because that’s not reality. Reality means I have a 3-yr-old who needs me right now, so I have to be there for him, even when it mean building my umpteenth Lego tower of the week. Reality means we’ve committed to home improvements that are going to take t-i-m-e while we live in the chaos of it, so I have to be patient even when I want it all done yesterday, please and thank you.

And reality means continuing to find ways, in whatever blessed little bits and pieces I can, to carve out time for that which calms me down and brings me back to center. Like this, and like whatever I can eek out next to keep the system going.

Wrecking Ball Wrecked

So in case the last two weeks haven’t been intense enough, Truman decided to throw us for a medical mystery roller coaster these last two days.

When I got back home from DC last Friday, he was already showing signs of a head cold which continued all weekend with your basic runny nose and cough that kept him (and Ben) from sleeping well at night. Even though he didn’t seem terrible, we kept him home Tuesday from preschool in hopes of not over extending him, but I decided Tuesday afternoon to take him in to the doctor because something just didn’t seem right.

Except nothing really turned out to be that wrong either (nose, throat, ears, etc. all checked out OK), so “rest and recover” was the treatment given and on we went. My mama intuition may have been bruised a bit, but OK.

img_1809Well, sure enough, Wednesday afternoon brought an out-of-left-field fever that left my normally all over the place wrecking ball boy tuckered out on the couch, snoozing on and off from late afternoon through supper. Nothing crazy, but nothing good either. [By the way, that blue thing is the crazy cool little fever wrap that my friend K told me about that is meant to make kids more comfortable when feverish (it draws out the heat but not in a freaky fast way). We thankfully haven’t had to use it a ton, but Truman seemed to like it these last couple days.]

This morning, he looked like thisimg_1825 and ate some cereal, so we thought the worst was behind us, but again this afternoon, he came up and asked for me to make him a nest (what we call a rest spot in our house) so he could sleep.

Clearly I could tell the fever was back, but didn’t even check it because I just wanted him to sleep a bit; however, a little while later after messaging with a friend, I decided to get an actual temp and my heart about stopped. His temperature, the very first time I took it today, was 104! I have never ever in my mamahood had a baby with a temp that high.

From there, frantic phone calls ensued including one to the doctor’s office where they asked for me to bring him back in which I was more than happy to do because honestly – WHAT?! Where did that come from?! But unfortunately, we still don’t actually know.

I was able to get him in and they were able to get the temp down (you guys, the official read out at the office was 104.7 and if I wasn’t already freaked the hell out, you can bet that number sealed the deal) with some medicine and cool water to drink, but everything else in his system – ears, nose, throat, lungs, etc. – still checks out pretty much mostly OK.

So maybe it was a cold followed by a virus that caused the fever? Or maybe we’ll be right back there tomorrow if anything else changes or the fever persists or we can’t get enough fluids in him because who the heck knows.

For now, he’s doing much better. After the meds kicked in and we got home, he wanted to eat and drink more than he had all day (yay!!). He also wanted to run around the house like a wild man with his siblings (heaven help me), which definitely makes him seem like his normal self, but wow. What a day.

Fingers and toes crossed and prayers lifted that the fever is on its way out and that whatever caused it is going, too, and withOUT any other flare ups in our house on its way out the door.

Clueless

There are certain elements of parenting that I expect some people figure I have down pat considering the number of young children in my house. Actually, there are some elements of parenting that I think I should know forwards and backwards by now, but I’ll be real honest and say, “Nope. I am still (always?) running in Novice Mode.”

Take today’s Adventure in Parenting, for example: Day One of Potty Training Truman.

By the Fourth Kid you probably have a system for that, right? Or at the very least remember the ups and downs, the ins and outs, the highs and lows of at least some of the previous children’s experiences, right? RIGHT?!

Again, I’m here to tell you, “Nope. Apparently not.”

I legit remember next to nothing about how it went, much less how we did it for any of the other three. Maybe that’s because HD was just too blessed long ago (I do remember preschool was a motivator and it must have worked) and I think RL and LT really learned from watching their bigger sibling(s), but with Trumy, there’s been no training potty in our bathroom for two years, so what does he know about such things? So what if we’ve been hinting at putting pee in the potty for months? Toddlers have no concept of time or parenting goals, and until you actually fly by the seat of your Paw Patrol undies, what hope is there of accomplishing anything??

img_0952Because of all our South Dakota trips this summer, we’ve been putting off the task (and putting off the task) but apparently after breakfast this morning we decided to just go for it and put him in his big boy undies for the first time. And then we set an alarm on Ben’s phone so we’d remember to ask/have him try every dang 15 minutes in hopes of avoiding accidents. I may not remember much (anything?) from the other kids, but I do know this tactic is new and it semi-worked?

I question it because he definitely had a huge accident this morning 2 minutes prior to the alarm going off and by the end of the day he was flat out screaming at us that NO he did NOT want to GO TO THE POTTY anymore, sooooo. Maybe a good idea? Maybe not? Because really it was just a lot of false attempts, but he did actually do his business TWICE throughout the day and didn’t have any more accidents, so maybe we’re on to something?

Don’t you love how confident that sounds? lol

Like pretty much everything in parenting (life?), this feels like a crap shoot (sorry; couldn’t resist the pun) and only time will tell if we’re on to something. But once again, we have the hope of preschool ahead for him, plus he’s almost three, so it really is time to start at least trying this next big thing.

And if nothing else, thanks to the blog, I will at the very least remember this when it comes around to training the fifth.

One out of Five

And just like that, we’ve passed another milestone and are one step closer to being out of the Tunnel of Parenthood (I sometimes imagine an ominous three-note dity in my brain when I use that phrase. You?) However, seeing as the milestone in question is that of The Nap, I don’t know whether to celebrate or lament in this post. And also the Tunnel is time dependent, not milestones, but whatever. My brain is tired, so I’ll take the weak comparison and run with it.

Over the weekend we made a last minute decision to travel to SoDak for an overnight trip so we could see my grandma Gert and our travel + visit times both Saturday and Sunday meant that we weren’t in a house during nap time either day. And apparently the vehicle is no longer a sure bet for napping where Truman is concerned, so….there. His nap gone without intention, our toddler is now free to reign alllll the live-long daylight hours.

Actually, he’s handling it pretty well. The first day, Saturday, was at my parents’ house, so Truman had lots of fun distractions around him (mainly their puppy who is as much a toddler as TJ is) and was so worn out after supper that he agreed to going to bed before any of his siblings without any fuss. All told, he had a few Moments, but nothing too horrendous.

Day Two, Sunday, saw us traveling during the mid-to-late afternoon hours which for a suddenly non-napper translates to Witching Hours pretty quickly. The last 45 minutes were horrendous. But eventually we got home and we’ve now gone through two more nap times without naps and I guess we are surviving?

img_0313I mean, the volume level is intense and the end-of-day emotions are intense, but this is not the first toddler to drop a nap in the Twos (actually, he might be one of our longer nappers, if memory seves me right), so we kind of know what we are doing. Or at the very least, we know that bedtime will be easier and earlier and that alone will see us through one more step through that Tunnel. Right?!

If nothing else, those blonde curls and blue eyes continue to be the perfect salve for any and all chaos he creates.

 

 

Early Mornings, Late Nights

As any teacher (or former teacher, or spouse of a teacher, or spouse of a teacher who is also a former teacher herself) knows, the Fourth of July is a signal that summer has shifted. I don’t know if the official term is called a downhill slide, or what, but summer tends to speed up after the 4th and before we know it, all of those back-to-school meetings and events and actual First Days arrive front and center.

As it stands, I am perhaps more anxious about the upcoming school year than others, but not for regular reasons. Normally I’d be trying to figure out my own teaching (which I am not doing because I am taking off the semester from adjunct life) and getting kids to various (pre)schools of their own (oh, that’s still a fun little rabbit hole to let the mind wander down from time to time, don’t worry). But this post-July-4th, I find myself wondering just how in the world I am going to keep up with this dude once Daddy is back to work: img_6771-1

Trust me. He is the cutest little solo elephant herd you’ve seen, and he does about as much damage as an elephant bull can manage in less than 60 seconds, no problem. This includes structural (he’s got his mama’s long arms and there can reach ALL kinds of places he shouldn’t, not to mention the climbing he does) and physical (Lord in Heaven. Can someone please send bubble wrap? And a helmet? And elbow pads? Crashing, bashing, and wiping out seem to be what this kid was made for these days and he’s got the bumps and bruises to prove it!). But mostly he’s got SUCH a mind of his own and I’m not really sure how my eventual third trimester self is going to handle his activity level, much less his attitude and his sprinting in opposite directions of me. I haven’t been a runner since before babies, Baby. Knock it off.

Thanks to the previously mentioned 4th, I am still very much worn the heck out. That whole week of people blowing up money all over town meant for so many late nights that I didn’t want to have and left me feeling, once again, totally behind on sleep. Then you add in the fact that I still occasionally wake up and can’t go back to bed in the 4’s (hello, Early Bird), and I am. Just. Tired.

And headachey. SOOOOO many headaches with this pregnancy…it’s getting to be a bit ridiculous.

Of course, there are still plenty of mornings when I skip over that super early rising, but when one of them happens to coincide with an unnamed child who will soon be 8yo (whoops) getting up and coming in my room a half an hour before he’s supposed to leave his own bed (which is still freaky early for most folks), well – chaos. Shenanigans. Not enough naps and coffee and headache remedies to counter all that. And that’s just it – because Ben is still on break, I still get to take those naps! So what am I going to do after the first week of August when he’s no longer around?! Oof.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: no mother(-to-be) needs practice at being tired. Until someone can show me the science behind why the body/brain do this to pregnant (and postpartum) women, I will continue to give Mother Nature the WTH face because obviously we all know that tired is coming with the new baby; it’s really not needed now!