I know exactly what to expect when Charlotte gets sick. Down to the timing of the first throw up and the last night I'll need to give her Benadryl to make it through the night. It is horrible to live through, but not surprising since she has been sick about 147,298 times since birth.
Greg has been sick exactly 0.
That is why when I heard the burpy-barfy sound during our breakfast prayer this morning I automatically looked toward my daughter. Nope, it wasn't her and while I was distracted Greg was busy emptying his stomach of all the water he had consumed before breakfast into his cereal bowl.
New and foreign territory. Here's hoping that his sickness goes according to his never-as-bad-as-Charlotte's-sickness pattern that he's established his whole life.
Can you believe that October is almost done? Neither can I, and I have until Saturday to actually finish the cutest Halloween costumes. Photos to come, when they're finally done. Unless, of course, Greg or Charlotte decide that they aren't going to wear their costume. Then maybe I'll let them dress themselves and they'll go as small homeless children owing to the fact that my son refuses to wear a jacket of any sort and we have only one sweater. That sweater has no trucks, good guys, trains or airplanes. It seldom gets worn.
This has been an amazing month of learning for me. Dan is doing what he loves. It is inspiring to see him light up in his quiet way about helping people. If I had to go to work and deal with people in their dark hours of hurt and pain it would be so very difficult for me. He told me of a mother who had a baby whose hand never developed. It just stopped growing at the wrist. She had no idea until the baby was born. All I can think of is how life changing that would be in an instant. My heart goes out to her and all I can think of is to help ease the hurt by feeling some of it myself. How I would make a totally burnt out doctor by feeling all the pain my patients' have is not lost on me. He is thinking of easing the hurt by actually trying to fix the situation. (In that case there is probably not a whole lot to be done, by the way. I guess that was a bad example, but I keep thinking about it.)
What has been hard, especially this month, is being at home. I am so grateful for a husband who loves what he does and is really helping people, but it is hard to be alone. It is hard to have gone from a whole community of women who are "in this together" to being the outsider again and being pregnant and being in need of help without knowing who to ask. I know I will find my community or even if it's just my particular friends, I know it will happen. What is hard is this gap period. This period where I feel like I need Dan more than ever, and yet, I know he has less now for me than before.
And it extends beyond me. It's hard to see in my kids' eyes that they miss Dad. The hardest questions to answer are, "When will there be no more sick people?" and "If the mailman gets to not work on Sunday, then why does Daddy have to?" and "Daddy play trains with me now?" I try my best to explain how incredibly proud I am of Daddy and important his work is, but how do you help a four and two year old understand?
Don't misunderstand me. I am very well aware of the sacrifices that Daniel makes specifically on my behalf. I know he thinks of me and instead of taking a day to rest he will spend the day driving up to St. Paul to take us all to the zoo. He works hard and fast and tries his best to make it home as often as possible.
I hear that marriage is hard and it takes work, but what I don't think I understood before is that life is hard and if I don't pay attention to my ultimate goals of happy marriage and successful family relations I will fail. I had been getting frustrated that I wasn't getting all the attention and human connections that I wanted. I wanted Dan to call or talk or just be around more. I think I was wanting him to replace all the girlfriends I lost when we moved. Then one day I was given the gift of insight.
What I wanted, the attention, the calls, the connection, wasn't unreasonable. I wasn't being foolish to want friendly connections with others and my children to have more from their father. What those feelings were though were unrealistic. We are where we are and he is doing absolutely all he can do. Continuing to dwell there would only lead to further unhappiness in the whole family. Having that insight made it possible for me to be ever so much more grateful for my husband. I can see so many more positives.
What I am also learning about myself is that it is easy for me to say that I rely on the arm of the Lord and not on the "arm of man" when there are a lot of people around to support me. When I am truly feeling alone it is much harder for me to rely on the Lord. I am trying. Everything seems to be getting better as I try that.
At the end of they day I learned to be more grateful and to show that gratitude to my children. Gratitude brings happiness.
A few days ago Percie woke us (or was it just me?) up at 4:30. She never went back to sleep and made the worst racket. She's 8 months old now and so I guess we're sleep training. Although I've never heard of a dog that didn't like their bed, crate, the bathroom upstairs, or the bathroom downstairs. No matter what we do she hates to be in the house between 5 and 7 in the morning. HATES. The problem being that she can't be outside because she likes to bark at all the lovely neighbors that have to go to work early in the morning. I refuse to be the neighbor with the dog that wakes everyone up. So instead she just wakes me up. Any ideas would be accepted, but honestly nothing seems to be working right now.
So anyway, awake at 4:30 up by 6 and absolutely nothing planned. It was going to be a looooong day. I figured I at least deserved an uninterrupted shower. So I locked the doors to my bathroom. I heard the knocking during the shower, but only yelled, "I can't hear you! Wait until I'm out!" In response I heard, "mumble, step stool, mumble mumble." There were more knockings but my response was always the same.
Then I turned the shower off. I hear a very polite little knock at the door. I say, "You'll need to wait until I get dressed." To which Charlotte replies, "Mom, I need you to unbutton this tricky button on my pants because I got the chocolate chips out, but I sat in the milk."
I went to take some photos today and found my camera full of videos. It was about a half hour worth of video on the camera. Charlotte apparently has found the video button on my camera. Tucked in between all the videos of her watching Jungle Junction and singing nonsense to herself was this little gem. Clearly we need to revisit the details of this story.
For a more accurate version of the details go here.
This is a completely unrelated photo. I just like how Greg actually thinks he might be able to lift that pumpkin if he tries hard enough.
Does anyone else have the best blog post ideas while laying in bed waiting for sleep? I swear I have the best stream of consciousness ideas in bed and the whole time I'm thinking, I should write this down. This is gold. This will be entertaining and thought provoking and enjoyable for everyone.
And then I wake up and the only part of the whole thought that I can remember is that I know way too much about the egg (thanks to two different food science classes) and that my brother-in-law hates Q-Tips. Don't even mention them to him. I'm sure you all want to know details about those two facts.
On a completely unrelated note, or maybe I thought about it last night and then forgot, Dan has started his three months of Ortho rotations. He is loving it which is really fun to see. He did, however, tell me that the hours for this first month "wont be that bad," which I kindly reminded him when he left for work at 5 AM and got home after 10:30 PM. If this is not that bad, then what will the next two months be like?
Also, I know I'm only 16 weeks pregnant, but I think the nesting stuff has already hit. Charlotte's room in the basement is having moisture issues. Not real water in the basement, but a funky smell and occasional dampness. I like to call it our Oregon room. Either way she didn't really enjoy sleeping in there alone, or getting dressed in there alone, or putting her shoes away alone. So we moved her mattress upstairs. She loves it. Greg loves it. (They did share a room together in St. Louis so I don't know why I thought they wouldn't love it.) And, best of all, they both sleep about a half hour later in the morning.
All this is to say that now I feel like we need bunk beds (which I hate, but seems like the best idea in this circumstance) upstairs. The idea being that Greg needs a big boy bed and if Charlotte's going to sleep upstairs then we should have bunk beds. Then, hopefully by the time the baby is out of the crib Charlotte will be old enough to enjoy a room to herself, or Greg will go downstairs, or something, but either way we'll be prepared for everything. Not only do I think we need bunk beds, thanks to pregnancy, I think we need them NOW. My baby is coming and we literally don't have a nest for said baby. Never mind that the baby will sleep in the bassinet for the first months of it's life, it has nothing to sleep in after that! Dan doesn't quite see the urgent need that I'm sure all of the rest of us see.
You know what else needs to get done? Finishing Halloween costumes (Minnie Mouse and Mickey Mouse thanks to our Disney trip). Organizing our office. Getting some blinds that work for a few rooms whose blinds have broken or were never working in the first place. Sewing a few things I have been wanting to get done. Fixing the problem in the Oregon room in the basement. Deciding where all of Charlotte's stuff will go. Currently it is half upstairs half down. And last but not least buy and installing a tiny screw that is missing from the toilet paper holder in the bathroom. Unbelievable how something so small can aggravate me so very much.
So I guess this is my stream of consciousness post while awake. Probably not nearly as enjoyable as the mostly asleep one, but that's what you get.
We went to the mall last weekend to blow off a little steam. The kids desperately needed to be able to run and jump and move and it was cold and windy and what I would call misty.
We got there and I sat next to the little house. This is the one structure in the mall play area that is tall enough to actually climb, but clearly labeled do not climb. I figure I need to be close to keep my two climbers off. (Which turned out to be a good idea since they both tried it at different points in the afternoon.)
As I sat there I slowly became aware of a little girl who was going crazy. She was running and shoving and pushing and more than one crawling infant was stepped on. I was shocked, but said nothing.
Then she decided that the play house I was sitting next to was for girls only. My kids were over playing across the area so I tried my best to ignore her. Then she started to push some boys about her same age out of the play house. The boys naturally pushed back and then their mom had to discipline them for pushing. Nobody said anything to this little crazy person. While witnessing this happen mere feet from my sitting point I tried my best to ignore it. They are not my kids. They are not my kids. They are not my kids.
When the little girl nearly shoved the boy head first out the window on the side that his mother couldn't see I sprang up and caught him so he didn't fall. Then I couldn't help it, I told the girl that pushing and hitting were unacceptable behaviors. Then I sat back down thinking where is this kids parent?
Then I spent the next 20 minutes wondering if I did the right thing. The boy wasn't mine. The girl wasn't mine. The situation had nothing to do with me. The thing is when it comes to physical harm that might happen and it appears that nobody else can see I feel obligated to at least save the kid from harm.
Being a mom of two small children I'm used to things of mine being ruined. That music box I had since I was a kid? Ripped to shreds. That makeup brush I use everyday? Chewed to bits. My brand new sofa? Markered.
But today crossed the line.
And it wasn't even the kids!
I have tried everything I know how to keep that dumb dog from getting on the counter. I've tried punishment. I've tried distraction. I've tried positive reinforcement for staying out. I've even tried tape on the edge. Nothing works. I just have to keep zero food on the counter. Zero dirty plates. Zero anything that might interest her. That's why when I brought her into the house due to wet weather today I felt pretty confident. I had wiped every surface and put away every dish and cleaned everything off.
Then I was downstairs folding laundry. I hear a big crash from upstairs. I don't immediately react because I was waiting for the tears. They didn't come. Weird. So I decided to investigate. That stupid dog had pushed the butter dish, which was as far from the edge of the counter as I could get it, off the counter onto the floor. It smashed to pieces. I couldn't even find any big enough pieces of the handle on the top to glue together.
I know what you're thinking. It's just a butter dish. Totally replaceable. This is true, unless you know the story of this butter dish. We had purchased it with money we received from our wedding. It matches all our other dishes in the set. (Did I mention that I love matching things and sets?) It cost us $54. Dan's eyes nearly fell out when he saw that price, but we were (a) newly married and (b) using someone else's money. Those were the ONLY reasons I was able to get him to agree to the purchase.
So now the $54 butter dish is broken. Not to be replaced for probably a decade. I better come to grips with that fact. Oh well, it would probably have been broken by one of the kids at some point. This is why my china is still in the boxes.
The weatherman said there was going to be rain today. Having lived some time where raking fall leaves was always a wet affair I decided we would try to avoid that. This morning the kids and I went into the backyard and raked leaves into two piles. Then the kids ran and jumped and played in the crunchy crispness while I enjoyed the fall smell coming from the leaves. We opened all the windows and turned the fans on and now my house is filled with fresh autumn fragrance.
We didn't do a very thorough job of getting leaves up, but the trees haven't yet done a thorough job of dropping all of them. Plus, the kids loved it and were a surprising help. They loved shoving the leaves into the bag and then taking turns stomping the bag down.
Also why is it that some of my favorite photos of my kids are in fall leaves?
Greg from today and Charlotte from her first autumn ever.
A few weeks ago an unexpected box arrived at our front door via the FedEx guy. (By the way thanks FedEx guy for having dog treats in your truck. If you hadn't I would still be chasing Percie around our minivan in the front yard.) This unexpected box didn't actually surprise me thanks to grandmas and aunts we tend to get unexpected boxes pretty often. What did surprise me was that the name on the box was Dan's. Dan never gets unexpected boxes.
I brought the heavy box inside and set it in the middle of the floor, awaiting Dan's return from work. There it sat and waited and waited and waited. That is until I couldn't wait anymore and just opened the top flaps. I pulled out the inner box and nearly melted. Now I really couldn't wait until Dan got home.
As soon as he saw me with the box he said, "Merry St. Birthaversary." He got me a brand spankin' new professional 600 series Kitchenaid mixer. You see, for a few months now my old mixer had stood on the counter broken by the two year old. When that happened Dan vowed he wasn't going to put another cent into fixing the thing as it had previously been broken a few times. I mourned the loss greatly as fall was coming on because I was feeling very much in the baking mood and it is much more difficult to bake things like wheat bread without a mixer.
So in case you didn't catch it this is my only present I'm getting from Dan for the next year (Merry Christmas, Happy St. Valentine's Day, Happy Birthday, Happy Anniversary). I don't mind though because this is such a wonderfully thoughtful gift. And just in time to use it for Thanksgiving.
My husband and I were married July 2, 2005. We just finished medical school in St. Louis. Now we are doing a five year stretch in Minnesota. I'm just trying to keep everything together at home while we wait to see the next curve in the road.