Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Rite of Passage

We made our first trip to the ER at Children’s Hospital last week.

We met up with my aunt and cousin for breakfast & the playground—after bagels at our favorite little place we headed down to the Tot Lot to let the kids play. While Jack slept in the double stroller, the kids ran around & played on the swings & the slide. My cousin is 6 and LOVES to play with Liam. She’s so sweet with him & likes to “help” him—she likes to pick him up, even though he’s practically as big as she is! 

We’d played for a few hours & were just starting to discuss leaving and heading to lunch. There was a curb that separated the mulched playground area from the benches and the kids were heading towards us. My cousin tried to help Liam over the curb, lost her footing & they both went tumbling. Liam fell backwards, hitting the ground first on his back & my cousin fell on top of him.

For a second he was stunned, then he started screaming. I rushed over to get him & picked him up. I held him & patted his back, and said, “You’re ok,” while “Shhhhing” him. That’s when my aunt said, “Stef?” and pointed to the back of Liam’s head. I pulled my hand away & saw blood. It wasn’t much—a spot about an inch wide and two inches long, but I FREAKED out.

My baby + blood coming from his head = absolute panic.

My aunt, luckily, was very calm. (She’s a nurse!) She told me that he was going to be fine but that I should go ahead and have him checked out. Shaking, I dug through the diaper bag to find my keys and wallet. She kept Jack & I ran with Liam to the car.

The drive was horrible. Liam screamed at the top of his lungs the whole way, which broke my heart, but I was actually a little thankful for because I knew he was alert. The lunchtime traffic was terrible & there were a million detours due to roadwork. I called Rob on the way and told him to meet us there. I sobbed the entire way until we finally made it.

The staff was kind & they got us through triage & into a room really quickly—Liam screamed while he had his temperature taken, his pulse measured and his weight recorded. We had given him a bottle of water & he threw it on the floor. All of it seemed like a good sign that he probably had a massive headache, but was doing ok.

The nurse came in & wet some gauze to try to clean up the blood that had dried in his hair. He was hysterical the whole time, but she finally was able to see the cut. It was a small abrasion with some swelling around it. The attending & the resident doc came in to look & said that it appeared to be clotting without issue so stitches were not necessary—and that the swelling was not significant enough to need a CAT scan. So, they said that we needed to stay for observation for four hours, then we could go home.

I didn’t have a diaper. No toys. No snacks or sippy cups. Everything I have was in my diaper bag that I’d left with my aunt. I was in a bit of a panic about being stuck in this tiny room with a hungry & tired toddler for the next 3 ½ hours! Rob left to go get us some lunch and came back with chicken fingers, fries, apples and milk which entertained him for a while. (Then Rob had to go into work.) The hospital brought us a diaper. I turned on the tv and 30 minutes later, Liam was dancing around the room. What a relief!

The doctor came back in the room to check on us a few times, then after 3 hours they discharged us. My sweet little boy was asleep before I could even pull out of the parking lot.

Looking back, it’s easy to wonder if I overreacted… but I think with a head injury, you just go to the ER. Period. I’d rather take him 100 times and have him be fine every time than risk what could happen if I assumed he was fine when he wasn’t. The ER docs seconded that.

Here are some pics from our little adventure that day:

 {Admittance Bracelet}

 {Entertaining himself with the "wheels"}
 {"my milk"}

 {Fun with gloves!}
 {Burger King of the ER}

 {Long Day}

 {Adorable apology from my cousin-- "Dear Liam, I am very sorry for what I did at the tot lot. Love, Leighton."}

So very thankful that he’s ok. It took me a day or two (& several Ativan) to settle down from the panic. I’m sure that will be our first of many trips to the ER with two boys, but I’m hoping that our next visit isn’t for a LONG time. I don’t think my mama heart can take it!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day

We celebrated a really relaxed Father's Day this year by having BBQ over at my parents' house today.

My dad loves his BBQ & loves to have a Coke with it, so the boys brought him a little present at lunch:

(Thanks, Pinterest!) 

The ties were a free printable, Liam colored them himself & I tied them on with red/white baker's twine. I made the sticker tag in Photoshop. (Get it, POP-PY? It's a stretch for us southerners who would never refer to Coke as "Pop" but I thought it was cute. For the record, I go with "soft drink"-- not pop, not soda & I don't call every carbonated beverage "Coke.")

We were on a strict budget this year that didn't leave money for expensive presents, but it was important to me to have a gift for my dad & for Rob that would mean something to them. I had seen pics like these on Pinterest a million times & decided to do them with the boys.

I bought the letters P, O, Y,  D & A at Hobby Lobby & spray painted them white. Then, on Wednesday afternoon (in 90 degree weather) my mom and I took the boys to the Botanical Gardens to take our pictures. Snapping the shots was a total pain in the ass-- Liam wouldn't sit down, he only wanted to throw the letters, he wouldn't look at the camera, etc. But after two and a half hours and almost 400 shots later, I was pretty sure I had enough decent pictures to make a great Father's Day Gift.

(Click on the images to make them larger!)

For my dad:

For Rob:

I framed my dad's in a black 5-opening wood frame & Rob's in a 3-opening white frame.

The gift was certainly a labor of love, but inexpensive, and both of them really seemed to love it. It was definitely worth the time & effort!

To those with children, those who have lost & those still waiting-- Happy Father's Day, everyone.


Outtakes to come in another post!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Oh, Motherhood...

I had these great pictures picked out for a Wordless Wednesday post last week. But then Wednesday happened & I found myself having a lot of words.

Liam’s done with Mother’s Day Out (aka “school”) for the summer, which means we’re home on Mon, Wed & Fri. (My parents keep the boys on Tues & Thurs while I work.) Some days are just too overwhelming to get out and about with both boys—those days don’t usually involve good naps. But it can be hard being at home alone with the boys all day.

We live in an old house (1928) that isn’t very child friendly, so last year, we turned our dining room into a playroom and gated it off. This is Liam’s space where he can roam—Rob & I jokingly call it “The Land of Yes” because it seems like we’re constantly telling him “No!” and “Don’t touch that!” in every other room of the house. Well, for a curious 20 month old, being confined to one room for the majority of your waking hours is pure torture. It’s torture for his 31 year old mother, too.

So, a few days ago, we decided Liam needed some new toys. We haven’t bought him anything since Christmas & developmentally, he’s grown since then, so he needs some new stuff. I’ve noticed that he is trying to connect things—he has a set of bath crayons that are open on one end and he’s constantly trying to fit one end into the other. Blocks! He needs blocks that interlock. So I went on a mission to find him the perfect set of Mega Bloks. I stumbled upon this set at Target:

Perfect—he’s totally into dump trucks right now. He loves stacking things in the back. Yellow is one of the colors he confidently knows. And, it’s filled with Mega Bloks.

So, Wednesday, I went on a mission to find one. (The one at Target was missing a wheel.) I called the two other Target stores within driving distance. No luck. I went to Toys R Us. I went to Walmart. I went to Kmart. I took the kids with me to all of these places. After 5 hours in the car roaming from one side of town to the other, the boys were over it. And so was I. (Amazon, you win.)

We came home and the boys both slept—overlapping naps can be an elusive thing in this house! I was very happy to have a bit of a break and recharge for a while.

At 5pm, Rob came home from work to see the boys for a bit before needing to head back out. He played with Jack first, then took Liam on a walk. Liam and I were blowing bubbles on the porch when Rob left again & Jack was in the bumbo, so I took them inside and we all went into the playroom and played for a little while. Both boys needed a bath, so I thought I would just put them in the tub together.

Stupid, stupid mommy.  
Why would you ever think it would be a good idea to bathe your toddler & infant together for the first time when you are home alone?

At first, all was great. Jack sat in his bath ring (for the first time!) and Liam was happy to play with him. But after a few minutes, Liam got antsy and wanted me to hold him—he kept trying to climb out of the tub and I kept asking him to sit down.

Then someone started knocking on the front door. I obviously couldn’t answer it with the kids in the tub, so I ignored it. They knocked again. Then they rang the doorbell. At this point, I thought, “Maybe I should answer it…they’re certainly persistent.” After the 2nd time they rang the doorbell, I pulled Jack out of the tub and onto my left hip. Then I pulled Liam out & onto my right hip. Halfway through the kitchen, I attempted to hoist them up a little bit (they were slippery!) and managed to knock their heads together.

Mother of the year right here, ladies and gentlemen.

Both kids are crying, the doorbell is ringing and a dog is….Oh, shit. Chloe, our dog is outside barking. Our neighbors saw her in the yard & know that she’s an inside dog, so they were trying to bring her back to us. (She must have been outside when Rob left and Liam and I were playing on the porch.) I finally make it to the front door.

I don’t know if I imagined the stunned look on my neighbor’s (who I don’t know, BTW) face or if it was real… All I know is that she saw a frazzled woman with a messy ponytail, no bra & peanut butter on her shirt, holding two naked, squirming, crying children. Liam was thrashing around so much I had to set him down, where he ran around the porch and our front yard totally naked.

 The exchange when something like this:

Her: “Sorry to bother you…”
Me: “No, I’m sorry it took me so long, I had my boys in the tub…”
Her: “Your dog….”
Me: “Oh my gosh, I don’t know how she got out! Thank you for bringing her back! I’m so sorry”
Her: “Oh, no… I’m sorry….” (Look of pity as she walked away.)

I picked Liam back up, brought the boys inside, then put them both back in the tub. (Great idea, right?) They were good for a while but it started getting late and I needed to get Liam fed and down for bed. I got Jack out of the tub first, wrapped him in a towel, then laid him on the bath mat.

I reached for Liam and he threw an absolute tantrum. Yelling, thrashing, saying, “No!” I held onto him (difficult thing to do with a slippery toddler) and told him that bath time was over and that we were going to get our pjs on and have some dinner. He was leaning over and had his face resting on my forearm when I thought I felt something on my arm… Was that…Did he just…? OUCH!!!!!!!! HE BIT ME.

I let a lot of behaviors go— there are so many crappy phases of toddlerhood that I figure not giving him the attention he’s seeking when he acts out is the best way to handle it at this point. Liam screams quit a bit right now when he doesn’t get what he wants. I tell him he’s being too loud & move on. He went through (& apparently this is resurfacing) a phase of hitting. I hold his hands, tell him no, say “That hurts Mommy! Be sweet!” and let it go. But biting me? Ooooh, he was in trouble now.

I loudly said (ok, yelled), “No! No biting! You are going in timeout!” This was a first. I marched him into his room, put him in his bed naked and walked out. As I walked down the hall to go get Jack I told him that he would stay in there until I was finished with Jack and then he would apologize to Mommy.

Ok, I’m not a fan of putting him in his bed for punishment—that’s not an association I want him to make. But, there was no other confined, safe space that wasn’t full of toys available. So, I did what I had to do.

He screamed for a minute, then got quiet. I finished up with Jack, put him on his playmat, then went back for Liam. When I picked him up, I told him, “You need to apologize to Mommy. Say, ‘I’m sorry I hurt you, Mommy.’” He looked at me and said, “Hurt you.” Good enough. (He has said “sorry” several times before.)

I took him into the nursery to get his diaper and pjs on while asking him where certain body parts were. I figured it was best to try to get him in a good mood before trying to feed him dinner. “Where’s your nose, Liam?” He pointed to it. “Where’s your elbow?” He showed me. “Where’s Mommy’s hair?” He reached out, stroked my hair with his hands and said, “Pretty.”

I dissolved into a puddle of tears.

What a roller-coaster ride motherhood is… furious at them one second & completely in love with them the next. Days like these are tough, but I know how unbelievably lucky I am to have them— because for every tough moment, there are 100 amazing ones.

As for the original pics I had planned to post, I’ll save them for another day—but here are a few pics I managed to snap that day of the boys in the bath. They’re not the best, but they were the best I could do that day, & that’s all anyone can ask for.

I'm certain there will be lots of better bath shots in our future!