Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Ordinary Days

The twinkly lights have gone dark.  The Nativity scene is put away.  No wreath adorns our door.
This is the downtime.  The calm.  The ordinary days.

It's hard not to see this time as the absence of something.  In the place of glitter, glitz and celebration, we have preemie lockdown, snow delays, and children with no good outlet for exercise.  I am tempted to wish for the return of the cozy buzz of Christmastime or to long for the sunshine and freedom of the spring that lies ahead.

But I'm trying to embrace the ordinary, recognize the value of balancing our uptime with this downtime.

The children are learning to fold laundry.  I am absolutely swimming in it.  Drowning, more like.  So, we're spending our very ordinary afternoons matching socks and kissing corners and toting little loads to drawers.

They are learning to play cards and board games.  To find each other worthy opponents and satisfying playmates.  To choose teaching over abandonment when they find another's skill lacking.

Sometimes, I feel like running from the screaming and the whining, turning my back on the conflict.  Sometimes, I find myself hissing at them to CALM DOWN and STOP SCREAMING and--most laughably--to EXERCISE CONTROL of themselves.  Agh.  Pot.  Kettle.  Black.  

So, I remind myself that these ordinary days are life training.  For me and for them.  There will be conflict in life, there will be confinement in life, there will be sacrifices and missed opportunities.  There will be ordinary.

The beauty comes when we embrace it.

It's taken me this long to not resent middle of the night wakings.  But these two boys, one whose health depends on night wakings and one with whom I very nearly didn't get the chance to wake, have finally taught me.  The Mister and I split duties...him mostly dealing with Buddy Boy, me mostly dealing with Warrior.  We are up more than we have ever been before...and thankful doesn't begin to touch it.

Our Christmas was quiet and lovely.  We couldn't travel because of Warrior and both our families were elsewhere, so it was just our little family.

In fact, all of Christmas vacation was quiet and lovely.  I was so looking forward to the children being home because I felt like I missed summer completely.  We had movie night every single night and fresh-popped popcorn on the nights the Mister was home.  We only left the house for doctor's appointments, so pajamas were the uniform from one bath to the next.  We read book after book and art-ed all day long.  It was so great.

My brother and his family came for a quick visit, which made it all the more festive.

And the twin cousins finally met!  My sweet niece was born on Warrior's due date, so they are perfectly paired.

The Mister planked.  With some assistance.

Just before Christmas, Little Guy turned six.

It was the first year our shy little soul has ever wanted to celebrate with friends.  He invited a few school buddies and his brother to go bowling.

It was so much fun to see him enjoying it all and so sweet to meet the friends we've been hearing about at home.  Kindergarten has been so good for him.

As soon as school started back, we finally got some snow!

Warrior and I have continued to check specialists off the list.  Thankfully, he has been released by everyone we have seen so far.  We await a comprehensive assessment by a developmental psychologist and the results of his most recent blood work for anemia.  A few different doctors that we have consulted with have agreed with one another that it seems like he just took his prematurity really hard, possibly that he was more premature than we thought, because all of the little quirks he has displayed at home (apnea, color change, temperature irregularity, lack of strength for nursing, extreme sleepiness) are typical when a baby is premature, but should have resolved by his due date.  My mama-pinion of recent, though, is that he is getting markedly stronger and more resilient.  He's become an accomplished little nursey baby!

These ordinary days are life.  Sweet and tiring, freeing and stifling, too long and too short.

They are part of the whole.  And we are living them, loving them.

Friday, December 5, 2014

'Round Here

There's a sweet little girl that Buddy Boy is particularly fond of in his Pre-K class.  They paint together at school and send notes home in each other's bags.  He talks about her enough that Little Guy has started to have questions.

{overheard in the back of the minivan}

Little Guy: Are you going to marry {sweet little girl}?
Buddy Boy: I don't know.  We have to be grown ups first.
Little Guy: Well, when you're growed up, are you going to marry her?
Buddy Boy: Mmm, pwobably.

And THEN...
{overheard in a restroom stall}

Little Guy: Do you love {sweet little girl}?
Buddy Boy: Yes.
Little Guy: Did you kiiiiiiiiiiss her?
Buddy Boy: No. I told her I loved her.  But I didn't kiss her, because I had to keep my hands to myself.

Oh my goodness gracious.  Halt!

Life here is buzzing along.  Warrior continues to keep us on our toes.  He turned grey again a few weeks ago with a mild fever, which resulted in another night in the ER.  It took five sticks to get an IV started because his veins kept collapsing and only the third catheter attempt drew any urine.  The ER docs diagnosed him with dehydration, but that didn't really make any sense because we had shown up to the ER with a wet diaper and he had been taking about 2 ounces of milk at each feeding that day, which is a little less than usual, but not little enough to cause dehydration of that magnitude.  

His pediatrician thinks it may have been a stress response to whatever virus he was dealing with, which could explain the color change, the collapsing veins, and the lack of urine in his bladder, but she is having us get an echocardiogram to rule out any issue with his heart.

 The bigs are so, so good with Warrior.  Last night, Little Guy fed him a bottle while I got supper together and then Buddy Boy took over for the burping.  Baby Girl rushes to his aid all day...a squirt of "hanitizer" and she's on her way to insert passies, adjust blankets, retrieve socks.  And lots of cooing and clucking to go with.  "Ohhhh, baby.  Fweet baby.  I fink Mama's comin'.  Oh, you say, 'Where my MILK?' She comin' riiiiiiiight now.  Fweet baby.  You ok, fweet baby."

Buddy Boy started insulin pump therapy in September.  The pump has been a really helpful tool in managing his blood sugar levels.  Contrary to what I imagined before we began this journey a year ago,  the pump does not in any way assess his blood sugar level or make treatment decisions.  The pump only does what we tell it to do, so we still have to figure out what we need to tell it to do, which changes all day (and night) in a four year old.  But it does mean that we can give insulin in teeny tiny doses, which is what Buddy Boy needs, and can dose for snacks and second helpings and such with ease.  Before, Buddy Boy had to choose whether he wanted food enough to endure another shot.  I'm so thankful that decision has been removed from his life.

He wears the pump in a small, stretchy pack on a belt that clips around his waist.  A tube goes from the pump, which holds the insulin cartridge, to an infusion set on his backside, called the pump site.  The infusion set has two circular adhesive pieces, one with a needle that is inserted into the fatty layer of tissue.  The insulin goes through the needle and is absorbed into his body all day long.  He wears each infusion set for two days and then we change to the other side.  The pump is vastly superior to 8 injections a day, but it is not without pain...he bears bruises all over his backside.  We have a system now, where I get all the supplies ready for a pump site change and start counting.  He gives me a Ready, Set, Go, and I insert the needle and get it all taped down.  If we can do the change in less than 60 seconds, he gets to add 5 stickers to his sticker book.  Every time, I marvel at his bravery.

Little Guy had an All Saints' Day Parade at school.  He was Saint Francis of Assisi.

Thank you, Amazon Prime, for selling little doves already fitted with clips and having them on my doorstep in two days flat.  You always come through for me!

Baby Girl has apparently chosen not to speak at school this year.  This came to light one day when I picked her up and she came running out, exclaiming, " I SO 'cited you pick me up.  I so HAPPY you pick me up.  I fink you going pick me up!  I fink you not at hosbibal!"  Her teacher leaned out the door of the classroom and said, "I knew you could talk, Julia!"


This little missy prissy, show-offy, sing-songy, absolutely hilarious thing doesn't talk to you?

Well, apparently not.  Not a single, solitary word.  Just grunts and pointing.  What a shame.  'Cause they are missing out.

Which I think she may know.  Which I think may motivate the deliberate silence.  In which case...yikes.

We're working on it.

Oh, we do love her so.  And she does know how to rule a roost.  Or a classroom.  Or both.

We're on preemie lockdown with Warrior until April...no traveling, no public places, very few guests.  Which means holidays at home this year.  Thankfully, the Mister's parents and aunt were germ-free and willing to come see us for Thanksgiving!

It was lovely.  Pinterest perfection lost out to paper placemats woven by the children, place cards penned by Little Guy, and a turkey and sides ordered from the grocery.  A few delicious homemade pies rounded out our meal.

There were hugs, snuggles, and a really hard puzzle.

We spent the rest of the weekend in pajamas, sipping tea, watching football, valiantly doing our parts to guard the baby from germs.

Oh, and of course, as with any Snodgrass family gathering, there were daring--dazzling!--feats of strength.  The family that planks together...

We have reluctantly bid adieu to our lovely, delightful Nanny, who saw us through my bed rest hospitalization and Henry's NICU stays.  She is on to new adventures, but we will miss her terribly!

And now, we hunker down for a long, at-home winter.  It's going to be cozy.