Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Mama and Her Boys

What a blessed mother I am.

photos by Leanna O'Brien...and Joe

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

3 Week Post-Op Checkup for James

This past Friday, I took James back to LR for his post-op checkup. We had the typical echocardiogram and x-ray, and I'm proud to report that James did great! His heart function is right where it should be, so we can take him off the meds for that. And there was no fluid on his lungs, so no more meds for that! He is now only taking the synthroid, which he will most likely take the rest of his life. The doctor said that his heart has no residual signs of leakage--it's just like any other healthy heart! (With the exception of a bit of gore-tex, of course.) So it was a great visit, and we don't have to go back for another 6 months.

Whew! I know we will encounter other health issues with James, but for now I kind of feel like we might get a little break for awhile. For the first time I feel like I can start planning things, seeing other people, and get back into the groove of things. Of course, it took a few months to get that feeling after Caleb was born, too.
And I've decided to go ahead and quit nursing. Well, "nursing" hasn't been the right term for over three months. Pumping has taken up a lot of my time in the day, and Jon has been pushed to the limit trying to keep up with things at work and things at home. In a normal situation, nursing is cheap (free!) with no bottles or hassle of keeping milk cold or warming it up. However, in a situation where thickener and formula is added in, nursing has become the most expensive option, with the most hassle. I've felt like I should keep going with it as long as my supply keeps up, but it seems to be keeping up just fine with no end in sight. James has gotten all the immunity benefits in his first weeks, and we know that he can handle formula since it's been added into his milk for several months. And, for the sake of myself and my family, I really can't conceive of keeping up the pumping for James's whole first year.  As you can tell from my paragraph of reasons, it's taken me quite an inner battle to make this decision. But it's made, and I'm glad for it. Now I just have to go through the painful process of weaning!

From these pics, you can tell that James's face has got a nice roundness to it these days. He's doing great and gaining weight just great. In the picture below, Caleb was ready to snuggle with James all night long (though I doubt he would have slept a wink!). It's good to see how much these boys love each other.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Checking in on the Household: Caleb

Oh my goodness, it seems that life has been consumed with new baby, Down Syndrome, 2-yr-birthday, the holidays, the terrible twos....whew! Despite all the craziness, the last few months have been really wonderful. Caleb has bloomed as a big brother, and James loves him like crazy. Jon and I find ways to spend one-on-one time with each of the boys, and we enjoy them both so much. They make us smile and laugh, and sometimes I'm just giddy because my heart is so full with a husband who loves me dearly, and two boys who bring me so much joy. I am very happy and blessed with my house full of boys.

Caleb. What can I say about Caleb? I wish I could give you live streaming of an average day around here, so you could truly get a sense of who Caleb is. Caleb is lively, with a song in his heart and a dance in his step. He beebops around the house humming to himself, or does a happy jig with a delighted, "Look at me, Mommy!" He is very observant, and I have caught him imitating me applying my makeup or tying my shoes. He understands things quickly, and has almost gotten "left" and "right" down. One of his favorite songs is the "Clean Up" song. The way I sing it goes like this:
Clean up, clean up
Everybody, everywhere
Clean up, clean up
It's time to do your share

The way Caleb sings it goes like this:
Clean up, clean up
Everybody do my share!

And that's generally what happens. He's content to sing the song while everyone else cleans up. But, that said, he is very helpful, and the song itself is a good way to get him excited about putting things away. Caleb also loves to help in the kitchen. The minute he sees me in the kitchen, I hear, "I help you!" and then, under his breath, "...yellow stool..." as he heads to the bathroom to obtain this favorite object that grants him access to so many things. He carries the stool to the kitchen and promptly finds the least convenient spot to put it (usually directly between myself and the counter) so that he can "help" me measure and pour, stir and shake. His favorite, of course, is washing dishes. What little kid doesn't love running water and soapy bubbles?

Caleb's favorite playtime right now is with Daddy. All Jon has to do is lay on the guest bedroom bed and put his feet up, and Caleb climbs over, under, and on top of his Daddy. This often happens when Jon gets home from work, and they both love it.

Caleb loves to watch movies, though we haven't really gotten into the more popular ones. We stick to Veggie Tales and I'm trying to introduce the old musical classics to him. It's funny to hear him quote a movie randomly in the day. Quoting from Veggie Tales' story of St. Nicholas, he said, "Thank goodness for snow!" only it sounded like "Tae doodiss fur know!" He was so pleased with himself, but it took several tries before I figured out what he was saying.

He's starting to be the poster child for "Kids Say the Darndest Things"--usually pertaining to his potty habits. He has told me he needs to go potty by saying, "There's poop in my booty" or "There's peepee in my [...]" Once the deed is done, he will categorize his poop by size, and yesterday he decided that that particular offering to the porcelain god was "his favorite." It's hard to keep a straight face when one's little boy is so proud of his poop.

 In contrast to his potty humor, Caleb is enamored with royalty. He puts most any object on his head as a crown and proclaims, "I'm king!" He wraps blankets over his shoulders for a majestic train. If he sees a lady dressed to the nines, he will ask, "Her queen?" And we've often discussed the differences between a prince and a princess, as he's as likely to claim himself one as the other. This has led to frequent comments from Caleb about whether someone is a girl or boy. His pronunciation of "girl" is more like "doy-you" and always makes me laugh.

If you haven't gathered from this post (or personal experience), Caleb is a talker. He is always saying something, and if he runs out of things to say, he'll start making nonsense noises. He's full of imagination, and can turn any object into something else. Currently he likes finding see-saws in odd places: a pine branch resting on a pile of things, the bow on my shoe (with the knot being the fulcrum of the see-saw). He imagined that a ball of carpet fuzz was a string of Christmas lights. And his building blocks are always turning into houses or train stations.

His life is full of extremes. Things are "very, very, very, very bad!" or get an approving, "Dat's dood!" He has many "favorites" and is starting to claim his friends (I'm his best friend, by the way).

Not to deceive you, Caleb is definitely two. He throws fits and glowers at us with a frown. He yells and screams, and sometimes outright disobeys us. We spank him, yell at him (because we're not perfect, either), discuss with him, and worry over him. But at the end of the day, we smile.

"No, Mommy. Don't take my picture."

 When Caleb started acting like a two-year-old, it really threw us for a loop. Jon and I didn't know how to handle this willful being, and I was afraid the terrible twos would cure me of ever wanting any more children. However, we've gotten into the groove of things and learned a little about how Caleb ticks at this age. When he's angry and glaring at Jon, Jon will say, "That's a good angry face! Now show me a happy face." And Caleb would beam, all anger forgotten. And of course, instead of saying, "No more movies" we say, "Hey Caleb, let's go get your dinosaurs!" and we usually avoid a meltdown.

At some point I have to quit talking about my boy, so I'll end with this little clip of a conversation with Caleb:

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Signs You Might Be a Seasoned Mom

You might be a seasoned mom if:
  • You find yourself humming Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, Baker's man....all day long. (And hear your husband singing a Veggie Tales song to himself.)
  • A baby spits up on you and you don't run screaming into the bedroom to change clothes.
  • You refer to yourself in the third person.
  • Your alarm clock is a tiny human.
  • The idea of staying up 'til midnight to ring in the new year doesn't even occur to you.
  • You know the favorite hiding places in your house.
  • "Daytime TV" consists of Barney and other kids programs.
  • Your ears are trained to hear the tiniest cries.
  • A screaming child can make you smile.
  • You call others at 8am on a Saturday morning and wonder why they don't answer.
  • You instinctively place permanent markers, scissors, and valuable objects four feet off the ground or higher.
  • You understand the nuances of baby cries.
Please add to the list!