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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Newborn Parenting Initiation Week!

As I've mentioned before, Mal can be a bit of a time bomb. He's such a sweet, good-natured baby, but, man, when he's determined to throw a fit, he will throw one.

Monday, we stayed home from classes because of a flat tire, and he was just so fussy that I gave him 2 ounces of formula (he was still hungry half an hour later, and I was able to nurse; I'd run out of milk before that, though), then he slept for four hours. At that point, I had to wake him up so he'd eat because I was in borderline pain! (Also, I did try the pump, but my body just won't give it up for the machine.)

Tuesday, Mal was on the verge of a meltdown all day. I distracted him by walking a lot (to 7-11, to vote, to CVS) and moving him around a lot, but it required a lot of attention and effort, and I was exhausted by the end of the day! Even with that, he fussed quite a bit once James got home, though he did seem to enjoy the bath we gave him Maybe we should make that a longer part of the evening routine. If only we could figure out how to get him out of the bath without his having to be partially naked and wet at the same time!

Yesterday was pretty normal, but I gave Mal 2 more ounces of formula in the afternoon when he'd nursed and nursed and nursed and was so upset. I tried the pacifier with him, and he seemed to like the idea but for some reason can't keep that sucker (ha! see what I did there?) in his mouth. He didn't sleep after; in fact, yesterday, he only napped twice for about 30 minutes each.

He did fine during dinner, then James and I sat down to watch "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." Mal got upset, and stayed upset during the whole show. He screamed and cried, and I tried everything. We moved into the bedroom, where he lay down in the dark and calmed down... temporarily. Then more with the crying. By the time the show was over (I have no idea how it ended), Mal was losing his voice. James walked him around, but he would not be comforted.

This is one of the worst parts of parenting an infant: When your kid looks at you with pain all over his face, bawling and screaming, tears streaming, and crying mouth in a giant frown, and you think he's thinking, "WHY AREN'T YOU HELPING ME?!"

So, we decided to go to the emergency room. Maybe I decided it and James went with me. Whatever. We did give him some Colic Calm and said that if he seemed relieved before I got dressed, we'd stay home. He didn't.

As we were about to go, James was holding Mal in a fireman's hold so James could grab some stuff, and Mal let out a giant man-burp. We paused to see if that would help, but he was still riled up, so we got into the car and headed out.

By the time we got to Dell Children's, Mal was asleep. James said he'd rather talk to a doctor during the day, so we came back home.

Mal and I went straight to bed, and he had a normal night.

Insert: Praise God that the boy seems to appreciate nights for sleeping. We might pay for the co-sleeping thing one day, but so far it has done more to protect my newborn-mom sanity than I can express. If James never knows the exhausted hopelessness of another. sleepless. night, I won't resent him for that at all.

This morning, Mal was in a great mood during breakfast, but seemed to get fussy as he was feeding. Then he started crying. I couldn't calm him no matter what. James had already left, but I decided we were going to the hospital because I didn't want to find out later that something awful was going on.

As I headed toward Dell Children's again, I had an idea. I looked up Austin Regional Clinic, where we intended to find Mal's pediatrician, anyway, and called them. I asked if they happened to have any appointments available today, and the receptionist put me through to the pediatric nurse. The nurse said that they had a 9:45 appointment. It was 8:45 at the time, so that seemed perfect.

I drove over to the clinic, getting there about 40 minutes early. I was able to check in and go have a seat... well, that sounds nice, right? Actually, I sat in the parking lot for a moment to put on my make-up, and Mal woke up. He immediately expressed his displeasure at being trapped in his car seat, so by the time I walked into the clinic with him, he was howling. He cried during my entire check-in process, and as I made my way down the hall to the pediatric waiting room.

They have a well child waiting room as well as a sick child. No one else was in there, and I didn't know which we were, so I sat in the sick child waiting room in the chair the closest to the break. I was called back almost immediately.

Mal was still unhappy throughout the weighing (10 pounds, 12 ounces; so he's gained pretty much an ounce a day since he was born) and the temperature-taking (98.1, just a smidge higher than his normal, but, again, he was MAD!). When we got into the examination room, I was able to nurse him a bit and he calmed down. As I talked to the nurse she said knowingly, "That sounds like colic."

I was shocked when the doctor walked in almost immediately after the nurse left. He spoke to me for a few minutes, then looked at Mal's ears and nose. He said, "I always examine babies' feet because I've had moms bring in screaming babies who had hair wrapped around their toes. I also always look at their penis for the same reason."

In the end, he said that his temperature, weight gain, and all observable data lead him to believe that this was just colic. He said, "If I could tell you a sure-fire way to avoid colic, I'd be a rich man. Just eat very boringly and let your friends hold him, because a colicky baby will drive you crazy."

On the way home, I realized that it was still before my 9:45 appointment time!

Mal ate a bit when we got home, and then we hung out and chatted. My sister came over for a while and ended up dancing him to sleep on the front porch (told you he loves the dance party, Facebook friends!). He's been asleep ever since.

So, basically, I guess we do our best to keep him comfortable and distracted when he's trying to throw a fit. I hate to think that he's really in pain but if there's nothing medically wrong, we will just go with it.

I was very impressed with the doctor and the clinic, so we'll be going back for Mal's 2 month appointment in a couple of weeks.

Please be praying for our patience, sanity, and hearts... I'm telling you, they want to break when he's so upset!

Here is a list of foods for me to avoid:
brussels sprouts
green peppers

So. I'll be eating mush, I suppose. Bananas and avocados, remember? I guess that's it.

Monday, November 3, 2014

It's official: We have a teen in the hizzouse!

Yesterday was D's 13th birthday!

First, she got an extra hour to celebrate, thanks to the end of Daylight Savings Time.

Then, when she got up, she got to see me.

Well, you'd think that was enough, but no. We had ordered her a cake from Polkadots Cupcake Factory (they make more than just cupcakes!) just a few blocks away at West Campus. She'd requested Bill Cipher, and I wanted to make her a cake, but given our current lives (and, honestly, Saturday was hugely challenging with Mal, but we're figuring it out), I knew that wasn't a given. The bakery did an AWESOME job with it, and she loved it!

Also, their fondant is delicious! :)

The T-shirt I got her isn't here yet, but will be either tomorrow or Tuesday, and James is getting her a wired keyboard and mouse (I know some people swear by wireless, but if you're gaming or drawing, they can be a PitA), but wants her to shop with him so she can pick them out. She's gotten cards and money from grandparents, and her dad gave her a beautifully-bound and illustrated copy of "The Hobbit."

When Daphne was born (which you can read about here), I had no idea what I was doing. I was freaked out and had some pretty intense postpartum depression, even though I didn't fully recognize that that was a "thing" until I was over it.

After the first eight months, though, once we got free from Boys Town, I hit a parenting stride. Throughout problems with my marriage, financial uncertainties, and all sorts of "life" things, I always felt like I was a pretty good mom.

Having only one child was easy. Well, Daphne was an easy child. For the longest time, were together almost all of the time, and I loved it. Then Daphne started doing gymnastics four days a week, and then I started working, and sometime around the age of 10, she started liking to stay home and do her own thing. By the time we moved into the Nuthaus, Daphne was ready to be pretty independent... and maybe I wasn't so ready.

Over the past year and a half or so, I've realized several things:

1) Although I sincerely did not realize it, I bullied my child at times. I used my authority and size to force her into compliance because I was too lazy to use relationship and discipline. I have apologized to her about a lot of things, namely that, as the first child, she was kind of like a beta testing of my parenting, and how although I appreciate that this release will hopefully be better, I regret having made my mistakes with her.

2) The things about Daphne that bother me the most are the areas in which she is most like me. She has an opinion, she has an attitude, she is a bit profane, and she wants to be in white-knuckle-hold charge of everything about herself.

3) Daphne has become a completely different person since I stopped "strongly suggesting" that she do things she doesn't want to do. For the most part, she's settled comfortably into being an introvert. This is not surprising, given how artistic and creative she is. And her art has improved incredibly. Also, sometimes, I feel like I don't know her, and that makes me a little sad. She reminded me the other day, "Did you used to be worried I was too attached to you?" It's true; I did. I have always pushed her to be independent. I just didn't expect so much so soon, I suppose. I am grateful, though, that she's becoming who God made her to be without my interference.

Halloween night, after I went to bed early as usual with the baby, Daphne stayed up talking with James until 3:30. So while I miss being her go-to, I am glad that she has someone else she trusts and whose opinion she values right here in the house.

Yesterday, I was going through my memory banks, thinking about D's previous birthdays.

Her first year, we had a party at my sister's house; I'd made a boom box cake with a small remote control for Daphne's "smash cake." She was barely interested in it, but held on to the Winnie the Pooh spoon Pappy and Nana gave her all day. (Literally. Even when she was in the swing outside.)

Her second birthday, I made Bob and Larry chocolate chip cookie "cakes," and we had the party at the "butterfly park" near out house in Las Vegas. I hid some treasures in the sand box and the kids loved that. I remember it being very cold and windy.

We'd just moved to Sherman in the July before Daphne's third birthday. Since we had a bunch of left-over July 4th decorations, we had an American-flag-themed party, and I made a flag cake. Two new friends we'd just met since moving to Sherman came over and celebrated, and my parents visited from Las Vegas.

Daphne's fourth birthday was at Old Settlers Park in Sherman, and was Clifford-themed. This time, it was 84 degrees, and the red icing melted off of the cake!

I'm completely blanking on Daphne's fifth birthday. How weird is that? Time to pull out the Maxtor external hard drive ($100 for 8mb of memory!) and figure it out. (I did, and this is why I have all of these pictures. Still haven't figured this one out, though!)

Okay, weird... I guess we just took her to Chuck E. Cheese! :)

For D's sixth birthday, we rented out the skating rink and had a Harry-Potter-themed party. She was skating twice a week there for a while. She loved it!

Oh, my goodness, these little kids aren't little kids anymore!
When Daphne turned seven, we had the party at our house. I made a jungle cake and a snake cake. A whole bunch of homeschool and church friends came over, and the kids played outside the whole time.

When her eighth birthday rolled around, we went to Herman Baker Park and tried to slide down the grassy hill. I bought a delicious Dr. Pepper cake from Yahoo! Bakery and decorated it with an owl, since the theme was "Hoot," a book by Carl Hiaassen. We also had pancakes, in honor of Mother Paula's House of Pancakes. Now I want to read that book again!

I might have geeked out a little bit on the invitations.

Both Daphne's ninth and tenth birthday parties were at Gymnastics Sport Center, and they were loads of fun. Tian and Travis were there for her 10th, and they rode around the gym on their Striders. One year, I cut the cakes into individual servings and made them look like sponges, because Daphne had wanted sponge cake (and, yes, it was actually sponge cake). The year before that, I made her cake look like a gym mat, and I used the topper to one of her trophies as the gymnast.

We moved to Austin right before Daphne turned 11. We had a party at Mueller Lake Park, and I tried to make a 3-D Tardis cake, but I used a bad recipe. The cake wasn't dense enough and it fell over, so I made a GIANT "cake pop." It was messy but delicious.

Then last year, we had a scavenger hunt out of our house, with Minecraft-looking snacks.

So... This year, D didn't want to "do" anything. We had cake, we had presents, and she was happy. Her online friends feted her, too.

I cannot tell you how much I love this kid. I love that she knows who she is and she's comfortable in that. I love that she can't be bothered by a lot of distractions typical to teen girls (yet and ever, Lord willing). I love her snarky personality, even, sometimes, when she turns it on me (I can take as well as I can give, I hope!). I love her laugh and her smile. I just love her tons and will forever. Glad she's my girl!