Sunday, February 7, 2016

Brotherly Love to Brotherly Shove

So...for nearly three years, Jacob has wanted almost nothing to do with Carter.  At first he ignored him and kept his distance, and then he started avoiding him like the plague, actively running in the other direction.  And now, a week before Carter's third birthday, we've had a shift.  Perhaps he's just hit a new stage of boredom in his recovery, but suddenly he is obsessed with playing with Carter.  I wish I could say this was a good thing.  On some level I'm sure it is, but right now, it has become an impossible situation. 

A few days ago, perhaps helped along by Craig, they started playing sports in the living room together.  Jacob is obviously still in his cast, but he's taken to crawling around the house a lot of the time.  I'm not sure how I feel about that, but if he's not in any pain, hopefully it's fine.  If anything it helps bring him down to Carter's level a bit, both height-wise and agility-wise.  They've been playing soccer (with a very soft ball), football (with a small nerf ball), and hockey (mini sticks and a squishy puck).  And while all of the games start out fine, they go downhill very quickly.  Someone gets hurt, Jacob gets annoyed when Carter doesn't follow the rules, or a wrestling match ensues that could lead to more injuries. 

Jacob is constantly asking Carter if he wants to play, which under so many circumstances would be music to my ears, but now it just makes me cringe because I know what's coming.  The boys have been sent to their rooms about a dozen times this weekend, almost exclusively because they need to be separated and calm down.  They both get so worked up and so wild that we have to separate them before something happens.  And every time they come back out of their rooms, Jacob is immediately trying to get another game going.  And no matter how many times we encourage them to do something else or find another way to play together, it always goes down the same frustrating road.  It has been an exhausting weekend.

We've been waiting three years for Jacob to realize he can play with his brother, and now we find out they're completely incompatible because they can't help but beat each other up and fight about everything.  Carter has a special gift for being sneaky while looking sweet, but he's very determined, so backing down is rarely an option.  Jacob has absolutely zero self-control, which means he can't stop himself from pulling Carter down or playing tug-of-war with a ball until Carter flies backward into something.  He will wave a hockey stick around even more than Carter will, but of course Carter has to follow suit, so it inevitably becomes a stick-swinging affair.  Sometimes even one of Jacob's crutches becomes the weapon of choice.  Great, huh?  We've had a few injuries, though most have been pretty minor.  But there's potential for a lot worse, which is why we have to keep them apart after a certain point.  It's incredibly frustrating. 

I know I should be grateful that we have this tiny bit of progress, but right now I'm just tired of yelling and sending boys to their rooms. 

In other frustrating news, Carter has fought his nap for the last two days.  Yesterday we left him in there for more than two hours, and he never slept.  He ended up falling asleep on the way to dinner after we stopped in to Jacob's lacrosse game to say hi.  Jacob fell asleep, too, for that matter.  As I type today Carter is still fighting his nap after more than two hours because we're going to a Superbowl party in an hour and I was desperate for him to nap.  UGH.  This is bad.  Naptime is so important because it is my only sanity with these two crazy boys being in the same house, especially when Craig is working.  Luckily that's not an issue this weekend, but it will be for a number of weekends to come.  As you can imagine, this has me in no rush to change over the crib.  I'm also less convinced the rail I found will work on the crib because of how our converted crib has a small lip that holds the mattress in.  So, we appear to be on hold for the moment. 

The other significant development this weekend is that I chopped my hair.  I guess you could say I'm back to my mom 'do.  It's rather short, as short as it's been since Jacob was two!  I actually loved it this short, going back at least 10 years, but I guess once Jacob started needing more haircuts, mine became less frequent.  I got lazy, and it gradually got longer and longer.  It was probably at its longest when Carter was born, and once it was in his face and he was grabbing fistfuls, that's when I started cutting it around my shoulders again.  But I finally got sick of it looking stringy and lifeless, even at that length (hormones?), so off it has come.  I actually had to go back to the salon after I came home and styled it myself, because it needed some editing along the hairline in the back.  I also panicked a little that it was too short, and I'm still not 100% sold on the shape of it, but it's so much better short because it looks fuller and healthier.  I can edit it more easily now that it's this short.  It always takes a leap of faith to go this short, but had I gone any longer I'd probably be unhappy with it.  It can grow a little bit and still be short enough, so that's good too.  I may have just become a stereotype again, but oh, well.  I'll look nicer doing it.

Well, I guess it's time to retrieve the yelling, unnapped child from his room and start getting ready to leave for the party.  My two wine coolers will be well-earned tonight.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Exploring

Last night I had the opportunity to go on a tour at the Eastman School of Music.  It's a part of the University of Rochester, and they are just one of the units that I help raise money for.  Our student callers were going on a tour, and despite the fact it was already a busy day, I really wanted to go.  We had a morning all-staff meeting on the main campus, and our department had to leave that early because we needed to staff an event in another part of the same building.  We had 600 students writing thank you notes to donors for about three hours!  So after stopping back in the office for an hour, off I went to the city.

I've been to the school twice before--once a couple weeks ago for a work event (similar to the one I worked yesterday), and once just over a year ago when I went to see the gorgeous Chihuly sculpture in the atrium of the newest building on campus.  I'd known it was there, but with it in an area of downtown I was rarely near on foot, I had never gotten a chance to see it.  But last year when I was off of work and made it my mission to accomplish a few random adventures, I finally did it.  But that was the only part of the school I felt comfortable exploring at the time, and once I started my new job and saw photos of other parts of the school, I realized there was a lot of beauty hanging out on that corner of downtown Rochester.  Last night was my chance to see it all in person.

Initially I was hesitant to pull out my camera for fear of looking like a dork, but the beauty won me over.  The view that put me over the top was this one, sitting in the seats below the amazing chandelier in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre.  It was hard to capture it because the light was so bright, but I like the way this shot turned out anyway. 

We saw some other gorgeous performance spaces, both new and old, both classic and technologically superior.  I wish I would have taken a picture of Hatch Recital Hall, which has these amazing wooden slat panel walls that can actually adjust to make perfect acoustics depending on the instrument.  I was just floored by the beauty in every single space.  If you have a couple minutes, Google "Kilbourn Hall" and "Hatch Recital Hall".  You'll be impressed.

We did, of course, go into the East Wing and see the Chihuly again.  This time I was on a different level so I got a couple different perspectives.  Unfortunately it wasn't quite dark enough for it to be more illuminated (externally), as I would have loved a chance to see it lit differently than I've seen it previously.


We ended up going back into Kodak Hall to see the breathtaking view from the balcony, and I was stunned by the depth of the three-dimensional detail above the chandelier that I didn't really notice from the floor.  It was so striking. 


The rest of the hall is quite beautiful in its own right, with attractive stone work, murals along the walls, busts and carvings of famous composers, and lovely gilding.  It looks like something out of a storybook.  And that's without hearing the lovely music that normally comes from that stage.

Near the end of the tour, we came down this staircase, and as we descended, I noticed its interesting shape.  When I looked up, I was struck by the coolness of the view. 

We finished our tour back in Lowry Hall, which is original to the school and stunning in its own right, with the gorgeous ceiling and detailed wooden ticket booths still intact further up on the right.

As I drove home, I marveled at the beauty I'd just seen.  In fact, I felt practically euphoric.  I was looking for unexpected beauty in everything during my drive.  It caught me off-guard a little bit, and I found myself wondering why seeing something like that had that kind of impact on me.  In the end I decided that it's just a smaller version of what I'm desperately craving--the chance to go out and explore the world.  Lately I've been desperately wishing to go away with Craig and spend time alone with him.  It's hard to do it with kids, of course, so it's been quite a while since we've had a night away, and ages since we've had more than that.  I just miss having adventures with him where we get to explore new places and do fun things together, without having the constant interruption/distraction of the kids' constant needs.  It's hard to take in the beauty of paradise, for example, when a kid is pulling on your arm and whining for a snack.  We love them, but it's hard to find "us" sometimes in the midst of our time with them.
 
We live a good life, but it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day stress of life.  Each day has an element of survival, with just trying to maintain enough energy to get through the day and keep the kids alive and well.  It's easy to get in a rut where nothing feels extraordinary.  I think that's why we as parents often try to surprise our kids with a treat.  We like to take them for ice cream, or bring home a special toy, or visit a fun new place, just so we can see that joy and wonder on their face.  We live vicariously through them when it comes to discovering the world with fresh eyes, because everything is new and exciting for them.  And since we don't get a lot of "new" in our own lives as we get older and get busy with daily stresses, we just want to see it through them.  It's cheaper and easier to impress them, after all.
 
But I think that's why a tiny glimpse into something new, different, and beautiful made me so euphoric.  It was a small taste of the big world that's out there waiting to be explored, and when you're craving it like I've been lately, that small glimpse was apparently intoxicating.  I'd hate to see what would happen if I got to go somewhere truly exciting!  But for one night, it was fun to see something different and be reminded of some of the amazing things this city has to offer.  Add in the dedication and talent of the students that were crawling all over those beautiful spaces, and it was downright inspiring. 
 
So, yeah, it was a good night.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Bed Situation

As I mentioned in my last post, we're currently pondering the situation with Carter's bed.  He's still in a crib and hasn't taken to climbing out.  I'm not sure if I should consider us lucky, or if I should worry he's not very creative!  A couple times I've caught him lifting his leg to try to climb out, and I've given him a stern no, but that doesn't seem like it should be enough to truly discourage a bright, energetic toddler, no?  So I wonder--is he just that happy there, or is this just a small symptom of a very laid-back personality?  I know, I know...we're just darn lucky, end of story.

But as his third birthday rapidly approaches (two weeks--holy cow!), I know we should be working on switching him over.  We switched Jacob to the toddler bed setup about a week before his third birthday.  He'd fallen out of his crib once when he was about 18 months, but he never really bothered to climb out either.  But then again, he was never a climber in general.  Carter, on the other hand, often tries to climb the shelf in his room (don't worry--the odds of him tipping that one are pretty slim because of how it's structured) and he's been climbing solo into his high chair for months now.  But anyway...while there isn't any need to switch things up, I feel like it's time.  I may still be able to lift him in there, but I sort of like the idea of him being able to climb in there himself because, unlike Jacob, he sometimes asks to go to bed!  And if nothing else, eventually he'll need the freedom to get up and pee if he needs to.  He's not even close to night trained, but if the option is there, maybe he'd get there quicker.

My main concern, however, is that it takes away our one secure place to keep him when we need to.  See, his crib has generally been his timeout spot.  I know that all of the parenting gurus say that's bad, but for some reason we did it once and it seemed to work for us.  It's never really impacted his sleeping, that I can tell.  During the day when he's in there it's because he was naughty, and at night it's still a place to rest.  I think it all makes a little more sense if you think about timeouts the way they're supposed to be used--as a break from everything and a place to calm down.  What's more calming than your comfy bed filled with blankets and animals?  Of course, he throws everything out of the crib when he's in timeout, but at least he cleans it up after!  Honestly, it's the one place (post-baby jail setup) where we could forcibly put him and keep him that he had to stay in.  And when you're dealing with two kids who often need to be punished at the same time, sometimes you just need to know one is contained so you're not dealing with two renegades at the same time.  But if we take away the "cage" aspect of the crib, now what?  I could bring "baby jail" (our hexagonal baby enclosure that served as a play pen for a while) back out somewhere, but I'm not entirely sure it could contain him at this point.  I could just put him in his room, but he knows how to open doors.  I'd get one of those door knob things, but I'm pretty sure when we tried that on Jacob's door knob once to keep Carter out, Carter tore it off.  So...between punishment and ensuring he'll actually stay in bed at night, I'm not sure what to do.  I'm not sure I have the energy for finding new ways to contain him, but I guess we have to try at some point.  Threats of going back in the crib may be option #1 if disaster strikes.  The good news is that once Jacob gets sent to his room, he does generally stay there.  He may ask a dozen times when he can come out, but he stays.  So maybe that will help Carter to do the same.  Haha.

But beyond that situation, I'm a little stumped on the big boy bed situation.  Issue #1 is that we don't have a bed rail for the crib when it converts to a toddler bed.  I tried to get one for Jacob, but our crib has a solid platform.  Most of the rails are made for cribs with a metal spring platform.  I do believe I've found one now that should work, and I can get it for a little more than $30.  That seems fine, but then I think, do we need it?  Jacob made it without one.  But our setup wasn't the most effective, or probably as safe as we'd prefer it.  We basically used our breathable bumper to make a soft barrier to keep him in.  It was just enough resistance that it would have taken a good roll to get over it, but if he somehow fell between the bed and the bumper, it was loose enough to let him through and not strangle him or suffocate him.  But still, now that I found a rail that will work, it seems logical enough to just buy it and make it much safer.  Still, I wonder how much use we'll get out of it.  Jacob took to sleeping on his floor after about six months in the toddler bed and I'm not sure he ever went back before he moved to his new room a year later, so we wouldn't have gotten our money's worth with him.  I will fight tooth and nail to get Carter to stay in bed because floor sleeping ruins the carpet, so we'd hopefully get some extra use out of it this time around.  But if I find the right solution to the puzzle below, maybe we'd want to get going on the real big boy bed sooner than we thought.

Sometimes I think we should just bite the bullet and get him a real big boy bed instead.  We have a bed rail for a twin bed, so he'd be protected there.  On one hand it would be nice to eliminate the limbo of the toddler bed and just start working on converting Carter's room to its final "big boy" setup.  Bed in, rocking chair out.  But then I start thinking about furniture and I have this nagging thought in the back of my mind.  Do we buy him something totally new, or do we take the opportunity to let Jacob exert some independence?

See, Jacob constantly complains about his room.  It's hard to understand what his issue is, but he thinks it makes noises, that something is in the closet, or who knows what else.  He comes up with every excuse in the book to not be in there.  While I don't think it's the furniture that bothers him, I just wonder if letting him start fresh and pick his own might make him more comfortable.  His current furniture has a ton of storage, and that would be great for Carter's room since it's smaller.  As is stands right now, we'd really just need to buy Carter a new mattress.  We already have a box spring (Jacob is using my old twin mattress, but it's a platform bed so it doesn't need a box spring), and technically we already have a basic frame, though most likely we'd want to get something better.  His dresser/changing table could work for now once we take the changing pad off. 

Another thing to consider is that Carter's crib can be converted into a full headboard.  However, his room is too small for a full size bed.  But Jacob's is big enough.  So in theory he could get the full bed, which he might love.  He'd have to take over the changing table dresser (which he would not love, but we could work on that) since it matches.  We might have to get one more place to store clothes, but it could work.  His closet is huge, too. 

At this point I'm thinking I might just have to spend the $33 on the crib rail just to buy us enough time to figure this out properly.  I don't want to jump into anything.  But I don't want to wait forever either.  Carter's room is going to start looking awfully babyish really quickly, so I definitely want to start figuring out our next steps.  But then again, I just read a blog post by one of my favorite bloggers whose son is a couple months younger than Carter, and she just took down their crib...and now her son is waking up at all hours demanding food, beverages, and playtime.  He stays up all night after only a few hours of sleep!  THAT is exactly what I want to avoid.  I'd like to think I'd be tough and not let Carter get away with anything like that, but sleep deprivation does funny things to you.

So...that's my dilemma.  I feel totally unsure and while I'd love to get Jacob's input, I don't really want to make a $500 decision based on his flip-flopping.  I suppose I should do some measuring and online shopping first, but yes, that probably means I need to buy the crib rail in the meantime.  Sigh.  See, who says blogging doesn't help me process this stuff?

Sunday, January 31, 2016

This Week in Blog History...

I'm feeling under the weather (again) today, so I'm doing a cop-out (but still fun) post looking back at where we were in late January-early February in the history of the blog.  It's always fun to look back.

But yeah, in present time, Jacob went to sleep in the bathroom with a terrible stomach ache last night, and yet I was the one who woke up feeling a little off in the middle of the night.  Luckily it stayed south, if you know what I mean, but it wasn't the best night.  Today has been a very slow progression of food, and while nothing more has happened, I still feel a little off.  Craig wasn't feeling too well either, but ironically, Jacob was fine.  We really just need to get healthy around here. We've had three straight weekends with some sort of illness.  Better than weekdays, but still. 

Without further ado, let's see where we've been...

2008 - I was in the midst of adjusting to my growing baby belly.  I was finally getting to stock up on some maternity clothes as my usable "regular" clothes were starting to get too small.  Every piece I found was a little victory, especially when they were on clearance!  I was also starting to be sure that the flutters I was feeling were really baby movement.  That was so fun--one of the few things I miss about pregnancy!

2009 - Jacob's teeth were starting to come in, which was causing him a lot of pain and all of us a lot of interrupted sleep.  We were also dealing with his nasty cough/respiratory illness that bothered him for about nine months in all.  We had to use the nebulizer, which was so challenging with a squirmy baby who couldn't understand why we had to put this thing up to his face.  We were also still trying to make solid foods more of a regular thing, since Jacob was really resistant to them early on, and it seemed we might be making some traction. 

2010 - We were fresh off a weekend trip away from Jacob.  He stayed with my parents and I went up to Toronto with Craig for a Knighthawks game.  Man, we really need more of that kind of time away now.  Jacob also got his first experience playing in the snow while we were at my parents' house!  We were also going through another round of teething, which was causing more interrupted sleep.  We were dealing with nasty diaper rash and extreme dry skin, too.  Winter does not do my boys' skin any favors, apparently.  At that point, Jacob was already starting to walk around with a hockey stick all the time, which was a regular thing for a long time after.  Finally, we were going through the stress of trying to sell our house and prepare to move into the house we're in now.  Our second deal was in place after the first fell through, so we were hopeful this would be it!  Thankfully, it was.

2011 - Jacob had just been diagnosed with strep, which was apparently after many other strep tests over the course of the winter.  A sore on his face was our only sign that time, and I often refer to that as my introduction to the world of weird kid symptoms for strep.  They're never what you think!  We were also in the healing stages of his first-ever surgery, the one to remove an irregular mole from his leg.  That went pretty smoothly, with Jacob in seemingly very little pain through the whole thing.  We were working on potty training, which wasn't going particularly well.  I was also pondering moving him up to a big boy bed.  He was four months younger than Carter is now, but we're in a very similar spot today.  I guess I'm in less of a hurry now!  Potty training is going better than it was then, but we're still dealing with some accidents.  I'm pondering changing Carter's crib over to a toddler bed soon, but I'm still pretty torn on that, too.  I'll be writing a post on that soon, I think.

2012 - We were in the midst of figuring out my fertility issues, but taking a break on trying to avoid our Florida trip that fall that never actually happened.  That was a tough period because it felt like baby #2 might never happen.  Jacob was getting increasingly challenging, with a lot of the constant noise we still with, and a lot of resistance.  He'd begun his phase of sleeping on the floor, which lasted quite a while and nearly ruined his carpet!  He was also having some potty issues again, this time with a sore butt that may have been caused by poop sneaking out and irritating the skin.  I look back and wonder if any of that was already related to his Celiac disease, even though he was more than a year away from diagnosis. 

2013 - I was dealing with the worst part of my pregnancy, where my mucus plug was thinning (and scaring the crap out of me).  I was always exhausted and uncomfortable, and nervous that at any moment my water might break.  It was such an overwhelming time, not knowing when this baby might arrive and knowing I had so much to do to prepare.  Little did I know I really only had a couple weeks left!  I did manage to get the room painted during the first week of February, and I was spending a lot of time soaking stained baby clothes and getting them organized and put away.  I had forgotten that I went to my doctor in a panic because I really thought the mucus plug might be a fluid leak!  Oh, and I wanted to reshare my belly photo from that time, because the definition in my belly still fascinates me to this day!


2014 - We were starting to dig into the psychological/behavioral evaluations for Jacob, in the wake of some of the worst of his behavior.  That was when the possibility for Aspergers was first brought up, which definitely had us nervous.  Those evaluations continued into the spring, and while it was disappointing to not end up with clear direction, in the end it was a relief that we weren't facing a specific diagnosis that he would carry with him forever.  Carter went through a difficult run with a double ear infection, but other than that we were having a good time playing with him.  He was in such a cute, silly phase.  He was just starting to stand, too.  Oh, my sweet baby!  Oh, and I was also moving my desk at work after 8-1/2 years in the same spot.  Who knew I'd have less than a year in that new space?

2015 - Most of what was happening a year ago had to do with me being off work.  I was discovering how pleasant stay-at-home mom life could be, and settling into my new, temporary normal.  I discovered that I don't mind housework when my time isn't so limited.  I took the time to go see the Dale Chihuly piece here in Rochester that I'd never seen in person (and now I fundraise for the school of music it resides in!).  I enjoyed my bonus time with Carter.  Of course, I also had to deal with Jacob getting suspended from the afterschool program.  But overall it was a pretty decent time considering I didn't have a job!  Being home for part of a morning this week with Jacob before his doctor appointment reminded me yet again of how much I miss my time at home. 

It's so funny to do one of these posts and see how our lives have evolved over the last eight years.  There are certainly themes, like sickness and behavior issues, that pop up from year to year, but I'm always fascinated by reading about when I was pregnant or recalling unique experiences like kid firsts or being off work.  Life is always evolving, and it's such a reminder of what a journey we're on...

Friday, January 29, 2016

The Cast

Before I get to the latest Jacob update, please allow me to share this picture of Carter with a fresh haircut!  We'd let his hair get a little out of control.  I mean, he looked completely acceptable, but it was shaggy!  I meant to get it done last weekend, but my cold got in the way of that so we finally got it done early this week.  He sat all by himself in the chair and was such a good listener!  He looks so handsome...and so grown up!

Now...as for Jacob...Yesterday was his follow-up appointment with the surgeon.  It was in the nick of time, as his post-surgery splint was starting to fall apart.  It was still intact, but the ace bandage was coming undone so it was definitely time for something a little more secure.

The first order of business was to get the splint off.  The nurse cut off the ace bandage and then slowly picked her way through the cotton wrapping.  Jacob seemed okay during that process, but then it came time to pull the rest of the splint apart and lift his foot off of the remaining material.  That was when the trouble started.  Jacob screamed in pain.  Even after the initial lift, he continued to yell and whine in pain.  It was hard to tell why it was hurting.  Maybe the motion hurt, but it could also be that it felt funny after a couple weeks of immobility, he didn't have any other way to describe the odd feeling other than pain.  I think he was also a little nervous about seeing the scar, too.  I'll admit, the scar was pretty impressive.  It's probably about three inches long.  It's healing up pretty well, but it's going to be a doozy for a while. 

In any event, he carried on for the entire time we waited to see the surgeon, and then again before we went into the casting room.  He also had to pee at the time, which I'm sure didn't help his state of mind.  He attempted to stop in the bathroom on the way to the casting room, but that was a no-go, probably because his leg was just sort of hanging there without support. 

He was still freaking out by the time he got into the casting room.  The guy doing the cast tried to talk to him, but it wasn't really helping.  He did the base layer of the cast with some cotton, then covered it with a sock.  At that point, with Jacob still pretty upset, the cast maker suggested they take a break.  He tried talking to Jacob again, this time asking about his Blue Jays hat.  Like magic, Jacob started to calm down.  Slowly but surely he wrapped the cotton around, and eventually started in on the fiberglass part.  Jacob chose red as his color, and the finished product looked great!

He went back to school for the rest of the day, but opted to not get it signed by his friends that day.  He actually told me that he didn't want anyone to sign it because he didn't want them to make it messy.  However, today he came home with signatures, so apparently he decided messy was more fun!

Here are some pictures, pre-signing:
He can still play on the Wii!

Side view

Front view

For perspective...
He seems to be doing pretty well with it, but he's insisting it is loose.  The casting guy warned us that when there's swelling (he still had a little), the cast can loosen up a bit.  If that happens we have to go back and get a new one.  I doubt it loosened up that quickly, but maybe the guy didn't do it as tight as usual because Jacob was so upset?  Or maybe Jacob is just adjusting to how it should feel?  We'll see.  But at least it's good to have some extra protection for his renegade style on the crutches!

He'll be in the cast for a month, and then hopefully after that he can get back to regular, low-impact activities.  I think it'll still be a couple weeks after that before he can start running on it.  He's out of gym class for eight weeks, so it works out to a couple extra weeks after the cast before he can be back to normal.  And every day is one day closer to that!  We've heard his lacrosse team is getting better, which is promising, and I know he will be much happier when he can participate in gym and the afterschool activities again.  In the meantime, I know it's tough on him.  Spending his entire winter break at the afterschool program's full-day program might be very challenging for him, but hopefully the longer he's like this, the sooner he'll accept it and figure out a way to make this more tolerable for himself.  He's been pretty good so far, but he does have a few party pooper moments where he makes things harder for himself than he has to.  But I give him credit...I never thought he'd survive having to be this sedentary!

Three weeks and six days to go!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

News and Notes, Not Snowed In Edition

So while the rest of the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic region is completely snowed in with 2-3 feet of snow, we're luxuriating here in Rochester with about six inches on the ground, our first snow that actually stuck around for more than a couple days.  We got it last Monday into Tuesday, luckily finishing off when I was home with Jacob, which made shoveling a little easier.  I think we had about four inches then and a couple more over the next few days.  I don't mind snow like this.  And today we even got into the 30-degree range, which happened so rarely last winter once there was snow on the ground.  It was nice to see a little thawing!

So...let's see...Jacob.  He went back to school on Thursday and in his words, he was "more popular than a rock star!"  Or something like that.  He's been using the school's wheelchair for now.  I think it was good that the packet of get well cards from his friends came just in time to remind him of all the kids there waiting for him, and he seemed excited to go back.  And everyone was very happy to see him, so he's been enjoying the attention.  I think it'll be even more fun when he gets his real cast and they can sign it!  But so far so good on the school front.

At home...well...it's a bit more of a mixed bag.  As much as he's gotten more self-sufficient with his crutches, he's also still having a lot of ugly spills.  Now that he's getting more comfortable with them, I think he's losing his focus again and getting complacent.  He trips over nothing.  It's painful to watch, and we're not quite sure how to stop it.  He really just needs to buckle down and focus, or he's going to hurt himself.  Again, it's not always practical to be right next to him when he's getting around, and even if we are, he can get a step ahead and you can't catch him anyway.  It's hard.  We're definitely looking forward to Thursday's appointment to get on to another "next step", the permanent cast and hopefully more insight into the next couple months.  At least he doesn't have any pain, and the itches have been minimal.  He even got a bath with it last night!

In other news, I've been battling something this weekend.  On Friday I had a busy day at work, as we had an event on our music school's campus most of the day, and by that night I had a bit of a scratchy throat and I was really tired early.  I went to bed a little early and still woke up feeling equally awful.  I was tired, my throat was still really sore, and I was pretty much useless the whole day.  I never changed out of my pajamas or put on makeup.  I was stuck in a weird spot between nausea and hunger.  I felt nauseous a lot of the time and didn't really crave any food, but I kept getting hungry.  I ate a couple cups of dry cereal and not much else.  It was a total waste of a day.  Luckily Craig was here all weekend so that made it much easier to lay around all day.  We watched a lot of TV and Craig did his best to keep the kids entertained.  By my (early) bedtime I was convinced I was going to wake up in the middle of the night with stomach issues, as my evening "snack" made my stomach gurgle.  I just didn't feel right.  Luckily, nothing ever happened and I woke up this morning feeling better.  Not perfect, but better.  I showered, got dressed, put on makeup, and even had a very unproductive Kohl's shopping trip.  I got to play some Rollercoaster Tycoon with Jacob, made a crockpot dinner, and did a couple things around the house.  I salvaged the weekend, at least.  I'm still battling a bit of a tickly, hoarse throat from time to time, but I'm thrilled it didn't get worse. 

Carter has been a major challenge for the last few weeks.  He's been talking back a lot more, throwing toys, hitting when he's angry, and reveling in being a general pain in the butt.  It's hard to tell if he's just picking up on a lot of Jacob's naughtiness, or is finally hitting the terrible twos just in time for three.  It started a little before Jacob's surgery, so I don't think it's directly tied into that, but I wouldn't doubt that with all of the attention Jacob has gotten lately, he's trying to exert himself.  He's been brutal at bedtime, from fighting to get in his jammies to staying up an hour after bedtime nearly every night.  He seems like such a party pooper lately, too.  He's not excited about his birthday, and told me today when we read an Easter book that he doesn't want any Easter eggs.  He was like that about Christmas, too.  He doesn't want to do anything fun like that.  I don't know what that's all about, but it's a bummer given how deliriously happy he was for the first two years of his life.  Finally, he's been so-so on the potty training.  He did better in the last week or so, but had an epic accident during nap on Thursday and a minor one tonight.  I can't complain, though.  He's doing pretty well overall.  But he's definitely challenging us right now, and it stinks.  I want my happy, easy-going boy back. 

I found out this week that he'll be moving up to the three-year-old room at daycare on February 1.  I was told that he's been a bit aggressive in his room, and they think it's because he's bored.  I worry a little bit about him with the big kids since he's so small, but hopefully he will thrive in there with more to learn and more toys that are right up his alley.  I once had visions of changing daycares when he hit this room, but now with his behavior issues and the quick switch I'm just not sure what to do.  I still don't like putting money in that owner's pocket.  I don't mind the new director and of all the new teachers I think the two in that room are the ones I get the best vibe from.  But I may still have issues come summer when Jacob needs a place to go.  Other places only charge for days they're there, which works well for him going to lacrosse camps, but our place doesn't have that.  So we may have to switch no matter what...but it's a tough call right now because nowhere seems like a perfect fit for both kids, our budget, and our comfort level.

The kids have been back to bugging one another whenever possible, which is a bummer since we had some peace for a week or so.  We were supposed to have a new sticker chart for Jacob in place by our counseling meeting tomorrow, but with the surgery and being out of our usual rhythms, we didn't quite figure out how we should structure it or what we needed to focus on.  And now with how Carter has been, I'm thinking both kids need one.  So we failed on our homework there.  But I as much as sticker charts can work in the short term, I hate them in the long run because they lose their effectiveness and make the kids expect a reward for doing what they're supposed to do anyway.  It's one thing for potty training where you're aiming to make it a habit sooner than it would have been otherwise, but behavior is such a long term challenge that it's inevitable that it won't be enough.  Not that we won't do it, but I want to be thoughtful about it, and this surgery thing has put everything into limbo for a bit. 

So, in general things are fine, but we definitely have enough to keep us occupied!  At least we can be thankful that we didn't get the crazy snow or a worse illness!  See, things aren't that bad :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Getting There...

We've gotten into some form of a new normal over the course of this week, though that will be changed up a bit tomorrow when Jacob goes back to school.  He's getting around a bit better, we've been able to spend some time with him and keep him going on his school work, and his pain is minimal.  But school could be a whole other ballgame tomorrow.

Jacob's stomach issues hung around right through Monday, and finally yesterday he seemed to be back to normal.  We didn't have any other puking episodes after the one before dawn on Sunday morning, but he still wasn't feeling well and his issues moved south by Monday, which was a bit challenging considering he can't really run to the bathroom right now when nature calls urgently.  But yesterday he woke up doing better, and ate relatively normally for the rest of the day.  He slept in the bathroom again last night, so his stomach must have been bugging him a bit at bedtime, but he woke up and asked for cereal instead of toast for breakfast for the first time since he's been home, so I'll take that as a good sign.  He felt a little iffy again tonight, so I can't help but wonder if he's psyching himself out.

His leg doesn't really seem to be causing him much pain, and we've been off the hardcore meds since Saturday night.  I usually give him a dose or two of ibuprofen over the course of the day, however, as he has mentioned discomfort around his ankle.  I have no idea why that's happening, but given the trauma he's been through, and how wrapped up he is, it could be almost anything.  Maybe it's the immobilization, maybe it's how something is wrapped, maybe he's just having a hard time pinpointing what is actually bothering him.  He insists there's metal in there, which could be the case since there is a splint, but I have no idea.  Maybe his knowledge of the plate is just playing tricks on him.  His followup is in about a week, so hopefully at that point we'll get a little peek at what's going on in there.  And then it will be promptly hidden away for another few weeks under his permanent cast.

He's getting around better, but it's still a pretty unstable situation.  He's just not as coordinated or balanced as I'd like to see him at this point.  He's getting better with straightaways, but once in a while if he gets distracted he has an utter fail where the crutches go flying and he's on the floor.  Nothing has ended seriously, but aside from us shadowing him everywhere, it's really just dependent on him focusing.  The second he loses focus, his rhythm is gone and he can stumble.  That is why he will have a wheelchair at school.  There's no sense risking things on slippery tile floors.  I truly have no idea how that will go, but the nurse and his teacher seemed unphased, so I guess it will be fine.

Craig stayed with Jacob on Monday, I stayed with him yesterday, and my parents came in today.  The highlight of yesterday for me was firing up my old desktop and playing Rollercoaster Tycoon with Jacob.  We'd talked about it when he started playing Minecraft, and I wanted to show him the real game, which is a far cry from the free app on my iPod.  We had fun poking around some of my old parks and building a new one together.  He asked to play it again tonight, but that will probably have to wait for the weekend.  My parents opted to keep Carter home today, too, which was pretty daring on their part.  Carter had some moments--I have no idea what has gotten into him, but man, he has gotten to be a major button pusher--but he shaped up as the day went on. 

Tonight when I brought in the mail, there was a thick envelope from school.  Inside was a stack of get well cards from his classmates!  He was very excited and entertained reading them!  It was interesting to see their second grade perspective of surgery and of their relationships with him.  The drawings of a sick person getting surgery were cute, and it's clear they think he's a great Lego builder!  They all seem to miss him, though!  In addition to the gift bag from my co-workers (who gushed over the cuteness of his brief thank you note), he got some books from my aunt and some coloring books from my cousin's daughter.  My mom printed up a full binder of coloring pages for him.  It's so sweet of everyone to think of him. 

Slowly but surely he's getting better at getting around the house, and I think getting back to school will be good for him.  It will be a challenge after a week of laying around and looking at various screens, but I think it will be nice to get back to normal.  He may not want to admit it, but I think he's looking forward to it.  And next week when he gets a signable cast, he will like that even more!  We still have a long process ahead, but every bit of normalcy we get back is a small victory.  Soon all those small ones will have a big payoff, and we're definitely looking forward to that.