08-21-16 Silence is Golden… Unless…

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This morning Tim took the big kids to church with him. Baby E’s fever is long gone, and his spots are minimal, but I didn’t want to freak out any nursery workers so I opted to keep him home with me this morning. I heard Tim and the kids leave, the door closing behind them while we were both still in the kitchen. I was straightening up from breakfast and doing the dishes. After a few moments I thought, “Wow, it’s so quiet in this house right now!” Wait, not quiet. Silent? That doesn’t seem right. 

I looked up from the sink only to realize I was standing alone in the kitchen. Where is Baby E?  I called his name but he didn’t answer. So I dried my hands and walked towards our living room. As I rounded the corner by the sink I got hit with a wave of warm air. Strange! The ac is on. Why is it hot? It’s almost like the door is… OH MY GOODNESS THE DOOR IS WIDE OPEN!!! 

I ran to the front door in time to see Baby E sneaking down the outside step and onto the sidewalk!!

Apparently Big E was the last to walk out the door, and when he closed the door behind him it didn’t latch. A gust of wind must have opened it and Baby E couldn’t resist the temptation to explore.

Needless to say I rushed over and scooped him up, disregarding his protests and carried his flailing little body inside, firmly latching and locking the door behind us.

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08-20-16 Sometimes it’s not their fault…

I want daddy!!!! She screamed for the thirtieth time as we drove along. Her breathing was short and shallow between each new wail and with each outburst my patience got a little thinner.

We had just spent the past hour and a half at the park. We were all hot, thirsty, and tired. C skipped her nap this afternoon, opting rather to read books in her room. We had left the house shortly before what should have been dinner time and they had Rita’s on an empty stomach and the sugar high had been long depleted.

It’s not that I’m making excuses for her behavior, except that I am. We expect our children to be on their best behavior, to never melt down, and to be logical and rational. And to their credit, they hit the mark quite a bit considering their ages. But there are times when the odds are stacked against them, and guess who stacked them… we did. 

We set her up for failure. We set her up for this moment. And when I tell her to stop and she whines, I can’t, I for one believe her. We had disregarded the things her body needed to cope with her emotions.

When I am hungry, tired, and overheated I’m grumpy. Aren’t we all? And while we as adults have learned (at least to some extent) to contain the natural reactions to those stimuli, we can’t expect small children to do the same. Their reactions to things are naturally bigger, but add the additional stresses and things quickly get blown out of proportion.

As I drove along, I vacillated between breathing, praying, and sternly telling her to calm down- as her screaming sounded perilously close to nails on a chalkboard. Yet for ten minutes she screamed. But when she ceased to get a reaction out of me the screams slowly morphed into whimpers and then into sniffles. Five minutes from home and she started to speak softly to me.

And when I held her tonight in her bed, both of us squished in, a jumble of arms and legs, I stared in her eyes. They were red from the crying, but she smiled and snuggled closer. When you are done cuddling with Big E, will you come back and cuddle with me some more? I agreed, but she was fast asleep when I returned.

 

08-19-16 A much needed slow day!

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Baby E woke up without a fever this morning and maintained a good temperature all day!! He has blisters in his mouth and one near his bum, but otherwise seems clear. I’m not sure if others will start popping up, but I was pleasantly surprised that he was not miserable all day. The doctor said it would probably hurt a lot for him to eat, so he should drink juice to keep his blood sugar up.) He didn’t want to eat much of anything. He would take a couple of bites and then start crying and grabbing at his mouth. So then I offered him a cookie and suddenly he was more than willing to suffer through the discomfort!

The big kids were not thrilled that they didn’t get the same cookie treatment today. 

Tim got home late from work last night, so he slept in this morning, but when he got up, the big kids and I snuck away to the beach for an hour to get out of the house. It was hot and the sun was beating down pretty badly so we didn’t stay too long. C isn’t allowed near the water because her toe hasn’t fully healed from the great brick incident, so we stayed in the sand. Besides there are now jellyfish in the bay and the icky bacteria that we’d like to avoid.

They begged me to go to the farmers’ market this evening, but I told them that we still needed to keep Baby E away from people for another day or so, so instead we took a walk to our favorite stinky bridge and gazebo park. It’s been forever since we’ve been over there but it is really quite nice and peaceful.

We got home and had a short visit from some friends and then it was time for bed.

All in all, today was a happily nondescript day… and after the week we have had, it was exactly what we all needed!

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08-18-16 Baby E’s Double Whammy

It was still light outside when I got the kids all settled in their beds and found my way to my room to spend time with Molly (the kitty formerly known as Talley.) I found her sitting on the bed staring towards the window, but she jumped a little as I sat on the bed next to her. She is still getting used to us and sometimes gets overwhelmed by her new surroundings. As I pet her head and listened to her purr, I laid my own head down on Tim’s pillow. I’ll just rest my eyes.  When they opened again it was dark.

I’m excessively tired tonight. Baby E was running a fever again today, so I left work early to take him back to the doctor. Unlike Saturday, this time he was actually exhibiting some symptoms, the main one being that it seemed like it hurt to swallow.

When the doctor announced to me that he has Hand, Foot, and Mouth I just stared at her. You’re kidding me, right? Could this be what spiked his fever on Saturday?

No. It wasn’t. He didn’t have a fever on Monday or Tuesday, and if it had been HFM then the fever would have been consistent. She maintains that Saturday was the result of the ear infection that the antibiotics have cleared up nicely. But since HFM is viral, the antibiotics won’t touch it so we have to wait it out. She thinks he’ll be better in a few days. We just need to keep his fever down. You know, the one thing that has me on edge right now. *sigh*

Thankfully my little guy is still drinking and eating after his Tylenol sets in. Please pray that he kicks this quick and that his little body gets some much needed rest.

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In other news, we learned Molly is scared of thunderstorms. I had no idea that cats could even be afraid of storms, but yes I googled it and apparently they can. Any recommendations for calming a storm-terrified kitty?

 

08-17-16 This kid…

Baby E was running a fever when I picked him up from the sitter this evening. I could tell when I walked in the door that he wasn’t feeling well. He was sitting on the couch whining and as I walked closer I saw that his eyes were red rimmed, like he was tired, but he had already napped. He didn’t know what he wanted, either, and was getting frustrated at everything. Whether it was my paranoia, or for real, it felt like he was getting warmer by the minute. The sitter said he was fine before nap, but woke up about a half an hour previously very fussy and starting to run a low grade.

Normally I would have shrugged it off and ushered the kids to the van, but after this past weekend, my heart started racing. Is it happening again? I touched him. Is he warmer? I think so. We took his temperature and it was up to 99.9, which in and of itself is not alarming, but he was acting like he did in Petco on Saturday.

And in my mind, all I could see was him seizing again.

I got out some Tylenol for him and gave him a dose. Then we loaded the kids in the van to head home. I called Tim, nearly in tears. I’m not ready to do this again!

I got the kids home, unloaded, and inside. He felt hot while I carried him inside and I scrounged frantically around the house for a thermometer. (Note to self, buy a new one.) He was screaming and angry, and feeling quite warm. When I got his temp it was 100.5. Even after the medicine, it was going up!

And as I sat there staring at him, watching for anything strange, he turned to me and whined, “I wanna waffle.”

You want a waffle?!?!

“Yes!”

And just like that it cleared up. I felt his skin and he was cool, his eyes pleading for a waffle. And as Tim walked in, (after rushing home for his frantic wife) Baby E was finishing his second waffle. He drank his milk. Crisis averted.

Tim decided to stay home with us to make sure he was there if it happened again, but thankfully Baby E’s temp stayed down and now he is in bed.

Is this what it is going to be like every time he has a fever? Hopefully once he is completely over this bout of illness, he won’t get sick again for awhile and we won’t have to deal with it!

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08-16-16 Processing

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This is me… sad.

C drew this photo this evening when I asked her to draw a picture of how she thought mommy felt when she heard that her kids were making bad choices all day.

We’ve been having some behavior problems with the kids the past few days, and I am wondering if Saturday’s incident has been seeping into their week.

My children have never seen Tim and I like that, and the fear that we felt was likely magnified to them. I know that they are wrestling with some big emotions and big questions, and acting out is a way of expressing them.

So this week I’m trying to listen.

I’m trying to hear the cries behind the behavior. I’m reading the subtext. I’m making educated guesses. Their behavior is a problem, but it isn’t the root issue. So these next few days will likely be rocky. We have to work it all out. We have to show each other grace.

As a family, we went through something big and we are all finding our footing again. We’re processing. We’re healing.

My children thought Baby E might die. The same thought ran through my head. They’ve never been close to death. They’ve never felt its painful blow. And for the first time, the veil was lifted and they were confronted with the idea of it. So they have to process it. They have to reconcile it as best they can. And it is our job to help them with that. So that’s going to take a little bit of time and patience.

But don’t worry, we’ll get there.

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C drew this photo of how she stood on Big E’s car seat even though she knew it would bother him and wouldn’t get off when he asked her to. Big E drew a follow up photo of how he chose to bite her because of it.

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This is a picture that Big E drew of when he hit someone. This is very out of character for him, (he will hit C and Baby E at times, but I’ve never known him to hit anyone else.)

After each picture they drew I asked them how they felt. I asked them to describe what was happening in the drawing and how each of the people felt. The reaction was what I was hoping for, remorse for hurting other people.

As I cuddled in bed with C this evening, unprompted she apologized for her behavior today. She said she was so sorry for how she acted.

So I think we are making progress. It’s like I said, we’re processing, but we’ll get there.

08-15-16 Meet Talley

I would like to take a moment to introduce you to Talley, our new furry savage!

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Like I mentioned, we were in the middle of cat browsing when Baby E got sick on Saturday. After the craziness of the day, I had pretty much given up hope that we would be getting a cat anytime soon. However, my husband delightfully surprised me when he was all on board with more browsing on Sunday afternoon.

Baby E was feeling much better and we were getting a little bit of cabin fever, probably due to the fact that we were both pretty on edge from the day before, so we decided to look at cats. There was a cat I had seen online a few days previous and had called about. They told me that she was going to be at an adoption event at a local tractor and supply store, so that’s where we headed.

That’s where we met Talley. She was the only older cat there (She is two) and she was all curled up in her cage. Immediately Tim and I fell for her. Tim had been hesitant to get a cat for a long time, but by the time he was coming around he had very specific ideas about the type of cat he wanted (which is good because I would bring them all home if I could.) Apparently Talley fit the bill! She is gorgeous!! She has beautiful, unique markings and coloring. Her eyes are an intense green with the eyeliner around her eyes. She has these wild cat kind of spots on her tail and back.

Her name is probably going to change. C wants to name her Sweet Honey Bunny, but that’s probably not going to happen. I’ll keep you updated on our final decision, but I’m willing to entertain suggestions!

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Talley’s adoption was not a result of the horrible events of Saturday and Tim seeing how upset I was, however she was certainly a distraction and really helped me through the rest of the weekend. She is still getting used to the house and is kind of skiddish. It’s going to take a little while for her to get used to the kids. (Baby E is especially enthusiastic about her, and while we have kept him away from her he did sneak in once and screech in excitement at her, which sent her high tailing it to the bathtub!)

However, she has already spent time on Tim’s lap and our bedroom door is open now (since the kids are sleeping) to give her a chance to explore! She is sweet and beautiful and I am looking forward to many cuddles in the future!

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08-14-16 Baby E’s story…

It’s been over 24 hours and I think I am ready to tell the story.

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Over three years ago, our cat died, and for three years I have wanted to get another one. And after much discussion and talking, we finally got to the point that we were ready to go look at some. Yesterday morning we got up, had breakfast, and went to a friend’s house who is currently fostering some kittens. We spent about an hour there playing with the cats and went to grab some lunch around 12:30.

During lunch, Baby E was acting a little funny. He wasn’t interested in eating and he was pretty fussy. Eventually I just took him out to the van so that everyone else in the restaurant could eat in peace. Yesterday was extremely hot, but the AC was running full blast in the van. That’s when I noticed Baby E was feeling a little warm. Not much. I wasn’t positive he was even running a fever, because it was so hot outside and we were both sweaty and warm. He continued to be cranky, but I chalked it up to his messy diaper and the fact that we were infringing on nap time.

Once everyone else came out from lunch we headed over to Petco because we saw that they were doing pet adoptions as well. Baby E snatched a quick nap in the car while I ran in to look at cats, but then he woke up and we all ended up inside. We were there for about 20-25 minutes and during that time I noticed that he did feel warm. He was still very fussy, so I knew he was feeling off. Tim thought he felt a little warm too. I figured we’d give him some tylenol when we got home.

We loaded up in the van, but before leaving I asked Tim to drop by Starbucks so I could run in to get a drink. We pulled up and I got out and was standing in line right inside the door. I was trying to decide what I wanted when the door flew open and Tim ran in telling me very, very urgently that we needed to go immediately, and that something was wrong with Baby E.

I ran out of Starbucks and the door next to his seat was open. When I looked in, he was strapped in his car seat in a full out seizure. His eyes were rolled back in his head and his head was twitching back to the right. His arms and legs and torso were violently twitching as well.

Apparently while I was standing in line, C (who was sitting in the far back with Big E) started laughing at the weird faces Baby E was making and drew Tim’s attention to it. When Tim saw what was happening he ran in to get me.

In the split second I was standing next to him I knew this was serious. Tim and I looked at each other and said, “Hospital.” Praise God we were practically across the street from our local hospital. We hopped in the car and Tim shoved the van into reverse. During this time and the ride to the hospital I couldn’t see him and I had no idea if he could even breathe. Calling 9-1-1 would have taken too long and there was nothing we could do for him, but get him to someone who could help.

I have never seen Tim drive that fast and I had no idea that the van could move like that! Big E was squealing in the back seat about how awesome Tim’s driving was, while C (the only one that could actually see Baby E) was crying and shaking with fear. I kept asking her if he was still doing it and she would nod yes.

Tim practically flew into the parking lot by the ER and came to a halt right outside the door. We jumped out and he got Baby E out of his car seat as fast as he could. He was still seizing. He ran him into the hospital. I spent a moment trying to collect myself and figure out what to say to the kids, and praying that my baby was ok. I got in the van and explained to the kids where we were and that this was the best place for Baby E to be. Next thing I know, Tim is running out the door, Baby E still seizing in his arms, yelling that the front desk is insisting that he give them Baby E’s birthdate before they will see him. (He even pleaded with them because the baby was still seizing, but they wouldn’t budge!!)  My mind raced through the kids’ birthdays until it landed on his and yelled it to Tim. (This is no indictment on Tim. If Baby E had been seizing in my arms, I would have blanked on his birthday as well.)

He ran in and there were nurses waiting for him. Baby E continued to seize until they were almost to a room. We estimate his seizure lasted for about 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile outside, the kids and I we pretty shaken up. Big E started crying and C was a mess. I took a few moments to call my parents and Tim’s parents. My parents live too far away, and Tim’s parents were far from home, so I called Rebecca to ask her if she would come get the big kids. I didn’t know what to expect when we walked in the hospital door, and I wanted to spare them from as much as possible. She said she could come and get them. I posted a quick thing of Facebook to get people praying.

I finished parking the car, got in the back with the kids and we prayed for Baby E together. (At this point I had no information at all.) We got out and went inside. They told us immediately his room number and we went back. I paused to talk to the kids because they were freaking out pretty badly, so we got ourselves under control and went to his room. I left them outside the door long enough to go in to make sure he wasn’t seizing anymore. Tim was standing holding him on a scale and they were surrounded by doctors and nurses. He wasn’t seizing but his whole body was stiff and he was whimpering. He handed him to me so they could weigh Tim by himself to subtract to find Baby E’s exact weight. Baby E was so heavy in my arms. He was crying. Next thing I know he was grabbed from my arms so they could get his clothes off.

We got out of the way so they could do their work. As we sat on the floor in the hall Big E kept crying that he didn’t want Baby E to die. C looked at me and whimpered “Daddy, drove though a yellow light!!” I just held them, because I really didn’t know what was going on. A few moments later, the doctor came out to tell me he was almost completely sure that it was a febrile seizure. A febrile seizure happens when your temperature spikes too high, too quickly and forces your brain and body into a seizure. The good news is, they do not have any lasting effects and are not like an epileptic seizure, which would have been bad. His fever was over 103 (a far cry from the slight fever he had in Petco just 15 minutes earlier) and they had to work on bringing it down. They gave him an IV and motrin. The pediatric doctor showed up and the first doctor saw how freaked out the kids were and offered them popsicles. This cheered them up and slowed the tears.

I went in the room again. Baby E was still so stiff, but Tim was holding him and sitting on the bed. His eyes weren’t focusing and his fists were clenched tight. They explained that this was normal behavior after a seizure and that he would come around. They asked us to recount everything that had happened. As we went through the story we had to ask C some questions because she was the first to notice anything happening. She was able to tell us which direction he was seizing. The doctors and nurses praised her for being so brave. When we got to the part about Tim’s interaction with the front desk, they became furious. They were mortified that that had happened and assured us that would be taken care of.

After listening to the whole story, the doctor said she was even more convinced of the diagnosis and that they had drawn blood and were running additional tests just to make sure. They wanted his body to relax before giving him a further exam.

Rebecca showed up and took the kids. They didn’t want to leave because they were still afraid that Baby E was going to die, but we assured them he was going to be fine. As we were leaving we saw a police officer waiting in the ER and C got very worried. She asked me if the police officer had seen daddy drive like that and had come to get him!! I told her he was there for something else. No one would be coming for daddy.

A little bit after they were gone, his body started to relax and he started to interact with us. They did a more thorough exam and found that his one ear was pretty infected. (This kid has had plenty of ear infections, and this time he gave us none of his tell tale warning signs.) The doctor was sure that’s what caused the fever, and didn’t want to do any scans unless necessary. The blood tests came back normal. He was officially diagnosed with a febrile seizure and an ear infection. They discharged us. (And apparently the front desk got a very stern talking too as well.) They did say that he has a 30% chance of having another seizure in the future if his temperature should spike, but he will outgrow it by the time he is five.

As we left, Tim turned to me and said he didn’t think that anything could top Big E’s head injury from last December, but this one definitely did. I had to agree with him. I’ve lived though some pretty rough stuff in my life, but this was the most frightened I have ever been- being in that car, helpless to help my kid, not knowing if he could even breathe. Every second was an eternity. Was I about to lose him?!?!

Multiple doctors and nurses came up to hug me in the hospital, so I know I must have been pretty weepy. I had a hard time not crying. My mind wouldn’t stop racing.

When we left, Baby E was pretty tired. We filled his prescription and headed to pick up the big kids. Unfortunately, C is a thinker and had spent a good time obsessing about what had happened. When we got to them she told me she couldn’t stop thinking about it. We made sure the lines of communication were open and we just let her talk as she needed to.

We got home, had dinner, and Baby E (while tired) was back to his normal self, eating, running around, etc. At bedtime he laid down with no problems and fell straight to sleep. I cuddled with C until she fell asleep. Thankfully she didn’t have nightmares and slept through the night.

Looking at him today, you would never guess what Baby E had been through. He was completely normal today and his fever is gone. He’s on antibiotics and eating and playing well.

I had a friend ask me last night, while I was still very shaken up, if I would have done anything differently. I thought it was an odd question at first, but I realized that it really put my mind at ease. Except maybe running right past the front desk and ignoring questions about birthdates, I don’t think we could have done anything differently. No regrets on our end. Once I looked at it that way, I started to have peace over what had happened.

The image of my son in convulsions will follow me all of my days. Yesterday was traumatic. It was terrifying. It was horrible.

But it was also blessed.

In retrospect, God’s hand was so present.

If I hadn’t had my starbucks craving, we would have been miles and miles down the road before we noticed, but instead we were practically across the street from the ER. 

When Tim started driving, lights were green that needed to be green, and cars got out of our way as we flashed our lights and honked. Nothing stood in our way. 

C was in the back seat and noticed. Usually her seat is next to him, and Big E is behind him. If the seats had been in their normal arrangement, C might not have noticed. 

Baby E was safely strapped in his car seat. While he was convulsing, he wasn’t in any danger of hurting himself by falling or ramming into anything. 

I am so grateful that so many people were praying of our baby. Within mere moments, there were dozens of people interceding for us. Thank you so much. Thank you!

I also wanted to take a moment to say that the doctors and nurses were amazing. I don’t normally recommend that hospital, but this time they really were amazing. They were caring and compassionate. They went out of their way to make sure that not just Baby E was ok, but that we were ok as well. I truly appreciate them.

And most of all, I want to thank God for protecting my little boy. This could have been so much worse, but it wasn’t. I know not everyone gets a happy ending, and while it was the most terrifying moment of my life, it ended up being ok. My little boy is home. He is safe. He is sleeping.

But you better bet I’ve been hugging him tighter all day!

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08-13-16 Update on Baby E

I wanted to start off by saying Thank You to all the people that prayed for Baby E today. We got home this evening and after some dinner, he was more than ready to go to bed.

Today was very rough and Tim and I are mentally recovering from a very scary experience. My eyes are bloodshot from crying. I want to fill you in with all the details, but it is still too new and my emotions are too raw.

Thankfully, Baby E is fine. This evening he was running around the house as if nothing had happened. Tomorrow I will recount the story, but for tonight just know we are thankful for the prayers and our littlest savage is sleeping soundly in his crib. Thank you!

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08-12-16 Likes and dislikes

I’m drawing a blank tonight. I didn’t take any pictures today (except a few when I told Baby E he wasn’t going to get any more M&M’s and he totally flipped out and started screaming at me.)

He’s reached that charming age where he is beginning to know his own mind and able to express it. For instance, here are some things that Baby E likes-

  1. waffles. (by far his favorite food. Followed closely by oatmeal.)
  2. almond milk
  3. choo choos. This is a new obsession for him. He wakes up talking about choo choos.
  4. cars- which he affectionately refers to as cargoes. 
  5. cookies- I made the mistake of giving him one a few weeks ago. Learned my lesson.
  6. outside- his absolute favorite place to be
  7. shoes. He loves shoes. I think because he associates shoes with outside.

There is also a (probably longer) list of things Baby E dislikes-

  1. His siblings getting too close when he isn’t in the mood to be cuddled.
  2. sharing cuddle time. He will not allow anyone else to cuddle me or Tim if he is with us.
  3. avocados. My other kids loved them. He does not.
  4. vacation. This one is only somewhat sarcastic. I have seriously never seen a kid so unhappy on vacation in my life.
  5. juice. I’ve only given him juice a few times, but he really wasn’t a fan.
  6. bread. I’ve heard that he will eat bread for other people, but seriously he will not eat bread for me. He just throws it at me.
  7. stuffed animals. Every once in awhile he will hug a stuffed animal, but he will not sleep with them at night. In fact, he screams at me in anger if I try to give him one in his crib.
  8. laying in bed with us. There have been times when I have tried to bring him into our bed so that we can get some more rest, but he will have none of it. He has never cuddled in bed with me.

I was looking at him earlier this evening and realized that C was several months younger than him when Big E was born. I remember at the time thinking that she was so big, but really she wasn’t. She was still a baby herself.

I’m now munching on the very M&M’s I wouldn’t give to Baby E, a perk of being an adult and a mom. Sorry, this post is all over the place. I’m just excited that I got through my first week post vacation!