Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I conquered!

Our sluggish kitchen drain was getting worse and worse, and my kitchen was getting dirtier and dirtier. Thank goodness for my dad, who is one of those people who can fix anything. (I'm one of those people who doesn't know what to do with anything that falls under the category of "home repair.") I was speaking to him on the phone and mentioned my sluggish drain problem. I told him about the boiling water and the baking soda/vinegar combo I tried. He recommended plunging the sink. Never would have thought of that!

After sterilizing the plunger (the only one we have has been in the toilet), I went to town on the drain. I guess I had some built up tension from the stress of the last couple of days. To appreciate the full humor of the situation, you must understand I was standing on our step stool with one foot on a drain plug in one side of the sink, vigorously plunging away at the other side. Five good plunges later and all that manky water just drained away beautifully making such a loud sucking sound that Nathan looked up from his playing to ask what it was.

With so many things feeling out of my control, it's good to be empowered by a victory over one of the smaller, but oh-so-satisfying to resolve things.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Like, Whoa.

I'm taking a deep breath because the last couple of days have been a doozy (spell check does not recognize doozy as being a legitimate word; trust me, it is, and I know exactly what it means). First, I had something funny going on with my email. Several emails had apparently been sent from my email and bounced back as spam, but the emails did not show up in my sent folder. Stephen and I tried to figure out if my email account had actually been breached or if the information had been obtained through some other means. I changed my password. Then the new password didn't work. It was a mess. Finally, we seemed to get it all straightened out, although I was left feeling violated by some nameless force in cyberspace.

My kitchen sink has been draining (or not draining) in an increasingly sluggish manner, which has had the effect of making me even less motivated to wash dishes. It has also burped nasty food bit laden spurts of water whenever the dishwasher has been running. I've tried pouring several large pots of boiling water down the sink with no effect, and tried the baking soda and vinegar mix followed by boiling water. Time to move on to some hardcore Drano, I guess, although I hate using any kind of caustic chemical.

Fortunately, Nanny volunteered to babysit Saturday night, so I was able to postpone cleaning the wreck that is my kitchen until another day. Stephen and I headed out to the Village Cafe for a wonderful, delicious dinner. We talked, we ate, we ate some more. Then we paid with our credit card. Or thought we paid. When Stephen checked the ticket to add the tip, he noticed that the receipt said "Sale forced." Hmm. We remembered that we had received new cards in the mail about a week ago and they were still sitting in the envelope under the loveseat. Stephen said he thought the new cards had new numbers. We called the waitress back over to the table. She went back to verify the sale went through. Stephen used the internet on his phone to check if the number had, in fact, changed. I sat at the table and tried not to stress over the increasingly complicated transaction. Once the waitress came back to the table, she said it hadn't gone through, so we provided another card, and, having finally paid for our meal, left the restaurant.

This paragraph will probably contain too much information for some of you, so if you're one of those TMI kind of people, skip immediately to the next paragraph. For all of you who want to know every single gory detail, later that night as we were coming home from our date, I started feeling my bladder spasm, and instantly felt paranoia gripping me. I knew it was a bladder infection coming on. If you have had a bladder infection, you know that it is a horribly painful condition that can have a surprisingly rapid onset. We went by the grocery store where I picked up some 100% cranberry juice. I've never had alcohol, but I have a feeling 100% cranberry juice is about on par with straight vodka, in other words, something you resort to only for the purposes of getting drunk fast, or a desperate attempt to knock out a bladder infection that's brewing. I chugged a few ounces of cranberry juice. We started watching Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince. I spasmed. I chugged some more. I put a glass of cranberry juice on the bathroom sink which I chugged in the middle of the night. I chugged a glass of cranberry juice the next morning. Still spasming, but without developing further symptoms, I decided, cautiously, that I may have escaped my potential fate this time. I decided to make a chicken broccoli casserole.

We sat down to the table and started eating. I picked out the chicken, broccoli, and rice for Daniel, who can't have milk or wheat products because of his eczema. He ate hungrily, but after a few minutes he started scratching at his head and face. Scratching while eating is not that unusual for Daniel, so I didn't think much of it and continued feeding him. A few minutes later I looked at him and his eyes looked red and swollen. Then I noticed that his bottom lip had puffed out. I went straightaway to the cabinet and gave him a large dose of an antihistamine. Stephen and I tried to decide if we needed to take Daniel somewhere. I called Walgreens to see how long it should take before the medicine kicked in and the pharmacist said it could take up to half an hour for the medicine to be metabolized. Daniel continued to swell. We decided we needed to head to the urgent care down in Griffin. Stephen put Nathan in his seat while I frantically grabbed a diaper and a passy. We arranged for someone to meet us at urgent care and pick up Nathan. I monitored Daniel to make sure he was still breathing okay as his lips and eyes swelled up to epic proportions. We arrived at the Urgent Care only to find that they had changed their hours a month before without bothering to update their website. We passed Nathan on, and jumped back in the van to head down to the hospital. As soon as I walked in the emergency room door, the nurse at the desk saw Daniel's face and rushed us back to a room. Someone started checking his lungs, which thankfully sounded fine. They tried to put in an IV line to get medication in his bloodstream. Tried the elbow, couldn't get a vein. Tried a foot, no luck. Tried his hand. By this time, Daniel was screaming, and I was feeling increasingly desperate. Finally they decided to do an intramuscular injection in his leg, a steroid shot in one and a shot of benadryl in the other. After that, every time someone tried to touch Daniel, or I even tried to shift in the chair, he would start to cry. He feel into an exhausted sleep on my shoulder. Meanwhile, we anxiously watched his face for signs that the swelling was going down. Two hours later, the lip had finally deflated, and we headed home.

Today, Daniel is much better, although I am left wondering exactly what triggered such a reaction. I set up an appointment with an allergist, and we will probably need to do some testing. I really hope we can pinpoint what caused the reaction, so I don't feel like there's an unknown menace always waiting to pounce.

Oh, and I never did get a bladder infection. Chalk it up to the cranberry juice, or maybe it was all just mental to begin with.

Like I said, doozy. Take that, computer spell check!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I'm exhausted. After a pregnancy, a baby who woke every night until the next pregnancy, another pregnancy, and a baby who still wakes up just about every night, I'M TIRED. I feel like a broken record because the overarching theme of every day is fatigue/tired/exhausted/want a nap/want to go bed/want my children to go to bed/want my children to stay asleep. See a recurring message here? MAMA WANT TO GO SLEEPY!

For me, the worst part is not the physical exhaustion, although that is hard to cope with. I don't like feeling like I am in a constant fog. I don't like feeling the last bit of my energy seeping out of my toes into a watery puddle on the floor. I don't like being too tired to exercise (If you've read some of my other blog posts, you know how I feel about exercise).

But the WORST part of being so tired is the emotional toll it takes. I am not an emotionally unstable person at my deepest, well-rested core. I am normally very even-keeled and easy-going. However, the key to maintaining my serenity is sleep--and lots of it. I'm a nine-hours-and-sometimes-more-than-that-a-night kind of girl. I'm a don't-even-think-about-waking-me-up-until-it's-morning kind of girl.

So after a thousand and one nights of little chunks of broken restless sleep, I'm a little irritable. Sometimes I'd like to cry, but I can't muster the energy. Sometimes I get really mad. Sometimes Dr. Jekyll competent and loving mom morphs into Mr. Hyde who wonders what to do with these kids now that she has them.

The thing that makes the ugly green monster now inside me rear its ugly head the most is, not surprisingly, when people tell me about how their (6 month old, 3 month old, 4 week old) baby is now sleeping through the night. If you are a mom who has told me your baby sleeps through the night, I still love you and bear you no ill will. However, at the moment I heard those words, I may have given you a blank stare while thinking unspeakable thoughts (something like "AaaggGGHHHH!!!!").

I know that my littlest one will eventually sleep well every night in my head, but my implosive, exhausted emotional center says "How long, Oh Lord?" Yes, I have prayed, and continue to pray that my baby will sleep. I have also laid in the bed in the middle of the night hearing a screaming baby and prayed things like "Please, just make it stop. Why are you doing this to me?" and other equally irrational things.

Oh, and until I'm past my present exhausted, emotional state, please do not tell me you know how I feel unless you have walked in my shoes (back and forth to the crib four or five times a night for innumerable nights). Going to bed late and feeling tired the next day is not the same thing. Having to get up a couple of times a night with a small baby for a couple of months is not the same thing! Being tired by your own choosing because you didn't go to bed at a reasonable time every night for months is not the same thing!!

If I seem a little extra emotional today, chalk it up to the caprices of nature. Daniel slept from 10:00 last night to 7:00 this morning, but just as I was sinking into a desperate, delightful sleep last night, an extremely loud thunderstorm began that kept me awake until after 12:30. So yes, I'M STILL TIRED!

Not by the book

I love books. I am always reading something. When I want to undertake a new project, the first thing I do is check out a few books from the library and read up on the subject. It was a book that originally inspired me to start gardening. I love all kinds of books, but especially non-fiction. I just want to know about stuff! So of course when we were expecting Nathan, I read lots of books and added a couple of my favorites to our personal library. (Just in case you were wondering, my all time favorite baby book just so happens to be called "The Baby Book" by William and Martha Sears.) Just like most new moms, I thumbed through the book to figure out when fevers were high enough to merit a trip to the doctor, what the right dosage of Tylenol was and whether to use it when Nathan was fussy for no apparent reason, and how to start him on solid foods. Most of all, I wanted to know, was this (bowel movement, skin rash, spit up, weight loss, weight gain) NORMAL. With Nathan, it pretty much always was. Of my two boys, Nathan would most closely fit the book parameters of normal. In fact, as a baby, Nathan was abnormal only because he was such a super-good baby. He hit all his milestones at the appropriate times. He ate a full feeding of rice cereal the first time we fed any to him. We could take him anywhere and he would be happy. As long as he wasn't hungry or tired, he never cried. However, he didn't sleep through the night until he was twenty months old. Newly pregnant with Daniel, I simply couldn't continue getting up with him every night, and after a couple of nights, he started sleeping through. About three months into my pregnancy, we just gently and easily weaned him from nursing with no trauma to mama or baby. He was not by the book; he was better than I could have ever expected.

Then we had my other, absolutely not-by-the-book baby, Daniel. Daniel did not sleep, cried a lot, and wanted to nurse all the time. He developed severe eczema (extremely itchy, red rash over his entire body) at about eight weeks. I had to put socks over his hands to keep him from scratching until he was bloody. He also teethed constantly from six months on. (He already has about twenty teeth.) When it was time to start solids, I discovered that he wanted nothing to do with any solid food. No fruit, no veggies, no cereal. He dropped into the bottom 10th percentile for his weight. The books had no answers for what I really wanted to know. How do I make this child eat? How do I relieve the endless itching? How do I get a full night of sleep when I can't let my baby cry it out? I didn't know, and they didn't either. It made me feel a teeny, tiny bit better that even the so-called baby experts wouldn't have any idea what to do with my baby.

Daniel's a little older now and we've figured a few things out. We've found a lotion that helps his skin heal faster when he does scratch it up. I've discovered that he loves a few foods as much as he despises others: sweet potatoes, meat, and beans, which I can pretend is a relatively balanced diet. And one would hope that we could have a break from teething since the only ones not already through are the two year molars. And Daniel has had several nights recently where he has only woken up one time. I, on the other hand, have struggled with insomnia, no doubt precipitated by spending a year of my life getting up several times a night.

Nathan is a bright three-year old who continues to be pretty easy-going, except when he tackles his little brother eighteen or twenty times a day. We're starting to learn his letters (which is a whole new kettle of fish; teaching my child how to read is much, much scarier than potty-training). He has continued to flourish, despite the massive drains on his mommy's time from his little brother. I am so thankful for the resilience God gave to children. He loves to sit with Mommy and Daddy and read our favorite Little Critter books.

Since I have tagged Daniel as being a difficult child, I want to add this caveat. Lest you think Daniel has been a burden without a return, let me tell you that, like a lot of children with physical problems or special needs, he is so full of love. This morning as I washed the floor in the kitchen (on my hands and knees, because I hate mops), he walked over to me and put his little arms around my neck. He also still sits in my lap and snuggles, something Nathan only did at this age if he was nursing. There are rewards!