Monday, December 28, 2015

Dear Henry: Month Six

Dear Sickest Henry-

This month was, unfortunately and sadly, defined by illness. It started as a runny nose that led to difficulty breathing through your nose, which led to extreme misery. And that was just the first two days. It eventually turned into a double ear infection, which led to intense misery. Suffice to say, there was a lot of misery. 

But we survived! And the silver lining? We snuggled for pretty much 48 hours straight. Which did have the unfortunate consequence of making you feel like you now have to be rocked before you can go to sleep, but that had the fortunate consequence of me knowing just how wonderful it is when you gently rest your hand on my cheek as I rock you to sleep. And that, my dear son, is worth all the arm aches and back pain. 

The illness lasted for about half of the month and the other half? Smiles. All smiles. 

And chewing. Lots and lots of chewing.

You also figured out rolling both ways, which led to a bit of mobility, which led me to step up my baby-proofing game. 

You haven’t been interested in baby food yet. I’ve tried several times and each time you give me this look of total and utter disgust and then clamp your mouth shut and refuse to try another bite. We’ll keep trying, but I’m not worried.

I know I’m a bit behind this month with your letter. December is busy for most everyone, but add in two birthdays and it’s just shy of chaos around here. Add in a six-month-old baby and you have complete chaos. 

And we’re loving every minute. 

Love always, 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Search Has Ended

We called on you and you answered the call. 

You searched your collections. You asked your friends. Your neighbors. Your family. 

You posted it on Facebook and continued to spread the word. 

Yesterday, I received a small package. Inside it contained joy. Pure, unadulterated joy (in the form of a soft, gray kitten). It was from a family I have never met. A family whose compassion and generosity inspired them to help Santa fulfill a little girl’s wish. 

In less than 10 days we will get to watch that little girl’s face as she sees her best buddy under the tree. I can’t wait. 

Thanks to every one of you who helped Santa with his search. Y’all are certainly on the nice list. 

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Search for Rocky

Three years ago nearly to the day, Claire wrote a letter to Santa in which she asked for “a cat and a choo-choo for the cat to go in.” 

Three years ago on Christmas Eve, Santa ran from store to store, searching for a stuffed animal cat. You see, Santa waited until the last minute because how hard could it be to find a stuffed cat? Harder than you think. Nothing at Target. Nothing at Wal-Mart. Nothing at the mall. Nothing at the various dollar stores. No stuffed cats to be found. And businesses were starting to close. Panic was setting in. 

So, Santa tried one last place — Hastings. The most unlikely of places to find a stuffed animal. But way in the very back of the store was a rack full of stuffed animals. And in it sat, Rocky. The softest, most cuddly little gray stuffed kitty. 

And on Christmas morning, one sweet little three-year-old girl found a soft, cuddly gray kitten under the tree. 

In the years to come, there would be other stuffed animals. Freckles. Little Horsey. Jake. Rose. Cubby. All of these were special, but none ever took Rocky’s place as best buddy. 

Rocky went everywhere with Claire. To sleepovers and restaurants and camping. In just about every car ride. He stayed with her during her eye surgery. And he was misplaced a time or two. We once found him in the microwave of the play kitchen and once balled up in the play tea kettle. He was good at hide and seek.

But he was always found. Until this summer. 

Rocky’s last known location was at the hospital when Henry was born — he was so special, he accompanied Claire to the first time she met her baby brother. 

The days and weeks and months after that were a blur of baby cries and sleep deprivation. Rocky’s absence wasn’t noted until a few months down the road. 

We searched high and low, but could not find that sneaky little buddy. We looked in microwaves, tea kettles, cars, purses, overnight bags, under beds, in drawers — still no Rocky. 

Last night, as we are writing our letters to Santa, Claire dictates the following: 

Dear Santa,
Do you know the Rocky you gave me three years ago? I lost him by accident. Will you give me another cat like Rocky?

And so Santa’s helpers (Scott and I) began the search and pled with any friends or family members who might know of another Rocky. Friends from all over joined the search. They asked their friends and those friends asked their friends. And although this particular cat seems to be of the most rare variety and very hard to find, I sat down last night and couldn’t help but smile. 

Some day I will tell Claire of the great lengths so many friends and friends of friends went to to find her another Rocky. People she has never met before trekked to their basements and searched through totes of beanie babies to see if Rocky was among them. They called on family members to do the same. From Kansas to Illinois to Minnesota, people were hunting for a Christmas miracle. 

And although we didn’t find the cat, that kind of spirit and compassion is a Christmas miracle all on its own. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

Fussy Nights

Eleven days ago, Henry caught a cold. It started out as a runny nose. Slight cough. Fussy nights. 

Two nights later, he wouldn’t even let me lay him in bed. Every time he sensed I was thinking about it, he’d start hollering. So, that night, I piled up some pillows on the twin bed that’s in his room and he slept on me while I lay in a semi-sitting position, with my neck twisted in an unnatural position and the top half of me freezing because I couldn’t pull the blankets over his head. And, of course, not moving the tiniest of bits for fear I would wake him. 

That Sunday, I took him to minor med and they told me “it’s a virus.” Which is code for “good luck, lady.” I hung my head and went home with two recommendations: use saline nasal drops and a nasal aspirator, which is code for “go home and torture your kid.” 

But then it got better-ish for a few days. He still wasn’t napping or sleeping well, but at least he was doing it in his bed. 

But then it got worse. He wouldn’t go to sleep for Scott at all. He wouldn’t even let me rock him in a reclined position. Every time I went to lay him down, he started moaning and then screaming. 

So, for two nights, he slept on my chest. While I sat up, neck twisted, shoulders freezing, not moving and oh, did I mention that I also caught his cold? So, in addition to the discomfort of our sleeping arrangements, I spent the night trying to silently clear my throat and hold back my coughs. 

I know someday I’ll remember these nights fondly — the days where he curled up on my chest and just needed his Mama. But someday is not this day. And this day, I needed a break. 

So, yesterday — a week from the first doctor’s visit — we went back. I sat there holding my breath as she examined him. Lungs sounded good, nose wasn’t too bad, no fever. Then she checked his ears. “Here it is. Double ear infection.” 

I exhaled and almost hugged her. Not that she had any control in the matter, but I was just so happy to hear something other than “suck it up and wait.” 

Instead, we medicate and wait. I’ll let you know how it goes. 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Kindergarten Diaries: Nov. 19

Grace: Mom, a boy kissed me today.

Me: (Stopping dead in my tracks) What did you say, sweetie?

Grace: A boy kissed me today. 

Me: Where?

Grace: At school.

Me: No, I mean where on you?

Grace: *Shrugs*

Me: You don’t know? 

Grace: Well, this other boy said he kissed me. But then that boy said the other boy kissed me. 

Me: Did you feel anything? 

Grace: I don’t think so. 

Let’s keep it that way. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Mmmm, Toes

Everything in Henry’s world fits into two categories: things you can chew on and things you can’t. Turns out, toes are in the former. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Fall 2015

Fall is, by far, one of my most favorite seasons. It’s tied with winter, spring and summer. Haha! 

I do really love it though. The crisp weather. The changing leaves. The pumpkins. The patches. The pumpkin patches. It’s pretty great. A few scenes from our fall: