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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Post Party

Yesterday afternoon we had nine little girls from Grace's school over for her birthday party. The party was a hit and we managed to go through the entire two hours with only one minor breakdown from one little girl who was the first to be "out" during a rousing game of musical chairs. Grace had a blast and made an absolute haul in the gift department--so much so that we might have to add a wing to our house for the piles of Barbies and My Little Ponies and Littlest Pet Shops.

I'm beat, plain and simple. After the little girls all left yesterday we had family over and then I spent the evening with Grace, Harrison, and my four-year-old niece while Aaron went to a wedding reception, so I didn't really have a chance to recover. Then, today I spent the majority of the day just cleaning up the housewide mess left over from yesterday's festivities and fantasizing about what it would be like to hold next year's party for Grace anyplace OTHER than our house. Now, finally, I am enjoying a glass of wine and the relative silence in the house.

But, as I was putting Grace to bed tonight, she told me that she really loved her party and that she had so much fun. I suppose that makes the whole thing worth it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grace: Five Years Old

Gracie,

One afternoon last week when I picked you up from school your teacher approached me to inform me that you had lost your play time privileges for that day because you were talking out of turn to some of your friends. And even though I did take a moment to gently remind you that it's important to listen when it's listening time and to be respectful of your teacher, inside I was smiling. I was smiling because I considered this a step in the right direction--you used to be the child who was so shy that I would have to beg you to talk to others. Now you've come out of your shell so much that sometimes you have to be reminded that it's not appropriate to talk ALL the time. I know you were worried that I would be mad at you for getting in trouble at school, but the opposite is true. I'm happy that you're finally coming out of your shell and showing the world what I have known for five years--that you are the most special, wonderful little girl. And to commemorate the first time you got in trouble at school, I took you out for ice cream.

Today you turn five years old, and when I think about how quickly these five years have passed, it takes my breath away. Also taking my breath away is the realization of how much you have grown up over the past year. You've become far more independent--in fact, you love to show us how you are able to do all kinds of things on your own and it seems that you are learning how to do more stuff every day. You're so smart--you love to sound out words and figure them out and if I let you, I have a feeling that you would spend hours just writing and writing. And, you shocked me recently by tearing off a piece of a napkin and telling me it looked like a trapezoid. A trapezoid!! I had to take a minute to remember my geometry so I could keep up with you...

Your imagination seems to grow day by day, as well. You love to tell the most magnificent stories, weaving together little pieces of your experiences and making sure you include your favorite people in your cast of characters. Sometimes, when you don't know I'm listening, I'll catch you making up little songs about all sorts of things and singing them to yourself and I'll chuckle to myself over how creative and imaginative you are. And, you're a little sponge, sopping up and retaining information as quickly as you can, and your constant hunger for more and more knowledge is so impressive to me. You're always anxious to practice the new things you're learning and you love to display your many new talents--the newest of which is baton twirling!

Something really big happened in your life this year--you became a big sister. Harrison came barreling into your world, monopolizing your mama's time and keeping you awake most nights with his crying. And not only have you taken this huge transition in stride, but you have accepted your new brother with eager and open arms. You have even gone so far as to put in an order for yet ANOTHER sibling because you like being a big sister so much. I hope that you are able to read this when you are a grown up and have children of your own, because then you will be able to appreciate as much as I do now how wonderful and helpful it is to have an oldest child who can handle so gracefully the difficult changes that a new sibling brings. Many kids have a really hard time when a younger sibling comes into their lives--they regress, they hate their new brother or sister, they have trouble in school. You have done the opposite--you have grown. You have become even more compassionate and caring and my heart swells with pride each time I see you interact with Harrison. I am so proud of you and I am excited for you to have a sibling to share your life with.

Last night as you were falling asleep, I spent some time watching your peaceful little face and listening to your soft breathing and recalling how at that moment five years ago, I was packing my hospital bag and trying to imagine how much my life was about to change. I couldn't fathom how quickly that tiny baby that I would deliver the next afternoon would grow--I couldn't imagine having a five-year-old, but here we are. Happy birthday, Punkin. Thanks for the privilege of spending yet another wonderful year with you.

Love,
Mama

Friday, May 22, 2009

Clipped

Happily, Harrison's surgery appears to have been a raging success. Actually, apart from a little fussiness, one would never know that Harry underwent a procedure yesterday. Aaron and I watched in wonder yesterday afternoon as Harrison stuck his tongue out for the very first time, and he seems to have an easier time eating as well.

The surgery itself was incredibly quick. He was taken to the OR around 8:00am, and by 8:15, we were already having the post-op meeting with his doctor. The longest part of the day came when we had to stay in the recovery room for four hours because Harrison was very close to the "preemie" cutoff and they wanted to monitor him for a bit longer than they would with full-term babies.

So, that's behind us. I'll be very happy if we can stay away from the hospitals for a while now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Wanna Be Sedated

After seeing our ENT doctor last week and hearing that Harrison's poor little tongue is tied pretty severely, we're having Harrison's frenulum clipped tomorrow. Even though he's the one undergoing the procedure, I am the one who's gonna need some sedation. (What would I do if something was REALLY wrong with one of my kids? I can't even think about this without the waterworks starting up. Geez, buck up, sister.)

Anyhoo, as I said we took Harrison to the pediatric ENT clinic a week or so back and the doctor barely had to look at Harry's tongue to tell us that we should certainly have this procedure done now or Harrison would more than likely end up needing, at the very least, some speech therapy when he turns 4 or 5. And, he could possibly have some issues when he starts eating solids in a couple of months, too. The doctor was surprised (and a little dismayed) that we weren't offered the option to have his frenulum clipped while he was in the hospital in the days after he was born because the procedure is SUPER easy at that point in an infant's life. He also told us that if we had clipped right way, Harry would have been able to nurse. Ugh!! (I've decided not to get too pissed about this, though. Harrison had so many other issues right after birth that we probably would have opted to wait, anyway.)

Well, because we didn't have the procedure done right after Harrison was born, the poor dude has to go to a special surgery center and he has to be sedated for the duration of the surgery so the doctor can make sure he makes the cut as clean as possible. This means that after 1:00am, Harrison can't have any formula. His surgery isn't scheduled to start until 8:00am. I don't see this ending well for any of us.

Actually, it sounds like the procedure is pretty simple--the actual clipping of the frenulum takes less than two minutes and since the incision is immediately cauterized by the electric knife used to make the cut, there is virtually no bleeding. The time-consuming part of the surgery comes from the sedation--they will mask Harrison down first and then they will place an IV to keep him asleep. Then they have to wake him up again. Seems like a lot of work for two stinking minutes.

The doctor seems pretty convinced that this needs to be done like right now, but I have made the mistake of reading literature online that says that clipping the frenulum really ISN'T necessary, so there is a little voice in my head whispering, "You're gonna be sorry about this tomorrow!!"

I'm just hoping that we're not creating a problem where one doesn't exist. If Harrison's cries of hunger don't keep me up tonight, wondering whether or not we're doing the right thing certainly will.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Little Artista

Here is Grace explaining her latest work of art--paint on canvas:

video

She is currently enrolled in an after-school class that her school offers called Mini Picasso, and tonight she got to bring home her first completed project from that class. This is just one of the many reasons why I am so pleased that we decided to enroll Gracie in an arts-based school--the kid is just flourishing. I know I am the mama so it's natural for me to think my kid rocks, but I really think she has some raw talent when it comes to art and I'm glad that she has an opportunity to use that talent and add new skills to her repertoire. She was so excited when she brought her project home tonight, and honestly, I was floored at how GOOD it was. Yeah, it helps that it was painted on real canvas, but to me, this looked like something you would find for sale. I can't wait to frame it and display it in our house.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ya Know, It's Not Like I Don't Have Anything to Say...

Oh, I have a lot to say, but most of it has to do with this episode of Steve Wilkos that I'm kind of watching right now, and trust me, you don't even want to know.

For some reason or another, it's been really hard for me to think of stuff to blog about lately, and I have a feeling it's because I am just SO FREAKING TIRED. Harrison is down to one feeding during the night (usually sometime between 2:30am and 4am), and that is a huge improvement, but since it's been almost three months since I have gotten some really good sleep, everything seems a little foggy to me. I have a flicker of an idea for a blog entry, but as quickly as it appears, it's gone and I am back to fumbling around the house like a zombie, looking for a Diet Dr. Pepper and my under eye concealer.

There is also the fact that being a stay at home mom is far more work than I ever imagined it would be, and right now, I only have one kid at home with me so once school lets out for the summer, my work will double. Don't get me wrong--I love staying home and caring for the kids and managing the household. I LOVE it. It's way more rewarding than any other job I could imagine. But it's also a job that doesn't allow for a lunch break or sometimes even a bathroom break. And when the baby is asleep, it's hard for me to take that "nap when the baby naps" advice...hell no...that's my time to handle the zillion other things that need handling.

So yeah, I'm doing well but I'm having a hard time fueling the creative juices enough to come up with anything of interest to post. Sorry about that. I'm sure I'll have something to say soon about Harrison's upcoming surgery to clip his frenulum, but in the meantime, feast your eyes on this handsomeness:

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Leave of Absence

I was originally scheduled to return to work after my maternity leave officially ends on May 19th. But, instead of going back to work and earning next to nothing because of having to pay to place both kids in day care (after school ends for Gracie in June), Aaron and I decided that it would be a better idea to have me stay home for the summer and take care of these two:

And I am so, so excited to be able to do this. I have a feeling this is going to be the best summer ever.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Thumbs Up

Me: Gracie, how do you like being a big sister?

Gracie: