Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Guilty as Charged

I wrote this post this morning, before I was called by daycare to inform me Will would need to be picked up. I've since been at the doctors office for 3 hours and counting. I guess it's ironic that the chain of events seem to support everything I was writing in the first place--as parents we do whatever it takes to make sure our babies are happy & healthy and while its hard to take a step back, it's also important to remember it can always be worse. After chest X-rays, nebulizers and labored breathing-it looks like the common cold, that was costing me sleep - has turned to pneumonia and RSV & likely earned us a hospital stay.

The last two nights have been miserable. Poor little Will has been sick, coughing nonstop and so congested he can barely breath. His chest rattles all day long and his sleep schedule is no more. Our house is functioning on zero sleep and just trying to survive without killing each other. This morning as I was up trying to get Ella to speech by 7:30 a.m. I thought, man this sucks!

Will is never hard. He's always happy, eats like a champ and sleeps for 12 hours straight. It's not sucky. On the other hand, when Ella was a baby it was hard & sucky! I'm not sure if all of our struggles were due to her cleft lip & palate or if it was because she is a pistol, but nonetheless it wasn't easy. On top of surgeries, she cried all day long and hated sleeping.

As first time parents we were so overwhelmed that other challenging things most parents experience went unnoticed. If she had a cough, it was no big deal. Dry skin, constipation, diaper choice? Who cares! We were just lucky she was alive.

A friend of mine has a child born with spina bifida and while a cleft is not nearly as serious, it was nice to have a mom who could relate to raising a child who wasn't "normal." We used to share stories of "other" parents ridiculous complaints and laugh. One day a woman, we'll call her Dorothy, went on and on about her child's dry skin and how embarrassing it was to take them out in public. Embarrassing in public? I wanted to say, "imagine the stares at a child with a gaping hole in their face or one in a wheelchair!"

I tried to remind myself that we all have our own problems and if dry skin was the worst thing that happened to Dorothy, it just might seem terrible but regardless, choose your audience wisely.

And yet here I am, guilty as charged! A parent to a semi-normal (I'm convinced there is no such thing as normal) child, complaining and feeling sorry for myself because for two nights I haven't gotten any sleep because he's sick. I have had worse, I've dealt with more but because my current reality is much easier, these past two days seem like a big deal.

The fact is-no matter what your circumstances are-every parent wants their baby to be happy & healthy and when things go wrong, no matter how serious-it's a big deal. We want things to be perfect, but that's not life. At the end of the day, all you can do is what you think is best!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013


SAHM: Stay At Home Mom, more commonly known as the hardest job on earth! I have always had the utmost respect for these women and often wonder how they accomplish everything with kids at home; laundry, a clean house, art projects, baking, educational activities, etc. etc. etc.

This past Monday I got a taste of what it would be like if I didn't drop my kiddo's at daycare everyday. I have always said that I would kill myself, or my children and it was for the best that I went to work each day.

We started the day by creating our art/baking project - ice cream cupcakes. Whenever we bake I let Ella take control and the goodies are never intended for consumption, with the exception of me of course. I am never exempt - I always have to taste, she insists! They turned out pretty cute but unfortunately didn't taste as cute as they looked. There was so much frosting and the consistency of the cone and the cupcake wasn't my thing.

We then moved onto reading stories, coloring pictures and playing games. After that I successfully put them both down for a nap and proceeded to clean the house, do the dishes and prep for the next day. For a moment I thought to myself, maybe I could do this. Just maybe I could be a SAHM. Ella is a bit more self-sufficient now and has gotten past her absolutely rotten stage. Will is the best baby a mom could ask for. Maybe I could stay home with both of them. Then I stopped myself and remembered, it was only 1 DAY!

I love my children, they are my biggest priority. I love and cherish my time with them. However, I still believe that me going to work is the best thing for my family. It's best to send my kids to daycare, where they learn so many things I could never teach them. They make friends. They socialize. They have field trips.

And more importantly, it's best for me. Obviously work can sometimes be frustrating, but it challenges me every day. It forces me to learn new things and continuously grow. I love my work family. They are more than co-workers, they are my friends.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Lately it seems I'm always posting things that require deep thought and over analysis, which usually revolves around Ella and somehow what's going on with Will gets put on the back burner.

It's pretty fitting I suppose, after all he's kind of a second thought kid. I don't mean that in a sense that he's not as special as Ella, I just mean he's perfectly content to wait around until we have the time to devote to him. He looks at us as if he's saying, "you look like you have a lot going on, so I'll be over here when you can get to me!" It's pretty amazing. Maybe that's what all second children are like, but nonetheless - we're extremely grateful!

So an update on Will....
He's 5 months old already and has earned the nickname, Moose. He's huge! At our 4 month appointment in December he weighed almost 17 lbs. and was in the 76th percentile for height (26" long). He has mastered rolling over and is working on sitting up on his own - which can be challenging with a head that size!

We started baby food and rice cereal, which has gone really well. He loves the fruit and tolerates all the veggies too. He's such a little pig, that he practically dive bombs the spoon as I'm trying to feed him.

He began drooling pretty badly about a month ago and sure enough a little tooth is starting to make it's way through on the bottom. If it weren't for the drool and the way he aggressively shoves everything in his mouth, we may never have known he was teething though since it hasn't seem to phase him.

He remains one of the most happy, smiling baby's we have ever seen! He sleeps fantastically well, only getting up once per night usually - even if he has soaked his diaper full.

When Will first entered our lives I worried that he might be overshadowed by his sister, but those fears have since passed. He may have started out much quieter than Ella, but he has quickly caught up and is extremely talkative. He is constantly giggling, squealing, yelling, babbling and entertaining us all.

His sister loves him very much! She talks about how she can't wait for him to get bigger so she can share her toys with him and is constantly giving him her toys when he shows the slightest bit of interest.

Will has been the best addition to our family and we are extremely blessed to have two beautiful children that fill our house full of so much love and entertainment. We have enjoyed watching Ella grow and can't wait to see Will do the same!

Friday, January 11, 2013

The Chicken or The Egg

Happy 2013! Like every other year, we spent New Years Day at my grandparents for lutefisk, lefse and meatballs (and many other side dishes & desserts). The trip back home is a two hour drive, but well worth it - even without factoring in the amazing food. One of my cousins lives another hour East of Madison and couldn't make the trip, but needed to pick up her daughter (Kael), who was back home for the annual dinner. We had plenty of room in our car, so I offered to bring her back as far as Madison.
Of course Ella was very excited to have a new rider in the car with us. She planned what movies they'd watch and how long Kael could stay at our house to play. After we loaded up all of our stuff and packed three kids and carseats into the middle of our vehicle, we were off.

Before every trip I make sure I am prepared for almost any scenario that may arise. For Ella alone I have snacks, a water bottle, games, things to entertain her, sunglasses (in case the sun gets in her eyes), a blanket in case she's cold, her favorite snuggle buddy...and the list goes on and on. This trip, for the most part was no different. The toys were all packed, the DVD player was queued up and I had cut up a bag of apples and had some snack mix. The problem was that I couldn't locate her water cup before we left, so I decided to just skip it.

Right away Ella wanted to watch her new movie, SnowPaws 2, while Kael sat quiet and patiently waited. I asked Kael if she had seen the movie and she shook her head no and then proceeded to say, "I want to watch the movie, but I'll probably fall asleep." Sleep! What is sleep? You can imagine my confusion because in all of Ella's four years - she has never done that willingly.

The movie started and I could see Kael was getting tired and looking for a place to lay her head. Ella on the other hand was busy making her usual demands. "I'm hungry." "Can you get my backpack." "I'm cold." "The sun is in my eyes." For every complaint, I had a solution and thus, we avoided a meltdown.

I handed the bag of apples back and told Ella she needed to share with Kael, who replied that she didn't want any. I gave some snack mix and asked Kael if she was hungry, and again she was not. I would have asked if she needed anything else, but when I looked back she was sleeping. She looked so peaceful. I went to get my camera and of course, stinker Ella thought it would be funny to pretend like she was sleeping.

You'll notice from the picture that Ella is all set up - snack bag to her left, headphones and a water bottle. Sitting beneath her is a bag of toys, books, baby doll, blanket, etc. As I mentioned earlier, I couldn't locate the normal water cup, so of course we had to stop to buy something to drink when she was thirsty.

As I sat there and watched just how different the two girls were, I began to wonder - what came first? The chicken or the egg? I pack all those things to make our lives easier and hopefully avoid tantrums. But maybe it's the fact that I do supply those things that has made Ella come to expect them all the time and act like a demanding little diva. For now I will continue to pack up the house for our travel adventures because reaching backwards every ten minutes to grab something for her is worth not listening to her kick and scream and cry.