Monday, October 31, 2005

Precocious Skills

All parents think their children are precocious. We rack our heads to find something that makes our little darling stand out from the crowd.

Walking? Nope, she's well behind average there.
Talking? She does fine, but nothing phenomenal.
Toilet Training? We have only gotten as far as the mommy-having-nightmares-about-it stage.

Ah-ha! There is one area where she is well ahead of the pack of poor, average children.


Yes, for a couple of months now, D1 has been skillfully blowing her own nose. Not only that, she thinks it is one of life's great pleasures. For awhile it was just when she found a Kleenex box incautiously left near the ground. Lately, though, she will use her skill on any available piece of cloth. This morning I heard her wandering through the house, giggling with delight. When I went to check on her, she was trotting down the hall, cheerfully blowing her nose into a spare bib. Burp cloths and washcloths are also favorite choices.

Now, I've spent enough time in the nursery to know most one-year-olds will tie themselves into knots to avoid having someone else blow their nose, much less attempt to blow their own. She loves it so much you can end a crying spell just by producing a Kleenex.

The only trouble is, she doesn't have a cold. She hasn't had a significant cold since she was six months old. (Then again, that's a good thing, considering how indiscriminate her taste in handkerchiefs is.)

I guess we're ready for winter.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cleaning out the Mental Corners

Did you know that John Lennon went on to design baby gear? I finally realized this after a year of puzzling over the scrawled signature on the clothes and diapers. Kind of weird. The designs are a lot cuter than the name brand diaper stuff with Sesame Street and the like, but I never expected to be diapering my kids with Beatles lyrics.

I have a theory that graphic design is in the process of turning into a standard literacy skill of the well-educated. Gone are the days when you could churn out two columns of small type and get your message across. People are so used to seeing things well-designed that to communicate anything, it must not only be written clearly, it must look good. Writing was once a skill of the hired specialist that now is expected to be universal; graphic design is moving that direction. (See? I've thought about something besides diapers!)

Yet another library sale this weekend. Fortunately this time my sister is here to take half the books and help us figure out where to hide the rest.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Aunt Becky has been taking lots of pictures, and I finally have my hands free for long enough to post a few.

D1 with two of her favorite things: a book and a laundry basket.

This is asking for a good caption, but I haven't figured out what yet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

In which I answer questions you may or may not have wanted to ask

How are they getting along?
D1 thinks D2 is her particular responsibility, and thinks it essential to verify his safety and happiness every time she gets up from a nap or otherwise feels a need to check. She can help burp him and brings extra baby outfits in case he has wet one.

When D1 first showed signs of starting to talk, DOB started coaching her in taking her turn at praying during family devotions: "Dear Heavenly Father,Thank you for Papa (pat Papa), Mama (pat Mama), and Little Baby (pat Mama's stomach)." She was starting to get the hang of this prayer and talk and pat along. However, as soon as D2 was part of the activity, the prayers started to go like this:

DOB: "Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for Papa,"
D1: "CAHHRLL!" (pointing to playpen)
DOB: "And Mama,"
D1: "CAHHRLL!" (pointing to playpen)
DOB: "And Baby Carl."
D1: (with relief) "CAHHRLL!"

D2 thinks D1 is another strange phenomenon of this world, and a non-milk producing one.

What developmental milestones would you like to report?
About a week after D2's birth, D1 finally, finally, finally started walking as her standard means of transportation, to the great relief of all concerned. Although I worked on teaching her to climb in and out of things while I was on no-heavy-lifting orders, she would still much rather have me lift her. Now she has progressed to the carrying things everywhere stage, allowing preliminary instruction in setting the table, putting things in the trash, and running errands.

The inevitable: Is D2 a good baby?
But of course. Actually, he's quite manageable. He only cries for good reason, and sleeps between feedings at night, which is all I ask of a newborn. He likes to stay awake--with a few catnaps--for several hours in the morning, take a long afternoon nap, stay mostly awake in the evening, and sleeps well at night. I've never seen this suggested as a newborn schedule or even newborn behavior, but it works well for me, because I can get a long afternoon nap. So I'm not about to try to change it.

What else would you like to report?
My sister is here for two weeks. Great strides in organization and decoration proceed, while I sit around, feed D2, and raid her stash of airplane reading material.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Yes, we have two kids

The nice thing about having two is you can finally talk about "the kids." It rolls off the tongue so smoothly:

"The kids keep me so busy."
"I have to go see what the kids are doing."
"Did you check on the kids?"

The annoying thing is that it draws out the fertility police. Especially if you have a full sampling.

"Oh, a girl and a boy! How nice." Sometimes they go ahead and say what they're thinking next: "Now you're all done!"

I missed the posting that only alloted us one of each. We haven't even reached the population replacement rate yet, much less done our part to raise the average IQ of the human gene pool.

The bad thing is, I only have two hands. Can I get a surgical implant of a few more?

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Maternal things I still can't do

Swaddle--With D1, I gave up after a couple of weeks. With D2, I gave up in the hospital. Neither of them liked it much anyway, even if I told them that Baby Jesus liked it. I just toss a blanket over the top of them and hope for the best.

Wipe a face clean--There's always a little bit of mashed bean lurking somewhere just out of sight, where I will see it only after we are out in public with no washcloths nearby.

Fasten disposable diapers properly--I don't know if it's me, the diapers, or the children. But after a week of trying to use disposables to make life easier, I decided I'd rather do a load of diapers every morning than a load of sheets, towels, and clothes every morning. No matter what diaper I use, however, D2 can last only two hours in one. At two hours and five minutes, I also have to change everything in his vicinity. But at least with cloth I don't have to get any stains out.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Caffeine on IV and other medical oddities

Law students everywhere will be pleased to discover that it is possible to get caffeine administered via IV. The downside is, to get it you have to have what is known as a "spinal headache," which I can assure you is not conducive to bar preparation. Caffeine on IV is also not conducive to getting lots of rest, which is what you are likely to be supposed to be doing after activities that might have given you a spinal headache. It didn't help me much either, so I opted for the patch treatment that fixes the headache right away, but leaves you with a backache.

The whole medical treatment thing tends to build on itself in a This-is-the-House-that-Jack-Built way. This is the medicine to treat your nausea, which was caused by the medicine to treat your pain, which was caused by the other treatment for your pain, etc. By Sunday night, though I had progressed as far as only needing hot rice packs for my back and ice water, which I'm pretty sure don't have any further side effects.

D2, not too surprisingly, had a touch of jaundice, which meant he had to spend Sunday night catching rays at the hospital. I was not at all pleased when my doctor's new partner, whom I have never met, told us by phone we should stop breastfeeding him because of the jaundice. I miss her old partner.

Nowadays when I see someone with multiple body and facial piercings, I think, "Amateur!"

Another thing that is not conducive to rest is coming back in for checkups, for one or the other of us, every day. (Or, while in the hospital, having them check your vitals every few hours. I'm still breathing, OK? Let me sleep.) We should be done after tomorrow, though.

Monday, October 03, 2005

And now, the rest of the story

Contrary to DOB's confusion of the medical lingo, the placenta was not abducted, which sounds like some urban legend email forward ("And then she woke up in a tub of ice, and her placenta had been abducted!"), but abrupted, which means it decides it's ready to leave whether baby is or not.

Anyway, my plans for Thursday included driving D1 to the chiro and then Grandma's house, driving back to our town for my doctor's appointment, taking a nap, meeting DOB in town to run several errands and get a caramel apple cider, going back down to get D1, and coming home and catching up on the dishes and laundry I left lying around in my rush to get out the door.

Up until 10:30 everything proceeded according to plan. My only regret was that I had not put "pack snacks in my purse" on that list and was ravenously hungry. The doctor had just finished checking things and announced that although there was no sign D2 intended to come really soon, he was in the wrong position and we would need to get him scooted around. She went out to call the doctor who does the scooting around, and I started to get up.

I promptly realized that something was very, very wrong and sat down again before the carpet got messed up worse. Unlike hospitals, doctor's offices are not equipped with handy buttons to call. And, as is probably necessary in a family practice, the walls and doors are very thick. So it took awhile before someone realized I was yelling for help, in a calm and dignified manner, at the top of my lungs. Once they came in, though, they promptly called the ambulance. My doctor said later it was fortunate the ambulance was handy, as otherwise she would have had to drive me herself and she had just had the inside of her car detailed.

Meanwhile I called DOB and his mother. I was apparently a little too calm at that point, because it took them awhile to realize the seriousness of the situation. I let them work it out between them, because by this point the parameds were starting to pelt me with questions. One guy asked me my name twice in thirty seconds.

"Not doing too well today, are you?" said one.

"I'm testing the patient's coherence!" he retorted, and rammed the gurney into the doctor's scales.

It's not as exciting to ride in an ambulance as it should be. The ride is very smooth, so you can't tell if you're going fast, and you can't see that you're running red lights. It only took about five minutes to get to the hospital, and hardly any more to thread the hospital hallways to a room where about fifty people commenced to introduce themselves, brandish papers that needed signed, and prepare me for surgery. I signed and hoped I was doing the right thing. (I was.)

I commented to the doctor, "Well, I guess we won't have time to go over the birth plan today." "Oh, that's what did it," everyone said, "Birth plans always jinx you."

The anesthesiologist's name was also Karen, which was most confusing. People would keep yelling at her to do something or other medical, and I would wonder how on earth I was supposed to do that. Fortunately they decided they had time to give me a spinal instead of knocking me out completely, which was good except that I was still acutely aware of being hungry and they wouldn't give me anything to eat.

At 11:29, within less than an hour of when things started, I could at least hear them announce D2's entrance into the world. Unfortunately they brought his head out first and started commenting on what a pretty baby he was, so for a few minutes I thought he was a girl. But that was quickly clarified.

Meanwhile, DOB was proceding at a safe but somewhat superlegal rate of speed in an effort to arrive before it was all over. Unfortunately, he encountered Inspector Javert, who is now patrolling rural Ohio highways, and does not think such trifles as emergency c-sections justify exceeding the precise legal rate of speed. Fortunately DOB decided to take it up later with the judge rather than forcibly debate the distinctions between the letter and the spirit of the law on the spot. But the delay was enough that he reached the hospital only in time to learn that he had a son.

Anyway, D2, though a little small and early, came through quite strong and healthy, rating a 9/10 Apgar score (for those of you who know about such things) and eating like a small version of his Papa from the beginning. I seem to be recovering pretty well, the doctor being amazed at the discrepancy between the mess in her office and my blood count when I left the hospital. Either of us could have easily had much more serious problems, if I had been anywhere else when it happened or if anything had been delayed longer.

And now, we are all very, very happy to be home. Especially D1, who has discovered that even Grandpa and Grandma's house palls after four days.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Here's D2. (We tried ones with us, but we don't like them. We'll try again tomorrow.)