Thursday, February 25, 2010

Poor baby boy

We are not having a lucky winter season at our house. Calvin is in the hospital with a bronchial infection that has turned to pneumonia. We’ve been here since Monday night—Calvin and I—and are likely to be here another day or two while the antibiotics and other treatments take their effect on our poor boy.

Besides the birth of my kids, I’ve never been a patient myself but now both Audrey and Calvin have spent time here on the pediatric unit and I spend most of my hours with them trying to imagine what it is like to be so tiny, and in such strange circumstances feeling as bad as they do. How I wish that I could make this happen to me instead, so that they didn’t have to take it.

I hate the bleeping machinery. More than once I have wanted to page a nurse just to ask if I could borrow a hammer. Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night-- a night in which you have slept a total of 30 minutes-- to a blaring machine telling you your child is low on oxygen, except that he isn’t because the machine is never giving an accurate read but doctor’s orders are that he remain on the bleeping machinery all night. Enough to make a sleep-deprived person lose her bleeping mind.

Here’s what was running through my mind in the wee hours of the morning while I lay in my fold-out-chair-bed on the floor next to Calvin’s crib, listening to him wheeze and the machines around him buzz and hum and occasionally blare out alarmingly. First, I just felt incredibly sorry for him, and for me, and for Scott and Audrey who are at home missing us. And then I thought, Hang on a minute! We’re so much luckier than everyone in Haiti and a hundred other places in the world where you can’t get medical care like this, or medical care at all. The differences between Calvin, right now, and sick babies in Haiti? Well, four walls and a ceiling for starters. And round-the-clock care and medicines, plus staff who are here at the press of a button to get us whatever we need. It’s easy to see why children die so commonly of very simply respiratory illness; a child who is congested becomes tired and can’t breathe or feed well. A child who can’t breathe or feed becomes dehydrated and low on oxygen, making it even harder to breathe and feed. Plus congestion in a child who can’t clear their airways well can easily turn to pneumonia, so a cold can turn into life-threatening illness in a matter of days. All of this is to say, I am going back to the UNICEF website to donate. The amount of money that Calvin’s hospital stay will cost me, and my insurance company, would probably save the lives of a hundred children who just need IV fluids for a few measly hours. Which is just absurdly unfair, and cruel.

And since this is already the longest blog posting ever, I have a word or two to say about my new dairy-free, wheat-free diet to help soothe Calvin’s apparent allergies, and that word is “BLECH.” I hate things that pretend to be other things. Like soy that pretends to be dairy. I don’t care if I only eat fruits and veggies and rice products for a year—soy cheese is just pointless, and disgusting. And if you’ve never had gluten-free toast before, let me help you imagine it. Think buttered kitchen sponge. Wait. I mean, a non-dairy buttery spread pretending to be butter. On a kitchen sponge. Double blech.

Calvin is sleeping peacefully now, as I imagine all of my readers are now after this long ramble, so I will sign off with just one more thing: thank you to the angelic nurse who placed Calvin’s IV last night so quickly and accurately. I cried more than he did. And the IV is bringing him all the medicine and water that will make him well. Now I really am going to the UNICEF site. Please follow me there.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Overheard: That's orange, man.

Audrey likes everything orange, and now she has started to use the word "orange" the way other young folk say sick, or, if you are very, very old like me, cool or awesome. If she likes a song, for example, she'll say, "Play it again! It's orange!"

Her favorite song of the moment is "Mahna Mahna," of Jim Henson muppet fame, and she especially enjoys Cake's recording of it. She calls Scott and I "The Big Nahmahnas," and Calvin of course is Little Nahmahnah.

Yesterday she was complaining of a stomach ache and I told her that I would get her some medicine for her tummy, and also, maybe some yogurt for her tummy since she hadn't eaten much. She replied, "Mommy just get medicine for my tummy. Yogurt is for my mouth."

And one more. Can you stand one more? Good. This morning I was reciting the text of Madeline to her,to keep her entertained while I made some coffee, and trying to get her to finish the lines for me. In this exchange, the word I am fishing for is ICE...

Me: She was not afraid of mice. / She loved winter, snow and...

Audrey: Me?

Me: Well, yes, but what else? She loved winter, snow and...

Audrey: Lollipops!

Me: Yes. And lollipops. Now eat your cereal.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Birthday, Pa Pik!

Saturday is my dad's 71st birthday and since we can't be with him, we decided to make a cake for him and sing him Happy Birthday with our friends who got together this evening to watch the opening ceremonies in Vancouver. Audrey helped me make the cake and choose the candles. So, without further ado, Happy Birthday, Pa Pik, sung by a room full of people you've never met! (and some you have)

Scott and his babies

Seems I'll always get red-eye in my photos, but now, with iPhoto's red eye fixing tool, I can give everyone in my family Dead Zombie Eyes! They're still sweet, though, aren't they?

We miss you, Daddy

Dear Dad-- How are you? We are fine. Boston is cold. Is Hawaii nice? We love you. Come home now. Bring candy. Love, Chickpea and Bonzo.

p.s. Mom is still smiling, but she has that dead, dead zombie look in her eyes again. She's okay, right?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Calvin's winning smile

Photo credit to our neighbor and babysitter, Stephanie, who is the first person to actually take a picture of Calvin's broad, beaming smile. He smiles all the time but so far we haven't been quick enough with the camera to capture it.

While Calvin charmed his babysitter and Audrey played with a friend, I went into Boston today and was one of the "suits" again for a few hours. It was nice to be back. We are, however, pretty rusty on the Getting Out The Door On Time routines here at home, especially when mom has to be dressed in something more than the usual jeans and t-shirt ensemble. We'll get better at this with time. Calvin has agreed that it really is bad form for him to spit up on my dry-clean only sweater when I'm just about to leave.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Overheard: my new blog-inside-the-blog of all the cute nonsense you can stand

Introducing my special column in which I record all of the note-worthy things Audrey says. For two reasons: so it's easy to skip if you find this sort of thing saccharine and annoying, and easy to locate if you can't get enough! Here are some notables from the past couple of weeks:

While riding in the car after sunset: "It's darking, Mommy!"
As she took a box of Altoid mints from my purse: "You can't have these, Mommy. It's dangerous. I just take these for a little while."
Still negotiating for the same mints after being denied multiple times: "No! Don't say no! They vitamins. I need my vitamins."
Speaking in Calvin's ear: "You want a bath, little pumpkin? Okay, I give you a bath."

Mama's boy

Twinkle, Twinkle Unplugged

Audrey has discovered that Scott has a "tar" which, after gathering dust in our basement for five years has seen the light of day again, to the dismay, no doubt, of our downstairs neighbor. It dates back to the days when Scott was a sensitive young poet impressing the ladies with ballads like "Dust in the Wind" and "Stairway to Heaven." (Actually, I am impressed that he can pull a guitar out of a case that he has not opened in about ten years and just start playing the thing). Audrey likes to play Scott's 'tar and has also requested a banjo and a "pinano." We are of two minds: encourage her musical inclination, or preserve our hearing?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Several times through the washing machine, and the play mat is still a hit

Calvin can support his own enormous cranium now for short periods of time, and grasps ahold of toys, hands and hair. Don't go near this boy if you are wearing dangly earrings or anything that sparkles.

Pa Pik and the kids

Audrey catches you in her hat again, Calvin, and she is going to let you have it.

Bottled at the source, served with pride.