Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Please remove your floor and call us in the morning

Last week we were supposed to have a new dishwasher installed. It had been sitting in our living room for a few days while the company figured out who was going to come put it in, and I was so pleased that we actually had an installation date! Jonathan and I waited around the house for the required hours ("The technician will be there between 11 and we're not sure when") and when he finally showed up, we led Nice Technician to the house with great rejoicing.
While he got started, I went to the back bedroom to put Jonathan down for a nap. About ten minutes later, I realized that there was no longer any noise coming from the kitchen. Hmm. I decided I'd better check it out, and Jonathan wasn't going to sleep anyway. As I walked into the kitchen, I was greeted with a rueful look and the statement "we have a problem." Oh. Uh oh. My visions of a beautifully working dishwasher by the end of the afternoon began to crumble around my feet.

Nice Technician very kindly informed me that there was no way he could install the dishwasher, because the floor level was too high. Um, what? Yes, that's right, the floor level is higher than the dishwasher. Evidently the previous homeowners put down laminate flooring on top of the original lineoleum, raising the level of the floor 1/4 of an inch higher than the level of the dishwasher. "You can take up the floor, and then call us back to install it for you. Or you could just take up 1.5 feet of the floor in front of the dishwasher. That would work too." Oh. Well. If that's all I have to do.

So away went Nice Technician. And I called my brother and informed him of my woes (which also included a teething ten-month-old, but that' s another story.) Wonderful Brother was full of great ideas for how to get around the problem...like taking the counter off and lifting the dishwasher out that way. Um, thank you, Wonderful Brother, but I think that might be just as difficult as pulling up the flooring. :)

Fast forward to the weekend. My family just happened to be visiting this past Saturday. Dad and Wonderful Brother walked through the door and immediately attacked the problem. (I planned it this way, just so they could have lots of entertainment during their visit!) :) After about 12.5 minutes of tinkering, Dad informs me that Nice Technician was actually Lazy Technician. Dad, Wonderful Brother, Studly Husband, and Friendly Neighbor had the dishwasher out within 30 minutes. And the new one was installed in another hour or two.

And they didn't even scratch the floor.

Second tooth

So I'm starting to figure out why the last two weeks have been so awfully difficult. Another tooth just appeared. And this morning Jonathan is back to his normal, happy, pleasant self. I'm so glad...I've missed my cheerful son. Maybe we'll get a respite for a bit, now, before more teeth show up? :)

Friday, February 24, 2006


For the past few months, Jonathan has had a reasonably regular pattern to his days. If he fussed, it was generally because he was tired or needed to nurse. Usually both happened simultaneously, which was simple – he nursed to sleep and all was well. He had a fussy late afternoon period, but cheered up as soon as Daddy walked through the door.

I don’t think I appreciated that enough. :)

Suddenly its like I have a new son. Jonathan is changing so fast that I feel like I can’t keep up. Heck, I can’t catch up, much less keep up. He’s learning so many new things: to me it’s happening like lightening, but I think he wishes he could figure it all out faster. He gets frustrated so easily now. He’s learned that when Mommy sits down in her desk chair, that means she’s not paying attention to him. Even if he was playing happily right before, the minute I sit down at the computer he’s unhappy. He’s learning the same thing when I’m in the kitchen washing dishes. He’s also learned how to be truly disobedient – sigh.

And while all these milestones are amazing, and I’m so glad to watch him develop and grow, I’m finding parenting him to be really difficult. There isn’t an easy-to-understand pattern anymore. When he fusses, it might be for any number of reasons. His teeth might be bothering him. He might have tried to crawl somewhere and gotten stuck. He might have bonked his head into the wall (sometimes on purpose!) He might need his diaper changed. He might be hungry, but if he is, he might want to nurse or he might not want to nurse, wanting solids instead. He might be tired. He might be overtired, because I have no idea when he ought to be napping. Some days he takes three and some days he takes one. He might be angry because I wouldn’t let him climb up the bookshelves. He might just want to be held (and held and held and held).

What is a mother to do? :)

I called my mom yesterday to say “everything is going wrong (no really, everything is going wrong!) and I don’t think I’m cut out for this mothering business!” Ok, I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s really how I felt. Mom said that God makes us parents to build character. :) To which I responded: “You always said God gave me parents to build character! I’m all done building character!” Of course, I’m not really. And I think she’s right. God grows us the most in the difficulties, usually. So now I pray that I will learn patience (quickly, please!) :) and creativity, and the ability to love and give and give and give and give…and when I think I have nothing left to give, to give some more. Because God gives to us that way, and it is my job to model His love to my children.

Lord, please continue to build character in me, even when I think I don’t want anymore. Help me to love my son as you love me.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Biting and hair pulling

Any ideas for teaching Jonathan that biting me is not ok? Now that he has a tooth, and more on the way, nursing feels more like a battle than the comforting, relaxing experience it used to be. I’m tense because I never know when he’s going to bite me, and darn it, it hurts! I don’t want to wean him, but I don’t want this to go on, either. So I’m looking for practical, “this worked for us” techniques to help him learn not to bite. So far I’ve been saying “no biting, ouch!” in a stern voice, but he seems to just think it’s funny. These past few days he seems to think all reprimands are funny. Yesterday he wouldn’t stop pulling my hair, no matter what I did. He just viewed it as a challenge, I guess, and tried harder. I finally slapped his hand, which I really don’t want to do! And it didn’t really work, either – he cried for a minute and then tried again. And I felt guilty about it. I’m at a loss on this one – up until now a stern voice, shaking head, “no”…these all worked. Now he thinks disobedience is funny, and he seems to think those things that hurt me are particularly funny. I don’t know what to do. Ideas?

Monday, February 20, 2006

Gated communities

We live in a “gated community”. In theory, the gates are to let us and our friends in, and keep the bad guys out. In practice, anyone who really wanted to get in for nefarious purposes would just have to hop the gate. My 8.5 month pregnant friend pointed out that it would be possible for her (even now!) to step up onto the conveniently located cross-bar and open the “people gate” from the inside. So much for protection.

But when it comes to getting ourselves in, or getting our friends’ cars in…well, that’s another story.

For the last two years, the call box wasn’t updated. There was a stack a few inches thick of letters requesting that a number please be added, but since July 2004 no new numbers had been entered. Why, you ask? Well, because July 2004 was when the board member who knew how to do it moved away. So much for the call box.

For the past year, whenever the gates were out of order it was cause for celebration. Quick, let’s have a party NOW while everyone can get in! At least, when the gates were broken open. Sometimes they broke shut, which was definitely not cause for celebration. When that happened, you hoped that they got fixed before you were late for work.

A few weeks ago, someone evidently had had enough of the gates. He drove up to them, and then drove through them. Hey, you can’t really blame him. These gates could make anyone crazy – it was only a matter of time. The resultant 45 degree angle left just enough room for a compact car to squeeze through, so once again we were free to invite people over. As long as they drove small cars.

Sadly, last week the gates were replaced. Our remotes don’t work quite so well with this new one. Most of the time you have to be about two feet away for it to register the signal and start opening. Sometimes it doesn’t register at all, and three or four cars will get stuck outside, drivers futilely punching their remotes.

There is hope on the horizon, however. The new gate has a new call box. An updated call box. A pretty, shiny call box. The only problem is that it doesn’t have any numbers in it. Today I asked a board member if, when, and who was going to be getting our numbers into the call box. She blithely responded “Oh, within the week, definitely!”

I’m not holding my breath.

A morning perspective

Last night was hard. This morning I woke up (after only six hours) to Jonathan’s hand grasping my nose. But we got up, and read stories, and I discovered that Jonathan knows how to turn the pages now.

It’s funny, because I’m still exhausted and a little frustrated, but somehow cuddling him, reading stories, and discovering another new thing that he has learned has made me remember how much I love him, and how much I love being his mom. Even on six hours of sleep.

Sunday, February 19, 2006


Note the time of this post. Sigh. Yawn.

Jonathan went to sleep tonight at 7:15. He woke up at 10:15. Since Gabe and I were planning to go to bed, I decided it would be easiest to just nurse him back to sleep. So I did, he fell asleep, and we put him back in his crib. Ten minutes later, he woke up again. We let him cry for a bit, hoping he'd go back to sleep. Unfortunately, he's figured out how to get out of his swaddle, and instead of crying lying down, he stands up and yells over the edge of the crib. Not much chance of him going back to sleep that way.

So Gabe and I decided to try something I'd read about for use when night weaning. The idea is that Daddy goes to bed with the baby, so that he's not crying alone (more practically, so that he can't get himself out of his swaddle and stand up!) and Mom is in another room so she's not smelling of milk right next to his nose.

In theory, it's a really good idea. In practice, well, we have an incredibly stubborn son. He's not hungry (I nursed him at 10:30!) but he wants to nurse. And he's been wailing about it since 11pm.

This is so very hard to listen to. And neither Gabe nor I are getting any sleep. But at this point I think that we can't really just give up and nurse him. Because I'm pretty sure that he's old enough to figure out that if he just screams long enough, he'll get what he wants. And we certainly don't want that.

But I'm sitting here second guessing myself and worrying and being tired and wishing that he'd just give up and go to sleep. He's so tired.

He's not hungry. He's not hurting. His diaper is clean (we checked) and his Daddy is snuggling with him. He just can't use Mommy as a human pacifier.

I hope we're doing the right thing.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Clapping hands

Jonathan has finally learned how to clap his hands, and it is so much fun to watch! He claps with me when I sing songs, now, which is quite fun. Lately we've been singing "I'm gonna sing, sing, sing"...and I'm hoping that next he'll figure out how to wave his hands in the air on "praise the Lord!" :)

He also claps for himself (along with me) when he obeys. Too cute. He's getting better about obeying. Really the only times it's a problem are when he's just too tired and needs a nap. Other times a stern voice and the fact that I'm looking at him and frowning are enough. Then when he doesn't do whatever he was thinking about doing, I clap for him and say "good job obeying!" I'm happy about the obedience, and tickled about the way he congratulates himself when he does. :)

Thursday, February 16, 2006

I miss having clean shirts.

I bought a new shirt about two weeks ago. It was lovely. I felt gorgeous in it, which was nice because I haven’t felt quite gorgeous in some time. I’ve worn it maybe five times. It’s not gorgeous anymore. :( I don’t know what exactly got on it (although I have a sneaking suspicion that it is baby-related) but it doesn’t wash out. And it didn’t “sunshine out”, so evidently it is permanent.

I know that it’s a little thing. I know that I shouldn’t care so much. But I’m so disappointed I could cry. Maybe I will. Except that I don’t think salt water gets stains out, either.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I need to start complaining.

In a funny, entertaining style, of course. Evidently Everyday Hogwash gives out $200 to daily winners, and $1000 to weekly winners. All you have to do is write awesome complaints about daily irritations.

I could use $200. So I am now taking suggestions for things to complain about. :)

Monday, February 13, 2006


I was expecting Jonathan's first tooth long before now. Ten months is definitely later than average - though I'm not complaining! Nursing without teeth is much less worrisome than nursing with teeth! :) I wonder, now, if a bunch of his teeth will come in at once, to make up for lost time?

Anyway, does anyone have any amazing and wonderful ideas for how to make this teething time easier for our little one? The past few days have really been pretty miserable for him.

Answered prayers

Isn't it neat when God answers prayer in an immediate and unmistakable way? Two nights ago Gabe and I were awakened by our son, who cried inconsolably and refused to be comforted. Coming on the heels of three or four days of a crabby, cranky baby, I was exhausted and having a hard time feeling compassionate. (I believe my exact thought was something like "Oh Jonathan, just be quiet!") Obviously, this wouldn't do. So as I rolled over to try to comfort him, I prayed "God, please give me empathy for him right now!" And then I stuck my finger in his mouth. Why, I haven't any idea. It's not like he likes sucking on our fingers anymore. But when I did, there was a razor sharp tooth chomping down on my finger! Instant empathy. The poor kid was teething, all this time we thought he was just being impossible!

Thanks be to God, who gives us tired parents the compassion we need. Isn't it wonderful that we only need to ask for it?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I'm a plumber!

And a semi-successful one, at that. :)

Last night our kitchen sink stopped draining. Not only did it stop draining, dirty water started bubbling up in the second sink in an alarming manner. And everything under the sink got sprayed with said dirty water at an amazing velocity.

Needless to say, the dishes did not get washed last night.

So this morning I called up my father-in-law to find out whether I ought to take it apart myself, or if I should call a plumber. He encouraged me to take it apart, pointing out that if I DID break it, the worst that could happen is that I'd need to call a plumber. Ah. Well.

So I took it apart, and I think I understand why plumbers get paid so stinkin' much. The operative word being "stinkin'". Gross.

But the happy part is that I didn't have to pay the plumber, because our pipes are now put back together and they only leak a VERY little bit. :)

Hunter is home!

Thank you for your prayers!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Midnight antics

Well, 2 am, actually.

This morning Gabe and I awoke to find our son wide awake, attempting to climb over us and out of bed. It was a little surreal, since he hadn't cried or anything. He just woke up, decided it was time to play, and went exploring.

It would have been cute if he had gone back to sleep.


Where is Jonathan?

In the kitchen.

Um, no he’s not.

He was in the kitchen!

Good news!

From his dad, as of 1am this morning:

Hunter has kept down all his feedings since 7am this morning. He is now being allowed to eat as much as he wants. His bilirubin levels are ok, too. So unless he takes an unexpected turn for the worse he will be home tomorrow.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Keep praying

Hunter is still in the hospital. The update from his mom today:

Today he has kept his feedings down so far. I'm skeptical that this will continue, but I hope so. There is talk amongst the Pediatricians that maybe he has another problem besides the Pyloric Stenosis that is causing him to vomit. Maybe acid reflux? As far as when he can go home we are just waiting to see how he feeds.

Their little girl is doing well, however, and handling lots of separation from her folks really well.
Thanks for praying, everyone!

Hunter update:

As of 11pm last night, from his dad:

Hunter was one good feeding away from coming come this afternoon. However, he vomited that and the next three feedings. So as of about 30 minutes ago he's back on the IV (they had removed it earlier today), and we can't try to feed him again until 7:00am, which will make for another long night.

Please pray for us as this is a disappointing development.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Hunter update

From his dad (as of 11pm last night):

Hunter is doing very well. He has fed every two hours since 4pm, which is four feedings at the time of this email, and not vomited at all! Praise God! This is the first time he has eaten and not instantly vomited since Tuesday afternoon. Also, since the surgery this morning his personality has returned to normal. He sleeps all day, wakes up to eat, and is happiest when being held.

If this continues there is a good chance he will come home tomorrow. The only other issue is that his bilirubin (jaundice) levels are high --a condition exasperated by the dehydration and malnutrition that resulted from several days of vomiting everything that entered his stomach. Before they hooked him up to an IV early this morning the whites of his eyes had become solid yellow. They may give him some light therapy, which is the normal means of treating jaundice, or they may just not do anything if he is recovering well on his own.

There is much to be thankful for. We love that little 27-day-old-guy a whole bunch, and we're relived to know he is going to be alright. Plus, tonight our whole family should get a full night of sleep. Hooray!

Thank you for your prayer.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Update on Hunter

Hunter has been diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis. This is an enlargement of the stomach muscle that regulates the passage of food to the small intestine. Pyloric Stenosis causes Hunter to throw up, which keeps him from getting any nourishment. He had surgery this morning to correct the problem.

Update from his dad:

The surgery went well. Hunter is now sleeping and recovering from surgery back in his room at Children's Hospital. We'll try to feed him this evening (starting with a half ounce of pedialyte). If he's able to keep that down then we'll know that the surgery was a success, and he may be able to come home as early as tomorrow. If he is not able to keep anything down I am not sure what will happen next.

Please pray that he will be able to digest his food at this first post-op feeding, which should be about 4:30 pm. And pray that he will not vomit anymore as that will be a very bad sign.

Emily again: please pray for their family. Particularly pray for their daughter, almost two years old, who is staying with family friends while her parents are at the hospital.

Climbing the walls

Having an almost 10 month old gives new meaning to the phrase. He really tries to do it!

Pat pat pat

Jonathan knows a new word! I've been using "pat pat" with him to encourage a gentler sort of motion (as opposed to "bang bang", you know!) And today he demonstrated that he understands what I'm saying! He had two blocks in his hand, and was patting them on my leg. I said "you're patting my leg, pat pat", and he grinned and patted them together. This might not seem so neat, except that patting blocks together is what I've been using when I work on the concept with him. Besides, his eyes showed understanding. Does that make sense?

What a brilliant child I have. :)

Please pray for Hunter

Hunter is a three-week-old baby, the son of a friend of mine. He has not been able to keep anything down for over 48 hours now, and is not doing well. His parents took him back to the hospital last night.

Please pray for his healing, and that his parents would have peaceful hearts and clear heads.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

You should go read


I love reading this woman's blog...she is the mother of three boys and an infant daughter, and her writing never ceases to either amaze me or make me laugh or make me think. This particular post is inspiring, and helps me to look forward to having lots of kids, instead of being scared of the idea.

Go read it. Right now. :)