Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I Faked It

The past week has been hell.  It all began with a phone call from Braden's school last Tuesday afternoon:  Can you please come pick Braden up from school?  He just threw up.

Never mind that I was in the middle of nursing Colin, Casey was in the middle of a nap, and my husband was out of town for the evening.  I did what I had to do.  I picked him up, and over the course of the next few hours, he proceeded to throw up in the car, the bed, the floor, and miraculously, the toilet.

The days following involved a ton of bananas, bleach, laundry, movies, the infection of Casey, and, the icing on the cake, the call on Saturday night from the babysitter informing us that Braden's vomiting had recurred (after four days!).

My husband, who returned home on Wednesday, and I were both exhausted.  I began wishing that I would fall ill with the stomach flu, because that would mean my husband would have to take care of all three kids, and at least I would get a break.  Yesterday, he admitted to me he felt the same. Then it became a game of I want to get sick; No, I want to get sick!  We didn't discuss what would happen if we both got sick at the same time.  But since I birthed him three children and endured 27 months of pregnancy, I would argue that he would have to be the one to step it up. That's only fair.

Last night, both Braden and Casey were vomit-free, and were sleeping soundly in their beds.  I was ready to finally, FINALLY, have a night of peace, when baby Colin started crying an hour or so after I put him down to bed.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Reclaiming the Night

Three months ago I said hello to my newborn, and goodbye to my evenings.

I cherish my evenings.  On hard days, it is always a countdown until the kids' bedtime at 8pm. After 8pm, my time is my own again.  For 2-3 hours, I can do whatever I want.  I can have a nice big glass of wine.  I can watch trashy shows.  I can clean or email or read or make phone calls all without children tugging at my legs.  It is glorious.  It's my only true "me" time, and I cherish it.

Alas, I lost it on November 13, 2013, when my third son was born.

Newborns take all of your energy, that's for sure.  They are an immense amount of work (particularly on top of two other rambunctious boys).  But during the day, it is much easier to handle.  Because I'm used to being busy during the day.  It's normal to be busy during the day.  But newborns are on an around the clock schedule.  And once my third baby entered this world, an all too familiar feeling descended upon me.

I started dreading the nights.

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Flu that Stole Christmas

This past December marked the first Christmas that we celebrated at our house.  In previous years, our Christmas tradition was to trek to Wilmington, North Carolina to my mother's house. There, the fireplace was stocked with our childhood stockings and the tree was adorned with decade old ornaments, including the crafty ones I had made in Brownies in 1984.  It's our family Christmas, after all, and my sister and I, until a few years ago, still qualified as the "kids." Santa still brought us gifts, even as twenty something (and thirty something) adults.

Christmas circa 1988

Christmas circa 2006.  Opening our gifts from Santa.

But as our family has grown, traditions have shifted.  My sister and I are hardly the "kids" anymore, and my kids are now old enough to ask for gifts from Santa and wonder how it is he fits down our chimney.  So, this year, in part because we had a newborn and in part because we felt we were ready to start our own traditions, we had Christmas at our house.  My mom and stepfather made the trip here, and my sister and her new husband planned to join us as well.  It was the same participants, different venue.

Alas, a few days before my sister was set to arrive, she called to tell me she was sick.  My sister rarely ever gets sick (a few Thanksgivings ago she was the sole survivor from the stomach flu that ravaged the rest of the family).  The sickness involved fever, sore throat, body aches, cough, etc.

She had the flu.  

Given that we have a newborn in the house, I freaked out a little.  I first consulted Dr. Google, followed by my OB.  The consensus was that anyone with the flu should not come into our house.

This meant we would celebrate our first Christmas without my sister.  Ever.

Now granted, my sister just got married, and soon, she will start her own Christmas tradition too. There will be Christmases we won't spend together.  But I need baby steps.  It was enough that we were changing venue.  The absence of a key participant was a lot to take!

Damn you, flu.  You stole my sister.

The flu didn't ruin our Christmas, of course.  The boys loved celebrating at their own house, and were thrilled with Santa's booty.  But it wasn't the same.  (Good news is, she spent her Christmas with her in-laws, which means we get her back next year!  Venue to be determined).

This flu season has been a doozy, though.  According to the CDC, 41 states now have "widespread flu."  Young people and middle aged adults are at particular risk this year.  If you haven't gotten your flu shot, it's not too late to get vaccinated - the flu can continue as late as May.  For more information on the flu, check out the CDC website here and the OTC website here.  If you are unlucky enough to get the flu, below is a graphic with some tips for easing the symptoms.

Disclosure: I received compensation for this post as part of the CHPA OTC Safety Ambassador Program.  All the opinions reflected here are my own  

Monday, February 3, 2014

Learning Him

When I gave birth to my third son, Colin, on November 13th, he came out a stranger.  Sure, there was an instant love and familiarity, but I still didn't know him.  Would he be calm, or high strung? Laid back, or fussy?  A good or bad sleeper?  A good or bad eater?  Serious or silly?

I had no idea.  And it is that unknown that I think makes the first weeks of the newborn period so scary.

On my first day home alone with Colin, I was petrified.  You would think the third time around that I would avoid the whole oh my god, don't leave me alone with the baby, I don't know what I'm doing anxiety, but alas, it gets me every time.  I was worried that I wouldn't be able to get him to sleep.  That I wouldn't know what to do to soothe him if he started crying.  That he and I would both be miserable, and exhausted.

I'm not going to lie, those first few weeks were rough.  But then, slowly but surely, I started to learn about my precious son.

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