posts tagged with 'illness'

puppy dog eyes and puppy love

It was kind of a slow day for us here today. Harvey is sick with a fever, so he spent the day lying on the couch with me sitting next to him stroking his head. Zion ran around the house in circles and sometimes threw books at me. Of course we read a lot of books. We also played blocks and trains but more subdued than usual. The house was eerily quiet for the three of us being in it together. At times Harvey just looked up at me with his big droopy fevered eyes and groaned: "I love you Mama."

I usually try not to let my emotions get the better of me (anger excluded) so the tenderness of Harvey's sentiments caught me off guard. It's not to say I don't believe he loves me, of course that's why he pulls all the whiney baby crap that makes me so angry. It's just that mostly I hear "I love you" from Harvey as a response of courtesy or to get something that costs money. I felt like today was the first time I heard in his voice: I appreciate your presence. I actually like it when you're near me. I want to be with you. You know, "I love you."

Which is not to say I like my child pathetically ill, but it was a nice sentiment to isolate from our normal more boisterous lives.

I don't know what was in the air today. When I picked Zion up from his nap I smelled his hair and he smelled like a new puppy. All of a sudden I got that feeling I get around puppies, like, I am so lucky to share this moment with this amazing crazy little creature. A puppy is a fleeting concept; puppies exist for just mere weeks before they shed their youthful frivolity and morph into dogs. Dogs are fantastic, don't get me wrong, but the way a puppy will stomp his two paws in front of you when he wants to play, it's like this heroin shot of joy, it's almost too much because it hurts to know it'll soon be gone. Babies take soooo much longer to turn into dogs. They're helpless and needy and rewardingly adorable for many more months than puppies. But as I picked up Zion and smelled his puppy-smelling head, I had this baby Rascal feeling: I am holding an amazing, fleeting, ball of joy, and the love is almost too much to bear.

The smell on his head was pine shavings, by the way, which is used for litter at many kennels. We also use it in our chicken coop, where the boys were helping me out yesterday.

spreading new bedding in the chicken run

spreading new bedding in the chicken run

They are already helping with chores - they won't stay babies forever. When they're loud and pushy it's easy to wonder: how soon will they grow up? When will they stop needing me to fill their juice cups? But today when they need me more than juice cups, when they need me to be their Mama, I want to say: I like it when you're near me. I want to be with you. I love you guys.


dreadlock update - 2-and-a-half months

I feel like I should do an update on my hair, though the writing feels rather slow going since I'm too lazy to do much of anything these days.

hangin out on the hammock

chillin island style

My 2+ month throat infection seems to be nearing its end, though I haven't yet regained the desire to do anything besides mind children. The other day a friend asked me to weave a bike basket for her and my answer was, "Ugh. Don't they sell those online?"

In all of this, though, working on dreadlocks is something I can do. Because working on dreadlocks requires no work at all! Just let time go by, survive one day at a time, and the hair will keep dreading. More or less.

the top of my dreads

When my mother used to tell me my hair looked like a birds nest, she shouldn't have given me any ideas.

It's fun to twist the dreads in my hand and think, "It's working! they're really becoming something!" Then I look in the mirror and say, "Good Lord, that looks like a mess." Fortunately though, since I don't need to style my hair much, I don't really look in the mirror. Once a week I wash my hair with dreadlock shampoo (baking soda and vinegar would work equally well but my mom bought me dread shampoo for my birthday) then I roll the dreads while they're wet and again with wax after they're dry. It's about 40 minutes of maintenance work a week, but I usually split it over two days because like I said I'm pretty lazy and (perhaps related to the tiredness) it's hard to get twenty minutes to myself.

I did, however, try to look somewhat presentable for a wedding I officiated last weekend. I rolled on the wax the morning of the wedding and did a half-up thing crowned with a scarf that I thought might look priestly. Here's the result. (I'm dancing with a sleeping baby on my front, in case anyone has a hard time figuring out the photo.)

dancing at ashley's wedding

footloose if not shoulder loose

You can see the bottoms of the dreads are still quite curly. I look forward to long tubular dreads a year or so from now but in the meantime I'm diggin the in-between.

I thought I was being rather formal for the wedding... I had a whole vest thing I wore over my dress for the ceremony, I tied up my hair and even used a scarf. Then I got to the bride's house and everyone was putting on makeup and I was like, "Oh right. Makeup. Should I, like, do that or whatever?"

It's only been two years since I gave up makeup, and yet it feels like a different lifetime ago. Then again, it's only been two months since I stopped fixing my hair every day and I've taken to it quite naturally.

ashley and leah

brides that invite children to their weddings are rewarded with child-like hearts. Also, I can go to those weddings.

There. Does that feel like a hair update? I hate that everything comes with a "I've been sick" preamble, but that's pretty much where I'm at right now. If I was praying for someone at church and they said, "I've had a lingering infection for two-and-a-half months" I would say "Did something happen in your life right before the infection started?" And if someone asked me that question I'd say, "Well, I got my hair dreaded, and then right after that I got sick."

Now, dreading my hair was nothing if not a good decision. It's much easier to manage given the demands of the children. It's much easier for my sensory integration issues, since I don't get the feeling my hair is pulling at my scalp. I don't feel all "hippier than thou" in fact mostly I'm not conscious of my hairstyle. I prayed about it in advance and felt convinced that God said, "Leah, I could not possibly care LESS about your hair." So it's not sin that's making me sick (not that that's how it works anyway, but that's the subject for someone else's book.)

Maybe I feared people would think I was lazy if I got dreads so I immediately got sick so I'd have to be lazy? To live down to expectations? It doesn't make logical sense but it sounds a lot like me.

Anyway, I like the hair but not the lingering illness, so I pray the Lord will redeem it somehow.


First steps!

Zion took some steps today! 2 and even 3 in a row! I think that counts as a milestone. Good job little big boy.

In other first steps, I started a round of antibiotics for a strep infection. The doctor also suggested I may have mono, which was like a lightbulb going off in my head. Oh, that would explain why I've been fantasizing about lying down almost every moment for the past two months. Of course, there's nothing to do for mono, the treatment is bed-rest (ha ha) and wait it out whether it takes six weeks or six months. Still, I feel like I'd appreciate a diagnosis to justify what I've been going through. It's not that two kids are too much for me; I've been legitimately sick you guys.

Dan will post pictures of the party soon. He's been parenting like a champ in my illness absence. That guy deserves a congressional medal of dada.

sick again?

We had a lovely 1 week respite from illness during which time I made grand sweeping plans for eating healthier and taking time for myself and all sort of non-baby-holding things. Then last night Zion got sick again and now I can only think of surviving another day filled with snot and screaming. On the good news front, Zion took his first crawls forward today. What a proud mama I was, clapping and shouting! Now he can move forward! I feel like I missed all this with Harvey... I remember him pulling up and cruising around and then taking his first steps, but I never remember him crawling. But then, when Harvey was this age I was changing jobs and commuting two hours a day and probably if he started crawling nobody told me.

There. See how I take a perfectly lovely subject and get all complainy up on its ass? It's the reason I'm not blogging much lately. Let's regroup in the spring.

I feel the need to add something positive, so here's what Harvey said yesterday when he was playing with the outdoor grill:

"Do you want some bugs and cheese and moose and hats?"

the winter of our discontent

We tend to be sicker in the winter, I find, and despite the lack of actual wintery weather the trend is holding true this year, with a vengeance. Today it was a stomach bug for all the humans but Zion, and he threw up too anyways because, you know, he's a baby and all. I suppose he didn't want to be left out. Leah always feels like the world is ending when either she or the kids are sick (me being out of commission is I think only a minor inconvenience) and this time I think I might agree with her. Good heavens. Nevertheless, Harvey and I managed this afternoon to maintain good spirits despite bouts of vomiting, and if he makes it through the night without getting sick again I may regain my will to live.

sick transit

Last month our friend Katie wrote a very brief blog post that nevertheless speaks volumes about parenthood. Leah was a little more verbose on the same subject, but the sentiment is similar. Parenting means coming in contact with vomit, more vomit than you have ever had to deal with at any other stage of your life (including college, you young people, no matter how much you and your friends drank).

The worst part of it is—worst for everyone involved—even big almost-pre-schoolers like Harvey don't really know what's going on with the acute stomach pains followed by coughing followed by you-know-what. There's no desperate dash to the bathroom, nor even any awareness that such a thing might be advisable; on the contrary, Harvey associates any gestures designed to mitigate the mess of being sick—sitting up, a towel held in front of him, and so on—with the terror of vomiting itself, so he resists them with all his meager, sickness-addled strength. Or sometimes he's just asleep and gets sick all over the himself and the pillow like earlier this evening. At least he's so wiped out that, as soon as he's cleaned up, he's desperate to get back to sleep.

He's only thrown up twice this evening but he's definitely down for the count—at least now he's sleeping rather than lying crying on the floor, which is how Leah tells me he spent nearly all of the day today. Zion is also sleeping through his own sickness, if by sleeping you mean occupying the bed and crying out in pathetic discomfort every fifteen minutes or so. Leah has been keeping him company since about 6:30 this evening. If she gets any rest in between wakeups it'll be a grand help to her long-enduring cold.

Hopefully a good night's sleep will see us all restored, otherwise heaven knows what'll happen tomorrow!


the return of the blueberries

So the downside to our most recent bountiful harvest was that when all three of our dependents were throwing up between yesterday afternoon and this morning the blueberries were heavily involved in two out of the three cases. While blueberries are apparently safe for dogs (I never would have thought otherwise until I learned recently that raisins can be bad) Rascal's vomit fairly prominently featured two blueberries. And with Harvey there wasn't any question about what he had been eating; that's going to leave a stain! Don't our children chew?! At least Zion's vomit was as milky as usual.

Everyone seems to be fine now, thank goodness. Rascal's was an isolated incident; Harvey was deathly ill for ten hours (2:30am to 12:30pm) but recovered and was so ravenous as to actually eat the crusts of his toast while waiting for a second piece; and Zion just throws up when he gets excited. Or maybe it's bored. Who knows?! In any case, Leah did a little bit of laundry today.


mama's bonus birthday present sunhats

Saturday evening our friend Becca came over with a birthday present for me, in a gesture that was beyond touching. We don't usually exchange birthday gifts with bible study friends, since our bible study is kind of big and that would mean like everybody buying gifts like every weekend, which is sort of insane for young poor people, even if we are Christians. So I was really moved to find a gift for me on the table on Sunday morning, Yes, er, I was asleep when Becca and crew came over, it being after 8pm. Anyway, I could tell right away that the present was going to be something awesome because it was WRAPPED IN FABRIC!

Harvey's hand reaching for the present

a little hand is very eager to open any present

Harvey was excited too to help me open it. He's really into opening presents, as well as blowing out candles. Today in fact I caught him trying to blow out a pawn from a chess set. If that doesn't just warm the cockles of your heart then I don't know what will. Anyway, inside the fabric were some new onesies for baby #2 (yeah! not everything will be hand-me-down), some boxes of yummy tea, and a nice gift certificate to Joanne fabrics, which is like giving someone a gift certificate to Mexico, everything is so cheap. Exciting exciting!

The best part instant-gratification wise was of course the fabric. Even though I promised Dan that I would clean up my sewing stuff from the floor of his office before embarking on any more projects, I jumped right into cutting some pieces out of the new fabric for sun hats - matching ones for Harvey and baby. Hey, since I didn't have to sort through my stash to find fabric I figured this was a give away. Also, I couldn't help it; I was dying to try a pattern from the new book Dan bought me, and fabric suddenly appeared at my door. How could I resist? There was no floorspace left in the office so I sat out in the hallway.

This sunhat is the result:

the new green sun hat with a little bit of Harvey underneath

summer style

And a smaller one for baby, lined with yellow so we can tell the difference from the other side of the room.

two new sun hats posing on the rock wall

and one for baby

This is the pattern that everyone seems to be jumping on first when they get the Oliver + S book, although I don't know what they're talking about when they say it comes together relatively quickly. These two hats took me 5 hours of dedicated sewing time, which is a crapload of alone time for me, time I only got this weekend by virtue of illness (I felt too sick to go to church on Sunday so Dan and Harvey went without me) plus two Harvey naps. A whole morning alone plus two naps is a long ass time for two sun hats if you ask me. There seem to be so many ways of making a reversible hat by sewing the whole outside to the whole inside and leaving a small hole for turning, it seems overkill to include a step of blind stitching the inside before edge-stitching on the machine. Still, it did turn out a very tidy little hat, so if you're the type of person to look up close then probably the extra care is worth it.

There's still enough fabric left over to sew a baby dress, and as soon as I make good on my promise to clean up my sewing space I'm gonna throw together a little outfit using the matching ribbon as straps.

This gift and project came as a nice relief after the week I had last week, with Harvey groaning all day and throwing up at every meal... I was starting to feel like I didn't exist apart from song singer/back rubber/puke catcher. Even though we made it through a fancy meal for my birthday, I spent the entire time worrying that Harvey was going to projectile vomit all over the table or his fancily dressed grandparents, which is not the state of vigilance ideal for consuming a huge amount of rich food (witness the illness on Saturday night and Sunday morning). We skipped my birthday expedition on Saturday because Harvey wasn't feeling well, no one wanted to make or eat birthday pie, and I had a mental breakdown from not getting a break all week and then finding out our fence can't go in the ground until the end of May at the earliest because the corner of our property lies 50 feet from a wetland and we need to go in front of a public hearing not to mention pay 50 bucks to the friggin local paper to publish a legal notice, and that's just for a 3 foot fence, we haven't even started the process on Chickens because the stack of paperwork for the stupid fence is so confusing it makes me want to cry and that's not even involving the health department. So the fabric and accompanying present was a real real nice break. A reminder that I'm a person too, with value and interests beyond reproduction. If only just slightly beyond.


it's snowing outside and Harvey has a flu: April in New England

So I was kneeling on the ground scrubbing toddler vomit from the carpet this evening, and all of a sudden I thought, "Remember when we used to watch that show Heroes? How on earth did we ever pull that off??? That show was an hour long!!! And... bad! And we watched it every week for a year! WTF???"

Harvey caught some sort of 24-hour bug - this one actually true to it's title because he was vomiting pretty much straight for 24 hours. Well, that's not totally true - he started off yesterday puking every ten minutes, then by the evening it was every half hour, and then it settled off at about 3 in the morning and I thought we were home free but then breakfast this morning didn't stay down and then more vomiting ensued and when it was all said and done Harvey had managed to soil 10 receiving blankets, 5 spit rags, 2 towels, 1 set of sheets, a car seat, a couch slip cover, and the aforementioned carpet.

And since he couldn't be left alone amidst all the vomiting, all the laundry just sort of piled up on the floor next to his sick bed, and I started to wonder if Dan would come home from work and find us barricaded in the bedroom like some crazy hoarders, and then he'd need to call the fire department to come get us out, and then we'd REALLY never get our chicken permit.

The things I worry about these days. I try to think of a set of circumstances under which a human being could find an hour every week to watch Heroes and it's like trying to picture an alien from another planet.


under the weather

Harvey holding an umbrella and looking out at the rain

a good day for ducks

We've all spent the last couple days of the vacation kind of under the weather here in the squibix family household. Harvey especially; he's on his first-ever course of antibiotics for an incipient ear infection. Besides that he's also very snotty. Leah and I have vague flu-like symptoms, which if nothing else have been sapping our energy a bit. Luckily it was raining today, so we had all the excuses in the world to sit in bed and watch tv.

Despite all that we had to make one small outing so that Harvey could get the opportunity to use an umbrella. He's a big fan, apparently. Leah ordered him one off the internet but it hasn't come yet; this temporary replacement model harmonizes very well with his outfit, though!

Harvey cheery in the rain

in blue on a gray day

Rascal didn't join us; he frankly thought we were crazy to be out in the weather. He didn't bother with the tv either, but was content to spend the rainy day the way dogs have done for centuries—but with the addition of a comfy couch, of course.

Rascal in ball formation on the couch

knows what to do when it rains

I had to drag him out on his afternoon walk, but once he was in the woods and already wet he consented to enjoy himself a little. All in all, we both enjoyed and suffered from the enforced relaxation of illness and wet. I'm not ready for vacation to be over.