Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Getting Sick

All the stitches are gone.  The shorn side of her head is growing soft blond hair again.  The incision, once a red, jaggedy gash, is now a gentle pink scar.  She talks in three-word sentences, and adds to her vocabulary daily.  Both hands worked evenly well to spoon in her dinner: fish, rice and vegetables, with peach cobbler for dessert.  She ate it all.  She can walk, run, and even dance on her tiptoes.  When she wears her hat, she would look to anyone like a normal, active toddler.  It's hard to think normal, though.

Recently, Angelee came down with a fever.  I instantly plunge into worry mode.  Normally I am a very calm parent.  Really.  But with Angelee, I have to look at it from every angle.  Exactly how hot is she?  I grab the thermometer every hour to check, ignoring her loud protests.  What if it is...bad?  She kept the fever for a few days, spiking to almost 103, but cooling off with a dose of Tylenol.  She had cold-like symptoms, and we did have a cold going around the family, but I felt like it was something more.

I finally took her to the doctor, something I never do for a cold.  He was not concerned, and sent us home with prescriptions for cold medicine and an antibiotic, just in case it got worse.  He dismissed the sores around her mouth as normal cold sores, and left me feeling like something was missed.

The next day, when I found the sores in her mouth, I realized it was the Coxackie virus, or hand foot and mouth disease.  It is characterized by several days of high fever (check), general feeling yucky (check), cold-like symptoms (check), painful blisters around and in the mouth (check), possible sores on hands and feet (only found one), loss of appetite (check) and pronounced grumpiness (double-check!).  It lasts for about two weeks and generally goes away on its own.  Pain reliever helps some, but just batten down the hatches and grit your teeth folks, because this one is a doosey.

Angelee was awful nasty irritable.  She constantly wanted to be held, rarely wanted to eat, cried frequently, and work up every hour at night.  She was a mess.  We were a mess!  It lasted about a week and a half, before slowly decreasing.  It's so nice to have our girl back (again).  I'd like to quit losing her. And one day, maybe I won't worry so much.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I think I mentioned that Angelee has dissolving stitches in her fuzzy little scalp.  Daddy counted them as she slept, and came up with 92.  Nearly one hundred stitches - it's horrifically amazing.  They start from her center forehead, at the hairline and curve gracefully to the back of her head, reversing to come up behind her ear, then jump up over the ear.  The only place the scar will really show when her hair grows back is the four or five stitches there in front of her left ear.

They told us that the stitches would disappear between two to three weeks.  A few days ago, I was putting our daily antibiotic ointment on the incision when a couple of the stitches came off under my fingers.  I looked at them for a long time, fascinated at the technology in a gross sort of way.  Since then, a few more have come off every day.  She's only got five left now.  I'm glad the incision has healed so well.  Hopefully we'll be all knit together soon, and we'll be done with this phase.

I hear that vitamin E oil will help minimize the scarring, so she won't stab her head when she combs her hair.  She'll happily wear a soft cap to keep her head warm in the cool autumn weather.  I wonder how long it will take for her hair to grow back.

In Her Own Bed

We finally got Angelee to sleep in her own bed.  Not getting enough sleep is enough to make a person a tad loopy.  Not enough sleep for a couple of days can produce grouchiness.  Try two months.  Nay, try two months AFTER being on a perpetual low-sleep diet due to twin babies.  We had to sleep with her when her head was so delicate.  But now her brain was protected all the way around by nice, strong skull.  She didn't need us to pad her nighttime.  It was time for a change in sleeping arrangements.

Angelee's bed is a bunkbed with a single bed on top and a full-sized futon on the bottom (she sleeps on the bottom, of course).  The first time we put her on it, she looked so tiny on that big bed.  She makes full use of it: sleeping on one side, then the other, rolling to the top, curled up or spread-eagled - she is a wiggly one.  But after she was at the hospital, we folded it up to the futon since she wasn't using it.

I have put her down for naps on her futon-bed, and she sleeps there - but not willingly.  I had an idea the other day, and folded the bed back down.  As soon as she saw it, she ran over to it, jumped up, and excitedly cried, "Bed!"  Then she figured out that jumping on the lower bunk of a bunkbead is not a good idea.  Bonk.  When it was naptime, she got into bed quite willingly.  That night, Trent and I were nervous about how she would take sleeping by herself.  We were all worked up for a long night.

We put her in bed, tucked her in with the quilt Gram made and her fuzzy, pink crocheted "blankie."  I sang her a song, Daddy gave her a kiss, and we walked out and closed the door.  We both waited for the wailing.  Nothing.

We got ready for bed, blissfully without any "Angelinos."  Some of her favorites when our backs were turned were pulling the covers off our bed, poking the sleeping babies, squirting lotion on our pillows, turning the lamps on and off, and eating lip balm.  Really?  She's still not crying?  Is she breathing?  We gingerly peeked in her room, only to find her in the exact same position we had put her, a sweet toddler-sized sleeping beauty.  We celebrated by going to bed early.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Happy Anniversary

Three years ago I married the sweetest man.  I was pretty amazed that he was brave enough to take on a single mom toting five boys.  Not only has he slipped happily onto the parenting role, but he is really good at it.  He loves all the boys.  He helps me teach and guide them.  He looks over their homework.  He plays pool with them.  He teaches them how to mow the lawn and work in the yard.  AND, if these wonderful hooligans weren't enough, he wanted more!  So we added three little ones to our family.  One for each year (don't count on that trend continuing).  He is a great dad.

We spent our anniversary window shopping in a new furniture store we'd been wanting to check out.  It was very romantic, looking at the fancy four-poster beds, the sumptuous pillows, and the plush bed linens.  A nasty aroma spoiled the mood, and we had to stop and change a diaper.  Oh, we had Angelee and the babies on our hot date with us.  Then Angelee dropped a small ceramic ball, shattering it to tiny shards.  And one twin started to get grouchy.  And the other one got hungry.  And Angelee didn't want to be strapped into the stroller any more.  Time to go home.

But happy anniversary anyway, my dear.  I can't say I didn't try to warn you about this happy chaos.  But you seem to like it.  It's nice to be loved and needed.  And we do love you.  Thanks for jumping over my flowers and into our lives.

May the next year be even more full of joy than this one has been!
(And may it have fewer trips to the hospital)  <3

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Out to Eat

Angelee, like most two-year-olds I've known, can be a little picky about what she eats.  Apples?  Yes, please.  Actually, any kind of fruit meets with a happy girl face.  Chunks of meat?  Yes!  But bologna or sandwich meats?  Nope.  She'll turn up her nose at a fried egg, but happily eat a scrambled one.  She won't eat dry cold cereal unless it comes from the drawer in Dad's office.  She loves peanut butter and jam sandwiches.  Juice?  Ice cream?  Jello?  Mashed potatoes?  Yes, and yes.  Toast?  Not so much.  Oh, and she'll eat most anything on Mom's plate.  We learn what kind of things she generally likes, and slowly introduce other things so her diet is well-rounded.

Today, however, she has been very picky.  Pancakes and syrup went over pretty well, but she didn't want her standard cup of milk.  Her lunch was mostly untouched, and she kept asking for candy and sweets (see what nasty Halloween does?).  I kept trying to get her to eat good things.  Moms don't give up on their kids.

So I'm shaking my head about her afternoon snack:  cat food.  She let herself out the back door, and before I could get to her, she had squatted down by the cat dish and was eagerly chowing down.  Yum.