Wednesday, February 27, 2008

All better

Whew! Arwen is feeling better. I'm back at 100%. Roan's sniffley nose and diarreah seem to have cleared up. I've even managed to do some catch-up at work. I am so grateful for a little peace so far this week. The looks on our faces say it all.

Notice Roan is wearing her new purple fleece hoodie, courtesy of Lolli & G-Pop. She has decided she can't go anywhere without it. Whether she's inside, on the go, or going down for a nap she insists on wearing it! I've never seen her so insistent about anything.

Here's a snapshot from Monday's Operation Decontamination in which ALL plastic toys in this house were thoroughly washed. The stuffed animals, which I heartlessly subjected to the washing machine, are still air drying.

With all the time we've been spending recovering our health in bed, I've had a lot of time to knit. Here's Arwen in the first ever anything I have knit for him. It's an earflap hat, funky and washable, just like him. I also knit him up a striped hat (already completed) as well as a third hat still on the needles. Part of my hesitation in knitting him anything is that he tends to destroy, stain or lose things. Now that he has three heather-made hats, I won't be heartbroken if anything happens to one. Or two.

And here's me in my latest creation. Well actually draft 1 of the newsboy cap I finished like back in November. But I made it too deep, which gave it a rasta look I'm just not cool enough to pull off. It was such a pain to make I couldn't stomach frogging it and fixing it until I was stuck in bed for days on end, unable to get to the yarn store to buy new yarn for a new project. I'm glad I picked this one back up. I'm happy with how it turned out. And it matches the stripey scarf you can barely see in the picture. Now all I need to make are some fingerless gloves to match...

Monday, February 25, 2008

I would like to get off the merry-go-round now please

What a week.... Last Sunday Arwen went out of town on business for a few days. By the time he got back Wednesday night I was really looking forward to having another pair of hands to help with Roan. It's been tough with her being sick and not being in daycare.

30 minutes before I was supposed to leave for the airport Roan goes Exorcist on me and starts puking like crazy for about an hour straight. It was so sad, the poor thing. She kept looking at me with big eyes as if to ask, "Mommy, what's happening to me?" All of a sudden I had a mountain of putrid, disgusting, chunky laundry and a very sick kiddo on my hands.

I had to call Arwen and tell him I wouldn't be able to pick him up from the airport. He was less than enthused. The poor guy had come down with fever and chills while in Houston, his flight had been delayed 2 hours, and he was just barely hanging on throughout the trip home telling himself, Heather will be here soon. He ended up taking a shuttle and getting home after midnight, when he was supposed to have arrived by 9.

The next two days were a blur. Arwen spent them in bed - something I've rarely seen in the past 15 years - and I spent them changing Roan's constant blowout diapers, ala her new stomach bug. The two of them were a pair, let me tell you. A pair who couldn't come within 10 yards of each other for fear of cross contamination. I must've gone through a gallon of purell trying to keep his germs away from her, hers away from him and both away from me!

By Friday afternoon I was beginning to feel the onset of symptoms - whether Arwen's or Roan's I couldn't quite tell. I was just feeling run down and puny. Although after the week I'd had, it probably wouldn't have taken a microorganism to put me over the edge that way. I was filled with an impending sense of doom. Arwen was nowhere close to being well enough to look after Roan - he remained bedridden till Sunday - and I knew if I came down with what he had I'd have to fend for myself. I was most worried that with both of us sick with high fevers, she would inevitably get it. If it had laid Arwen low like that, I was worried it could mean a trip to the hospital for her.

So Friday night our friend Molly came over (the mom we nanny share with). She's a Physician's Assistant, and she brought her medical bag. She tested Arwen for flu and he came back positive for Influenza B. So she put us both on Tamiflu. I was starting to feel better by the next morning, and he has gradually seen improvement as well. Things were looking up.

By this morning Arwen was feeling so well he was at his desk working by 8:15. And by 8:30 he was back in bed, nauseous. I was sitting at the dining room table, logging on to say hello to my colleagues when I see him tear butt across the hallway, too little too late unfortunately. He had a massive spontaneous vomitaceous eruption that unfortunately rendered our bedroom, bathroom and the hallway contamination zones. He offered to clean up after himself, but come on. How heartless am I?

I am still working my way through the resulting mountain of laundry. We decided to do all the sheets, towels, pretty much everything in the house while we were at it. And I went ahead and vacuumed, mopped and generally sanitized the whole house. All of Roan's plastic toys have been washed. A load of stuffed animals is still waiting to go into the laundry. Needless to say I'm exhausted!

I've decided that life lately is like a riptide. It's only if you fight it that you drown. If I can just relax and take it as it comes, eventually I'll end up at the shore again. At least that's what I'm telling myself!

More pictures soon. I snapped a cute one of Roan and me today.

Friday, February 22, 2008

In Memory of Hallie Anne Long

Hallie's long struggle with illness ended yesterday, February 21st. We are so sad to see her go. The little darlin put up a tough fight to the very end. She and Sasha got to play ball together one last time. I kept thinking about the sassy little red legwarmers I had wanted to knit for her. I'm sad I didn't get the chance. Sasha's going to miss her best buddy; they were like sisters.

I am at a loss as to something to do to ease Jen and Micah's grief. I just hope they can find some peace.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Nice Visit

Lolli and G-Pop went home this afternoon after a long weekend (that felt short!) in honor of Valentine's Day. Their Valentine's Day present to each other was to spend a few days with their grandbaby, and their Valentine's Day present to us was to give us an incredible worry-free two whole days and nights off from being on Baby Duty.

We had originally planned to go to Breckenridge for the weekend and go snowboarding, but as it turned out I came down with the latest incarnation of Roan's cough and cold and wasn't up to it. You would think that would be a bummer, but it really wasn't. We had two whole blissful nights of long, uninterrupted sleep while Mom, Stephen, Jen and Micah looked after Roan at Jen and Micah's house. And no kidding - it was absolutely transformative for me.

Having that time off, being able to get a good night's sleep, being able to get up and just take a frigging shower and blow dry my hair without having to entertain/ divert/ herd Roan was so wonderful. I felt a fog I hadn't even realized was there quietly lift away, as I was able to lift my gaze from where it's been the past ten months - three feet in front of me - and take stock of all the stuff that I've let fall to the side. Arwen and I spent some time together doing some fun stuff and some necessary stuff, having conversations that were about six months overdue. It was really really good for us!

We also got to spend some good time with my mom and Stephen. We took Roan to the Children's Museum Thursday afternoon. She had so much fun! She climbed up and down and slid and crawled on this cool contraption they have. She played in a toy boat and caught stuffed fish with a magnetized fishing pole. And she wandered around chewing on every random toy that wasn't glued down.

And then on Saturday we took her to the Aquarium where she saw all kinds of fish, sharks, and her very favorite: tigers. We brought her stroller, as did virtually all parents of kiddos Roan's age, but we might as well have left it at home. She was determined to walk through the whole thing. I think she had more fun walking from exhibit to exhibit like the big kids than actually checking out the fish. With the exception of the tigers (why they have real live tigers at an aquarium, I don't know), which she didn't want to leave. And Aunt Jen swears she heard Roan say "ti-guh."

We've had another major development this weekend: Roan is now clapping her hands. I know, compared to walking, no big deal right? But it was the one thing left on the list a kid her age "should" be doing that she just had not done. And then out of nowhere, she started clapping with G-Pop and Lolli, clapping either her own hands or grabbing their hands to clap them.
Also, on a note of personal satisfaction, Roan seems to *love* the new hat I knit her. At first it seemed all she wanted to do was pull it off as soon as I put it on her. But over the weekend when she was staying over at Aunt Jen's house, she apparently got her hat out and wore it around quite a bit. It seemed like maybe she picked it up as a way to connect with Mama when I wasn't around. And again this evening alone with me, she was curled up in my lap drinking a bottle when she caught a glimpse of the hat and insisted on putting it on. Jen says she wants to knit me one to match. I can hardly wait!

Tonight I watched a show about a couple with eight kids and it really gave me a lot to think about. They had fertility treatments in order to conceive a set of twin girls. Then they wanted "just one more." Instead they got a set of sextuplets. Holy cow man. Knowing the challenges that one child presents to your sense of self, your relationship with your mate, your sleep patterns... I cannot imagine dealing with eight, and six of them being newborns at the same time! Not that Roan is some terrible burden. She is a joyful burden, if you will, and one I feel so lucky to carry. She is an angel of a child. Even sick her temperment is so sweet and joyful. Watching that couple though, I will confess, it made me stop and think maybe we should be grateful for the wonderful child we have and leave it at that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A few more photos

Here are some photos from being out and about over the weekend, plus the promised pic of the new sweater & hat set.

Here are Roan and Sasha out on a stroll on Sunday. It was sunny and in the 50's, so we walked over to Tennyson, picked up some pad thai and headed up to the park for a quickie picinic.

Here's Roan on the swings with her Daddy. She was rather nonplussed as you can see from the photo. Nonplussed was a big improvement over just plain grumpy after being sick and housebound for the last month, though. Getting out in the fresh air seemed to do her some good.

And here is the new sweater and hat set. I'm pleased with how it came out, considering I didn't use a pattern for the sweater. It took several re-dos but that's par for the course. She likes the pom poms on the hat - keeps trying to eat them! Now I'm working on a hat for Arwen in the same basic pattern, but a finer gauge yarn in autumn colors.

Monday, February 11, 2008

The latest

Here's Roan fresh out of the bath, wrapped up in her special flower power towel (notice the bee, so cute!) in her proud papa's arms. Roan and Arwen have been spending more time together lately, especially in the wee hours. Since she's had the World's Longest Running Cold, all the 4 am wakeups were just killing me. So he's taken them over completely. And with such enthusiasm! Aaaahhh...

I've been sneaking in some knitting for my little cutie pie. I knit her up a sweater, pictured here, though it's not the best picture ever. It was supposed to be a picture of her sweater but someone put her hand in the way (oops!). It doesn't have nearly as much growing room in it as I intended, but oh well. It'll fit her great for the next few weeks! Better pictures to follow. And I just finished a hat with earflaps to match it today. It is so cute on her... little pom poms and all. I got called in for jury duty so I had plenty of time sitting around.

So other than jury duty (which was educational but not so fun) the big excitement this week is Lolli & G-Pop's visit starting Wednesday. They're coming in to spend some time with Roan and let Arwen and I have some quality Valentine's time together. I think we might go snowboarding!

Roan is doing just great, aside from being sick with a cold and cough. She is toddling all over the place, as you can see in the videos. And she is babbling constantly, though it's 99% unintelligible. She never fails to say "dada" when she sees Arwen, but sometimes on the first or second try with me, I am also "dada" until I reminder her, and then she says "mamama," like "Oh yeah, I knew that!" She loves her books - whether she's pulling them all off the shelf and onto the floor, or flipping through them, or being read to. When we read together, she always likes to turn the pages. She seems to take the job seriously.

I've been doing some reading lately. The book I borrowed from the library is called "Redirecting Children's Behavior," and I love it because 1) it's very thin and short!, 2) it covers ages birth to 18, and 3) it articulates a parenting philosophy we both agree with. I picked it up on the recommendation of Eric and Pam, whose parenting style we always marvel at whenever we spend time with them and their son Gunther. The basic idea it offers is a way to deal with misbehavior or annoying behavior in such a way that it offers the child choices to make and a sense of control over themselves, while taking the frustration out of the equation for the parent.

Roan's still rather young for most of the techniques, but I get the sense that she will be challenging us soon, and I want to be ready with some tools that are constructive rather than reactive. One of the main things the book says that I strongly agree with, is that as parents our job is to gradually work ourselves out of a job. If we do well, we raise confident decision makers who need us less and less over time. Such a philosophy focuses on helping a child to feel motivated from within to make good decisions, rather than the parent imposing control from the outside. I think it's pretty consistent with the way both Arwen and I were raised. Even though our childhoods were very different from each other, I think all our parents had the same thought in the backs of their minds. Anyway, it sounds good enough in theory that I think it's worth a try!

Well I think I'm going to retire for the evening. Now that Roan is down, it's prime wind-down time for Arwen and me, and he has just informed me that my presence is needed! Good night all.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

More videos

Doing her best imitation of Hercules:

Her first time trying out her big girl cup from Grandma YaYa. She loves this cup so much, I can hardly get it away from her long enough to refill it!

Toddling around the house in her diaper:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Nice weekend

We had a good time at Audrey's birthday party on Saturday. Any day that starts with bloody marys is a good day right? There must've been 15 kids under age 4 running around like wild animals. Colorful plastic was strewn everywhere, spills were made left and right, germs were spread like crazy, and the words "MINE!" were heard on numerous occassions. Roan was dressed up in a pink dress (what has happened to me!) with a pretty white bow in her hair (not pictured, sorry), tights and her mary janes. Cute as a button. Although in this picture she was just about ready to go down for a nap.

I didn't snap as many photos as I intended to. It was a little like being under seige - hard to break out the camera in a war zone. It was a lovely party though, and we had a great time. One of the highlights (besides seeing the birthday girl decimate her chocolate cupcake and throw it on the floor) was seeing some acquaintance/friends who just returned from Khazakstan with their newly adopted daughter, Saule (pronounced saw-LAY). They landed in Denver less than 24 hours before the party, after 30 hours of travel, so it was wonderful they could make it. Her name means sun in Russian, and she is an adorable little thing. Roan was very interested to meet her. Sorry, no picture of her yet.

But here is the birthday girl. She and Roan have a lot of fun together. Although they hadn't seen each other in a couple of weeks because Audrey was sick with a terrible respiratory infection. Suspiciously, she got all better just in time for her party. Seems a little young to be trying to cut school, but I guess you never know.

And here is our friend Conrad, with his 10 week old daughter Claire, sleeping peacefully in his arms despite the utter chaos going on around them. You think she looks just like her daddy until you see her next to her mom. She is like a mini me of her mother, for real! It doesn't seem like all that long ago that Roan was so tiny and helpless, and we were sleep deprived and clueless. As cute as she was, you'd have to pay me a lot of money to turn the clock back to those days. She is so much fun now. I wake up every morning just wanting to see what new thing she does next.

She is walking so well now I can hardly believe it. She doesn't crawl much anymore, except when she's getting tired. She can get from one side of the room to the other and back again without falling down, when she's on her game. Once again I had a hard time narrowing down which videos to upload for you guys. Just one for tonight, more to come soon.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Such a big girl

Well I think I am weaning Roan off of nursing. I didn't really plan it, I haven't done any research on it (gasp!), it's just sort of happening. She has been such a wiggle worm lately that it seems like she prefers a bottle to nursing. Case in point, this photo here. On two separate occassions the only way I could get her to nurse was by letting her stand! Awkward for me, and silly to boot. But makes for a funny picture.

Aside from the wiggle factor is the fact that the girl can intake some volume, I tell ya. I've found it necessary to nurse her on both sides instead of just one side, and even after that sometimes she'll take a little more from a bottle. And given how much she can drink at one sitting, she seems to prefer drinking at a pace that ol' Mom can't keep up with. Over the past couple of weeks I've been nursing half time and bottle feeding half time, and she seems to prefer the quicker pace of the bottle. She has also gotten very good at holding the bottle herself, even when tired, and seems to take pride in doing so.

I think this is a good time to let go of the nursing because first and foremost, she seems ready for that next step, and secondly nursing hasn't dragged out to the point of being a burden on me. Probably better to bid it farewell while I still feel fondly about it. I am a little sad at letting it go though. And it also seems almost a shame - It is pretty awe inspiring what a great milk maker my body has been! But I also feel good about letting go gracefully, encouraging Roan to continue to grow and blossom, and not trying to hold on to her baby days beyond their expiration.

In other news, our little troublemaker continues to improve her walking. Even her new bunny slippers (from Great Aunt Bunnie) haven't slowed her down. She has spent most of this week trying to get over a cold, which means not eating much in the way of solids, napping irregularly, waking up at least once every night. It also involves me constantly wiping some mixture of snot - tears - drool - spitup off her face. There have been a few "extreme booger" mornings where I went in to pick her up in the morning and her hair looked like Cameron Diaz's bangs in "Something About Mary" from all the snot in her hair. Children are foul creatures!

Tomorrow Roan is going to her first birthday party. Her buddy Audrey is turning 1. Audrey's parents are throwing more of a celebration at having survived their rather vociferous child's first year. They are kicking it off right - with Bloody Marys at 10 AM! Can't wait!