Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas

At first, I hated that Hallmark commercial. You know, the one where the mom records the little boy saying Merry Christmas on the card to send to Grandma and Grandpa? Who hates Hallmark?!? I know, I know. But it made me cry, because when they started airing it, Lainie couldn't even say Merry, much less any resemblance of Merry Christmas. So, we started working on the signs.

And now, for your viewing pleasure:

teehee, that makes me happy.
But, then again, so does this oh-so-joyful holiday song:

Oh, and speaking of commercials, I have one more reason to love Target. Did you notice the adorable little kid signing in their Christmas pageant commercials? Ya, they have a new fan...or at least a more dedicated old one.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Total raving vent.

Mommies are supposed to fix things. They are supposed to kiss boo-boos and make them all better. A mommy's hug has magical powers and can make even the worst day seem manageable. (beware: poopy talk ahead.)

It's killing me that I can't fix Lainie's problem. I can't fix her health. I can't keep her from getting sick. And even if it was normal childhood ear infections or the such, then we could cope. But diarrhea for 9 weeks and going? Every day she goes 24 hours without a nasty blow-out diaper, I think maybe she's over it. But then she follows it with 5 diarrhea-consistency diapers in a day. Even the docs are stumped. Next step -- tests. Stool samples, blood test, and who knows what else.

Why can't I fix this? Why can't I find a magic solution? Why can't I do some magic googling and find that drinking juice and eating crackers at the same time -- or some equally ridiculously simple combination -- causes uncontrollable chronic diarrhea.

Bright side. I'm trying to see the bright side. She's not getting dehydrated. She hasn't lost weight; she hasn't gained in 2 months, but she hasn't lost. It doesn't slow her down usually, except on the bad days, when she's just drained, literally and figuratively. She still eats.

If Mommy's magic isn't working and Doc is puzzled, then what? Can someone please fix this!

Updated: Today, for the first time, Lainie was too sick to stay at daycare. She had 5 blowouts before noon and was literally standing at the front window, crying for mommy for an hour while I drove home. So, I got her in with a new doctor, with a pediatrician this time. After a 15-minute appointment, the doc said she's 98 percent sure Lainie has toddler diarrhea. Doc almost laughed at my facial expression -- of course she has toddler diarrhea! She's a toddler and she has diarrhea. But apparently Toddler Diarrhea (notice the caps) is an actual illness. It's basically irritable bowel syndrome in toddlers. I "get" to take a stool sample in, just to rule out other causes, but since we've already had our well tested and treated and since she gets sick at my moms and at daycare, this our doc's likely diagnosis. So, with some diet changes, we can hopefully get it to decrease. And, best of all, it's not something that should get worse or inhibit her growth.

Friday, December 5, 2008

On the edge of adulthood

Okay, not really. Katie only thinks she's on the edge of adulthood. At 7, she's got a long way to go.

Seriously, she actually told me that it's confusing to her because some times she feels like an adult and some times she feels like a child, and that's why she isn't sure how to act. Poor girl!

I understand why she's confused. How many times a day is she reminded to be responsible, to take care of her own things, to do the right thing? Think of school time: at this age, they want the kids to learn more and more how to take care of themselves. Altruistic incentives for good behaviors.

Then she comes home and is the oldest child. No matter what, I think that birth order brings with it extra responsibility. Lordy, I try not to, but I hear myself asking her to do things that maybe a child shouldn't have to. It's not so much because she's the oldest; it's because she's so stinking responsible and such a rule-follower. I know she'll tell me the instant Lainie's doing something she shouldn't, while Maggie would encourage the deviant behavior just for fun.

But then, Katie tries to act like a parent. She has started arguing with everything I ask of her or requiring an explanation. She's in the habit of telling Maggie and Lainie what to do, which is sometimes okay and sometimes not. She rarely just acts like a kid.

But rarely doesn't mean never. Every once in a while we get a glimpse of the little girl in Katie, innocently playing dress-up or playing with the Barbies. I guess I just wish we'd see more of that, and worry that we aren't. She's seven. Shouldn't she still be a little girl?

I'm so lucky!

Katie actually admitted to keeping things off her wish list for Christmas because she thought they were too expensive to ask for. Not a wii, people. No, a $40 camera, a $25 pair of shoes, a scrapbook kit she really loved. And she's also the one reminding me we have 2 bags of toys to take to our local equivalent to Goodwill.

Maggie's decided to grow up. Like a light-switch, one day the fits stopped. No more tantrums or arguments when I ask her to do something. She does things without being asked, like making her bed or putting her dirty clothes in the hamper. She spent over an hour last Tuesday reading to Lainie and encouraging her to talk. "Lainie, can you say Barbie? Say Barbie! Good job, Lainie!"

And Lainie is two. It's never an easy age, especially for a minimally-verbal two-year-old. But even she's providing more moments of sunshine than anguish. Yes, she'll still stand defiantly with her little smirk when I ask her to do something she doesn't want to. But she also loves to unload the dishwasher and load the clothes into the washer and help any way she can. And she adores hours of sitting on our laps, reading book after book.

Reading back over this, it sounds like it's all about what chores they do or don't do. It's not that at all. I think I'm just focused on that aspect right now because I'm still freaking out about managing a household of 6. Also, we're so busy right now with holiday activities and school activiites and baby-prep activities that any help I get with the mundance tasks are SO appreciated. I guess my love-language has switched temporarily to acts of service.

And, since my love tank is full with all my wonderful little helpers (and one big helper) helping, I have time and patience and, well, the compassion to stop what I'm doing to fill their little love tanks: Katie's Words of Affirmation, Maggie's Physical Touch, and Lainie's Quality Time.

Now if I can just carve out DH's love tank refill, it will be a happy holidays.