Thursday, January 27, 2011

Observations from the mother of a spica'd baby

Two weeks ago today, we brought our 8 month old baby home from the hospital, 2/3 of his body covered in a fiberglass hip spica cast. Most every day has presented some new challenge or revelation.

1. The cast should come with handles. That baby is HARD to pick up.

2. Managing the care of a baby in a spica cast is equivalent to lifting weights every day. I am going to have serious biceps after this is over.

3. It has apparently occured to very few people--like 2--that babies in body casts that can't bend at the waist still have to be able to ride legally in a car.

4. Of all the new experiences to be had with this cast, the strangest has to be buying diapers, feminine hygeine products, and adult incontinence products all at the same time, and all for my son. It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes 14 items to adequately diaper this child and protect the cast.

5. Fiberglass is scratchy on the outside. My arms look like I've been in a fight with a cat.

6. Though nothing makes this easy, the food has certainly helped. Thanks to our church family and dear friends, we have eaten better since Aaron broke his leg than we ever did before.

7. It is possible to go into withdrawal from not being able to squeeze squishy baby thighs when you're used to doing 3 or 4 or 27 times a day.

8. Laundry is significantly decreased when your baby can only wear a t-shirt and one sock.

9. You'd think something as bulky and awkward as a body cast would diminish a baby's cute quotient, but seems only to multiply it by a factor of "awwwwww...."

10. This too shall pass. Right?

And they always tell you babies aren't breakable...

If you are not privy to my near-obsessive Facebook status updating, then you may not know that the AAMEN life got a little more interesting a few days ago. Aaron, who is now 8 months old, broke his leg. His dad was holding him when he decided to dive backwards onto the floor. Matt saved him from the fall, but he had lunged with enough velocity to snap his femur in two. He's wearing something called a hip spica cast, which basically means he's got a fiberglass shell over 2/3 of his body for the next four weeks. It makes everything, especially diaper changing, a little tricky.

I have been astounded at how many people have texted, emailed, messaged and called with encouragement and offers of help. Our friends and family basically swooped in and took care of everything while we were in the hospital. When I told everyone that the only legal way to transport him in the car in his current condition is by using a harness, and that the harness is only available in this state at Children's Hospital but we can't have one because we aren't a patient there, no less than 10 people started calling friends to try to find someone there who could help us. No doubt we are on Children's black list now :) I am so thankful for the help, though!

I have no idea how the next 4 weeks are going to play out. Hopefully we'll settle into a routine and I can still get things done around here, including blogging. Go easy on me if that's not the case though!

Monday, January 17, 2011

My grandmother

First, if you're reading this because you wanted an update on my grandmother, thank you for caring about her. Granted, it's not hard to do since she's pretty much the greatest person ever, but still. Thanks.

Second. If you're reading this just because you clicked over to my blog, then just take my word for it--my grandmother is pretty much the greatest person ever.

The basics are: my grandmother, who is 83 and has Altzheimer's, fell early Saturday morning in her bedroom. My uncle, who lives with her, found her and called my aunt, who took her to the ER. She has been in the hospital since then. She incredibly did not break any bones or sustain any serious injuries. However, she is covered in bruises, extremely weak and is not in touch with reality. Her blood pressure is spiking and she has run a fever ocasionally. Today her doctor said that she will remain in the hospital a minimum of 3-5 days, then be transferred to some form of a rehabilitation center. She has a bladder/UTI infection, which she had before the fall. These cause confusion and hallucination in elderly patients (which seems SO strange to me) so we are hoping that once this is cleared up she will function a little better.

We have been incredibly blessed in that 1) She didn't sustain any life threatening injuries and 2)though she does not know who we are or where she is, she seems to be happy to be there, is perfectly willing to cooperate with anything she's asked to do, and has not thus far shown any anxiety or fear. In brief moments of clarity, she's been her sharply witty self and has quickly become the pet of the staff.

She cannot be left alone, so my aunt, cousin and I are taking turns spending the night in the room with her. It isn't the easiest task in the world, mainly becuase my precious little grandmother snores like a 300 pound man. We are all happy to do it, though. My mom is staying in town indefinitely. I went down Saturday and came home yesterday. I am trying to arrange care for the kids so I can go back tomorrow for a night, and then again Friday or Saturday.

Every time I start to write the last paragraph here, I start to get a little weepy, so I'm going to nip that in the bud. I'll just say that I'll keep updates coming as they are available, and it means the world to me that people get how awesome this lady is. Thanks.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My Three Part Plan To Survive The Snow Day

1. Diet Dr. Pepper (for me)
2. The Wii (for Abby and Ethan)
3. Gerber Puffs (for Aaron)

Plan B involves Benadryl, bedroom door locks and earplugs. Let's hope we don't have to go there.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

He gets it from his dad, I swear

I am not one of those people who blogs every time her kid does something cute or funny, but I could not help myself today. The following are photographs taken while I fed Aaron his lunch a little while ago. He's apparently a very big fan of his tongue.

Monday, January 3, 2011

All about the baby

You probably noticed that in the last post, Aaron was not featured prominently. He's 7 months old--his Christmas experience consists mainly of drooling and chewing on bows. I don't want to leave the impression, though, that he did not have some fun of his own. Here's some proof:

Okay, this picture doesn't actually show him doing anything, but DANG! How cute is this kid?

When you are the third child, and Abby and Ethan are your siblings, you learn to be tough real quick. They are so gentle with him, but they've already started teaching him the finer points of wrestling. It's great fun to watch, because they try so hard to be careful, while the whole time their baby brother is attacking with full force, growling and pulling hair and pouncing and shrieking with laughter the whole time. Here he is on the prowl for a victim:

Aaand he found one. His favorite move is to crawl on their head and pull their hair while he blows spit onto their face. They're astoundingly tolerant of this.

Aaron's now fully mobile, which I am having a very difficult time accepting. Where did my BABY go?? For about a month, he has headed straight for his bumpers the second he is laid down in his crib. Over Christmas he apparently figured out how to untie them and this is how we found him:

*Note to all the baby safety fanatics out there: Don't worry. We've fixed the problem. The chenille bumpers no longer pose a threat to Aaron's life.

And finally. We went to visit my grandmother for a couple of days. My children pretty much worship the ground their Gigi walks on, and I was pleased to see that Aaron is no different.

She IS pretty cool.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Santa is my hero

For round 2 of our Christmas pictures, we'll focus mostly on Christmas morning itself. First, a little bit of preparation for the big day:

Now let me explain. Abby and Ethan are sitting at the table by the fireplace where we have placed Santa's cookies and milk. You will notice that there is more that just snacks on that table, though. You see, not everyone knows this, but Santa has a room at the North Pole where he keeps a collection of gingerbread houses made by his favorite children. Since we make a gingerbread house every year (well, let me clarify: we decorate the pre-made house they sell at Wal-Mart--do I SEEM like the homemade gingerbread house type to you? I didn't think so.) we always have a present for him! Of course, we are sad that we can't keep our house to look at for the next 2 months, but he IS Santa. Recently we got it on good authority that Santa in fact likes to receive Christmas crafts of any kind made by children. I love that jolly old elf.

This was the kids' payload. Seriously, they got way too much stuff. Matt and I originally disagreed about whether or not Santa wrapped presents--when I was growing up he ALWAYS did. Then, though, Santa pointed out to me that when Santa doesn't wrap presents, he can spend that time watching DVR'd episodes of Modern Family with all his extra time. I was converted.

This is the kids' reaction to seeing their stuff. They got so excited. This was the best year yet for over-the-top reactions to presents. It got almost comical. Ethan nearly stopped breathing over a t-shirt.

See what I mean? He is hugging the Moon Dough that Santa brought him. He picked Moon Dough as a present to give to the boy in the family we bought for this Christmas, and since then had become obsessed with getting his own. He kept telling anyone who would listen all about it, quoting verbatim from the TV commercials. "It's like nothing you've ever played with before!"

Ethan also got a Spiderman costume. He wore it the entire day, until bedtime. It has built in muscles and makes his rear end look even scrawnier than it is. Abby wore her PJs all day.
I wish I had taken a picture of our living room a few hours after present time. It looked like a toy room exploded. You couldn't walk. Granted, this is only slightly different than normal, but it was a little overwhelming even for me. We're still putting stuff away.
Oh, and the Moon Dough that Ethan practically wept over? He played with it for 10 minutes and it's been in the box ever since. Awesome.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

You WILL look at me!

2011, eh? Fancy. Sounds futuristic, doesn't it? Twenty Eleven. Ooh la la.

We had a lovely last few days of 2010. It was a wonderful Christmas. The kids are at really fun ages for all the festivities. We had just enough going on to keep us busy, but not so much that we were exhausted the whole time.

I have a rule for myself that may seem strange in today's photo-obsessed society: I don't take pictures of my kids opening presents. Because. I realized that if I am taking pictures of them opening presents, I'm not really WATCHING them open presents, and missing the moment so that I can record the moment I missed seems a little...counterproductive. Besides, who really goes back and looks at pictures of their kids opening every single package?

Anyway, I managed to get plenty of other good pictures and I'm going to spread them out over a few posts. To get us started I'll give you a series of pictures taken on Christmas Eve. We have a tradition of giving the kids pajamas on Christmas Eve to wear that night. Below are the photographs I took in my attempt to get a good shot of my 3 children in their new pjs. My commentary is what I was actually saying while taking the pictures.

"Okay, just hold Aaron and be sweet to him and smile!"

"Abby, look at me! Ethan, quit eating your brother!"

"I don't care if he likes it! LOOK AT ME!"

"Aaron! Are you mocking me? WHY is no one looking at me??"

"Fine. Do whatever you want. I'll be in the other room packing up all your presents to take to the kids down the street."