Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 114: One more player

I was spared the frustration of a disappointing weigh-in this past week because our clinic appointment was cancelled.  I still don't exactly know who cancelled it; all I can say with certainty is that it wasn't me.  I realized on Thursday morning that I hadn't received the usual barrage of appointment reminder emails and phone calls, so I called the clinic to make sure I had the right date and time on my calendar.  The receptionist told me that the appointment had been cancelled, since we'd "been seen earlier."  I am still really irritated and frustrated by this, especially since our written clinic-provided notes from that earlier visit specified that the visit we'd already had on the books was the next step in our follow-up plan.

But, once an appointment is cancelled, it's gone, so I scheduled us for the next available in a few weeks time.  Honestly the news will be the same as it would have been on Friday--at the moment we're doing well on pulmonary (two cold/runny nose/cough things defeated without resorting to antibiotics) and not doing so well on nutrition (visible ribs and spine, throwing rice on the floor, etc).  Having never been the parent of a "normal" two year old, Lemon usually looks "normal" to me, but we went on a little outing to the zoo with some of his friends from school and seeing him next to his classmates really drove home to me how skinny he is at the moment.  We'll just keep buying heavy cream by the quart and hoping that eventually Lemon acknowledges that we aren't trying to poison him at every meal.

Another development this week was that we decided to add one more member to our care team.  Our nanny's bout with pneumonia a few weeks ago was a stark reminder of the fact that we are constantly one illness or travel conflict away from a child-care emergency.  So, we hired a very capable-seeming college senior to come watch Lime while Lemon is at school.  She'll also come a few other odd afternoons per month to hang out with Nona and both kids so she and Lemon can get acquainted, and then she can serve as our back-up/pinch hitter when another member of the team goes down.  When I describe our child-care arrangements to people, they sound ridiculously complex.  Honestly, even to me, they sound ridiculously complex (7:30-12:30 every day: our indispensible nanny.  12:30-4:30 M/W/F: Nona and Opa, T/R 12:30-4: Lemon to preschool, Lime at home with our new babysitter).  Even with all these machinations, I have 43 hours per week of child care to work 40 billable hours for my job.  I can just make it if I work absolutely flat out all the time that Lime isn't nursing, and put in a couple of night or weekend hours on top.  So far, it's been worth it--I'm really enjoying my job and my new coworkers, but the schedule is a bit intense with every single minute accounted for.

Fall is in full swing out there in the sunlit world above my office.  We've been trying to take advantage of the last few warm days by spending as much time outside as we can.  I'm really sad that the farmer's market on our street ends on Saturday.  It's become an integral part of our family's routine.  In fact, Lime has never known a single Saturday in his life aside from the day after his birth that we didn't go.   We've been having a lot of fun raking leaves in our yard, and collecting interesting specimens to look at in more detail.

We also made the bold move of booking some winter travel.  I've learned through hard experience not to get excited about a trip out of Wisconsin until I've actually arrived at the destination, but we at least now own plane tickets to Boston for the week between Christmas and New Years.  So, Boston/New England friends, please stick around for the holidays so that we can see you.  Lime can't wait to meet you!


Monday, October 19, 2015

Week 113: Survivors

We all made it.  I'm not exactly sure how, except that Nona is largely responsible. 

We started off feeling strong, ready to rise to this new challenge.  Papa Bear and Lemon had bonus time together on Monday and Tuesday mornings, while Lime got to learn the great joy of participating in conference calls.   He was not at all a fan of the overhead lights, so I mostly kept them off and worked using only a small desk lamp, thus maximizing the cave-like feel of our windowless basement office.

By Wednesday, we were starting to feel a little frayed but we were still hanging on.  Thursday at 5 a.m., Papa Bear left for a conference in Texas.  Lemon noticed his absence immediately, since Papa Bear always has breakfast with him.  When Lemon was sitting in his booster seat, waiting for me to get his breakfast together, he saw one of the cats walk down the hall towards our bedroom.  Referring to his missing Papa, he said, "Daffer will find him."  He asked about Papa Bear constantly for the next 24 hours.  Then, on Friday, Opa disappeared, too--bound for the east coast.  That may have been the last straw for poor Lemon, who had 3 of his key people vanish from the face of the earth within 5 days.

Friday night, he just couldn't settle down in his crib, so I had him lie down on his big-boy bed so that Lime and I could keep him company.  He finally fell asleep, and I didn't want to disturb him and risk waking him up, so I crossed my fingers and left him there.  Unsurprisingly, he fell out of bed at 2 a.m. and clonked his head on the floor, so I picked him up and brought him into the room that I share with Lime.  He fell right back to sleep.  I dozed off and on in between feeding Lime.  At 5, Lemon woke up again and started singing.  I tried to explain to him that it was still night time and that the occasion called for peace and tranquility, but to no avail.  Eventually, his singing woke Lime, and Lemon started yelling joyfully at the top of his lungs, "He's awake, he's awake!" I did not share his joy, I have to confess, but at that point I gave up and decided that we would start our day.

I had thought that the night on the big-boy bed was a one-off, but after that transformative experience, Lemon decided that he was done with the crib forever.  I'd been hoping to get him out of there sometime in the not too distant future, but I certainly hadn't planned on making the transition on a weekend when I was a solo parent.  I refer you to parenting lesson number one, which is that kids have zero respect for your plans.  It feels like I spent about 70% of my waking hours (of which there were an exceptionally large number) over the remainder of the weekend variously standing, sitting, or lying in Lemon's bedroom while holding Lime and trying to get Lemon to stay in bed long enough to fall asleep.

In summary, we were all very happy to see Papa Bear when he got back on Sunday afternoon, and also very happy to see our nanny restored to health and back at work this morning.  Just to ensure that this week has no chance of being boring, Lemon came down with his first cold of the season on Friday and has been coughing quite a bit, so we're going up to 3 vest treatments per day for at least the next several days.  In a bit of fortuitous timing, we have a clinic visit already scheduled for Friday, so if Lemon is still sick then we can get him looked at.  I have to say I'm really dreading this weigh-in.  Lemon was doing better with food for a while but he's in another "experimental phase" at the moment and I can already see that we're losing ground again.  Ah well.  If past experience is any indication, next week will be entirely different, in some way that I cannot yet fully anticipate...

Monday, October 12, 2015

Week 112: Another year or five

I thought this week I would write a nice easy blog post about how it was my birthday this past week, as well as our fifth wedding anniversary.  I would wax nostalgic for the simpler times before we had kids and before CF entered our lives, post a few old wedding photos, muse on the fact that I can't actually remember how old I'm turning without thinking about how old my kids are first, and so forth. 

That was all before yesterday afternoon, when our indispensable nanny texted me to let me know that she was very ill, in the hospital in fact, and would remain in the hospital until mid-week this week and would need time at home to recover afterwards.  So, it took a grand total of 4 weeks since I returned to work full time to have our first full-blown child care crisis.  It feels to me almost as though fate had this planned out for us, a stress-test if you will.  Just to see if we had enough redundancy and flexibility built into our lives to handle one more thing.  To keep things really interesting, Papa Bear is leaving at oh-dark-hundred on Thursday morning for a 4 day trip to Texas, leaving our defense down by two, a double power play if you will.

Once we put Lemon to bed today, Papa Bear looked at each other across the wreckage of our house and congratulated each other on surviving Day 1.  He stayed home from work in the morning to take care of Lemon so that I could work, with Lime with me in the office either on my lap or asleep in a Rock-n-Play that I brought down there for that purpose.  It worked out more or less fine.  He slept soundly through all of my morning conference call except the part where I was scheduled to present, at which point he began screaming at top volume.  Luckily my coworkers were very understanding and switched the order of presentations so that  I could go later in the order, once Lime had settled down.

Then, later in the afternoon, the real heroes of our tale, Nona and Opa, arrived.  They kept both kids entertained until about 3, when Lime came back down to the office for another feeding.  I was in the middle of yet another conference call, fortunately one where I was just listening and watching, not speaking.  Since I didn't want to miss any of the visuals on the presentation, I decided to just keep him on my lap until the call was over.  This triggered his impeccable sense of timing, and he produced a blowout of epic proportions, pretty much up to the hairline.  But, I didn't want to leave my office before the end of the call, so I tried to optimize the way I was holding him such that gravity and capillary action were both working in my favor.  Once the call ended, it was straight to the bathroom for some serious personal hygiene.  Now, I should go try to do a bit more work and go to bed. 

I make no promises about next week's blog post.  It may consist entirely of an itemized list of the mammals in our house who survived the week.  I have a feeling that my birthday gift from Papa Bear may be gone sooner than expected.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Week 111: Warp speed

Now that I'm back at work it feels as though our lives have sped up tremendously--I move from one thing to the next with scarcely a minute in the day unaccounted for.  Each day passes in a blur, and before I know it, Friday has come around again.  Whenever possible I do two things at once, or have the kids with me while I'm trying to get some household task accomplished.

On Saturday, our exciting outing was to the pet store to get supplies for the cats (remember them?).  It counted as an exciting outing because our pet store has an indoor koi pond, and for  a quarter you can buy a small handful of koi food pellets.  It was a big hit, and we had to draw the line at 75 cents worth.

On Sunday, "we" did some gardening.  There were bulbs involved.  I honestly couldn't tell you what kind of flowers they are supposed to be, whether they were planted in any sort of arrangement or order, and whether they were planted deep enough to survive the Wisconsin winter.  All I can say with certainty is that we'll know more in the spring.

We also took in a bit of the Packers game, which was a good time to take care of some grooming tasks.

Pretty much the only time we all sit down together is at mealtimes, which I'm happy to report have been going a bit better this week than last.  It seems like Lemon is in a little cycle where he doesn't eat for a few days until he's really, really hungry.  Then he eats quite well for a few days until he's taken the edge off, and then he goes back into hunger strike mode.  It's not the most relaxing cycle for his parents, I have to say, but I'm grasping for any kind of predictability at this point.

Lime made a big leap forward over the last few days.  All of a sudden, he began to really notice the world around him, and specifically the objects that it contains.  The little turtles on his chair are of particular interest.  He gazes at them with a striking intensity, and when he's really on his game he can manage to strike them with his fists. 

It's a really fun advance but just another reminder of how fast time is moving--he will be three months old next weekend.  I remember with Lemon, we felt like surviving the "fourth trimester" was a major accomplishment.  With Lime, all I can do is wonder how this warm, smiley little bundle wearing 6-month pajamas could possibly be 3 months old, when he was just born last week.  On the other hand, I can't seem to recall a time when our family had less than four people in it, so maybe it's been longer than I think!