The Right Perspective

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweet Girl

I'm not certain when it happened exactly, but somehow Emily grew up. I find myself catching a glimpse of her, from time to time, and wondering when my little bald baby with chubby cheeks turned into this pig-tailed girl with impossibly long legs and arms and fingers and feet. She's only a foot and a half shorter than me. When did she get so big and old?

I haven't posted much about Miss Em lately, not because there's nothing happening, but perhaps because there's too much going on. She's had a rough start to the school year, health-wise, and things are finally coming to a head now.

Since the second day of school (mid-September), Emily has had continuous upper respiratory/sinus symptoms and a nasty-sounding productive cough. I had talked to the doctor about it several times, and finally at her 5 year appt., I asked for a referral to the Ear, Nose and Throat doc. A few days before we were scheduled to go, Emily ended up back at the pediatrician for her ongoing symptoms. She was diagnosed with a sinus infection and ear infection. So we got a prescription for two-weeks worth of antibiotics and dutifully took them all.

About a week into the antibiotic course, we had our first ENT appointment. They tested her hearing and noted that she did not hear lower tones very well, but that it wasn't terrible and was likely due to fluid. We were scheduled for a reevaluation a couple weeks later.

That reeval. was last week. On Wednesday, she was re-tested and found to have yet another ear infection, even more fluid behind her ears and, when they listened to her lungs, they noted that she was wheezing upon inhaling and exhaling. So the ENT prescribed a different antibiotic (10 days worth) for her ears and told me to take her to the pediatrician to have them check her lungs. (This happened to be the same day as Ethan's 4 month appt. anyway.) The pedi. agreed that Emily was wheezing and prescribed an inhaler and wanted to see her back on Monday.

On Friday, Em went back to the ENT for allergy testing. She was very scared and I am very glad that Daddy was able to go along and help hold her. She (eventually) did great, but she is allergic to plenty of environmental "stuff", especially molds and pollens. This wasn't really a surprise and we don't still know the extent of her allergies or many details, but we know they will need to be treated. We are also most likely looking at getting tubes put in her ears and there was mention of adenoids possibly needing to be taken as well (although that's still a very fluid situation).

So, in a nutshell, Miss Em's been sick. A lot. And today she topped it all off by quite literally getting sick in church. Her teacher took her out to "big" church to Daddy (I was in the nursery with Ethan) because she didn't feel good and said her head really hurt. The next thing I know, Daddy and Emily are running into the nursery, his hand over her mouth, headed to the little kids' bathroom so she can continue to throw up. I handed Ethan off to a friend and went back to clean up the floor....during church....and then we headed home. Thankfully, she hasn't gotten sick anymore and she seems okay, but she's running a slight fever, so who knows?

It's been a rough fall for Emily and she (and we) could use your prayers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ethan at 4 Months

You are four months old now! My how time is flying by. You are getting bigger and changing every day. You now weigh 13 lbs. and 8 oz. You're 25 and 1/4 inches long. That puts you in the 25th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height. Basically, you've stretched out but not gained much. Of course, if you'd stop spitting up half of your food, you'd probably gain more.
This month, your big accomplishment is gaining very good head control and rolling from back to tummy. Of course, you still don't care for tummy time, so the constant rolling is a bit of a frustration to you.

This month, you've decided that no one other than mommy can even remotely make you happy. You shriek when poor Daddy tries to hold you. You shriek when I lay you down on your play mat. You're becoming high maintenance. Not sure what to think about that.

You still really really love your bath and would probably spend half your day there if we let you. You are doing really well grasping things and you put EVERYTHING in your mouth. You drool like crazy and I suspect that you will cut teeth sooner, rather than later.

I'd like to say that your sleep is getting better, but that quite frankly, would be a lie. While you are capable of sleeping through the night and have a couple of times, lately you've been harder to put to sleep and you will wake up once or twice for longer periods of time. We'll keep working on that because momma needs sleep.

You have finally pretty much outgrown all your 0-3 month clothes (by length only) and have graduated to your 3-6 month winter wardrobe, which includes this stylish Colts outfit. (We're starting you early!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...

Ethan has finally figured out how to roll. He's been rocking up to his side (from his back) for nearly a month now. Yesterday, I put him on his play mat and sat down to look at something on the computer. He was happily chattering away, making all sorts of noises. When I looked back at him a few minutes later, he was on his tummy!

(As a sidenote) Notice the lovely mullet he's got going on in the picture above?

Of course, I should mention that Ethan doesn't like being on his tummy...not one little bit...and he doesn't know how to flip back over.

As a result, MUCH crying and fussing occurs whenever Mr. E rolls...which is anytime I lay him down for even a minute. Including bedtime. Yes, bedtime is no fun right now. He (and I) have a bit of a cold and between that and his sheer determination to roll over, bedtime is quite the challenge. I sure hope he learns to roll off his tummy (or to enjoy being there) ASAP!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What I've Learned

There's so much more to parenting than I ever knew.

That statement could stand alone and sum up the rest of this post, but of course, I'll continue on.
After all, I'm not known for being brief in my writing. Why start now?

I was 25 years old when I officially became a parent. I certainly didn't rush right into parenthood. Instead, I finished college and was married for a full five years before having Emily. I always believed that a couple needed some time to be just a couple before adding children into the mix. I'm forever thankful for the time that Andrew and I had to just be us, before we became "Mom and Dad". Since getting pregnant was a challenge, I had a year and a half to read and research and learn and prepare myself to be a mom. That certainly seemed like plenty of time to prepare...until I met Emily.

When the nurse put Emily into my arms for the very first time, I instantly and completely fell head over heels in love. My life was and is forever changed. All the fears about whether I would feel like a mom or love my baby were instantly gone. She was perfect and I loved her more than I could express. I knew then and there that I would do anything for her. However, from the very first night I spent with Emily, it was immediately apparent that no amount of research and reading could have truly prepared me for being a parent. It's not something for which I could train. It's just not that simple.

Being a parent wasn't like any other kind of learning I'd ever done. I was a music education major in college. If I practiced long enough; if I studied hard enough and read enough books, I could eventually master whatever I wanted to. Parenting Emily was completely and utterly different.

I'm a reader and researcher. Whenever I don't have an answer for something, I'll read and research until I figure it out. Unfortunately, I learned very early on that no one ever wrote a book about Emily. In fact, it seemed that she defied anything I'd read about babies. She didn't sleep well or very much. Everyone I talked to and every book I read said that babies slept 16-18 hours a day as newborns. Not Emily. I actually added all her sleep up and she only slept 10 hours a day most days. Every book said that babies shouldn't be awake for more than 2-3 hours at a time or they will get over-tired and have a harder time sleeping, but none of the books could make my over-tired, extremely colicky baby sleep. Even if I knew what the problem was (like when she was over-tired), none of the suggestions from the "sleep gurus" ever worked. She simply was going to do it her own way...even if it made her (and me) miserable.

And that has been a theme for Miss Em from day one. She will do it her own way. She tended to be slow to hit major milestones, but once she did, it was mastered very quickly. She was VERY slow to talk, and still struggles with speech, but now she won't be quiet even when we beg. She still doesn't sleep well and fights us tooth and nail about bed time many, many nights. She's stubborn and strong-willed and determined to blaze her own path. She's fascinating and frightening all at the same time.

I could not imagine the love I would have for this child, nor the hopes and fears and worries. Another parent recently summed up how I feel so well. She said that her strong-willed child made her laugh as much as he made her cry. That's Emily to a "T". She amazes me, both at her loving, thoughtful ways and her extraordinary determination to fight me on EVERYTHING. She has recently made me laugh and cry and call my own mother and apologize for my childhood and thank her for putting up with me. She is an absolutely beautiful and unique child and I wouldn't change her for the world (most days!). She is teaching me what no amount of book knowledge could...that parenting is the most difficult and rewarding job there is and that in the end, if I am able to teach her half as much as she is teaching me, I will have done my job well.

Oh, and if we both survive her teenage years, it will be a miracle!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

And You Want to Run My Healthcare?

I bit the bullet and got my H1N1 shot today. Eventually. After jumping through hoops.

Allow me to back up a bit. Our family falls into the first priority/high risk group this year because of Ethan and Emily. Both are considered high risk for H1N1, and although I'm not usually all that concerned about the flu, since this one seems to hit young children particularly hard, I decided to get us vaccinated. Emily and I have had the seasonal flu shot/mist already. When I took Em to the pediatrician last week because she was still coughing (a month and a half already!), I asked if they had the vaccine and since they did, I shelled out the money and she got the first dose of the H1N1 flu mist. When I asked whether to go ahead and make the appointment for her second dose, the Dr. said that most kids would be "lucky" to get even one dose and that we'd just have to check back because they didn't know if they would get any more or when.

So while she's only had one dose so far and may not get another (that she needs for full immunity), seeking out and receiving the vaccine for Emily wasn't too hard. (This all went through our private insurance at the regular doctor.

Contrast this with my experience today. I dropped Emily off at preschool and then went to the county health department to get my shot. They are the only place in the immediate area that has the vaccine, as far as I know. The health department building is downtown, so I parallel parked in a one hour parking space not too far away, strapped on Ethan and walked through the metal detectors to find a line of at least 100+ people waiting in the lobby. There were no signs, no directions, no nothing...just lots of people. I asked the security guard where we signed in. She said just go to the end of the line (which was completely not apparent as people were sitting in all available chairs and then just standing around loosely. I finally found the end of the line and got in it around 9:30. After about 15 minutes, a security guard came by and took about 20 people from the chairs up to the clinic area and we were able to sit.

Fast forward one hour and fifteen minutes later: I am among the privileged who are called (remember the one hour parking...ha!). We take the elevator up to the ninth floor and...wait some more. We stand in a line, where apparently you lost whatever place you had been in, as people who KNEW they were behind me in line downstairs and who were not carrying a SCREAMING infant, got in line ahead of me and several others. Whatever...I filled out my paperwork and waited for my name to be called, while hearing the nurse question and sort of berate anyone there who didn't obviously appear to be in the "high risk" category.

Finally, after 15 more minutes of chaos, where your place in line once again seemed completely unimportant, I got my shot. It was painless and I got a Snoopy bandaid. Ethan finally fell asleep about 5 minutes before my shot. I asked where I paid and was told that there was no charge.

If I had my choice, I'd gladly have paid at my doctor's office and not had to wait for the government program to give it to me for free.

And as I sat there, waiting in the chaos and free-for-all, it occured to me that this is what socialized, government-run medicine will be like.

No thank you! I'll pass.