Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Scare & A Blessing

We were eating lunch today, getting ready to leave for a birthday party. Daddy ate lunch and was feeding Sydney while Mommy showered, and then we switched. Syd wasn't eating much - his molars are coming in and he wasn't feeling all too well. I made the mistake of trying to get him to eat something, SOMETHING, and in this attempt, gave him the smallest of bites of my sandwich. It truly was no bigger than a pinkie fingernail. Teeny, tiny piece of bread, jelly, and peanut butter. Syd has eaten peanut butter before. A tiny bite here, a taste there. I didn't think twice about giving him a smidgen, just to see if he'd eat it. He played with it, and I removed it from his tray before he made a mess out of it. Yes, a mess - he's 18 months, and anything can become a mess. So, we're talking, singing, and waiting for Daddy to finish getting ready. He took a 2 hour nap, so I know he was ready to get down and play. But then he started rubbing his eyes. And I thought to myself, "What on earth? I KNOW you can't be sleepy!" But the rubbing continued and when he removed his hand this time, there was a bubble under his left eye. And welts were starting on his forehead. And a bee sting looking welt on his left temple. I've been in emergency situations many times before. And as much as I know I want to panic, something inside won't let me, which is a good thing. It's come in handy over the years - the time I slit my thumb knuckle -to-knuckle when a dish burst on me in the sink; the time a bound tent collapsed on a student athlete's shin at a track meet, or when a relay team decided to dance with the pavement, or when the hurdler did the same, or when a student went rigid then passed out in class... Today was no different, except it was my son, not someone else's. I turned him towards the light, saw the increasing welts on his face, and ran to get the Benedryl. We give him a 1/2 teaspoon at night on nights when his teething really bothers him. I didn't want him to overdose on the medicine, but I didn't know how much would be too much, so I gave him a bedtime dose. Then called the on-call nurse. After speaking with her for a few minutes, she determined that he was severe enough to need to see the doctor. We packed him up and flew for the hospital. His swelling continued to worsen as we drove, but he was in such good spirits - saying hi to all the emergency room patients, blowing kisses at the nurses, making the noises of all the animals drawn on the walls in the pediatric waiting room. And though he seemed to be getting sleepy in the car, no doubt due to the Benedryl, he was wide awake once we got there - so many new sights to see!! The hospital visit went very smoothly. Things went quickly, which was a blessing, and since the swelling started to subside, he was given the 'ok,' which Daddy said he wouldn't relax until he received. Thankfully, the doctor who saw him said the exact same thing happened with her son 2 days earlier - he is 17 months, and apparently, she'd done the same thing - gave him little bites of her granola bars until one day- BAM - it had an effect on him. So - no nuts or nut products until after age two, and then, as she said, "You can try them in small doses with lots of Benedryl nearby." We also received a prescription for a baby epi-pen. I'm both thankful and terrified at the same time. I loathe the idea of slamming a needle in to my son's chest, but if absolutely necessary, I know I'll be able to do it. Thank goodness it is a long weekend. Thank goodness I was home with Syd and Daddy, so Daddy could drive and I could keep an eye on Syd. Thank goodness I am home tomorrow with him to administer more Benedryl and make sure this is all behind us. And thank goodness I have a husband who understood that once Syd was down for the night, I was probably going to break down, knowing that he was safe.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Making it Healthier

If you're interested, I took this recipe for pumpkin muffins that I'd tried several times and that we all enjoyed, and tweaked the recipe to make it A) healthier and more muffin-like and B) more suitable for little bellies.
  • I changed the flour to 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour and 2 cups of all-purpose flour.
  • I split the oil and make it with 1/2 cup of applesauce and 1/2 cup of oil - there truly is not a huge difference in texture, it gives you another serving of fruit, it is less oily, and it is kinder to your waistline.
  • I merely cut the sugar in half. I tried it with 2 cups, and they were still a bit sweet, so I backed down to 1 1/2 cups of sugar instead. Pumpkin is sweet on its own as it is. The original recipe didn't really store well because the dough got rather sticky. These store much better, though they are, overall, a bit denser, and they truly are sweet enough as it is. However, if you're skeptical, experiment on your own!
This really is a good recipe. I've found that, since there is so much batter, it is possible to make 6 muffins and 2 loaves of bread, or any combination that is needed. I have been trying to bake extra, freezing one loaf every time so I don't have to bake as much during the summer.

I must confess, since Syd still only has 7 teeth, I haven't made them with nuts, yet, but I look forward to beginning to incorporate them in to the batter.

Let me know how you enjoy them! Dawn, you mentioned freezing individual muffins for the kids - let me know how they like them, ok?


Much for which to be thankful. Much for which to be hopeful. Much to which to look forward. And a quick summary of the past few weeks:
  • Syd's 18 mos appointment was this past Monday. He's smart, healthy, happy, unbelievably strong, and, in the words of our wondermous doctor, "petite." He's fair to middlin' in some areas, and below the charts in others, but I have a feeling he'll catch up. He eats. Heavens does he eat. And I'm still nursing. So, ultimately, I'm not worried.
  • We finished our first benchmark testing at school and then struggled to keep our heads above water as we completed our research papers. Ugh.
  • Between balancing home and baby, 3 preps at school, a ST, 4 classrooms, benchmark testing, VASS and mock exams, several instances of the 'creeping crud,' and the end of the grading period, I've been a little...stressed. But things are better now. Just look at this face below and tell me how I could NOT be better!
  • Regardless of what life has been like the past few weeks, I've been able to come home to the little guy each day and feel better just by getting a hug. So, here's a hug passed on to you. See what Sydney's been up to!

Syd was a little excited about something. I don't remember what, but I think this was taken during 'after dinner play.' We like to dance, play 'chase,' and jump on Daddy's back.

I had laundry that needed to be folded, and Syd decided to make a hat out of his pajama top.

Syd and Daddy read a magazine together.

One 'Daddy Night,' (where Daddy gets to put Sydney down for bed), Mommy went grocery shopping, and these nifty tyke chairs were for display. We surprised him with his own froggie (loves frogs! And monkeys, elephants, and lions!) chair the next morning. He went right over and gave the froggie a kiss on the nose!

Daddy has the most comfortable shoes!

Daddy pushes Sydney on his bike. He's got some growing to do, but he'll get there! Thank you, Aunt Dawn and Uncle Steve!

One of the first purchases Daddy made for Sydney was the blue bird bean bag chair. He's always been a display item in the baby's bedroom, until recently, when Sydney decided Blue Bird needed to be a regular play item.

Syd knocks down a tower of blocks Daddy set up for him. New nickname...Tasmanian Devil?

And the coup de grace...Sydney's newest hobby is to play with the broom. So much so, that he was tripping everyone with it! So, Daddy went out and found two kiddie brooms - the one he's holding and the little alligator one with a matching dust pan. He simply doesn't have enough hands to play with all three at the same time. What to do??

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Small Things

Yesterday was a beautiful day. We had just received several more days of much needed rain and the skies had cleared - bright blue without a hint of haze or pollution or pollen. I made a fabulous dinner of catfish, roasted garlic potatoes, and corn, and it was still light enough after dinner to take Sydney outside for just a few minutes before playtime and bed.

We have a memorial garden in our backyard. It is small, but positioned very nicely under a climbing and wandering sumac tree in the corner. I initially built it to plant wildflowers that attracted butterflies but over the years the type of flower present in it has changed. We buried our female chinchilla there 5 years ago.

When my father passed away last spring, my English department sent a beautiful white rose bush. It was in full bloom and was a bright spot on an otherwise dreary and somber day. My stepmother, overwhelmed with the foliage present at the funeral, asked me to take the bush home with me. I couldn't think of a better place to put it than in the memorial garden, and it thrived last year.

Which brings me to yesterday. This past week another of our chinchillas passed away. Ares was the runt of his litter, and though he was only 5 1/2, I can imagine he must have had some sort of injury or disorder due to his position in the womb. He was a feisty little guy, hence his name, and I gave him that name as a testament to his personality and taste for life. He will be sorely missed.

But the silver lining is that the skies cleared just for Ares, and we were able to spend family time, albeit burying the little guy, outside before the winter wind took over and chased us back indoors. Sydney was helping Daddy dig and it gave Steve and myself an opportunity to reflect on our changing family and past memories of Mommy and son chinchillas. Altogether, a quiet, reflective, calming evening to a rather hectic week.

The small things - what else am I thankful for at this time?

We got our taxes done and over with - very easily accomplished and the return should be directly deposited into my account. Whew! One less thing in life to worry about for another year.

Our first SOL is over with - the Writing SOL - and I feel fairly confident in my students' abilities - also, one less thing to worry about with them and they can relax for just a bit before we begin to prepare for the Reading SOL. The entire atmosphere of the school is more relaxed, and I am able to enjoy being a teacher again.

My first real illness is come and gone - I haven't been this sick in quite a while, and I blame it on exhaustion and the 'chicken effect.' I went to school sick on Wednesday only because we were still testing, and I knew that if the administration had to find a substitute who could proctor an SOL on top of running the SOLs, heads would explode - or So, I fought it out on Wednesday, came in to cover one class that had no sub on Thursday, then relinquished my classes to my student teacher/long-term sub and went home and slept.

Glorious, deep, healing sleep. I haven't slept like that in so long. And that night, though I faltered a bit and felt like I was backsliding, I slept the entire night on Thursday night, waking up a new person on Friday morning. My students didn't know what hit them. The trend continued last night. I went to bed at an unprecedented 9pm. Steve did his duty and woke me at midnight so I could pump, but then I went right back to bed and slept til Syd woke up this morning. Again, glorious. And to think I simply had to be near collapse before I would allow myself to do this.

Note to self - it is OK to allow yourself to sleep!

I felt so refreshed yesterday at school, I was quite chipper, even when scolding students who were loitering in the halls. One young man responded in kind, started walking with me, and then asked if I wanted to skip. He held out his arm, I took it, and the two of us skipped gleefully down the hall until we got to his destination. I enjoyed that tremendously. He, apparently, did too, since he stopped me later, thanked me, and gave me a fist bump. I just wish I could have seen the security camera footage. My ST was doubled over laughing as she trailed behind us.

The small things - like connecting with a student I've never had in class, probably won't, and who will, regardless, hopefully remember that kindness goes a long way. Like allowing yourself to sleep. Like appreciating the fact that, due to illness, my tolerance for caffeine is much reduced and I can fully wake up with only half a cup of joe instead of my full travel mug (plus, depending on the day and duties). Like knowing that one of the "sure things" in life are taken care of for the year. Like refreshing rain that saturates the ground and relinquishes us from the beginning of a drought. Like family time to reflect on loved ones, living and deceased, and allows us to appreciate all who are in our lives.

And last, even though tonight is daylight savings and we'll lose an hour of sleep, we have a working dvr and Zach Galifianakis is on SNL tonight.