Saturday, June 27, 2009

Praying for a Hand to Steady Me

Last night wasn't the best night our family has ever had. Eli had been feeling under the weather the past few days, but he was most definitely off. When he woke up after an unusually long nap, he felt awfully cold to me. I took his temperature and my breath caught when I read the thermometer. 92.3. Maybe my thermometer was wrong. I grabbed another one and took it again. 93. Frowning and trying to fight of the rising panic, I brought Eli downstairs, held him close and offered him some milk while I figured out what to do next. I waited about twenty minutes and retook his temp with both thermometers. No change.

I called the nurse advice line at Children's and the nurse I spoke with was unimpressed with what I'd told her. She ran through a litany of questions and had me retake his temp while she waited on the line. It was up, but only a bit. This time, 93.7. I knew this wasn't good and was debating on how to bring Adam into the loop, listening to his happy splashes with Ethan and some family friends out at the pool. The nurse said, "Usually in a case like this, we are instructed to send an ambulance." Was she serious!? What? An ambulance? For my baby!? I'm used to calling ambulances for Adam, but not for my little ones. Panic was rising and I fought and prayed to stay calm. I breathed slowly, taking big gulps of air. The nurse continued by saying, "It sounds like he's responsive and if you feel safe, you can drive him to the ER yourself. Do you have someone to take you?". It was game time.

As I ran downstairs I had the sensation that the house was around me, but I was not in it. I felt like I was moving through gelatin, struggling, almost physically, to keep my thoughts clear, yet struggling mentally to keep myself moving. I called to Adam and asked him to please come upstairs to speak with me. He ran up the stairs from the pool, hair and swimsuit dripping, looking like a young, innocent, playful boy. I hated to break this news to him. For several reasons...the biggest reason being that if I told him, out loud, what was happening, then that meant that what was happening was, indeed, really happening. As if keeping it a secret between Eli and I, that if I was dealing with this alone, it made it seem that I could still undo it.

A long night at the hospital ensued. Bloodwork, a CT scan, a spinal tap, and then finally a heavy dose of an antibiotic intravenously. Thankfully, the tests all came back without any signs of something significant going on. We still don't have a fabulous explanation as to why his temp dropped but no explanation is better than a terrifying explanation.

The tests, I have to say, were frightening. Awful. Something I hope to never repeat with either of my children, or with anyone else I love for that matter. While they were putting in the i.v. to take Eli's blood, I thought that holding down my sweet and struggling son was one of the worst things a mother is asked to do. Until we got to the CT scan. After wrapping Eli in the body restraints, his head was still wiggly. We were told if he couldn't keep still during the scan that they would have to sedate him, which I desperately did not want to do. They wrapped his forehead in a small restraint but he was still wiggly. I looked at the tech and she told me I could hold his chin and cheeks in an effort to steady his head but even as she said it, she seemed like she thought it was going to be a futile effort on my part.

As the scan started, Eli was calmer than I expected. I held his chin firmly, yet as gently as I could. As the scan continued, he grew more and more agitated and I had to tighten my grip in order to keep his head as still as possible. It was excrutiating. Against every single mother's instinct I possess. My instincts were telling me to wrip off the restraints, scoop him up in my arms and whisper sweet words in his ear until he quieted and relaxed. Instead, I was contributing to his suffering and fighting against him to keep him still. I began to panic thinking, "I can't do this, I can't do this. I just can't." Adam, who must have heard my breathing quicken, offered encouraging words but it wasn't enough. I knew I was close to losing it and at the very moment I felt like I had done the best I could and I began to shake and cry, I asked G-d for help. "Please be near to me G-d. Right now. Be near. Be near to me G-d. Steady me. Steady me, G-d.". And then the moment changed. I felt the presence of hands behind me, holding my back and literally keeping me on my feet. I let myself lean on these hands. Hands that I could not see but most certainly could feel, My breathing returned to normal, my tears stopped and even Eli seemed to relax. The scan was over and we didn't have to sedate our baby boy.

As the night continued, Eli's temp continued to rise and his spirits and activity level also dramatically improved. We arrived home in the early morning hours, falling into bed at close to 5:00 a.m. But I was grateful to be home. And grateful to be home with my healthy son.





Friday, June 26, 2009

Seating Arrangements

I'm taking the boys up to Boston in a few weeks (As I do every summer. I love not having an office to go to...long summer vacations, yet another benefit of being a stay-at-home mom). Since Adam will be coming up mid way through our trip, I booked a flight for him separately. As I was doing this last night and was asked to choose his seats, I thought back to our flight from Costa Rica, and realized that the person you sit next to or near can make or break your flight.

For instance, on this particular flight last week, we were seated across the aisle from a woman and her obviously new boyfriend. She was so manic that I literally had to block my peripheral vision because I was having a hard time relaxing while this woman was up, down, fidgeting, twisting her head around, switching positions in her seat, opening the pocket in the seat in front of her, rifling through her purse, etc.. Apparently, she was extremely concerned about securing a blanket for herself and keeping an eye on what all passengers on the plane were doing at all times was a surefire way to ensure that she would indeed end up one of the lucky recipients of a blue, scratchy, germ infested airplane blanket.

After walking up and down the aisles four times (before we were even allowed to do so), she emerged, victorious, blanket in hand. No sooner was she settled under the blanket when she whacked me in the arm with one of those annoying inserts from magazines that feature subscriptions for an unbeatable low price of $12 a year (that's just $1 per issue!). I was attempting to block out my peripheral vision minding my own business filling out the immigration forms and WHACK! I looked across the aisle at her.

"Can I borrow your pen? When you're done?", she barked at me.

"Uh. Sure."

I hand her my pen and she takes an extraordinarily long time filling out her paperwork. So does her boyfriend. While he is filling out his paper, WHACK!. She's at it again with the magazine insert. Once again, I look across the aisle at her.

"Can you tell him (points to Adam) to close his shade so my boyfriend can watch the T.V.?"

I oblige and Adam lowers the shade half way. Reasonable, I think. Especially considering the movie is a kids' movie. Something about a witch and a mountain.

I turn my attention back to my knitting. WHACK! Is she serious!? Again, I look across the aisle to see what else she could possibly want.

"Can you tell him to lower the other one behind him?" This is more of a demand than a question.

Again, Adam obliges by lowering the shade behind him half way.

I knit a few stitches. WHACK! Am I being punked!? I look around for Ashton Kutcher and when I don't see him, I look at her for what I hope will be the final time.

"Yes?", I say.

"Can you tell him to lower it ALL the way? He can't see the T.V.," pointing to her boyfriend who has huddled under the much coveted blanket and is looking up at the T.V. screen. Again, this is more of a demand than a request. And no kidding that he can't see the T.V. He's looking at the one directly above him. The plane could be pitch black and he still wouldn't be able to see it because of the angle he's at. Try looking at the one a few seats ahead, like all the other 9-year-olds are.

Adam, politely, says, "I don't think that it will really help all that much. I really think this is the best I can do."

The lady across the aisle then tells Adam to turn his light on if he wants to read so much. Uh huh. I see where this is going. She then says,

"Yuh-huh! You have to!!! They said you have to at the beginning of the flight!!!!" She then turns to me and says, "He has to! You have to tell him he has to!".

Adam ignores her. I try to ignore her, too. I put my head down in attempt to knit again. I haven't even picked up the needles and...yes, you guessed it...WHACK!

I lose my patience and finally say, "Will you STOP!!!??".

I brace myself for another WHACK! but she just turns back to her boyfriend and simply states, "She said 'stop'".

All was quiet. For a little bit. Until I feel another WHACK! on my elbow. "Thanks for the pen".

I spent a good deal of the flight wondering how Adam and I could've managed the situation better, if perhaps we were the ones who were wrong. After we landed, it appeared that my aisle mate and her boyfriend were not getting along. It was confirmed when I heard her shout, "You have a daughter!?". To which the boyfriend responded, "You didn't ask." After that, she promptly stormed off down the aisle of the plane. Even though we were still taxiing down the runway.

When we arrived at the gate, she jumped out of her seat and walked off the plane alone, while her boyfriend tried to track her down via cell phone begging her not to run far because she had his passport. We caught sight of the couple in line at immigration with their hands all over each other, so apparently all is well that ends well. After witnessing those made-for-reality-television moments, I let myself off the hook for mishandling the situation. I think the next time I fly, I'll sit by the window.







Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Accidentally Packing Light Tourist

Adam and I just got back from a wonderful weekend (sans children) away. We took a few days off, settled our kids alternately with our beloved family friend/trusted sitter and Guggie (grandmother in Ethan speak) and headed to Costa Rica. I am normally very easily convinced to leave my children with someone special in order to get some relaxation and grown-up conversation but was more nervous this time around than in times past. I think it had to do with the fact that Ethan is a bit older now and so much enjoys being with Adam and I that I didn't want to hurt his feelings by leaving him behind. As the oldest son, he generally gets to do more stuff one-on-one with us than Eli does and he always takes such pride in knowing that there is something special about getting to come along and something unlucky about being left behind. I didn't want him to feel left behind. I was also (understandably) worried about the possible return of Eli's mystery hives and about leaving so many different medications behind for someone else to administer, especially medications that include the instructions, "If wheezing continues, seek immediate medical treatment through your emergency services".

So, you can imagine how quickly my heart rate accelerated when, after getting in the immigration line at the Liberia airport in Costa Rica, I heard an airport agent calling for "Mrs. Slipakoff" as she walked up and down the lines of people. When she found me, she began with, "I have a message that one of your....".

I silently will her not to finish that sentence with something about one of my children but I can't possibly think of who would be needing to get a message to me so urgently. So when she says, "...one of your bags didn't make it." I practically hugged her. I burst out in a fit of laughter, more like a guffaw really, and smile and say, "Oh! Well, that stinks I guess. But, ok then! So, someone will just bring it to me later then!?". Followed by more freaky noises and smiles. I must've been the most easy going customer she had all day. She looked at me with a face that seemed to say, "Huh. That went....well."

Apparently misplaced baggage is pretty common in this airport. (For those of you who live in Atlanta and are reading this, do you ever notice how the personnel who work in the baggage offices in the Hartsfield Airport always seem so surprised that you haven't received your luggage and are perhaps even a bit incredulous that the complaint that you have when you enter the lost baggage office is that your luggage has been lost? They always say, "Your luggage????? It isn't here???? What can I help you with???? Are you sure your luggage isn't here???? Did you look on the carousel????? Hm.....Well.....Uh.....Let me see here. Luggage. Lost. Huh. Ok. One moment....".) Not the case in Liberia. They had the form ready and waiting for me to fill out, complete with two overnight kits courtesy of Delta which included a cute little toiletry bag, a little fold-up hairbrush, a small package of laundry detergent (very smart!), a razor, shaving cream, toothbrush, toothpaste and a Skyteam t-shirt. The t-shirt came in very handy. I wore it to bed the first night and had grand plans of turning it into a skirt if my luggage was delayed another day.

The only problem was that Costa Rica is freaking hot and I had on jeans. But, luckily there was a gift shop at the hotel. Which unfortunately didn't offer me many choices in the way of bathing suit or clothing options but I did pretty well with the slim pickings. The bathing suits were either outrageously tiny or outrageously expensive, or a combination of both. Fortunately, I was able to find one that I wouldn't be embarrassed wearing in front of other people and wouldn't forfeit my life savings on either. I needed something to wear to dinner since trolling around in my jeans was simply out of the question because of how hot it was, but the only clothing items the shop carried were bathing suit coverups and Costa Rica t-shirts. I finally settled on a little brown coverup and a small t-shirt that said "Costa Rica" in glittery letters along with some pictures of glittery volcanoes and glittery plant life. I had to make these items get me through at least 24 hours since there is just one flight from Atlanta to Liberia each day. I did get the bright idea to roll up the cuffs of my jeans transforming them into capris so I knew that was an ace in my (non-existent) sleeve, if the situation should become dire.

We checked into the room and it took me .3 seconds to unpack. I proudly hung up my new purchases in the closet and finally understand why people pack light. It is so freeing! Because I was not physically bogged down by "stuff", my mind felt completely clear too! I felt lighter! I surely did. No thoughts of the dresses I'd carefully chosen and folded into my suitcase. Or the extra time spent choosing the right combination of t-shirts and flowing skirts. Or the bathing suits I'd specifically purchased for this trip...No, siree. It was just me and my three clothing items (four if you count the Skyteam t-shirt).



See how clean the closet is!? No mess! No fuss! Traveling light could become a lifestyle for me....possibly.

Adam and I spent our glorious first day eating lunch, lounging around and definitely not unpacking. You know, since I'd already done that in the first .3 seconds. When it was time to get ready for dinner, the jeans (even in their altered capri state) were definitely not an option because of the intense heat and humidity. The coverup didn't really live up to its name since it did not, in fact, cover very much up. So, I did the obvious thing. I pushed the coverup down around my waste, making into a skirt, and I pulled on the glitter tee. I happened to have a necklace in my carry-on that matched and voila!, a half-way decent outfit to wear to dinner!


The next morning began with no news of my bag (no news is good news, as it turns out) so the bathing suit coverup transformed back into its namesake and worked just fine over my swimsuit walking to the beach and pool.


Did I spend the whole trip finding creative ways to manange my lost luggage? Definitely not! Adam and I had fun trying to McGuyver new outfits out of my three (or four, if you count the Skyteam t-shirt) articles of clothing, going so far as putting my underwear in the safe since it was my one and only pair, but the hijinx ended when my luggage arrived late in the afternoon of our second day. Besides, we had much better things to do.

Like enjoy the view:


Hang out by our plunge pool:


And spending some time reconnecting:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My littlest duckling

(The little duck family that used to hang out in our backyard)

Judging by the last few posts of mine, it appears I have a favorite son. I assure you, I do not. It's just that the last month has been an important one for Ethan (and for me, I suppose). Graduation from Pre-K, fifth birthday, our special trip. These our big things, people. But little Eli, whose main objectives in life are to be just like Ethan and to drink as much milk as humanly possibly, is lighting up our life as much as ever.

What's he up to? Oh, this and that. Trying to cover the floor in feed himself applesauce, banging Lego pieces together putting together Lego guys like his big brother, snuggling with Mommy whatever adult conveniently happens to be in the room, climbing the stairs when I'm not paying attention he isn't supposed to be, pretending to do jumping...all the normal little 16-month-old little brother stuff I suppose.

His favorites:

Drink: milk (far and away from anything else - this kid will do anything for a sippy cup of milk)

Books: Goodnight Moon (just tonight when we turned the page to the cow, he said "Mmmu", which I think means "moo".
Hush Little Baby (a gift last summer from my dear friend Monica...it is a sweet little book!)
It's Time To Go To Sleep My Love (gorgeous illustrations and I think Eli likes the repetitive nature of the writing)

Food: Today, Applesauce and dried blueberries. Tomorrow, who knows? He sometimes likes yogurt, macaroni and cheese,
strawberries and these weird Metamucil cookies. He often likes black beans, rice cakes, Goldfish, puffs and scrambled
eggs. He definitely does not like red meat, cheese or lemonade (though he ate a bunch of lemon rind at Kroger on
Friday when I let him hold a lemon).

Activities: Pretending to be a big boy with Ethan which is done by digging through the Lego boxes and sitting as close to Ethan
as possible. Napping. Running around the house with an object in each hand (it is
preferable to have the objects in each hand be identical...two balls, two spoons, two Lego Darth Vader guys, two
crayons, etc.). Shamelessly snuggling, flirting and generally acting cute.

Words he says:

"Ba-ba" (Bye-bye)
"Ma-ma" (Mama)
"Wuh!!" (Answer to the question "What does a doggy say?")
"Maw!" (Answer to the question "What does a cat say?")
"Mmmu!" (Answer to the question "What does a cow say?")
"Cracka" (Cracker)
"Ow Ga" (All gone)
"Atta" (Ethan)
"Odda" (All done)

Yesterday, Eli was pushing my laundry cart around and I could see just the tippy top of his little red head poking up from behind the cart. It was my favorite part of his little head of hair, the floppy part of his hair that reminds me of a fuzzy ducklings feathers flopping around. It was a sweet moment and I breathed it in. I snapped out of my reverie in a panic as I thought, "Hey, Eli! Not you, too! It was just your brother who was supposed to be getting big and slipping away from me. What the heck are you doing growing so tall that I can see your head poking out above the laundry cart!?" I mean, this just isn't fair.

So not only am I moping around here lamenting the numbered days of Ethan's childhood, but now I'm moping around lamenting the numbered days of Eli's babyhood. How much longer is little Eli going to let me snuggle him? And how much longer will he wrap himself around me like a little koala with his arms tightly squeezing my neck and his pudgy legs squeezing my waist? Will I just look away for a quick minute and then realize I'm sitting at his college graduation? Or will I manage to savor each and every wet kiss, each and every squeal, each funny antic (What antics, you ask? See the photo below of Eli eating like a dog). Will I be ready to have my ducks out of the nest and enjoy such luxuries like taking a shower with no one in the room or will I tear up every morning realizing that my sweet, little Eli is not sitting on the ledge of the shower door, eating Cheerios out of his snack cup, waiting for me to get out?



Look at how quickly my duck is growing:

Last June:




This June:

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My little hero

My morning began watching a small worm flail around on the ceiling. How a small worm gets on the ceiling I don't know. I closed my eyes for a minute and when I opened them, the worm was no longer on the ceiling, but was on the bed, next to me. Not a great way to start the day. I fear all things creepy crawly.

My conversation with Ethan just now:

Me: Do you like worms?

E: To eat? (WHAT!???)

Me: No. To pick up out of beds.

Ethan gives me a look that seems to say, "You have got to be kidding me" and then says, "Well, where's Daddy to do it?".

Me: He's not here to do it. What if I give you a paper towel to scoop it up?

E: (Big sigh) Fine.

I hand him a paper towel and tell him where to find the worm. He disappears into my bedroom and comes out a few seconds later and says, "Well. I couldn't find him."

Me: He's right on the bed. On Daddy's side, near his pillow.

E: Oh that little thing? I saw that. It just looked tiny, like a tiny little caterpillar. (He squints his eyes and uses his fingers to show me how tiny the worm is. Then, he disappears back into my room and emerges a few seconds later with the worm in a paper towel.)

Me: You are my hero!!!! Yay! You saved me from the worm! Thanks, Ethan!

E: (Crosses his arms and looks at me seriously). Now Mommy, worms will not hurt you. They do not crawl on people so you should not be scared of them. They are just slimy, that's all. Okay?

I know better...

..than to ignore my instincts. Truly I do. Especially when it comes to my kids and their health. For the first few years of our parenthood experience, Adam thought I was entirely too doctor-happy, meaning, he thought I yanked Ethan off to the doctor at the first tenth of a degree rise in my trusty thermometer's mercury. He would roll his eyes when I whisked Ethan off to our pediatrician thinking I was most certainly overreacting. It took him only about three years to catch on to the fact that I might actually know what I'm doing with this mothering bit (Ha! At least I have him fooled too!). And then he began to realize that each and every time I took Ethan to the doctor, he actually needed to go.

I have a stellar track record with both boys (medically speaking, that is). I can practically sniff out strep throat before it strikes. I can sense an ear infection before it even becomes infected. I know when Ethan will catch what everyone else has and when he won't. I know when Eli is under the weather before I even open his door in the morning. I'm damn good.

And so, here I sit, my record tarnished. Eli broke out into hives on Sunday morning. After a call to urgent care, three-quarters of a teaspoon of Benadryl and an hour of waiting around, he was totally fine, not a mark on him. Seven hours pass, same drill. But during the second episode, I think I hear wheezing. No, I'm pretty sure I hear it, but it is faint, barely audible. So what do I do? I talk myself into thinking that I didn't really hear that wheeze after all. But it is in the back of my head and bothers me all night. I did mention it to the nurse on call, "Um, I think he might be a little bit wheezy? Maybe?" and she didn't seem to think that it was all that important either, I guess. Plus, I figured the Benadryl would keep whatever it was at bay. And it did for a while.

And then we had a repeat this afternoon of those mysterious welty hives and this time, more obvious wheezing. Off to urgent care. Almost three hours, a breathing treatment and an oral steroid later, (plus a trip to the pharmacy) I'm beating myself up. I most certainly should've taken him on Sunday morning. THAT was my instinct. And I ignored it.

And as the doctor today told me that Eli was probably having a systemic allergic reaction to something-but-who-knows-what, I realized I had once again ignored another instinct. You see, Eli has been having these funky rashes off and on for months (different than these weird, unexplained hives). He's also been having a lot of throat and ear issues. I had pressed our family doctor for a referral to an allergist and he told me he didn't really think it was necessary yet. I knew then that I should've pushed harder, but I didn't.

Eli is fine, nothing serious happened as a result of my delay, but I just feel like I didn't really fight for him today the way I should've. I feel like I let him down. I've been walking around for months thinking that I should get him to an allergist and haven't done a damn thing about it.

I've already put in a call to our family doctor and will follow up with a second call tomorrow. And will not stop calling until I have, in hand, a referral to an allergist to see what is bugging poor little Eli.

Lesson learned: never ignore my instincts! They are (almost) always spot on.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Making buckets of memories

Last weekend, I took Ethan on what he calls our "Special Mommy and Ethan Trip". And special it was. It was part of his birthday celebration and though his fifth birthday was weeks ago, last weekend was the first opportunity we had to sneak away. We were meant to take a quick trip up to Chattanooga, visit the children's museum there for the day, stay over night and then return home. But my planning took on a life of its own, I wound up making three different reservations for three different hotels, decided to leave on Friday instead of Saturday and added an afternoon at Rock City to our itinerary.

It was quite honestly one of the best weekends of my life. We were totally carefree, the two of us together, traipsing around a new town, exploring the hotel, swimming in the indoor pool, watching movies until midnight. We had no one else to worry about, no one else's schedules to contend with, I wasn't distracted by errands and chores, Ethan had my full, undivided attention. I let him splash around the tub for as long as he wanted, I walked at his pace while he examined the weeds coming up through the cracks of the sidewalks and peered closely at the grates along the roadside, I let him order Sprite ("for special", as he says), I allowed him to lead us instead of expecting him to follow in line behind me.

I felt authentic. Innocent. I felt lighter. Completely carefree. I felt sad.

That's right. Sad. This weekend was incredible. But it was also bittersweet, full of poignant reminders that my little baby is not only no longer a baby, but that my grasp of his childhood is quickly slipping. You see, while we were riding down the elevator to go do exciting things like go for a swim in the indoor pool or going to buy popcorn from the vending machine to eat while we watched the movie we ordered on the hotel t.v., I realized that these things would only be exciting to him for only a short while longer. That soon enough he's not even going to want to share a hotel room with me, never mind snuggle up with me in front of a movie, or hold my hand while walking down the hall to the lobby. I know that this weekend is what I will use as my measuring stick when I hear him say for the first time, "Mom! I'm not sleeping in the same room as you! Gross!". I will sadly, and ever so fondly, remember how excitedly he walked into our room in Chattanooga and saw the two beds and immediately started jumping on one saying, "We're going to be roommates!!!". I will tearfully remember how he pointed to one bed saying, "This one is mine because I like sleeping by the door!!" and "That one is yours because you like sleeping by the window!!!". And the days only got better. Lingering over breakfast in the lobby, meandering through town, playing hard, taking the long way home...I felt so connected to Ethan and so disconnected from all things distracting. That is a good, good way to be, let me tell you.

I will never forget the gleeful grin he wore as we pulled up to the hotel for the first time, how he scrambled out of the car, anxious to get to our room, and how he stopped halfway to the door, took in the moment and turned and looked at me and said, "Do you see how big my smile is Mommy"? I mean, seriously. Does it ever get any better than that?

This weekend was showered with little moments like this. As Ethan says, my bucket is filled up. But I am still sad because in the back of my mind, I know that I will blink, and I will no longer be living these days, only remembering them. I know it sounds like I have him married off and moved out already. And the truth is, I know I have years more of memory making in store for me. But they won't be years like this. That I know for sure. No. These days of hand holding and snuggling and enthusiasm and enchantment and innocence are so very short (and so very sweet). His unbridled excitement, his ability to display all of his emotions (or more accurately, his inability to contain himself)...all of those things endear him to me so deeply that my heart literally aches.

On several occasions throughout the weekend, he told me he wished we lived in Chattanooga so we could "always have this much fun". And there was part of me that wished that too. It was such innocent, simple fun. And it reminded me of when it was just Ethan and I, before we had Eli. It was Ethan and I against the world. We did everything together. I called him my little sidekick. Now don't get me wrong. I am head over heels in love with Eli and I tried long and hard to bring him into our lives. He was an answer to my prayers and he quite literally kept me company during some lonely, lonely times during my pregnancy with him (read: during Adam's heart surgery and recovery). Eli gave me strength when no one else could. But there was a part of me that worried that perhaps I might've ruined the simplicity and security of Ethan's life by having another child. And as irrational as it might be, I haven't had this thought since the early days of Eli's newborn-ness so I'm finding these thoughts a bit startling. And they have been plaguing me. I know for certain I wouldn't be better off without Eli, but would Ethan?

But the reality is that even if Ethan and I lived in Chattanooga, Adam and Eli would have to move there eventually to be with us. And then we'd have to find a place to live. And Adam would have to work. And I would have to do the laundry and cook dinner and clean up after the boys. And life in Chattanooga would take on a very similar shape to the the life we have here, which has its own merits of simplicity. I did take the time to explain all of this Ethan who ever so wisely explained to me that if I needed money to buy food and clothes while living in Chattanooga, I could simply just "bring my wallet" and then I would have unlimited funds with which to purchase the items we need. When I explained that the money would certainly run out he calmly explained that a trip to the bank would fix that particular problem. You see where this is going...

So out of all of this, I have decided two things. One, I am an emotional basket case over Ethan turning five and sincerely hope that six is much easier. And two, I will need to make more of an effort to carve out special time just for him (which I try really hard to do, I think I just need to do more of it...or do it when we aren't at home so I can't get sucked into folding laundry or cleaning or prepping dinner when I'm supposed to be playing Star Wars or Legos). Oh. And I've also decided I need to drink in the moments. With BOTH boys. Which I have totally been doing since our trip and I have to say that although I've been teary-eyed a lot more during the day, I've also been fully aware of my full bucket and a full bucket makes it a lot easier to handle the hairy moments of the day.

What hairy moments, you say? For instance, today, during Tae Kwon Do, Eli wanted neither to be held nor to be put down. What he really wanted was to be allowed to run in the middle of the parking in the middle of a rain storm. And I discovered this as he was already halfway down the sidewalk out to the parking lot where he fell off the curb and skinned his knee and screamed bloody murder for the next 15 minutes while I stood under the awning and had water dripping down my back. Did I get anxious or irritated? No, ma'am. I simply held my little man close to me and rubbed his back and shushed in his ear until he settled down. When he was calm, I went back inside to watch Ethan. And while rocking side to side, fighting with Eli to settle down and doing the math to figure out how much longer I have until he grows out of this stage, I caught a glimpse of another mother in the class, whose boys are Ethan's age, looking longingly at me while I was holding and stroking my little one. Where's that full bucket? Oh yes, here it is. Right here next to me.

A few pictures of my little (or should I say not-so-little) bucket filler on our trip:

The fountain outside of our "ho-towel". He used up every last piece of change I had in my wallet. Every time we walked by it he said, "Can I have a few coins?".


Played for hours at the children's museum. No where else to be!


Ice cream after the museum. I love that satisfied smile.


I swear this bridge looks MUCH much more precarious in photos than it does in real life. And much longer too. I almost screamed out loud when I saw this picture but when I took it, he appeared to be totally safe. I promise. Really.







Our fearless travel companion


Monday, June 1, 2009