Monday, December 29, 2008

Only

Since we got home from all the Christmas celebrations, Evan has been completely delightful. He walked around the house with a perpetual slobbery grin, entertaining himself or tagging along with me peacefully. I was worried that he would be lonesome without Ethan but he seemed to be enjoying his temporary only-child status. Maybe it was nice to have a break from getting knocked down all the time and be able to choose whatever you want to play with. He's been talking more, too, saying "Tay doo" over and over, with the same inflection as 'thank you'.

Sunday morning, however, the tides changed. Evan was fussy all through church, trying to escape from us to go play with the kids nearby. He remained crabby all day at home and didn't want me to put him down not even for ONE TINY NANOSECOND. Matt and I watched him scream on the floor, with his little red angry face and waving furious fists, with some amusement. (Yes, we are great parents. The suffering of our children entertains us. Maybe we should get out more.) "I bet he thinks, other babies said this works- just lay down and scream and you'll get your way." Matt wondered. Sorry, Baby, people at your house are Unfair.

This morning has been a little better but he still wants to be carried around most of the time. I wonder if he's starting to miss Ethan. I know I am. Maybe it's time to head down to Crete.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Blessing

I wish I would have had my act together enough to publish a really meaningful post on Christmas. For my whole life, the emphasis of the season has been about the birth of Christ, but only in the last few years has the enormity of that great gift truly hit me. Only recently have I begun to understand what a grueling experience it must have been for Mary to travel a long distance -on a donkey!!- while hugely pregnant, then give birth in a stable. (And I doubt it was as clean and spacious as it is depicted in my kids' books.) What an incredible gesture of faith for Joseph to raise that child as his own. And eventually to watch that precious son give up his life on a cross... that I cannot even begin to fathom. God is great, indeed.

::::

We had several very merry, though slightly abbreviated, Christmas celebrations. I was starting to worry that we wouldn't make it to Crete at all due to bad weather, various illnesses, and a minor (?!) fire-related ranch incident. Kirk and Kasey were driving home from their ski trip to Colorado on Tuesday night and picked up Ethan so at least one of us would be sure to get to Gramma's house. Recalling fond memories of singing and playing instruments with my aunts and cousins, I sent along a band set for him to open. I should have known that others would have that same idea- both aunts also brought instruments for him, and I'm sure my mother would have if I hadn't talked about my idea every weekend for the past two months.

So Christmas Eve arrived, comparatively warm, and everyone seemed pretty healthy. The smoldering ash-pit that used to be a pumphouse didn't seem so bad by the light of day and our insurance agent thought that the well/wiring/components/whatever would be covered. We decided to head east, and approximately 6 hours later were on the road. We had a wonderful time celebrating with our families, and no matter how old I get, opening presents is always a thrill!

Ethan is still at my parents' house. We needed to drive back Christmas Day night but he wasn't ready for the fun to be over. They got together with my cousins, aunts, and uncles today, and I am so glad for him to get plenty time of time with all those people that love him. I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas celebration, as well. God bless.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter

I think the high yesterday was 2 degrees (yes, Fahrenheit). Clearly the only reasonable course of action is to keep the oven on and stuff baked goods into our mouths as fast as we can in order to stay warm.
Also: painting. Apparently Evan hasn't eaten enough cookie dough; this should round out his nutritional intake for the day. Don't worry, poison control said it's not toxic.


Also: long, warm baths. For the boys. Someday I will have one, too. Right?



Hey, you just said I had to have underwear on- next time be more specific.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wordy

Ethan was pulling a little cloth wagon around the living room this morning. "Mom. You and me and Evan are at the ocean," he announced. He put some stacking cups in the wagon. "Here are some seashells." He held one up to his ear. "Can you hear the ocean?" I asked. "No! I hear a fish-star!" he said excitedly. "Wisten!"

His language has evolved again. Suddenly he can say Ay-gert instead of Egg-gek and 4-wheeler instead of foladohl. Everytime he drops a baby word, I worry that he won't sound cute anymore, but fish-star is plenty adorable.

Evan rarely uses words but manages to get his point across pretty well. He'll yell Mom or Dah when he's being ignored (which is all the time, you know), and often when Matt comes home he'll call "Mah! Mah!" excitedly as he races/stumbles/whatever to the door. He has very specific sounds- an angry oooh when he wants something Ethan has (by the way, that's a good warning to get out of the way of his teeth), a desparate ah-ah-baaaaaah when he can't get down from whatever deadly piece of furniture he has climbed onto, and sweet little ah-bah-goo-da noises when he's on my lap or playing on the floor. He also has assumed responsibility for any timers that go off. When the microwave beeps, he'll stand in front of it and bellow ah, ooh, ah! while slapping his thighs and pointing at it. Ethan used to run to get a hot pad when the oven timer dinged, but Evan doesn't seem to want to get it himself, he just wants to make sure everyone is aware that the food is ready. And good luck trying to explain that you just set the timer- you have to open the door and show him there is no food, then laugh at his disgruntled expression. Because, seriously, there are few things funnier than a mad baby.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Ouch

We went to town today, which of course included going out to lunch. Ethan bit into a mini corndog at Runza (hey, 'member when I was a good mom? Me neither) and exclaimed "I hatched it wif my teeth!" Evan sat peacefully in the high chair, slurping down mandarin oranges. They were so well-behaved and pleasant, which I had completely forgotten was possible after being cooped up in the house with them for the past three days. I really enjoy their company these days, and actually I couldn't think of anyone I would rather have gone out to lunch with. When we were finished, Ethan wrapped his arms around my leg and said, "Thanks, Mom, that was a weally fun time." And it was.

Both boys had well-child checkups (although when I called for the appointments I said 'well-baby.' No, I'm not having any trouble accepting that they are getting older, why do you ask?) Dr. Pruden was duly impressed with their growth and development. I am always beside myself with pride, beaming like drunken Cheshire cat, when a doctor (ok, anyone) tells me my children are perfect. Like she's really going to go into an examining room and pronounce someone's child boring and average.

Evan had three shots and we will go back in 4 weeks for a flu shot booster, in 3 months for more shots, and 3 months after that to finish the series. I believe all the research that shows no correlation between autism and vaccines, and both of my doctors have whole-heartedly reassured me that they trust in the safety of the vaccines...BUT. The night before and the day of the Many Pokes, my mind can't stop replaying the stories of children whose parents say were perfectly happy and healthy one day, then irreparably changed the next. I say a few extra prayers for the safety of my child and watch him like a hawk. Oh no, is he avoiding eye contact? Why is he tilting his head like that? Then after a few days, I'll settle down and go back to pretending that I can protect these innocent little guys from harm. When -or whether- to vaccinate is just the beginning of the never-ending decisions we are asked to make for our children. How much should I shelter them from, and how do I let go? When should I give up on time-outs and start smacking? There are a thousand different opinions for every aspect of childrearing but the one that matters most is not so easy to pin down. So, a few extra prayers, a lot of guesswork, and, of course, I'm going to call my mom. Hopefully I won't mess these kids up too badly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A good day

Play date...

Sharing ice cream with Dad while watching Mary Poppins.

I am LOVING ABCfamily's 25 Days of Christmas- in between the crappy Santa movies, we've enjoyed Mickey Mouse's Christmas Carol, Curious George: The Movie, and now Mary Poppins. It's fun that Ethan is old enough now to watch stuff we all enjoy, although by 'we', I guess I mean 'he and I'. "I hate this movie," Matt said when Ethan left the room. I was genuinely flabbergasted. "How could you HATE this movie?" "Look at it!" He groaned. "How could you not?" Bert and Mary were singing; they had just jumped through the chalk painting and she was wearing one of my favorite dresses of all time. I suppose when you think about it, it's not exactly Matt's kind of movie, but STILL. To actually hate Mary Poppins? I'm still in shock.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Party

Another day, another sugar rush... (Dr. Sears would be so disappointed in me.)



Ethan had chosen a football cake when we celebrated on his real birthday, but this time at the last minute he wanted a baseball cake. He did NOT want the layers stacked, so Tessa improvised. Thanks, Tess!
Lots of presents...thanks everyone! We had a wonderful time celebrating with our family. Surrounded by love, indeed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Today

I was thrilled that Evan was playing quietly while I finished putting cookies on the cooling racks. Until I saw that he had taken the almost-empty can of Crisco out of the trash can and was scooping it out with his fingers. It was in his mouth, his hair, his ears... Grossting! to quote Ethan.

::::

Ethan keeps climbing into a big box, closing the flaps, and yelling "Mom! Come see what you got for Chwistmas!" I open the box and feign surprise and delight to find an Ethan, or Baby Jaguar, or puppy. Well, the first 6349587 times I was able to act delighted. Now I am seriously contemplating duct taping the box shut. How bad would it really be?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Lost in Translation

This morning I was changing Evan's diaper and directing Ethan while he made "hot chocolate milk". When the microwave beeped, I told him to be careful taking it out because it might be hot. "It might be not hot!" he reported. "OK, enjoy!" I called. He was quiet a second. "Go AWAY?" he replied incredulously. "No, Buddy, enjoy!" I laughed. "It means, 'I hope you like it. Have fun.'" Isn't it funny, that for so much of what he understands, something minor like this can still throw everyone for a loop?
Then he wanted to eat a pickle with his cocoa. Now that makes absolutely no sense. Moments like that make me glad I'm not pregnant.

:::
Evan has been sitting on the floor next to me for over 5 minutes, running his fingers through the soft carpet. Occasionally he lifts his hand up and examines it closely, like maybe this time he found the hidden treasure. He hasn't entertained himself like this in weeks. Whatever floats your boat, kid! My callus thanks you.

:::

Here are some pictures from last weekend, before Kirk got sick and after Ethan and Grampa were feeling better.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Birthday

Ethan is 3 now. When Tessa asked him about his birthday, he told her he would be old enough to play with matches. Sorry, kiddo, maybe next year. We did have a fun day despite the lack of pyrotechnics. We made a football cake and he opened the camera we got him. He loves to play with mine so I had planned on getting one of those Fisher-Price ones but then decided to just get a used Kodak from ebay. He loves it and we've had fun taking pictures of each other.



One of my two frosting-coated helpers. After he pilfers something delicious, like a spatula or a chicken breast Ethan has dropped on the floor, he makes a dash for the wagon like I can't see him scarfing down his trophy.


video

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ethan

I'm never really sure where to begin Ethan's birth story- on Tuesday during our childbirth class when contractions began in earnest but I was only dilated to 2 cm? Dr. Hansen came in with a big smile and said "I bet I'll see you tomorrow." There was a huge snowstorm and Matt's work paid for a hotel room for us so we wouldn't have to drive the 60 miles home. We walked around and around the room and told the baby that now would be a very convenient time to come. Lots of contractions, no baby. Wednesday morning they slowed down so Matt went to work and I went to Cindy's house for some distraction. Later Matt called and said the doctor had been trying go get ahold of me all morning, thinking that we would be showing up at the hospital anytime. The contractions were bad that night and I felt really nauseous. Dr. Hansen said to come in Thursday morning- 3 cm. She hooked me up to the fetal monitor. Wow, look at those contractions, said a nurse. Yes, they do look a wee bit painful, DON'T THEY. An hour later I was dilated to 4 cm. I think this is it! Dr. Hansen said with a hug. We walked the hallways. An hour later, at noon, I was at 5. The nurse started taking all the new-baby paraphernalia out of the plastic wrapping and laid out the tiny T-shirt and cap. We walked the hallways. At six o'clock that evening Dr. Hansen came back with another hug and a cheery, I bet we're close! Let's get ready to have a baby! Uhh...no. Still at 5 cm. Are you fricking kidding me? We walked the hallways. She came back later than evening- still 5. The contractions were intense and close together, so Pitocin or breaking my water wouldn't do any good. She suggested that an epidural might relax my muscles enough to dilate the rest of the way. I started to cry- that wasn't part of my birth plan. She said we could wait til midnight. We walked the hallways, stopping every couple steps to get through contractions. I was getting discouraged.

Wendall the Anesthesiologist was a very outgoing man. I told him all the epidural horror stories I had heard from friends. He asked where they had given birth. Interestingly enough, they were all at the Blair hospital. "Ummm, yeah, I know that guy," he said. Wendall had been doing this for over 30 years and was the president of the Nebraska Anesthiologists Whatever Group. Okay, I guess you're qualified enough to stick that huge freaking needle into my spine. He and Matt talked during the whole procedure. He was very entertaining but I was too tired and discouraged and creeped out by the HUGE NEEDLE IN MY BACK to notice. Almost immediately, though, the pain disappeared. Ohhhh, maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all. Dr. Hansen was back with another hug and some encouraging words. Then she ruined it by saying that she was getting concerned about all this stress on the baby and if labor didn't progress any further by morning, she would have to do a c-section. That definitely was not part of my birth plan.

I called my mother at 4 am and started sobbing when I told her about the cesearean. I was so worried about disappointing her- like she had ever shown anything but unconditional love and support to us. "Oh honey, you'll just have to do whatever it takes to get that baby safely here," she reassured me. "God bless you." Good thing I had my pregnancy books, I had completely skipped the chapters about c-sections. I was going to have a natural birth. I read and prayed. (Fun Fact: On the list of potential side effects of surgery, number one was death. Sheesh, they couldn't have started with rash, then worked the way down to paralysis and death.)

Frday, December 9th, 6 am
5 cm
Dr. Hansen told us what to expect about the surgery and the team started assembling. By that point I was just ready to get the whole thing over with and hold my baby. Wendall reappeared and added The Good Stuff to the epidural. I wondered how the baby was tolerating all these drugs. Was I going to give birth to a crackhead? He probably already had a 'roid problem from the steroids we were dosed with back during the pre-term labor drama. If I had known that when it got down to it, he would refuse to come out, we could have saved ourselves a lot of hassle.

The operating room was so cold. The whole thing felt surreal. After much, much, much pulling and prodding, Ethan was lifted out. His little squeaky cries were the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. Matt followed him over to the incubator, then gently carried him back so I could see him. I will never forget the tender, awestruck look on Matt's face as he held our son. We had the most beautiful baby ever, of course. Dr. Hansen agreed. Wendall took pictures. The surgeon stitched me up and I headed to the recovery room while Matt, the baby, and his team went to the nursery. After the longest half-hour of my life, the nurse took me to my room and Dr. Hansen and Matt came in with Ethan. She helped us get situated to nurse (by ramming him rather violently at my chest) and he latched on like a champ. We marveled at this tiny, perfect being. Matt reported that the respiratory person had suctioned some fluid out of his lungs and we were supposed to keep track of his O2 sats. Also, we had to keep his body temperature above something or they would take him back to the nursery. (For weeks, Matt freaked out if Ethan's foot poked out of the blanket or his hat slid off his head a little, ever fearful that the nurse with the thermometer was lurking nearby to snatch him.)

So, the happiest possible ending was ours. Ethan was safely in our arms, his lungs were fully developed, and our lives would never be the same. God is good.

Flashback 2005

Matt looked so cute in scrubs- he should have been a doctor. (That's all there is to it, right? He also has the perfect signature.)


Ethan Joseph Eggert

This was pretty much the best picture I took all year. Go figure. The flattering gown, perhaps? Or maybe the morphine.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Last Man Standing

Mom and Dad succumbed to the Evil Bug yesterday, and Tessa is steering clear of this plague-infested house, so Kirk is the only one left to provide any sort of fun this weekend. Luckily he is Super Uncle - building colossal block towers, providing horsey rides, and snuggling on the couch with a little guy when he wasn't feeling well.

Evan has been even clingier than usual lately, which I did not think was possible but it must be because I have an actual saddle sore on my left hip. It is red and raw and hurts like heck when I carry him, which is ALL THE TIME. My body has changed a lot since having these children, obviously, and I am okay with the saggy boobs and larger jeans, but I am not prepared to spend the rest of my life with a baby-shaped callus on my side. Seriously. I don't know what trauma I have inflicted on him to cause these major abandonment issues but it must have been bad and I AM SO SORRY KID I PROMISE I WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU PLEASE STOP SCREAMING WHEN I PUT YOU DOWN TO WASH OUT THE BARF BUCKET.

So, Super-Fun Pre-Christmas Weekend: Fail. How are you guys?

Friday, December 5, 2008

Weekend Update

We are cozily settled at my parent's house this weekend while Matt and his friends are deer hunting. Our house quickly filled up with orange vests, ammunition, and testosterone yesterday morning so the boys and I headed east for some pre-Christmas fun. They both slept for most of the trip (yay!) and we spent the afternoon with Grandpa and Grandma Eggert, then got to my parent's for supper and Kirk came out to play. Then Ethan threw up. On Kirk. Then again, and again, and again.... Crap, so sorry everyone...I swear I had no idea these guys were so germ-infested. Evan barfed a few times during the night but by now they both seem to be fine. I canceled their photo appointments this morning but maybe they are recovered enough that the rest of the weekend won't be shot. Here's hoping!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Cheer

Happy birthday month to Ethan! Evan's month of celebration sort of fell apart, and I'm guessing that Ethan's will too, what with sharing it with Baby Jesus and all. But today, so far, has been a lot of fun. We ran tons of errands and both boys were great li'l shoppers. I asked Ethan if he wanted to go out to lunch and he answered enthusiastically: "Oh yeah, Mom! Can we have Chinese?!" That's my boy.

We have been listening to Christmas music and putting up decorations. Well, some of us put up the decorations, others just carry them around. Let me just say that stepping on a wise man while stumbling to the bathroom in the dark does not fill one with Christmas spirit. Yesterday we made egg yolk cookies and tonight we got sugar cookie dough in the fridge to roll out tomorrow. I had the brilliant idea of making lots of batches to have some ready in the freezer but it turns out that the number of cookies I make = number of cookies eaten. Oh darn, we'll just have to keep baking.



Ethan was being pretty rotten to Evan yesterday- grabbing toys, knocking him down, not sharing, etc. After countless timeouts and separations, I finally overheard him using his sweet little nurturing voice. "Here you go, baby, do you want a bite of cookie dough? I will share with you. OK. You are such a nice widdle baby," he was saying. Without turning around, I silently congratulated myself on my excellant parenting skills and the quality relationship I was fostering between my children. Then I saw him tenderly holding the little plastic Baby Jesus from the Veggie Tales nativity scene, putting small bites of dough on its face. Okay, quality relationship with and concern for inanimate plastic objects: check.