Monday, October 27, 2014

October 27, 2014 - Half-Hearted Halloween

This year, we aren't doing so well in the Halloween department.  The past two years I have planned or helped plan a trick-or-treat event for the kids at their preschool, but this year I'm basically too tired to do it.  And you can't really trick-or-treat here because of security (lots of gates and compound walls and guard dogs!).  

Instead we went to a children's Halloween party this past Saturday and plan to go to another one this coming Saturday.  No official trick-or-treating, but at least the chance to dress up. 

Noah took it much more seriously than Grace did this year.  He was VERY into his pirate costume :)  She just wanted to wear her dragon cloak and, honestly, it's super hot here these days so very involved costumes are a bit tough.  There were no kids that she knew at the party we went to so we think that dampened her spirits...perhaps next weekend's festivities will be more fun with her.  

I tried with Aya - admittedly there was no advanced planning before the day of this party - but our baby costumes are super heavy and hot (remember Grace and Noah as giraffes for their first Halloweens?).  The coolest one - a little dragon which was Noah's in the past - was still too hot for her, so she did not really wear it in the end. Someday, I really hope we will be in America for Halloween just so we can make it a big deal and they can really experience the crazy spirit of the event.  That is something to look forward to.  In the meantime, here was our meager attempt...thank goodness for Noah's enthusiasm!

(at least she perked up a bit once we took her out of the dragon clothes!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

October 21, 2014 - Aya's Big Week

Six months old today and started to crawl YESTERDAY.  Aya can get on all fours but doesn't quite crawl that way yet - it is more of an army style crawl, although even since yesterday she has gotten faster and more precise.  I think it will be the "on all fours" variety soon enough.

She has started to have the occasional "good" night with only one or two wake ups, but we are still struggling in that area.  She is good at going to sleep on her own in her crib now without nursing or being rocked/cradled to sleep.  And our best night was just shy of 7 hours in one stretch - if we hit that mark I will be REALLY happy (especially if I get all 7 hours!).  

Aya is still mostly nursing but once a day has banana, apple, pear or avocado and maybe a little cereal. She tried but did not love squash.  I will have to increase and expand her feeding now that she is six months old.  Early indicators suggest that she'll be our best little eater.

The big kids love that Aya is more noisy and expressive and mobile now.  They are competing for who can make her smile or laugh the most, and now they are teasing her with her toys: "Crawl over here! Come get your ball!" When I say she has a great laugh, here is a little sample:

We phased out her swing to promote more crib sleeping and she really likes her exersaucer and walker. The bumbo seat would be great but her thighs are too big for getting in and out! HA!  She still really loves her bath.

I think the best news seems to be that her cow's milk sensitivity has subsided so that I have reintroduced a moderate amount of dairy back into my diet with no complaints from her.  Yay for cheese!  And she is no longer getting medicine for her reflux and is almost not spitting up at all.  Just in the last two weeks that has really improved.  Score huge!  (Now what to do with the rest of the year's supply of baby Zantac I brought over from America?)

What a half year it has been!  So happy for Aya's growth and development, but also feeling a wee bit nostalgic for those early baby days.  She is a little wonder and we love her so much.

(this was Aya's last time in her baby tub.  She is sitting up in a bigger, non-reclining tub now.  Still loves it!)
Selfie with Noah and Mama when Far was away in Indonesia!
Our little beauty...even starting to get some hair!

Happy Half Birthday, Aya Karen!

Friday, October 10, 2014

October 10, 2014 - Family Firsts

There's always something going on in our house.  Often that "something" requires a trip (or many) to the clinic.  And so it was these past two weeks as well!

Some good "firsts":

  • I survived my first time solo-parenting 3 kids while Kristoffer traveled to Indonesia for work.  (Note that he thinks if I write "Indonesia" instead of writing "Bali" that sounds more like work and less like vacation.)  I had Oliver work an hour and a half extra each day to help with the witching hour trifecta of bath-dinner-bedtime and we all survived, despite me not getting a lot of sleep.  I decided to sleep train Aya as a belated birthday present to Kristoffer (among the crazier gifts I've given him), so he got to miss out on the hardest parts of that.  She is now pretty good at putting herself to sleep in her own crib without fussing, but alas, has not stopped waking up at night yet!  And Noah was also waking up at night a few times as well, so that was the hardest part of Kristoffer being away.  We all missed him and were happy when he came home - I think Noah the most, because they are best friends to be 3 and your best friend goes away for a week.
  • We saw Grace swim to the very bottom of the pool at school for the first time.
  • Aya went swimming in the pool for the first time.  Similar to bath time:  she loved it!  She also moved on from bananas to apples and avocado and butternut squash.  Banana is totally her favorite, but last night when she was finished with her squash and applesauce she cried when I took the bowls away. Did we finally get a really good eater?!
The biggest, and most painful, first of our week was undoubtedly Noah's first big injury.  Thank goodness it was not worse (and thank goodness K was home from his trip!), but his monkey act on the playground which was preceded by him telling Grace, "Look what I can do," landed us in the clinic getting stitches for his split chin on Sunday afternoon.  It was bloody and painful and traumatic (physically for him, emotionally and parentally for us, empathetically for Grace!), but he did as well as could be expected of a 3 year old with a seriously split chin.  It seems like the sheet they had to put over his face when the doctor was doing the stitches was among his least favorite parts.   For us, it was him having to get two shots of anesthesia before the stitches. Horrible!  He was rewarded well with popcorn and candy for dinner and bottomless episodes of "Jake and the Neverland Pirates" for the rest of the day.  Thank goodness for iTunes.

The stitches were removed this morning - that was a little bit tricky as one of the stitches seemed to have grown into the skin - but he was really great and so brave to go back into the same room with the same doctor and nurse as Sunday.  Now covered in steri-strips only, it will be a pretty big scar but since he is so young it will fade quite a lot with time.  I will be interested to hear how "big" the story gets as he ages.  I know for a fact that Grace has told anyone and everyone who would listen on our peninsula about Noah's big fall and just how much blood there was ("He was bleeding forever!").

This past week also marked Aya's second virus - fever for 3 full days, but no bacteria so no antibiotics this time around (she's already had those twice too).  I thought/hoped it was her getting a tooth but 102.5 is pretty high fever for teething and it broke last night with no tooth to show for it.  She was complaining a lot and not sleeping restfully.  And we went to the doctor twice for it (throw in an extra visit with Grace last weekend to check out her cough, and we've been there 5 times in the last 7 days!) Maybe this weekend will be the time when she decides to just sleep on through the night.  A Mama can dream!

So now the kids have a break from school - one whole week off!  Of course it comes just as they are doing pretty well in their school routine and super early morning schedule (read: fewer temper tantrums at home!).  The week will be just enough time to screw their bodies up and make getting back into the routine the following week a very big pain. Unlike many friends, we are not traveling this week so will have to get creative with how to pass the time in increasingly hot-as-hell Dar.  Summer is officially here again!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014 - This Little Light of Mine

The date doesn't usually matter.  Because, of course, I think of Kyle every day.  For some reason, the solitude of my car is often the place where I end up weeping for Kyle.  Sometimes I talk to him there.  Or I sing to him, that song I sang to him just an hour before he passed away... "...this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine..."   

However, this particular date does matter.  October 7th. 7:04 pm. I can't help but go back to that day.  To that very moment.  The painfully slow hours that came afterwards juxtaposed with the haste of the next few days, and all that had to be taken care of.  I remember it acutely. Minutely.  I often play the whole movie of that week in my mind.  But today, of course, it is harder still.

In our house we talk a lot about Kyle (and Oldemor and Jesus...the other people Grace and Noah "know" who have died).  Grace and Noah know him as their cousin, and out of nowhere they will say the most amazing and lovely things about him.  Very honest and blunt things too. When our good friends' dog died recently Grace asked me a few days later, "Do you think Chewy will see Kyle in heaven?"  

When it was his birthday, I tried really hard to focus on just being happy that Kyle was born.  But today's emotions are much more complicated:  anger, confusion, heartbreak, sorrow.  There are absolutely no words to fully capture the  complexity of my feelings on this day.  And I know my own emotions are shallow compared to the depth of those his parents feel.  

I've basically just been wallowing today.  Living my life all the while - 5:30 wake up for school, Aya has had a fever all day and had to go to the doctor, Noah had to have his stitches checked, emails, carpool runs, bath time, dinner, bed time - but wallowing still.  Thinking of Kyle and Christine and Kevin all the time.  All the time. All the time.  

Two years later and on this day for me, unlike the other days, it's like losing him all over again.

In our house, a candle was lit for Kyle again this year - and will be every year.  
That little light of mine.