Wednesday, January 29, 2014

a typical Tuesday

So it isn't really Tuesday anymore. Not even close. 
I had good intentions, but other things took precedence yesterday. 

It's been cold here. Cold enough that school has been delayed and even cancelled in some cases. And a two-hour late start means no preschool for Bailey. So we have had some extra mornings together.

Nothing really exciting has been going on around here. 
No falling down stairs or anything... 
And since there is nothing to really write about, you get photos from a random Tuesday morning at the Solko household.

Apparently yesterday was the day to switch up the typical toy gender-roles.
Little Man playing with Jasmine?
Bailey fighting fires with the firehouse dog?
Sure. Why not?
It's easier for Graham to chew on a princess than a truck anyway.

Avery has quite the hair lately. Anything to keep it out of her constantly running nose. So forgive me some traces of snot in her photos, okay?

I love the next two pictures:
Avery sipping her tea very lady-like...

... and flash forward to her birthday 18 years from now.
Girl has the shot-taking down pat.

Bailey has been very much in a dresses-only, girly-girl stage for the past forever few months.
Dress with matching tights.
Hair pulled back. (always by herself I might add)
Fingernails painted.
Necklace on.
And if I had allowed it, I guarantee she would've been holding a tube of lip gloss, too.

"Mom, just so you know, I am sleeping with Eric."

Random, right?
I know.
Thanks for hanging in anyway.
Happy Hump Day!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Thoughts on extended breastfeeding

A year has come and gone, and as of tomorrow, our little man will be 14 months old.
I don't know how it happened, but in the blink of an eye he went from chunky 10-pounder to a lanky, completely mobile toddler.

And now Graham and I are at a place I was never at with my other two: 
still breastfeeding.

{As I am sure most of you know, Bailey never could nurse due to her cleft. 
And Avery quit at 11 months and some change, mostly because of her love of table food, but my pregnancy with Graham probably contributed as well. Either way nursing was a thing of the past by this stage of the game.}

It's an interesting thing nursing past a year...
In our culture here in the United States, a year seems to be the gold standard for breastfeeding. It's the ideal you hear talked about, the goal doctors mention as "best for baby." You nurse to a year and you've made it. You hit the target so you're done, right?
Not necessarily.

My goal with each breastfed kid has been a year.
But now I have reached that goal. And it isn't like the day before his birthday he is able to happily nurse away and the next he is cut off because he reached the year mark.
I haven't ever been one of those people who expressed a true desire to nurse past a year, it just kinda happened. And now that I am here, I am fine with it.

Nothing really changed for Graham and I. 
Yes, now that he is over a year, he eats more table foods. He doesn't nurse as often or for as long. (At this age he is a pro at sucking down a milky snack very quickly.) Once in a while he resorts to "acrobatic nursing" - which basically means he likes to try and nurse from every conceivable position: upside down, standing, you name it. (The kid is creative.) He will take a bottle or sippy cup with some of my freezer-stock pumped milk without protest. I can go quite a long time between feedings.

But it seems like the year mark changes things in some people's minds. 
I know many people think it is "weird." Like I will still be nursing him at age 10 if I don't stop right now. I think some worry that if I don't cut it off right here and now, I will become one of "those moms" that people -especially other mothers - tend to talk about. The ones who are breastfeeding their 5 year-old on a park bench. (No worries, that isn't my thing, but more power to those mamas!)

I get very annoyed with the suggestion that I am still breastfeeding in order to "keep him a baby" for longer. Believe me, if he didn't want to keep doing it, he wouldn't. Avery is a prime example of that. And I think all moms, especially those of us on our last baby, have a bit of a desire to savor these last "baby" moments. But that is not my reasoning for extended breastfeeding.

Even people who have been supportive in the past tend to get awkward and give off the "please tell me you're quitting soon" vibe. 
Have I thought about it? Yes. 
Would I like the freedom of not having to worry about nursing at all? Sure.
Am I excited at the thought of burning every piece of nursing-friendly clothing? Absolutely. 
Does that mean I am going to stop right now? Probably not
Breast milk still serves a purpose. It is good for him. And it is working for Graham and me and our family, and that is what counts. 

So when it comes down to it, 
how long will I continue to nurse?

Truthfully, I am not 100% sure. 
I am hoping he will self-wean, meaning he will just taper off naturally and decide for himself when he is done. From what I have read, many babies will do this by 15-18 months. By that stage, some kids will just nurse in the morning and/or at night. So it's not like this huge commitment I shudder to contemplate. 
If he wants to continue, I might let him up to 2 years old. Who's to say how I will feel in a few months? I might really, really be over it. Or I might feel fine continuing with 1 or 2 times a day. 

No matter what, it is a personal parenting choice. 
(Which usually means that everyone and their mom has their own opinions and feels the need to let you know what you "should" be doing...)
But when it comes down to it, I will be fine either way. 
Although a little self-weaning might enable me to burn those dreaded nursing tanks sooner than anticipated... :)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five on Friday

I am back to the world of the able-bodied: walking, lifting, and bending. Oh my!
It is amazing how helpless you feel when you can't even put on your own underwear without ridiculous pain. I most definitely intend to never fall down the stairs ever again.

And speaking of damaged bodies, there is my father. He had surgery on his right foot after enduring a year of increasing pain with any movement. He is basically stranded in a prone position for the next week, and saying he is going stir-crazy is a bit of an understatement. 
(Any prayers for my poor mother would be appreciated.)

And because everything is made better with sweets, we baked up some cookies for poor Grandma Papa.

I always wanted to be one of those women who bakes up theme-appropriate cookies just because. You know, hearts in February, pumpkins in October, etc - channeling a bit of Martha Stewart.
Yeah... I have owned this set of heart-shaped cookie cutters for years and this is the first time they have ever seen the light of day...

Bailey is really getting into this apron-wearing, sugar-cookie-baking thing.

My favorite thing this week has been to watch all 3 kids run buck-nekkid down the hallway to the bathroom for their nightly bath. Especially Graham, his cute little bum and bowlegs running get me every time. 
It makes me smile just thinking about it.
I love it so much I videotaped it for posterity. 
And so I can embarrass my children in about 15 years (or sooner).

My hubs is making us a storage unit for the kids' play space. 
I am highly anticipating its completion. 
He obtained plans from a website he uses frequently, and it is based originally on a Pottery Barn version.
He will be building ours to look like this one with a few changes.
I will probably post some pictures of it when it is all finished and the kids' toys are finally organized to my liking. :)

I don't want to say too much about it yet because it isn't set in stone, but I am pretty excited about a job opportunity that sort of fell in my lap. It's just PRN and probably only a day or two a month at first, but it is in nursing and would be very schedule friendly. 

It's an answer to a prayer that I never really consciously prayed. 
A couple months ago I was pondering my life and its purpose in a WTF Wednesday post, and this position seems like a good chance at being able to make money for my family and put my nursing skills to use while still being able to mostly stay home with my kids. Lately I have grown more cognizant of the fact that my nursing skill set is getting a little rusty. This job could be a good way to avoid that huge gap in my resume and hopefully avoid starting over like a new grad when I return to regular work in the nursing field someday. Oh, and did I mention it pays amazingly. Here's hoping all works out!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Have a nice trip. See you next fall.

I'm truly not a klutz. Yes, I can be a little clumsy, but I am not that person that is always falling or breaking something. At least not usually.

Then came Thursday when I fell down a flight of stairs. 
An entire flight of stairs. 
Count them, thirteen steps.
Go me!

It all happened after lunch.
I put both 2 year-olds and Graham down for their naps upstairs. While tucking everyone in, I hear Mia - the 6 month-old - begin to cry downstairs. I hurried through the rest of the nap routine and headed quickly down the hall to the stairway. I was in a bit of a hurry and didn't notice our dog Tucker sitting on the last step before the top landing. My first step down the stairs was on to poor Tucker.
And I didn't take another step.
I fell hard on my right side and slid/tumbled down the rest of the flight.

Here's a wonderfully illustrated picture to help you visualize the situation.
(Totally helpful, right?)

Crumpled up at the bottom of the steps, I was in a bit of a daze, but the pain was intense and immediate.
It hurt bad. Like hurt bad-bad.
I was crying and started mixing in a bit of Lamaze-type breathing/sobbing in there too for good measure.
Bailey had been standing there in the living room and witnessed the whole thing.
For her benefit, I tried to pull myself together and stop crying, but I couldn't do it.
I tried to get into a sitting position, but halfway there the pain was shooting everywhere and I had to quit.

Bailey was silent and finally came and placed her Bun-Bun lovey on my chest and asked if that helped.
Not so much....
She asked if I needed a band-aid.
Nope, no visible bleeding...
She asked if she should go get Daddy.
Yep, good idea. Let's do that!

I tell Bailey, "Go tell Daddy that Mommy got hurt and she is crying."

She goes upstairs to wake Jared, who was sleeping from working the night before.
She tells him, "Mom stepped on Tucker, and she cried."
Close, but not quite.
Obviously, this did not sound urgent and therefore did not prompt him to leave his warm bed. He shooed her away and went back to sleep.
Bailey comes back down. I ask her, "Is Daddy coming?"
"Yep, he will be here soon."
A minute or so passes and I hear no sign of him coming. 
I ask her again, "Daddy is coming?"
She replies, "Yes, but he is going to sleep a bit first."

I sent her back upstairs with instructions not to leave until he came down with her. I just wanted him to come find me and help me get to the couch so I could rest.
This time with Bailey lurking outside the door, Jared gets the feeling something is up and eventually finds me at the bottom of the stairs. He knew shit was serious because he has never seen me cry in pain before - ever. Not through getting a ripped-off toenail stitched back on or during any of our children's deliveries. When he saw I couldn't get up on my own, he announced he was dialing 9-1-1.

Say what?!
I did NOT want that happening. 
The thought of the humiliation of having an ambulance coming to get me was enough to get me in an upright position. I begged and begged him to not call, but I couldn't stop him. Every movement was extremely painful, so I opted to stand in one place.

The ambulance did show up. 
How freakin' embarrassing. 
I was laying on the nearby couch and couldn't even move by the time the EMTs got there.
I mean it could have been worse, as some have pointed out. I could have been naked or something.
{Although if I was naked, I would've had a lot more explaining to do since it was 1 in the afternoon and I was watching other people's children.}

It was humiliating enough as it was. 
I had to be strapped to a board with a cervical collar on.

Bailey looks much cuter in it, I assure you.

{Adding insult to injury, Justy pointed out to me later that the collar has adjustments on it. Mine was set to "No Neck." 
Ummm... thanks a lot.
I am going to go ahead and assume that in the rush of things, they didn't take the time to adjust it from its standard setting because I don't think I qualify as a "no neck" type. At least I hope not.}

And during this whole time, the number one thought running through my mind was:
if having strangers dead lift you on a backboard from the floor isn't motivation to lose those extra pounds, I don't know what is.

Jared had called my mom after he called the ambulance, so she and my dad arrived in time for Jared to come to the hospital with me. 
Also perfect timing?
The funeral dinner across the street got over right as I was being wheeled down the sidewalk to the waiting ambulance. Plenty of people got an eyeful, and with this being a small town, the "news" traveled at the speed of light.

I took a ride in said ambulance and received a couple doses of Morphine. It helped take a bit of the edge off, but not much. I had to leave the C-collar on until I was cleared by a CT scan, which meant I rocked that No-Neck setting for a good 4+ hours. I kept receiving pain meds while hanging out in the E.R. and Jared did his best to entertain me. But truly, even a little chuckle hurt. Shifting positions even slightly was terrible. 

After all was said and done, it appeared that everything (other than my pride) was still intact.
So with that I returned home feeling bruised, sore, and stiff, as well as a little embarrassed.

Some leftover pain meds from a c-section helped me sleep that night and the next. I have trouble bending or twisting as I get shooting pain from my right flank up into my right shoulder. Changing positions in bed or even in a chair is awful. An ice pack has been my constant companion and it seems to help, if nothing else but just to numb some of the ache. 
Every day it has been getting a little better, but I still have to have Jared around since I can't pick anything (or anyone) up off the floor. I went to physical therapy on Friday and the exercises seem to be keeping the muscles in that area from getting too stiff.

So in summary: 
  • Beware of dogs that are the same color as the carpeting on your stairs.
  • C-collars aren't much fun.
  • Toradol - not Morphine - is where it's at, people.
  • If you see me out in public, and I am moving at the pace of a 90 year-old lady after hip replacement surgery, you now know why. 
  • And please feel free to have a laugh at my expense. Who trips down the stairs on their dog, anyway? Seriously.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WTF Wednesday

Really, Graham?  Really?

At the ripe old age of 13 months, Graham has decided it is okay to take a bottle.
He reached this conclusion because Mia (the little girl I babysit) takes one, and he has made it his life's mission to successfully steal her bottle.

Up until now, he has never figured out how to properly suck liquids from any type of container - bottle or sippy cup. And due to that we are still going strong in the breastfeeding department. But it would be nice to start using that stockpile of old (probably freezer-burnt at this point) milk in the freezer.

I am hoping that he can make the mental leap that if a bottle works like this (even if it is a cleft bottle), a sippy might work the same.
Here's hoping.

So bottoms up, Brother.

Better late than never, right?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

oh, how they grow

We haven't done much of note lately, and I feel like that's a good thing. I don't need a jam-packed calendar to feel like all is right with the world. 
Plus cold weather makes me lazy.
Like stay at home and just watch movies in our jammies lazy.

The days seem to blend together in this mesh of routine mixed with newness.
Graham almost running now.
Avery dressing independently.
Bailey talking of weddings and forcing her sister to marry her in a lavish ceremony on our stair landing.
How is it that things can seem to never change, but at the same time change all too quickly?
Sometimes I just look at her and I can't define what I feel.
It's this strange mixture of things.
I am sure every parent - every mom - has felt it.
Still feels it.
It can't just be me.
Pride in seeing them grow - learning new things, achieving new successes.
And utter sadness to feel them move another inch closer to adulthood. Another step separating them from the baby-ness they used to encompass, those days when they looked to you to fulfill every one of their needs.  A giant leap from that day years ago when you gave birth to the sweetest 7 (or 10...) pounds that ever existed.

I see her concentration on the picture she is creating.
I see her independence in the two hair clips erratically placed in her hair.
I see her father's eyes.
I see her growing up so quickly.

Graham turned one just a little over a month ago. It was the first 1st birthday party where I haven't already been pregnant again.
It's official: We are leaving the baby days behind us.
No more anticipation of another little person in the house again.

It's a bit strange...
We've been so focused on growing and building our family and now we have it.
It's complete.
We now shift our focus to completely enjoying the three little people who are such a part of us.
Anticipating future meal times without that crumb-collecting highchair.
Dreaming of vacations without pack-n-plays and a suitcase full of diapers. 
Looking forward to a time when our days aren't planned around important naps that shouldn't be missed.
Watching them grow and grow and grow. 
Because seriously, oh, how they grow.