This boy. He lets me take his picture. Sometimes, he even looks at the camera. The other boy tells me not to take his picture. That other boy will regret not having any pictures from his childhood one day.
And I love the snaggle tooth pictures!
I’m pretty sure all children like to hear about what they were like as babies and toddlers. This is one of the boys’ favorite stories.
After we brought the boys home from the hospital after their debut into the world, the prevailing opinion on bathing babies was that you don’t immerse them in water until their umbilical cords fell off. (I have no idea what the prevailing opinions on bathing newborns is now. I don’t even really want to know.) We sponge bathed them regularly, but even newborns get a little ripe after a few days. (We also didn’t really know how to properly dry out the umbilical stump so it would fall off so it took FOREVER.) Being brand new parents to two tiny people, Ed and I were naturally terrified of them. We had no idea how to bathe a baby, but the babies in our house had to be bathed so we had to figure out how to survive the bath. (I mean me and Ed surviving. We knew we would be able to keep the cherubs safe throughout a bath.)
We set the plastic baby bath tub on the bathroom counter and started filling it with warm water. We decided on Trip as the first baby to endure the bath. I stripped the tiny boy down and he commenced to screaming because he didn’t like being naked. As I held him over the water on his way down to set him softly in the tub, he dropped an avocado green turd into the water. I yanked him up, horrified that my baby might have been bathed in poop water. He promptly pooped in my hand. There was avocado green poop in my hand! I had never before been so disgusted. Ed was laughing uncontrollably. I put my naked, screaming, cold baby against my chest so I could clean off my hand and we could dump the poop water and start over with the bath. Trip pooped in my hand while I was holding him against my chest. Ed tried to coo sympathetically at me while simultaneously laughing so hard he could hardly breathe. Trip continued to scream and Ed filled the tub with fresh water. We had come this far and we were not going to be stopped. The bathtub held about three inches of lukewarm water and I set Trip down in the tub. He screamed louder. Ed and I scrubbed the little munchkin down as quickly as we could, rinsed the soap off, and got him into a towel.
I carried my traumatized munchkin draped with a baby towel into the nursery and set him on his changing table. He got a fresh diaper and a new set of pajamas. He had stopped crying, but only because one can only cry for so long. He had started the traumatized, hiccupping breathing thing that babies do when they’ve finally cried so much that they can’t cry anymore.
Logan did not get bathed that night.
Logan didn’t get bathed for three more nights.
Sponge baths sufficed until I was ready to endure that trauma again.
Believe it or not, the bathing got better. They even started liking the baths. One of their favorite phrases now is “Avocado Green Poop!”
By the time Trip was out of surgery, out of the recovery room, and in a room of his own, it was around 5:00 in the evening. There lay my drowsy, sick baby, still basically strapped to the bed with his IV and NG tube (the tube going from his nose to his stomach, which would suck out the contents of his stomach for more than a week). He looked so small and fragile in his hospital bed.
Ed and I were both exhausted. Ed had spent the night before at home with Logan. I had spent a vomit filled night with Trip before riding in the ambulance with him. Ed looked at me and told me to go home and get some rest and a shower. I drove an hour home and picked up Logan from Ed’s parents. I know we ate, but I can’t remember what we ate.
Ed and I spent the next week trading off between watching Trip at the hospital and having Logan at home and taking care of the house. Ed did work some that week. I didn’t. It wasn’t practical for any of our parents to watch Logan all night while I worked at the hospital.
Trip’s days and nights were spent in his hospital bed, watching kiddie movies on our respective laptops, usually sitting in my lap or Ed’s. He was still wearing diapers, so every diaper would have to be weighed and the rate of his IV fluids changed by his nurses accordingly. (Yes, my 3 year old was still in diapers. It’s one of the things I chose to not worry about.) The incision on his stomach was covered with a small dressing. He wore a hospital gown that draped over his small form. On his feet were bright red slipper socks that went almost up to his knees. The nurse’s aide would come by every 4 hours to check his blood pressure. The blood pressure cuff was disposable and hooked up to the aide’s blood pressure machine. The aide would put the blood pressure cuff on Trip’s calf. Trip would not allow the blood pressure cuff to be taken off of his little leg. Instead, he’d twirl it around his leg until he was ready to take it off himself and then he’d put it onto the bottom bedrail.
The doctor would come in to talk to us everyday, usually around noon. His plan for Trip’s care always seemed so vague. But really, each patient is different, so how could he be more specific? We were waiting for some magic event to take place before Trip could eat and we could go home. Ok, not magic. We were waiting for Trip’s bowel sounds to start again and for him to pass gas. Trip’s little body took forever to cooperate. So for days, we heard “Give it a couple more days” and “We’ll see tomorrow.”
Over the course of that week, Trip was semi-nourished with only IV fluids. He lost 10% of his body weight. I think that ended up being 3 pounds. He lost so much muscle mass that when he was finally allowed out of bed, he couldn’t walk in a straight line.
Trip ate lunch at the hospital on the day that he got to go home. I arrived at the hospital after the doctor had been there and forgot everything that I had learned in nursing school and in the 7 years that I’d been a nurse and didn’t question Ed when he let Trip order a pizza for lunch that day. Both of my boys have always been good eaters, but I thought that Trip’s stomach might have shrunk in that week without food or that maybe his stomach just wouldn’t allow him to eat something really spicy. I was wrong. He ate the entire pizza.
The nurse gave us the discharge instructions and we drove Trip home.
The boys had barely seen each other in the last week. When they were finally reunited, Logan wanted Trip to be able run and play like nothing was wrong and Trip wanted Logan to sit quietly on the couch and watch cartoons with him. They finally reached some kind of happy medium.
I started cooking dinner. Ed and I were happy to have our little family back together at home. Then Trip vomited all of the pizza he had eaten. Every last bit of it.
I freaked out. My mother came to watch Logan and we drove Trip all the way back to the ER in Dallas. We eventually saw a doctor and Trip got another x-ray of his abdomen. Basically, Trip shouldn’t have been allowed to eat pizza, especially not a whole personal pizza. We went back home, exhausted.
Trip went back to school 10 days after he’d first gotten sick. He still hadn’t let me take the dressing off of his little belly, even though the wound had healed. He came home exhausted, but better. When the dressing finally got wet enough in the bath that it came off, Trip saw his new scar for the first time.
What do you say to a tiny (3’9″ at 3 years old, tiny), tiny little boy who looks up at you with questioning eyes, wondering about the new scar on his previously smooth belly? You tell him that “SCARS ARE COOL!!!” And then you pray that his stocky brother doesn’t try his hardest to get a scar of his own. (Logan hasn’t managed to make a significant scar. He is still trying. Beast.)
Inspiration struck last week and I wrote a short story that scared me so badly I couldn’t write in the dark. Now, words are barely forming in my mind and it’s difficult to even have a conversation. Yes, you can imagine me simply grunting at my children. I’m not capable of much more right now.
The boys were 3 years old and had very different digestive tracts. Logan could vomit if you looked at him wrong. Trip had vomited only once before in his short life span and that incident had landed him in the hospital over night to get rehydrated with IV fluids. Thankfully, they never had a big problem with diarrhea. Or they did and I’ve just blocked it from memory.
So, back to my story. Trip never vomited. Except the one time. Our evening that night was very ordinary. We had all had a normal dinner. I had bathed the boys and put them in bed. Ed and I had gone downstairs to watch television together before we also went to bed. Trip woke up and started crying around 10:30. Most nights, I would have told him to suck it up and get back to bed because I’m a caring and sensitive mother like that. This night, he just looked so pathetic. All I can really remember now was how pathetic he looked, so I took him downstairs and held him on the couch while I watched television. Ed teased me about babying the boy and teasingly asked Trip if he didn’t feel well. We stayed like that for a good half hour with nothing eventful happening. When does a sick kid who is being held by his mother not fall asleep? Trip didn’t. His little body was draped over mine, limbs limp, breathing, and feeling miserable. And then it happened. Trip sat up and drenched me and the couch in warm vomit.
Ed has always gotten out of cleaning vomit by claiming he had a sympathetic stomach and then making sick faces and pretending to retch. And frankly, I’ve become inured to most smells and sights from my time serving in the trenches of the ICU. (There are things that will make me retch, but I won’t tell you about them here. You’re welcome.)
So our usual plan is that Ed just leaves the room when a boy gets sick and I clean up the mess and the kid. But this time, I was covered in vomit from my neck to my waist and Trip is trying to catch his breath before he either vomits again or starts to wail because he feels so bad. Ed made a few gagging noises like he really was going to get sick and I said, “Don’t you try that shit tonight. Go upstairs and get me several towels.”
Trip and I got halfway cleaned up in the sink and the mess eventually got cleaned up. We decided the situation was not so dire as to require a trip to the emergency room, so Trip slept with us (which requires extreme sickness from one of the boys), vomiting on and off all night, and we made an appointment to see the pediatrician the next day.
Trip didn’t eat anything substantial the next day. He may have drunk some apple juice. He did vomit a bit more, but I managed to not wear any more vomit. Ed and I took Trip to see his doctor that afternoon. The doctor was worried he had appendicitis because of some abdominal pain Trip was having. Trip had an IV started at the office and then we were admitted to the local hospital. Trip had a CT scan done of his abdomen which showed he had a bowel obstruction. Trip vomited and dry heaved all night long. We were transferred to a hospital in Dallas the next day to see a pediatric surgeon.
Trip was transported to Dallas in an ambulance (a first for both of us) where he watched a Disney movie on their television in the back and, thankfully, nothing else happened other than we arrived safely in Dallas. Trip was admitted to the emergency room, had a tube inserted into his nose which went down into his stomach, and had a radiological procedure to show how far down the food was able to go and if it was able to go all the way down. The dye stopped completely at the junction between the end of his stomach and the beginning of his small intestines and then Trip vomited. I almost jumped out of the way in time to not get vomited on again, but at least I wasn’t drenched.
Trip was taken for emergency abdominal surgery about an hour later. The surgeon (who was WONDERFUL) told us that Trip had a Meckle’s band which was basically a piece of tissue which, in the womb, connects the intestines to the umbilical cord where it first forms and later draws the intestines into the baby’s abdomen, and that Trip’s had not dissolved after birth and caused the bowel obstruction. The actual surgery only lasted about an hour and the tissue was cut and removed, then Trip was sewn up and sent to the recovery room. (Disclaimer: I am a nurse, but I don’t take care of children and it really, really freaked me out to have a truly sick kid.)
We finally got to go back and see Trip in the recovery room and he was so sweet and pitiful and sick looking. He laid in that big stretcher, looked up at us, and said, “Where’s Logie?”
We told him that Logan was at home and then he asked, “Where’s my pocket banket?”
I gave him his pocket banket (pocket blanket, it was a little 9″x9″ blankie that had come with a larger blanket) and, eventually, we went up to his hospital room. He still had his IV dripping fluids into his vein. He still had the NG tube sucking out the contents of his stomach. He couldn’t eat or drink.
There’s something awesome that happens when you have seventeen first cousins (I think it’s 17, it might be more) on one side of your family and most of them live within driving distance. There’s a fairly good chance you can end up at the same sporting event or movie or any other activity or restaurant imaginable just because there are so many of us. For the first Ranger game that Ed and I saw this year with the boys, my cousins Ashley and Crista were there along with their SO’s and some other friends. I found them on their side first.
And then they found us in our seats. Trip got to ask Ashley about his newest cousin/her son. That little boy loves babies!
And that was the sweet face Trip showed them! Yep, he was covered in cinnamon and sugar from his pretzel. Kids need sugar at an event like this! It should be law!
It makes them crash harder on the way home!
Now you can say you learned something today!
There are only so many perfect days. Their rarity is what makes them special. Trip had one of those days Saturday.
Saturday morning started with a baseball game bright and early. Trip has had trouble getting back his old groove back this season. The poor kid has not hit a single ball all season and has found himself relegated to the outfield. Saturday found the two teams tied, with Trip up to bat at the end of the last inning with two outs. Ed the Awesome took Trip aside for a pep talk before he went to bat. Ed told Trip, “Relax. Take your time. Watch the ball. If it’s not a strike, don’t swing. And do your best. This is supposed to be fun.” Trip watched the first two balls come by as they were balls and not strikes. And then, he hit the ball! He hit the ball towards left outfield and took off towards first. The ball was thrown towards second and missed. The first base coach told Trip to run towards second. There was another outfield error and Trip ran for third. The other team finally got the ball into the infield and it turned into a foot race to home plate. My sweet Tripper made the game winning home run!!!
Both boys went for batting practice with their Grandad and Granny after lunch and Trip kept up the hitting streak.
That evening was their Spring Fling. The Spring Fling is the annual fundraiser for their school. The students put on a performance and there’s a silent auction and a dinner. Even the little two and three-year olds participate in the performance by singing and dancing in a group. This was a big year for Trip and Logan though because it was their first time to have actual speaking roles. Logan was a Mesopotamian Wheel Maker. Trip played the Egyptian God, Khnum, and his costume included horns. Logan’s turn on stage went without a hitch. Trip’s could have gone either way. Trip came on stage and said the first sentence of his part. Then he said loudly, “Oops! I forgot my sword!” and ran off stage. We all panicked! Would he come back? Could he make it through all of his lines and be able to keep his concentration? He came back. He lifted the sword over his head and started speaking in the loud, commanding voice his teachers had coached him to use. “I am the great Khnum! That’s K-H-N-U-M. The H is silent….” He made it through the whole thing! His concentration broke once and he smiled, but then he regained his composure and got through his lines in the strong voice! He got a huge round of applause! After the performance, everyone congratulated him and he wore the biggest smile!
Ed and the boys and I went out for lunch today, like we frequently do for lunch on the weekends.
(Because I’m an awesome cook. I used to have a cooking blog. Apparently, you need to be able to cook if you’re going to have a cooking blog with any content.)
Anyway, it was apparently Ed’s turn to be Logan’s favorite parent and Trip was completely indifferent and ignored us completely. When Ed is either boys favorite parent, it turns into an all out boys-are-better-smear-campaign.
Logan started listing all of my faults (and they were many).
“Mom doesn’t let me play on her ipad or the ipad 2 or Wii or dsi or PS3 or on her cell phone.”
(This child is clearly neglected. How could I not have more video games for him?)
“Logan, weren’t you grounded from video games for a week because of something that happened last weekend?”
(He completely ignored me and kept going with my faults.)
“She makes me sleep on the floor and doesn’t let me have any blankets.”
(Never. At some point, you just have to laugh at the funny shit your kid says.)
“And she doesn’t love me!”
(The last one was said with a dramatic flourish and volume and thank God there weren’t many people in the restaurant other than the many waitresses who knew us by name and always laugh at the boys antics.)
Ed chimed in, “Oh my goodness, boy, how can you live with such cruelty?”
(Ed is awesome like that.)
(Trip sat quietly coloring his picture menu even though he hates to color.)
At some point, my cackle will get so loud that I’ll be asked to leave a restaurant. It hasn’t happened yet, but there’s a reason we go back to the same few restaurants over and over.