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Habits and Hangups

October 21st, 2009

Kenny is a nose-picker.   I know that all kids at this age probably are, but he gets into it with such gusto that he actually zones out sometimes when he’s got a good one.   Fortunately, he has a pretty good sense of humor about it, too.

I will say, “Ya goin’ fishin’ Kenny?”  

“Yep!” he’ll reply, with a smile, “Catchin’ a big one, too!”

When he learned the names of his fingers (thumb, ring finger, etc.), he held up the pointer finger on his right hand and said, “This is my pointer, but it’s really my picker finger!” and cackled about it for the rest of the day.

Today I was clipping his nails and when I got to said finger, he shouted, “Mama!   Not too short!   That’s my picker finger!!”   I stopped mid-clip and re-adjusted, giving him a little more nail to spare.   He inspected it.   “Whew,” he said.   “I needed that.”

Neither Rain Nor Sleet…

October 18th, 2009

This morning Kenny’s pediatrician’s office held it’s first Swine Flu vaccination clinic from 9 to 12.   We decided to to there instead of our normal 9 am church service, and when we arrived, there was a line that snaked from the open door of the doctor’s office around the sidewalk and into the parking lot.   It was 42 degrees and raining, but families were undeterred as they stood determined through the weather to get the vaccine.       They were only offering the mist, so Cooper was out of luck.   Instead we drove to the local bagel shop and returned to Casey and Kenny in line with hot   coffee and buttery bagels.

The vaccine has  been pretty hard to come by so far in our area for some reason, and even the county health hotlines aren’t saying when the clinics are until the day they occur.   I still haven’t found a shot for my pregnant self.   My OB’s office is promising that they will have them soon, as is my general physician’s office, but so far, no luck.   With all the scary news stories out there about the dangers of the swine flu in pregnant women, you’d think the least that they could back those stories up with would be real data about where to get the vaccine.

Post-vaccination this morning, we headed off to church where our small group was scheduled to pack lunches for a local shelter in between services.   Kenny was in his element.   That kid has been making his won sandwich for lunch everyday since he turned three.   That is the truth.   Usually it’s a humus and turkey on wheat.   This morning he was introduced to Wonder bread, American cheese and bologna, and after assisting in making nearly 150 sandwiches, he admitted that they were starting to look pretty tasty.   He was a real trooper, though.   He followed all the directions that the adults gave him, and worked alongside 5th and 6thgraders in his tasks.   And there was nothing cuter than him running around the table with little cups of applesauce in his hands, plopping them into open bags and shouting, “Got yer applesauce!   Who needs some applesauce??”

Post-church we headed downtown where we had lunch at a deli and went to an open house.   We actually saw the house when it was first on the market two years ago, but it’s been re-listed at a much lower price and we were pleasantly surprised to find that it was even nicer than we remembered.   Who knows… maybe a move in our horizon???   We’ve been house looking pretty aggressively for several weeks now.     At some point we’ve got to find The House, right?

I am wiped out.   This being pregnant thing is exhausting.   I start to hit a wall at about 7 PM and it’s all I  can do to not fall asleep when I put the boys to bed.   I am so behind on so many things!   At 4 o’clock I’ll start making a list of all the things I can catch up on when the boys go to sleep, and yet by the time they do, I’m fantasizing about my feather pillow.   zzzzzzzz   I also realized that I’m really needing a nap.   When I was pregnant with Kenny, I was able to nap pretty much anytime I wanted.   When I was pregnant with Cooper, Kenny napped from noon to 1:30 everyday, and I’d just lay down with him.   Now, Coop naps, but Kenny doesn’t and I’m at a loss.       I may have to start letting him watch a video here and there when Cooper naps so that I can doze a little, too.   I only have two more weeks of the first trimester, so surely the energy will ramp back up soon.   Right?

Hop-a-long Coop

October 15th, 2009

Cooper is beginning to figure out how to walk with his cast, in spite of the doctor assuring us that 1). He shouldn’t, and 2). He can’t, given the particular way that they angle the foot in the cast.   I actually did ask the doctor what to do if he tried to walk.   He laughed and said, “Push him over.”   Ha.   Yeah.   After I cheer him on.

He has been better overall today, though.   He still gets overcome with pain and frustration at intervals throughout the day, but they are becoming fewer and farther between.   His appetite had returned and he seems to be getting more used to it.   Kenny is also getting a little more used to the fact that The Coop needs extra TLC for now.   He’s had his moments over the last few days, but they are more half-hearted than sincere cries for attention.

I am doing fairly well.   My back and shoulders are killing me from all the extra Cooper-carrying I’ve been doing… And Cooper is not a kid who hangs on and cooperates when he’s being carried here, there and yonder.   He twists his body, sometimes trying to dive right to the floor if you are going in a direction he does not care for, and often pushes me away so hard it’s all I can do not to drop him.   If I set him down before we reach our destination, of course, he howls and wails and cries, “MAMA!   Hold-ye!   Hold-yeeee.”  

Someday when he is eighteen, I am going to make him carry me on a five mile hike through rocky terrain, all the while pouring me glasses of milk and giving me crackers, and I am going to try with all my strength to get out of his grasp, and alternately howl and hug him, and then when we finish I will say:”There, son.   We’re even.”

As for being pregnant, I haven’t had much time to think about it, other than at times feeling so nauseous that I have to lay down on the floor to keep the room from spinning.   These episodes are matched by equal spans of time when I am so ravenously hungry for odd things that I can’t decide if I should ignore my stomach or pacify it.   Mashed potatoes with a side of blueberry yogurt, anyone?   I actually poured vinegar on top of my tuna sandwich today, because it sounded like a good idea.   And I’ve gone through three entire loaves of bread this week, with as many sticks of butter.   Actually, I think I need some of that right now.   Right after I finish the rest of tonight’s meatloaf…

Ironically, I haven’t gained any weight yet, but I think it’s because of the heavy weightlifting regimen that Cooper has me on.   I’m sure once Cooper’s cast comes off, I’ll go from svelte to bulbous in no time.   ha ha.

A Little More Drama

October 13th, 2009

We ended up taking Cooper back to the orthopedic doctor today.   He’s had no appetite, been cranky and moody and this morning he just collapsed into sobs every time he tried to walk or crawl.   They ended up taking off the cast and re-doing it.   The first one went right up to where his diaper hits, and it was so sung that his little adorable fat rolls were trapped and spilling over.   The new one has a little more room at the top and only goes to his mid-thigh.   So far, he seems much more comfortable.

My heart aches for him, though.   Here he is, this enthusiastic little chap who was just starting to run and had just learned to (kind-of hit) a baseball off a T, and now he’s confined to sitting and crawling again.   And I imagine that it must hurt.   And itch.   And it’s heavy.   And scratchy.

Tonight at dinnertime, he just dissolved.   He started crying and then screaming so hard it was all I could do to hold him.   I rocked him, wailing, for a half hour and then just put him in bed, still sobbing.   It’s been a long few days for my sweet bruiser.     One minute he’s his fine, happy self, and the next he is miserable.

Fortunately, my parents came over for a while this afternoon and gave Kenny some much-needed attention.   My Mom ran in the backyard with him for hours and my Dad pushed him on the swing and played games and made him giggle.   And tonight, after Cooper finally fell asleep, Kenny and I sat in the big chair in the living room and read books for a solid hour.   I was too nauseous to cook dinner, so Casey came home with take-out from a nice Italian restaurant, and the three of us sat and had a happy family meal.   I felt so guilty for enjoying that time – here our injured Cooper had cried himself to sleep an hour before, and were were laughing and eating homemade meatballs.

I need to find ways to be extra attentive to Cooper (which for him for now will involve lots of quiet games in the floor) and not completely neglect and frustrate Kenny, who is 100% energy and action.   Easier said than done when I’ve got morning sickness that seems to last all day and I’m so tired that any flat surface looks just as inviting as a feather bed.   This too shall pass, right?


October 10th, 2009

Though the x-rays were inconclusive, the orthopedic doctor we saw today is fairly certain that there is indeed a fracture in Cooper’s lower leg and he is now in a bright blue cast from his toes to his hip.


Putting the cast on was akin to what should be illegal torture.   I mean, the kid doesn’t even like to be pinned down for a diaper change.   Holding him still for 10 minutes was agony.   He screamed in pitches I’ve never heard before out of a baby’s mouth.   It was horrible.   When we got back in the car, he fell asleep (with two peanut butter crackers wedged in his mouth) and stayed that way for three hours.   (The crackers are now meshed into his bed sheets.)

When we woke up, he was actually in pretty good spirits.   Kenny and Casey had gone out to run errands, so we had  a nice quiet house.   We sat in the floor and played, though every few minutes he would try to stand and would hit his cast, saying, “Off!   Off!”   By bedtime, he was getting around pretty well – he has figured out a sort of crab crawl to get where he wants to go, then can stand himself up, as long as he has something to hold onto.   Or, if the going is slow, he looks up at me with those perfect blue eyes and says sweetly, “Hold-ye.”   Melt.

Casey and I have hit the wall of fatigue, after our sleepless night.   Cooper didn’t sleep longer than 20 minutes at a stretch from 11 until 4:30am.   At that point, Casey took off the splint they’d wrapped him in at Nighttime Pediatrics, and he finally fell into an exhausted sleep for about 4 hours.   That thing must have been cutting off his circulation.   Fortunately, the cast the doctor put on this morning seems to be actually making him feel better.  

We have to leave the hard cast on for two weeks, then back to cut off the cast and re-examine his leg.   If he seems to have no more pain, they will let us go free.   If the pain is still there, and he still can’t walk, they will put on a new cast, which will most likely remain for another 3 weeks.

Looks like I’m going to be building some serious tone into my arm muscles over the next few weeks!

cooper's cast


October 9th, 2009

Today was one of those glorious Fridays: perfect, cloudless and warm. Casey finished up a round of meetings early, and we decided to meet downtown for a walk and an early dinner.     I packed Dudley and the boys in the car and we headed down.   By the time we got there, the 78 degree day somehow became an 88 degree one (total surprise) and before we’d even walked a block, we were all sweaty, Dudley was panting and Cooper was fussing and whining in the stroller.  

It was still too early to head to dinner, so we decided to hit the city playground for a while.   It’s a huge, safe, shady place and the kids love it.   Kenny took off as soon as we arrive, and Cooper was not far behind.   I followed a few paced behind him, making sure that he didn’t climb too far too fast.   At one point, he navigated himself up to one of the highest points and started to sit down on the top of the slide.   I grabbed him before he began his decent and sat him in my lap, intending to have a fun ride down together, as we have 100 times before.   But this was a new slide, with a sharp curve in the middle.   And it was narrow – I was a tight fit, and I’m not much bigger than the average 12 year old.   Anyway, as we rounded the curve, Cooper let out an unbelievable screech.   We actually slowed down and I looked at him to see that his rubber shoe sole  had somehow gotten stuck on the plastic slide, and his leg had bent back and twisted and was now behind us.   We were completely wedged, and I had to dig in with my own shoes to try and back us up so that I could get his leg out.   He was nearly in the splits and his knee was bent at a crazy angle.

He screamed for ten minutes straight, while we stood there in the playground.   Casey wanted to see if he could walk, but between the heat and the crowd and the pain, he just started crying harder and harder.   We got back to the car and he was shaking.   There was no visible swelling, but he whimpered when we touched his knee and wouldn’t put any weight on it.   We piled back in the car and headed to the ER.

By the time we got there, he was sound asleep, so we decided to get home and have dinner and then see how he was doing.   He was happy as a clam all through dinner and we started to breathe that proverbial sigh of relief.   Until we set him down out of his highchair.   He started to walk, then stopped and started to cry and reached out and held on to his chair.   He stood there, tears streaming down his face and standing on one leg, looking up at Casey and I.   Casey tried to distract him and get him to walk, but it was no use.

We got him into his pj’s, and I was all set to take him when Casey reminded me that I couldn’t go in with him to get an x-ray.   I felt awful.   I can’t take care of my sweet baby because I’m having a baby…

Casey took him to our local nighttime pediatrics, where they still wait.   My biggest worry at this point is not his leg, but that they’re both going to come home with Swine Flu.   Casey said that the waiting room is beyond packed, and they are actually standing on the sidewalk outside holding a beeper.

Going through my mind: “It’s all my fault.   What if it’s some kind of ligament tear or joint injury that affects him into his adult life?   What if he never plays sports?   How could I be so stupid?”   Going through Casey’s mind: “They are going to x-ray my tiny boy’s legs and I have to protect his nuts at all costs.”   Seriously, I thought about that, too.   Do they have tiny willy-protectors in radiology??

I will have to post an update once they get home.   My poor little guy…


I just got off the phone with Casey.   The x-rays are inconclusive, but the doctor believes that there may be a bend, or “green stick fracture” in Cooper’s femur.   We’ve been referred to an orthopedic doctor… who happens to be a close friend.   We will know more tomorrow, after a visit to the office.     For now, Cooper’s in a soft cast.   waaaa…

Drum Roll, Please…

October 7th, 2009

Between late night meetings and my website being down for most of yesterday, I have had  news waiting to be posted for nearly 48 hours now:

I am pregnant!

And not just 48 hours pregnant, but eight whole weeks!   We had our first doctor’s visit on Monday and all is well: a solid heartbeat and the baby is measuring just the right size.   My due date is May 21st, but I will be scheduling a c-section for the week prior to that.

We told Kenny and Cooper, and Kenny’s reaction was the funniest face I’ve ever seen.   It said, “Oh no!” “wow” “are you sure?” and “can’t we get a puppy instead?” all in the same instant.   But he put on a happy face right after.   Cooper doesn’t really understand it, of course, but he’s asked to see my belly 800 times today… I think he’s waiting to see something pop out.

I have been sicker than I was with either Kenny or Cooper.   Still not the yakking kind of sickness, but that dizzy sea-sickness that makes you run far away from any food and food smells one minute, then sends you sprinting to the kitchen for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with a spaghetti and meat sauce chaser the next.     I ate four slices of bread and butter today before lunch, then put away scrambled eggs and watermelon and a chocolate bar.   I weigh about 5 pounds less than I did when I got pregnant with both boys, so my body must be trying to play catch – up.   I think that Kenny is enjoying my oddly timed cravings, too: today he caught me hiding in the kitchen with a bag of salt and vinegar chips at 9 in the morning… “If you can eat chips at breakfast time, can I have some, too?”   “Sure!” I said, eager to share in my bounty.     He was a little turned off by watching me dip them in hummus, though.

Last night I was scheduled to be a guest instructor for our county’s home schooling co-op, and an hour before I was supposed to leave, I was balled on the floor of the living room in a horrible bout of agonizing nausea.   I rallied, though, and took the kids with me, where there was a volunteer waiting to watch them during my hour-long class.   That, however, didn’t pan out, and I ended up with two assistants.   Kenny spent about half of the class sitting in the corner, raptly watching, and the other half standing at the podium with me, looking curiously at the assembled high school age students.   Cooper decided that he didn’t like the fact that I was addressing someone other than him, and wailed until I picked him up.   I ended up holding him for 45 minutes straight.     The poor volunteer kid-wrangler tried her best to corrale then a few times, but they would have none of that.   The class actually went well, all considering.   Hey – I considered it a success just that I didnt’ faint or vomit on someone’s shoes.   But next time, I’m hiring a babysitter.

So that’s my news that fit to print.   Or, post, I guess.   I can’t believe it.

Home Again

October 4th, 2009

As the sun rose this morning, Kenny was joyous to discover Baa in bed with him (yeah, Daddy!) and asked Casey to recount The Story over and over again of how his poor lost lamb was found.   By the fifth telling of it, Casey was doing a belly crawl through the wild North Carolina brush, only to grasp the bleating foundling and somersault out of the woods with him, where he was safely strapped into a car seat and shuttled home.   Kenny loved it.

This morning we rolled out of bed, and prepared for one last beach walk before making the drive home.   Except that Cooper was doing one of his very rare sleeps past 6 AM.   And then 6:30.   And 7.   And 7:30… and then we were all making noise and packing the car and going in and out of his room and still he slept, lightly snoring,  tushie sticking straight up in the air.   Just as the clock hit 8, our little VanWinkle rolled over and smiled, blanket pattern tattooed across his cheek.   Oh Little One, who couldn’t you have done that at least one of the other six mornings of vacation, and let us enjoy the slumber as well???

Our drive started well… a quick stop for fresh, hot, homemade donuts as we left town ensured a happy drive, or at least a chocolate covered one.   Ah, but we hit the wrong road on the wrong day, it seems, and only an hour into the drive we hit a wall of traffic.   It ended up taking us well over 7 hours to get home (normally a 5 hour drive).   We survived, and now I see a monster pile of suitcases and duffel bags before me.  

And sand.   Lots of sand.   But it’s good to be home, and as soon as I can find the usb cord, I’ll post some pictures of my sweeties.

Kenny Had a Little Lamb

October 3rd, 2009

Kenny has had a little stuffed animal named “Baa” that he has slept with every night since he was barely 12 months old.   He once had fluffy white fur, but one day Dudley chewed off his left ear, and being very germ-o-phobic, I threw him in the wash, causing his fluff to become matted and grey somewhere in the spin cycle.   All the more lovable.

When he was 18 months old, I actually bought another one on ebay (fluffy fur intact), “just in case” we ever lost Baa.   Baa has been to Hawaii, Arizona, Florida, California and the Outer Banks (four times!).   He has been on every overnight trip we have ever taken.   He has flown on at least four major airlines and riden in the car on countless adventures.     When Cooper was born, I gave the fluffy Baa to him, and Kenny sniffed, “He can have it.   I like my Baa just the way he is.”

Tonight the inevitable happened: We lost Baa.

It was doomed to happen; one of our family rules is that Baa never goes on casual outings.   No trips to the grocery store, no playing at the park, no walks through the city.   In other words, Baa may come from bed to bed (via suitcase), but under no circumstances may he be put in a dangerous position.  

Tonight, our last night of vacation, we strapped the boys into the stroller to walk to cafe for dinner.   Kenny had Baa in his hands.   I briefly protested, but Kenny was so sweet in wanting to take him that I relented.   It wasn’t until we were tucking him into bed, three hours, and  a three mile walk  later,  that we realized he was gone.

(cue doom music)

Kenny’s giant chocolate colored eyes filled up.   “I … I … really want him back… ” he started to sob.   Casey jumped up.   “I’m on it.”   and he was out the door, back tracing our route in the car.   I laid in bed with Kenny we talked about Baa.   We talked about how happy we would be when Daddy found him.   And about how he might not find him, but that maybe someone else would and maybe they would send him to us.   But Kenny is a smart little guy.   “Mama!   They won’t know who he is or who he belongs to and how will they know our address?   What if we never find him.   I want him!”   Then he got quiet for a second.   “If only he had more fur he could have left a trap.”   I got quiet for a minute.   “You mean a trail?”   “Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.   He could have left a trail for us to find him.”

At this point , Casey came in the door and beckoned to me.   Kenny sat bolt upright.   “Dada??   Did you find Baa?”   Casey looked crushed.   “No, baby.   I didn’t see him.”   Kenny started to cry, but tried to be brave and hold it in.   I said,  “I  think I know where he fell out – when you and  Cooper were playing peek-a-boo…”   Casey headed out the door again, this time with a little better idea of what part of the route to look on.

Sure enough, ten minutes later, he returned Triumphant.   Baa had been picked up by another walker and placed on the post at the beginning of the neighborhood, waiting patiently for a ride back home.   Casey burst into Kenny’s room, only to find him sound asleep.   He tried to wake him up, but the kid sleeps like  a man in a coma, and had no luck.   So he tucked Baa into the crook of Kenny’s arm and tiptoed out.

Welcome home, little buddy.


October 2nd, 2009

We  are having a wonderful time here in the Outer Banks.   Non-stop walks, running around on the beach, games of catch and hide and seek fill our days.   You’d think we are all sleeping like rocks.   Ha.

The first four nights, Kenny crawled into our bed (which is much smaller than our bed at home) just after midnight, prompting me to creep into his bunk bed around two am in search of sleep without being pummeled by a four-year-old’s heels.   Each of those nights as well, Cooper woke up around 2:30 to sit up in his bed and talk to himself for nearly an hour before settling down to sleep again.   And then  of course Dudley, paws stricken by surf and sand until they are raw, licked himself non-stop all through the night.

Last night should have been one for the sandman – both kids and dog slept like logs.   This time, it was me.   I woke up at 2 to use the bathroom, and then stayed awake for another full hour, my thoughts like a ping pong ball trapped in my cranium.   It was maddening.

I’ve got a lot simmering right now.   I’ve taken a position to  be the co-director of our church’s big Christmas production, and we’ve had numerous planning meetings over the last month.   One  of my main jobs will be teaching a piece from Handel’s Messiah to a very inexperienced group of singers.   It’s a crazy/fun challenge, but I’m starting to get a little nervous about it.     We start rehearsals in one week, and I have a feeling that it’s going to be one rockin’ ride.  

On top of that, I’ve agreed to teach a workshop to a group of home-schoolers in our county next week.   It’s a class that prepares them for competitive dramatic and comic speech and debate, and I will be doing the class on character developement.   Tell me, is there anything scarier than a room full of really smart highschoolers??   I  am still not quite sure how I’m going to fill out the hour, and procrastination is begining to choke me.

We are also houselooking (again!) and our washing machine is broken for the second time in a month.   The repairman comes two days after we get back from vacation, and I fear the towering stack of stinky clothes I left behind.

All of that became a noise in my head in the middle of the night last night.   Silly isn’t it?   Tonight I will try counting sheep, instead of counting Things To Do.   Baaaaaa…..



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