Today, our chaotic week improved. Today, Henry had his splint replaced with a cast. A wonderfully hard, unable to slip off his broken little leg cast.
As you are likely aware, Henry broke his leg on Sunday afternoon. He has been in an Ace Bandage splint ever since–a pesky little accessory that slipped off and had to be rewrapped multiple times over the past couple days much to the chagrin of Aaron and I. While it was a real pain to us…it was a mere “pain,” to Henry, who barely slowed down to acknowledge it– he repeatedly and proudly dragged it or scooted it across the living room last night—hence the slipping off. Kids are amazingly resourceful little creatures.
Also, apparently, kids are like salamanders, according to Dr. Bob, the pediatric orthopedist who supervised Henry’s casting today–salamanders in that if you cut off their limb…it just comes right back. In fact, our little salamander will have to wear this cast for just three weeks—not four to six like we were told in the emergency room! This news made my whole week. Three weeks of sponge baths and catering to each and every whim of a 16 month old is manageable. I can wrap my mind around three weeks. Six weeks seems like a bathless, stinky, back-breaking eternity.
Dr. Bob assured us that Henry will have no problems walking or standing once the cast is removed–and that this break will not impact his growth negatively. Well, except that broken limbs in infants often OVER grow a little due to an increase in blood circulation to the break. However, he assured us, any potential difference in length of the leg would likely never be noticeable and would certainly not cause any problems for Henry. (We’re talking millimeters here, not inches.) And, most likely, it will even out in a matter of months, anyway, if that does happen.
Henry continued to be the most awesome baby patient on earth during his casting–focusing more on the other kids receiving casts in the room than his own. He wasn’t even scared of the cast saw churning away at the next table over, a very loud tool, used for removal.
Dr. Bob assured us he’d walk or at least try to walk on his cast and thankfully, that’s totally okay. There is no need to prevent him from walking or crawling or scooting but getting the cast wet is a no-no, of course. All in all….what felt like something really unmanageable, suddenly became manageable today.
Distractions are welcome right now—so, if anyone has been dying to have a playdate with Henry… (or bring us wine), now is the time! Thank you to everyone who has sent words of support over the past couple days–it means so much!
Yes, that’s Henry. And yes that’s a splint they’re putting on his leg. And yes, it turns out slides can be dangerous.
Aaron and I took Henry to the park this afternoon thinking we’d better get in all the park time possible before winter comes and rain prevents us from leaving the house. It was a beautiful, crisp fall afternoon and we were all excited for the fresh air and short walk.
We went right to the toddler playground, checking out the tiny slides first, then the bouncy walkway, then the “bumps.” Next, I suggested to Aaron that he do something I’ve suggested no less than 653 times since we first started taking Henry to the park—go down the big, twisty slide with Henry in his lap… a slide that isn’t safe for him to go down on his own yet.
So, down they went.
And it was all going swimmingly until the last inch or so, when Henry’s little foot got caught under Aaron.
Screaming ensued instantly. I knew within minutes that something was really wrong despite any physical signs like swelling or bruising. Henry rarely cries for more than 15 seconds at a time and this was nonstop.
We quickly made the walk home–a long walk that had seemed so short just minutes before. We jumped in the car and took him to the hospital. Once we got cold air on him and got him settled in the car, he calmed down, thankfully and zoned out, too exhausted to cry any longer.
We couldn’t have predicted this but we arrived with a little guy who was the best patient ever—from blood pressure cuff to x-ray to splint, he sat quietly in my arms and barely protested. When the doctor came in to tell us it was a spiral fracture on his lower, left leg bone, Henry played peek-a-boo with him and giggled at the faces he made. He was braver and in better spirits than I would ever have been and actually seemed to enjoy all the attention. (I’ve always said he was a diva!)
Apparently, the fracture he got is so common that it even has a nickname—”The Toddler’s Fracture.” The doctor assured us that there would be no long term harm, no surgery required and very little to worry about–you know…other than having a toddler in a cast for four to six weeks, which sounds like a real party.
Expressing my trepidation about disruption of development to the doctor only made him smile. He reassured me that babies are resilient and that we’d probably see him dragging his cast around as soon as he got used to it. He also feels strongly that he’ll be up and walking as soon as he’s out of his cast—no set-backs to worry about.
So, we were all thrilled to get such good news in the face of bad news.
On the other hand, Aaron and I are pretty bummed out tonight. After all was said and done and we got Henry tucked into bed, I finally lost it, but quickly started laughing when I considered the irony of it all. I mean—I spend like 4000% of my life worrying about Henry and trying to protect him… yet something I suggested, something that passed my ridiculous level of safety for Henry, ended up causing him so much pain. It seems really unfair but just goes to prove that whole “we have no control” thing.
Though, I’ll keep trying. That’s just me.
So, after a mediocre reception for the birthday cake at his big bash on Saturday, we, once again attempted cake last night–on Henry’s actual first birthday, with just the three of us—and it was a scene.
My child—yes, the child I bore from my sugar coated womb—seriously debated between veggie burger remnants and the most delicious piece of cake he’s ever had (literally). The only explanation I have for such outrageous behavior is that he is being raised in Portland, land of the vegetables, haters of the sugar and eats a totally vegetarian diet at his school, which doesn’t serve meat…or sugar?
In the end, he chose wisely, eventually succumbing to the siren call of two inches of frosting, chocolate and vanilla–but not before loudly protesting me making him wear his official birthday party hat, of course.
Once we achieved frosting face, we had the added pleasure of watching in the baby monitor as a mad sugar rush cascaded through his tiny self creeping, crawling in laps around his crib for nearly an hour after bed time.
Today our little Henry turns one whole year old. The past year has been simultaneously the slowest and fastest year of my life but through it all I’ve learned to love like I’ve never loved anyone before (except Aaron, of course).
To celebrate, we had a true Jennie Day-Burget style celebration on Saturday, complete with balloons, bubbles and bouncy balls. We turned the house yellow (his and my favorite color) and Henry’s grown-up and kid friends came en masse. Despite his somewhat speculative nature about new things, I think he had a really good time!
Happy First Birthday, My Tiny Love!
Henry is nothing if not personable and feeling.
He’s sweet and loving.
In short, he has no problems sharing his feelings. Nope, no problems at all–we never doubt his happiness, his sadness or his annoyance at our utter stupidity.
“WHY would you make me wear this coat to protect me from the pounding rain today, you idiot? I will NOT, I repeat, will NOT stick my arm in that arm hole.” or “Who do you think you are with your prunes and your spinach? I’m not going to eat that crap? Don’t you even know who I am? I’m HTDB! I OWN you! (truth)”
Thus, the kid with a million emotions had zero problems sharing his feelings about having his school photo taken last month…or five months prior. (See: Exhibit)
Here is how I would caption these two gems:
Left: “Stoned tiny soccer hooligan with a penchant for plaid and the Pittsburgh Pirates appeases photographer with smug grin–sticks tongue out in act of defiance.” (note the glazed eyes)
Right: “Disgusted baby makes photographer cry with glares–goes on to destroy fake draw bridge prop in act of baby fury over being forced to sit through a school photo shoot against a cheesy yet ironic babbling brook background.”
The irony is that we’ve taken probably 4,321 happy photos of Henry at home with our iPhones—but try to get a professional shot of this kid and… apparently, you’ll be sorry.
- I’m a mom and a wife. If there were a job description for mom/wife, it would include: “protecting your family’s health.” I worry that my son, who currently has the cutest little chicklet teeth you’ve ever seen at 10 months old, will not be able to keep those cute teeth forever, because he’ll inevitably have unneeded dental challenges from growing up with a non-fluoridated water supply. Supporting fluoride in our water is supporting his dental health, my dental health and my husband’s dental health. A+ job, Mom!
- I like my teeth. And I’d like to keep them strong, healthy and… in my head–and I bet you’d like to keep yours that way too. The only cavity I’ve ever had has occurred since my time living in Portland. I can’t prove, of course that an absence of fluoridated water made my cavity, but I can tell you that, by no fault of my own (I’m incredibly enthusiastic about dental care), I’ll get more cavities if I continue on in a city without fluoride in the water. Many of the comment trolls from my last post have suggested I should just move if I want fluoride in my water. And you know what? I MIGHT move —-but before I go, I’m going to do my damnedest to ensure I leave my mark by helping pass this initiative!
- I turned out okay–and so did everyone I know who grew up with fluoridated water. Many who support the anti-fluoride movement claim fluoride has negative health effects, lowers your IQ, etc.—but, among those of you who, like me, grew up with a fluoridated supply….do you have any negative health effects associated with fluoride? I certainly don’t.
- I believe in critical thinking but I don’t believe in conspiracy theories. (Okay, I kinnnnddda believe in a JFK thing but that’s it!). The mere assumption that national and global governments are trying to poison our brains with fluoride is not only laughable, but it’s absurd.
- I support health care initiatives for those less fortunate than I am–especially initiatives that benefit children. Aaron and I are not rich… we’re not even a little bit rich, but we get by okay. We can pay to have Henry’s teeth cleaned regularly and get a cavity filled if need be. But there are many moms and dads in Portland who can’t afford to do this. (Peer reviewed) Studies show a 25% reduction in tooth decay in communities with fluoridated water supplies.
- You can see the benefits of fluoride, first-hand. I worked in dental for three years out of college and still count several hygienists and dentists among my friends. One hygienist friend told me she could tell just by looking at your teeth if you grew up in a community with fluoride. Just by looking. And what she say in the non-fluoride mouths, wasn’t pretty. That means that fluoride benefits not only the integrity of your teeth (on the inside), but also their appearance (on the outside). And many might argue that the way your teeth look is not important–but it is important in terms of socio-economic advantage.
Oftentimes, Henry’s post-bath sillies involve streaking around the house completely absent of even a stitch of clothing. And while the risk of floor pee is great, we let him do it because the sight of his baby cellulite speckled buns crawling rapidly around the living room is hard to resist, as are his squeals of delight as we chase after him. But since Henry might not appreciate me posting pics of his naked butt online later in life (see: #babyshaming), I’ve abstained from sharing any of those. Can you imagine if he got Googled for a job interview in 20 years and his baby nudie was the first result?
Thankfully, Aaron and Henry had some safe for work/later in life job interviews post-bath silly time this weekend, resulting in some of my favorite Henry photos ever. Favorite, of course, because his tiny toothed smile sets my mommy heart a blaze!
As our friend Kay wrote on Facebook, “love this chick-let [teeth] phase.” And I have to agree, it is rather charming.
Aaron and I schlepped ourselves, Henry and all his equipment Kansas City last month to spend some quality time with our KC people. Per usual, Henry charmed them all! We had a great time and made memories to last a lifetime. Here are some of my favorite moments.
This week was spirit week at Henry’s ‘school’ because it turns out that babies
parents are just as spirited as high school students!
I’d qualify Henry’s feelings of actual ‘spirit’ about this week as mediocre at best given that many of the daily dress-up challenges involved one of the following: 1) Getting dressed in the morning (not a fan), 2) Wearing a hat (not a fan) and 3) The touching of his hair (not a fan).
That said, he pulled through with flying colors and he
his parents ended up being one of the more spirited participants. Here’s what the week looked like:
Monday: Mixed Up Patterns Day
We went with a mixed-up monkey theme on this one layering a sock monkey onesie underneath a beach monkey sleeper. Henry had monkeys on every inch of his chubby body, including his butt. He was fairly unimpressed as noted by his expression in this picture.
Tuesday: Hat and Cape Day
While Henry doesn’t yet own a cape, he is the disgruntled owner of a red/leopard patterned monkey hat. As he’s not fond of the hat putting on experience, affixing said hat to his giant head was met with a lot of resistance, but despite all odds (as calculated by Henry) he managed to come through it alive. Personally, I think he looks like a tiny Shriner when he wears it.
Wednesday: Crazy Hair Day
Is it wrong to put product in your baby’s hair? Unsure, Aaron and I decide to proceed with putting product in our baby’s hair and thus our plans to attempt to create a massive amount of tiny spikes on Henry’s head for Crazy Hair Day with some sort of grown-up molding paste. It worked. We were impressed with ourselves–much more so than anyone else…or Henry.
Thursday: Red, Pink and Purple Day (for Valentine’s Day)
True to his roots, Henry decided to wear his red Adidas track suit, officially making him the coolest baby in class. Please note the awesome, homemade undershirt courtesy of our friend Mandy…now just to get a tiny baby boombox for his shoulder.
Friday: Pajama Jammy Friday (My description, not theirs)
Henry spends a lot of time in pajama looking outfits but for Pajama Jammy Friday he wore official little boy pajamas (pajamas that have two parts and don’t snap at the crotch) that GLOW IN THE DARK. I’m pretty sure the glow-in-the dark part is potentially a bit toxic so maybe I shouldn’t let him wear them too often but he looked awfully cute today.
On this your first Valentines Day, I want you to know that you are loved–more than you’ll ever know, more than you could ever imagine, more than your dad and I could ever have dreamed. You are loved to the moon and the stars and back. You are loved to Pluto and other nearby galaxies that I can’t name. You are loved to infinity.
Your dad and I love you with the fierceness of a lion, the tenderness of a kitten and the immenseness of a giant black bear. In fact, loving you has changed us inside and out—our organics, our outlook on life and our wildest dreams. We cannot imagine life where we don’t love you.
Your family loves you with an unconditional blindness that spans big distances, shoddy technology and long lapses between kissing your pink cheeks. Their love for you is so strong that Mom and Dad can nearly feel it coming through the phone, the computer, their cards, their packages.
Your teachers at school adore you in a way I never expected–you make them smile and they miss you when you’re gone. They love you (almost) like they are your parents!
So know that all of these people will continue to love you throughout your entire life. And, together, we’ll support you in your decisions about who you love–no matter what that love looks like, be it girl or be it boy or be it trees, the sky or the stars…because ultimately, you’ll always be a baby faced little guy to all of us (even when you actually have a handsome man face) and nothing could change our love for you…especially not who you chose to love.
Henry Thomas, I encourage you to start loving early and start loving soon. You can’t understand these words yet, but I know you’re already pretty in love with life–I can’t wait to see how you grow to love others, love the world and love yourself.
Happy First Valentine’s Day, Little Boots. You are loved.
Aaron, Henry, Newman and I took our first official family vacation to the Oregon Coast over the holiday break.
While the dreary, cold Oregon coast is a far cry from the steamy, hot tropical vacations of our past, it was convenient, relatively inexpensive and most importantly, not our living room—where we’ve spent seemingly 28 hours a day since having Henry.
First and foremost, we had a good time and it was really good to get away. I got to smell and hear the ocean which is always rejuvenating. Henry got to see and touch the ocean, which, while he’ll never remember it, makes his parents feel accomplished in some way.
“Our kid has touched the Pacific Ocean.” He can check that off his bucket list now.
However, we did come away with some lessons learned, and they are as follows:
- Your dog–remember him??–will do everything in his fur laden power to stifle even the slightest tinge of giddy you feel at sharing this experience with the new tiny person. Newman used to be the star of our vacations—we lived to see him romp in the ocean. This time, we spent less time romping about bitterly cold Oregon waters with a baby in tow and A LOT of time cooped up in a hotel room, doing a lot of tiny person activities like sleeping, eating and playing blocks. To ensure we fully understood how he felt about this change in vacation activity, Newman, our normally well behaved canine, pulled off the following shenanigans: a) he peed on our pile of dirty clothes b) he anger pooped in the car and c) the ONE time we left him in the room the entire trip, he managed to release the handicapped accessible door handle and let himself out of the hotel room. At a strange resort. In the rain. With no collar on. Luckily, he didn’t get far and was standing outside, confused, wet and waiting for us when we got back to the room, but it was a moment that truly made my heart sink considering what could have happened. Newman, 1 — Rest of Family, 0.
- The best laid plans of mommies and men… need to be better laid plans when babies are involved. Rather than leave Portland at, say, a logical time, we chose to wait until Henry woke from a nap. To those of you non-parents not yet cringing, this means we now had two hours of totally awake baby in the car seat time. In all, the guy did his best, but there were some tense moments. Also, we failed to consider our dinner dining situation before leaving and ended up eating dinner on the road at the only place we could find open…. Shari’s. Whilst dining at Shari’s, Henry proudly shat himself and stunk up our whole section (bratty child at table behind us even announced, “Mommy, it smells like a dirty diaper over there!”) and Aaron was served a blatantly undercooked piece of chicken–like so undercooked it was pink. Thankfully, Aaron was not salmonella’d, and we were able to change Henry’s diaper in the ummm… uber clean Shari’s bathroom…but it was not an enjoyable Christmas dinner by any means.
- The baby doesn’t give a crap about the [insert exciting destination] ocean. You know what he does give a crap about, however? Having his 12 pounds of poop filled diaper changed on the floor of the car, in a deserted, dirty beach parking lot, when its 40 degrees and windy, alongside the frigid Oregon coastline, sporting a a snotty, runny nose with cold, wet wipes being dragged up his teeny behind. #mommyfail
I’m hoping that, as time marches on, and we learn/remember these important lessons, travel will get easier, but something tells me it’s just not that simple. And such…. we take a deep sigh, kiss those cute baby cheeks with all we’ve got, and continue on down this path they call parenthood.
This Thanksgiving, perhaps more than any past, I have a lot to be thankful for.
Let’s just start with the simple things like emerging from pregnancy free of stretch marks, wine and co-workers who like to dress up for holidays…because costumes make work fun! Also, rain boots. Also, bright blue is ‘in’ right now and I look good in bright blue so I’m thankful for that. Oh and black pants which cleverly (or not so) disguise the seemingly many-inch wider hips I acquired not during but post-pregnancy. Hmpf.
Most of all, of course, I’m so incredibly thankful for our son, Henry Thomas…. for his smiles, for his cries and definitely for his pouty face because this kid has opinions and I’m truly glad for that.
I’m thankful for his increasingly cheerful demeanor and the fact that his daycare teachers tell me he’s “a flirt” and “the class charmer” –literally–every single day of the week. I’m thankful that he holds hands with his mini friends and plays and babbles and sings like it’s his occupation (and I guess it is).
I’m thankful for his good health and his chubby, chubby baby thighs, his gummy hillbilly grin and his pokey, puffy tummy. I’m thankful that zerbers on his ribs crack him up and that (light) smacks on his tiny, bare, baby buns make him giggle like he just can’t get enough.
I’m thankful that he loves Timber and Newman and more so, that he loves his mom and dad. I’m thankful that he loves people and fully embraces sitters, friends and family from the get go.
I’m super thankful he recently concluded that screaming his tiny face off during every car ride, is not, in fact, a requirement of car riding, but just an optional thing meant for ‘those’ babies. (certainly not meant for HIM) Furthermore, I’m thankful that he sleeps through the night like a champ–and has done so for going on three months now–and that he LIKES sleeping through the night.
I thank the medical gods every day for the snot sucker and I thank the biology gods that he has a perfectly shaped nose to suck things out of–and that it unflattened after his trip down the canal. I thank the toe gods that he has five of the cutest, itsy bitsiest, roly poliest toes on each foot that I’ve ever seen. And that he has five stubby fingers on each hand that he (kind of) knows how to use–especially when he’s ‘talking.’
I’m thankful for our local friends–our local family–for rallying around us after Henry’s early birthday–and bringing more food and love than we could ever have imagined.
And perhaps, most importantly, I am thankful for my husband who gave me Henry. And I’m VERY thankful for his seemingly endless patience (especially for a guy who is not super big on patience) and dedicated perseverance in guiding our family through a year and a half chock full of ups and chock full of downs…. for laughing with me through the ups and bringing me wine during the downs…. for appeasing my every pregnancy whim and for remaining calm in the depths of those crazy summer nights when our colicky, acid-refluxy child told us what he really thought about post-natal life (NOT a fan)–and without whom I would most definitely not have survived.
I’m thankful that he’s an awesome, hands-on, step up to the plate kind of dad who is not scared to change a diaper, make a bottle or dance the baby around the living room like a ballerina (a very manly one)–a dad who takes full responsibility for getting his kid ready in the mornings before work and who has no qualms about participating in the bedtime routine at night. I’m thankful that Henry thinks this man, my husband and his dad, is pretty awesome.
And, even more importantly, I’m thankful that my husband took a chance on a silly blonde girl from Kansas just about seven years ago now–and that he has never asked me to change a single essence of my being–and on the contrary, seems to love and encourage even the crazy essences of my being–and loves me more and more every day.
I’m thankful that he has pushed me to become the person i’ve become (and I like her) and that, together, we’ve created a life I couldn’t have even imagined all those years ago (pre-Portland).
Aaron, you are truly, the love of my life. And I’m thankful that you exist.
The weeks since Henry was born have been simultaneously amazing and terrifying — humbling and educational — all wrapped into one (currently) 11 lb 3 oz bundle of sweet, tiny man. Amazingly, this kid has survived under our novice care for ELEVEN weeks now and we don’t even think we’ve probably screwed him up that badly (yet)! Below, you can see how we’ve taught him to point to his ear like a GENIUS.
That said, we’ve received countless hours of advice on how to ensure that we don’t mess this up — some of it helpful, maybe even useful — some of it well meaning, but, well… irritating too. Here are five of my favorites:
- “I hate to tell you this, but this is the easy part.” Well I hate to tell YOU this, but imma poke you in your devil mouth if you say that again, dear friend. These first few months have been all about Hunger Games style survival, people. S.U.R.V.I.V.A.L. Our tiny wonder drew not only the colic card but also the acid reflux card. I’d take chasing a terd-ish toddler around the house over watching my wailing ward scream his sweet face off, any day… or any night. If THIS is the easy part, then no one on earth would ever have a second child — at least no one who had to sit helplessly by and watch their teeny person suffer night after night. So maybe this was the easy part for you — but please keep it to yourself lest I come unhinged at your expense.
- “Are you breastfeeding?” Let me ask YOU a question: Are you my doctor? One of those sweet lactation ladies? No? Okay, well then, my breasts and what I do or don’t do with them are really none of your business and I’m simply flabbergasted that you think they might be. Would you ask me about my use of my breasts in any other situation? Would you ask AARON about my breasts? (Yes, people have done this) Did you answer ‘no?’ Thought so! Okay then, don’t ask us about it in this situation. You feeling totally entitled to ask this question, however, perpetuates the insanity in this country over breastfeeding and before I even answer you, I’m already feeling like I owe you an explanation as to why I’m not breast feeding at this point. INSANITY, I tell you! So, unless you and I regularly talk about my lovely lady lumps, leave the worrying about my boobs to me and I’ll extend you the same courtesy.
- “Congratulations (on the pending birth of your child)!” I think this goes without saying but as someone who was congratulated on her flaccid, lifeless, swollen belly ten days POST partum, I beg of you to err on the side of caution in any situation involving pregnant looking women. There are few things that a hormonal new mom needs to be reminded about less than the fact that she’s sporting a squishy, super sexy, new kangaroo pouch on her front with no signs of it deflating any time soon.
- “I only get about 5 hours of sleep a night too–and I don’t even have a baby.” Oh, I see! You want to compare YOUR five hours of sleep with MY five hours of sleep. Okay! Let’s do it! Did you wake up every 45 minutes to the sounds of a tiny gremlin tossing and grunting, moaning and sputtering in the corner of you room last night? Did said gremlin scream bloody murder for at least one of those five hours? Did you awake in a panic at least once, positive that your gremlin had SIDS’ed himself because how on earth are you equipped to make sure he survives the night? No? Okay, I win! YOU — shhhhhhhh!
- “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” If only it were that easy. If only. But if I hear that one more time, know what will be easy? Screaming. At you.