Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pedi Room for Rent??

I've been to the pediatrician 3 times in a week. I asked today if we could just reserve a room for a bit just for our little ones. The first appointment, in all fairness, was Everett's 9 month check up.

He's 18 pounds 10 ounces (as of today) and 27 and a half inches long. Healthy, perfect, beautiful.

The conversation with the doctor was 3 hours of interesting, moving, heart wrenching...the staff was less than appreciative - but this woman needed to talk a minute. She asked me about Kuylen - she really wanted to know. She asked how much time we had with him, how I processed it all, lots of "how". She listened intently to my answers and would occasionally ask new questions. Finally, as I just stared at her with tears in my eyes and nothing more to say...she told me about her son - the 13 years she had with him and how she's doing now. It was my turn to listen - and it felt good to connect. She said how sorry she was to have called Mary Louise and David twins. I smiled and shook my head - it was all I needed to do - she already knew it was perfectly ok - but even I was surprised with how appreciative I was to her. She got "it" on such an intimate level. I can't imagine what she goes through on a daily basis - the internal ache, the fog. Her sweet boy, forever in her heart.

That was last Friday - and by Monday, we were going full force with nebulizer treatments for Mary Louise and David. David woke Monday morning looking flushed. His temperature went from 100.7 to 102.5 within a half hour and we were on our way to the pedi office for the second time around just a few minutes after that. The doctor said Mary Louise had a severe asthma related attack - the weather warmed again over night and she was the 4th case that morning with similar symptoms - retratctions despite breathing treatments and notable wheezing. We had to go to the hospital for chest x-rays to rule out pneumonia (her chest was clear). She was started on oral steroids (yip. ee.)

David had congestion, coughing, clear chest and a bilateral ear infection. He was started on Zithromax.

 The only plus (sort of) was that the general mucous was bacterial in nature - so they weren't considered contagious (in the air born sense).

Today, Wednesday, David woke from a nap this afternoon with his eyes filled with nasty goop. I mean super gross. He was screaming. I was gagging, calling for another appointment and insisting on seeing anyone with prescriptive authority. I looked at Mary Louise again - she was happy and playing, but sure enough - yellow yuck in her eyes. It was there. Double appointment it was.

David is allergic to penicillin which is the first choice for bacterial ear infections. The Zithromax he was on wasn't working. Not only were his ears filled with pus, but said disgusting-ness had spread to his eyes. HIS EYES!

Mary Louise had started with an ear infection as well - that had, of course, spread to her sweet eyes. Umm - again: EYES.

Yes - there was a bit of freaking out on my part.

New antibiotics for David. Start of antibiotics for Mary Louise. Eye drops 3 times a day. If you think you're some kind of smooth and medically inclined, I highly recommend trying to get close to David's eyes. Once there, try to put a drop of anything in them. It's an experience you won't soon forget (because he will remind you about how terribly you hurt his eyes for the rest of the least).

After all of that, I asked the NP to check Everett's ears as well. His were clear. He has a clear runny nose and slight cough but is otherwise doing well so far.

Why didn't I know the severity of their ears? Oh - because now, today, when David's ears couldn't actually get much worse, he still claims they don't hurt. Mary Louise said her ear was a little sore last night at bedtime - after I asked David about his. No tugging, complaining, interruptions in sleep, no problems hearing...meanwhile Everett tugs his ears almost everyday - it's his go to fidget when tired.

Yep - I'll never know if these kids have ear issues or infections.

So, that's where we are now. Mary Louise will finish her steroids on Friday. They have worked - and she's got all the personality to show for it. Today, when leaving the pedi office, she started yelling, "you gonna feed me now Mommy? Can you get me something to eat now?? You gonna get me some food?" Awesome, I have the skinniest, most petite and pale kids around and now she's begging for food...maybe the social worker has some Spaghetti-o's in her purse sweet pea? (mind you she walked into the place eating and has been eating and drinking just fine at home - it's the 'roids I tell you! - at least they have frequent weights on file so they know I'm not starving the child.) She has also developed the habit of talking back with her hand on her hip...Brent is pleased. really pleased.

Hoping the next 24 to 48 hours brings back my happy littles, and makes the snotties and fevers leave this house for goodness sake!! (wish me luck with those eye drops!)


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Glasses: Morning 1

We got home after dark last night, washed up and went to bed. So, first thing this morning, I put Mary Louise and David's glasses on their sweet faces and let them watch Clifford while I readied the house for the day.

They were amazed.

David participated, out loud, where applicable. He told me everything he saw on TV. When Curious George came on next and the show was about the library, both kids got really excited and went to their book shelves to take out books and "set dem up yike a yi-berry".

They, quite literally, have not stopped talking since they put the glasses on - and the conversation has shifted from "what's that" and "why" to "Mommy! I see..." and "I want to try...". It's exciting I tell ya!

A plus that has shown itself already is that my big guys are going through this together. They have looked at one another a giggled countless times, "adjusted" the glasses on the other's face a few times, given hugs, held hands, they get toys out for both kids and excitedly show one another as if it's an all new thing. They have instantly become more independent and David, in particular, seems to have had an obvious jump in self confidence.

I know things will level out over time - which is why I wanted to write this down now - as an untainted first impression. Mary Louise and David have handled their new accessories with all of the grace and innocence I've come to all but expect from them.

My wise little ones continue to teach me what's most important.

With the potty training progress and a hair cut scheduled tomorrow, my sweet David will have grown 2 developmental feet by this week's end.

And Mary Louise? Yeah - she's certainly earned her place as a mini matriarch in this family:

ML: Mommy? You potty twained?
Me: umm - yes.
ML: and Daddy's potty twained? and Mere? and Pops? and Mommom? and Uncle Ky-gool? and Uncle Co-yin? and Uncle Son? Dey all potty twained?
Me: yes. They are all potty trained.
ML: But Da-bid and Ev-it. Dey not potty twained.
Me: no - that's true.
ML: Maybe I could dus help Da-bid use da potty. Uh-cuz Ev-it's a baby so he wears di-pahs...but Da-bid's a big boy so he can't need to wear di-pahs..."DAAAAA-BIDDDD?? You need ta use da potty. Here I help you. Yet's go Da-bid.
D: OK Meese!

My how I wish her efforts would work - but "A" for effort and fearlessly positive approach my baby girl!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First Grasses!!

The much anticipated glasses pick happened after Mary Louise's ballet class this evening. Pretty sure the big kids enjoyed the attention:

The pics were taken before the glasses were properly fitted - but with the commotion, it's what I got - and they're so darn cute, I'll go with them!

The plastic frames are obviously a bit big for them - so are the reserve pairs and ones that they'll wear once Mary Louise and David grow a little more.

This is the only pair that fits David currently (only as in - the only ones other than infant frames that exist to fit his little face):

But good golly he's a cutie!!

Mary Louise had a little more selection - as in she had 2 sets to choose from rather than David's one. This one won because it's pink / purple:

They were wildly proud of the cases we bought to hold the spares - which look like coffins for small animals if you ask me...but had to be big to accommodate the plastic frames once they were fitted (the arms of the glasses had to be bent to fit ML and D's ears and stuck out so much when folded that the small cases didn't work).

Funny face - but finally fitted:

Looking outside:


Where my gwasses Mommy??

We brought Mary Louise and David to dinner to celebrate - followed by frozen yogurt of their choice. I typically drive with my glasses as I'm near sighted. But I wore my glasses all evening and ML and D loved it. They were so proud. They asked over and over if they could wear their new glasses tomorrow and made sure to watch where I put them tonight so they knew exactly where to go to get them in the morning. We have park plans in the morning (weather permitting). We'll see how it goes! (I'm already seeing a few more adjustments to the frames in the very near future.)


Toilet Talk (yes. again)

Facebook status of the morning:

Sitting outside on a gorgeous day with the kids playing...thinking I'm so very lucky for my time so far with each of my brilliant, sweet and loving babies...then David throws a hand full of mulch at Mary Louise's face and Mary Louise retaliates by hitting David in the head with a (plastic) shovel...meanwhile Everett crawled up to a wooden bench and started chewing on it - crying as I hauled him off...thanks for keepin' Mommy humble kiddos!

Such is life - and these kids, oh my, they have been busy lately. 

After way too much thought, I decided to push potty training with David again. He'd begun informing me that he was going to the corner, that he needed a "fwesh diapah pweese!" and when asked what he was doing, would often reply, "dus poopanin". Nervous to hit "that road" again, I waited, and stewed, and gently suggested...and begged a little. David's consistent response to "would you like to try the potty this time?" was "uhh no stanks!" When he started to add "you dus change my diaper in a minute", I started to get a little aggravated despite my best efforts. 

I was waiting for him to be "ready" - but I think I had the wrong idea of what "ready" looked like in David. Forever and fiercely independent, David simply didn't respond to any of the tactics that worked with Mary Louise: he couldn't have cared less that friends that came to play were in underwear, bribing with pennies, toys, shows, outings, insert name of enjoyed activity here - all a no go, the shameful food bribes - not a chance (if you choose to use food, more power to grosses me out - it just does - but I did it, begrudgingly, and it didn't work). I even enlisted Mary Louise to help - she coaxed David to the toilet, showed him over and over how "not scary" it could be...nope. When pushed in a group of peers, David will consistently go off by himself and play. He would **like to play with others, but if they are being anything less than agreeable and/ or nice, he does his own thing - happily - without tattling, without grimace, without so much as a shrug of the shoulders, he immediately creates his own agenda and follows through; and I love that about him. So, "ready" for him is and was very very subtle.

I was talking to my mom the other day after a mother's get together where inevitably, potty training came up. I consistently (try to) remain relatively quiet for these discussions. I don't have some sort of book I swear by (or any I have read in their entirety since prior to having kids) and saying, "I just follow the kids' cues blindly" doesn't resonate with many people (in my experience)...which is fine - but the point is I really haven't any advice on the subject other than "do your household a solid and listen to the kid" - and in the day in which some families feel forced to push the issue because of an outside pressure from an age requirement to be out of diapers for a preschool class, that advice will likely just tick off an already stressed parent. 

Mary Louise literally decided she wanted to work on it...I was waiting for David to do the same...listening to the mother of an 18 month old's (random example) frustrations over the child wetting his/ her pants on the way to (activity of the moment) is completely foreign to me - unless said pants wetting was a consequence of a leaky diaper. (uh - at 18 months Mary Louise and David had been walking for about 8 weeks, weren't talking, and were in 9 month clothing...comparatively, Everett (at 9 months) can hold and function with a sippy cup, self feeds - without a tongue thrust and using a pincer grasp, is pulling up on furniture, crawling, "speaking" appropriately, and consistently answers to his name as well as 3 different nick names.) Until just recently, potty training has been a very distant second, third or fourth to things like: will they walk? will they talk? are we missing something in their preventative care? do we need another specialist consult? will there be another surgery? is that necessary? and most recently - oh my wonder they fall so much, they can't see (well)!?!

So in talking to my mom, I had a bit of a light bulb moment. I had literally tried just about everything anyone can think of to encourage potty use. David has many MANY reasons not to want anything to do with it and one pretty big reason to try - because he can. It's within his potential. It will open a few doors that will potentially close soon if he doesn't get out of diapers. It makes me sad to see other kids he's trying to play with ask why he's in diapers. It hurts to know that even if we wanted him to participate in a 3 year old program, he'd be excluded simply because diapers are not changed in that setting. I am the one hurting, David doesn't seem to be...but I know he CAN do this and, as I said, that's why I hurt. It's because these programs, and kids will miss out on someone so beautiful and gracious, so strong, who has so much to learn and likewise, so much to share, because of something that is, in the grand scheme, incredibly minimal.

I had tried everything...but what my mother suggested: Heather. Make HIM clean up the mess. hmmmm. My stomach turned at first...then it settled...and I decided it was worth at least 1 try...

David has been intermittently pants-less for 3 days now. He is consistently running to the toilet to wee, but has yet to poop there. He has an uncanny ability to "hold it" to the point of causing a problem - which has been one of our biggest issues. I started out with 3 hours the first day. There was a mess. David cleaned it - and as guilty as I felt for enforcing our rule, David sat there and grinned the whole time. The little booger was excited to get his own cleaning supplies - and did an excellent job with the cleaning!!! UGH! How's that for a big fail?! 

Something clicked though. "The incident" gave him back the power. Ever since that moment, he has run to the potty each time he felt the urge to go...and asked for a diaper each time he needed to poop. We've gone longer each day - today being our first "all day" affair. We're currently at a bit of a stand off. He knows he's in charge - but also that we can't play outside (we tried, but toting 3 kids inside when he's holding off the urge to go induces mega fits in at least 1 person...other than me), we can't have friends over (for obvious exposure reasons), we can't go places - he has yet to care about it all that much - but ML is getting REALLY restless. So, while we wait - let's acknowledge what's happening here:

People. We have progress!!!!!!! and the dirty diaper bag is filling up so slowly I don't know what to do with myself. But to celebrate, how about a couple of cute LeBlanc kid vids???


P.S. spoiler alert: we're picking up glasses today!!!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Mama, Dada, Married?!, and photo catch up! (Phew!)

Generally, we've been busy around here - I mean in between being sick, almost sick, and getting over getting sick...we've had some seriously good times.

Dom and June's Mom is expecting twin girls very very soon. So, I asked (uhem...begged) to borrow her 2 big kids on occasion so that she can do whatever it is her heart desires for a few hours. It's quite self serving - I love those kiddos - and love the chaos having 5 under 4 brings. But, I also remember way too well what it was to be on a special diet, feel totally exhausted before even getting out of bed in the morning, and just wanting a minute to breathe and process.

Anyhow, we have a great time - and that many kids milling around leaves me smiling and focused (believe it or not). knew a little story was coming right?...we have a crush developing...

This guy:

and this gal:

caught me off guard yesterday when I heard, "no May Weeze! you kiss den you get mah-weed!" My awesome response, "uh - no one is getting married or kissing here guys! - now go find something to throw or jump on." Ha - I'm such an authoritarian. (not at all...)

When did 3 become the new 13?? Last night, there was some slightly serious talk in 2 house holds in this area:

Me: Mary Louise. We don't kiss anyone ok?
ML: ok Mommy. (she had no idea what I was talking about - but Brent was home and saw the "action" as well so was having a bit of a time processing it - so something needed to be said...)
Me: do you understand? you can give your friends hugs - but no kissing please.
ML: (nodding seriously) ok Mommy. Yes. I udda-tand.

Conversation over. Fast forward to this morning. The big kids climbed into our bed about 6:30. Brent leaned over, told me good morning between Everett's giggles and swings, and gave me a kiss.

Mary Louise: UH AHHH!!! No no NO! No kissing!! We don't kiss ANYONE Daddy!! Mommy! No kissing!!

(We may need to have another chat...or just clarify over least we know she literally took in what we were saying!)

This little snuggle muffin in the middle:

Said "Mama" on January 4th, "Dada" yesterday, is finally making friends with crawling (rather than acting like I'm making him crawl across shards of glass when I put him on the floor), and pulled up to a stand on the sofa yesterday!!!

Of course with crawling comes the classic "LeBlanc kid" breeches...I've joked that there is no baby proofing a house for Mary Louise and David - and offered to bring them to first time parent friend's houses because they will point out a "weak" area in about 30 seconds flat. I'm serious. Every classic dangerous move a kid can make - they've done it - 3 times over. Fork in the electrical socket? tried over and over (thank goodness our covers are so tight I need help prying them out of the wall)...getting in the bath tub without supervision? done - they put their frog potty and bumbo seat tub side, climb on it and flip into the tub...climbing drawer pulls? using same potty and bumbo to unlock the back door? stacking blocks in an attempt to get something off of a shelf? climbing on chairs then a glass top table? all done.

Everett? decides to crawl...directly over to a fire place, moved the screen out of the way and proceeded to stuff his mouth full of the rocks surrounding the gas log there...while I changed David's diaper.

The concerning quiet moments have started people. Only good stories and dumb founded Momma moments can come from this.

Over the Christmas season, we visited our dear friend Shane and his family. (My goodness we love these people)

(that's a giant snow globe - the kids were fascinated)

The big kids had their first ever taste of hot cocoa:

pretty sure it went over well...they asked for thirds:

Shane's niece Zoe graciously shared her toys and swings with our kids:

it was a really good day.

We also had a Christmas celebration with Mere, Pops and Nanny Zoo.

E soaking up his Pops time: (do you think they're related?)

Playing games:

David's new train set:

Pics of the family - of course it's impossible to get everyone to look at the same time...and the kids were starting to feel bad that day (little did we know the plague that was in store!!)


Then, after our eye appointments, we went to visit Mimi for a bit:

David was a bit grumpy - Everett was having a party for one:

But we had a wonderful visit, lunch, played outside, and didn't destroy anything beyond repair - I'll call that a win.

A sweet sweet moment - Mimi reading Cinderella to Mary Louise (who yes, has a super terrific chocolate milk stache going on):

Incredibly blessed with family and friends...will do a separate post with some wildly cute kiddies in matching jammies (because I'm cheesy like that.)


Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Moving on (from Fifths)

We are (almost) recovered. But for residual post nasal drips and occasional coughing (worse at night), you'd never know we were here:

just a week or so ago.

We got better just in time for our (once) annual eye exams for Mary Louise and David. Traveling to New Orleans is never easy, but it comes along with family visits and the best food around so, once there, it's a stinkin' good time for all. The eye appointments, though the purpose, are far from the highlight and typically consist of a rather rough 3 hours of juggling sweet babes and entertaining light sensitive toddlers by any means necessary. This time though, we got a bit of a bonus: both Mary Louise and David need glasses. (insert Mommy tears and Daddy angst here - thankfully, the kids are much tougher than their ninny parents)

David's right eye has been wondering a bit for over a year. We pointed it out during our 2011 visit but it didn't warrant intervention at that time. 1 year later, David has been diagnosed with strabismus, astigmatism and is near sighted. Mary Louise has astigmatism and is also near sighted. The hope is that the glasses (for David) will help to correct the strabismus (unrelated to weak muscles) by correcting his vision thereby encouraging the fusion of his eye function.

Now, you may or may not have heard that our sweet 3 year olds are rather petite. I had no idea how difficult it would be to find frames that would properly fit their faces - nevermind look appropriate for their age. I called 8 places today after going to 3 in the New Orleans area. Of the 11 places total, 3 of them carried frames that would possibly fit Mary Louise and David. (2 of those were in or around New Orleans). My goal was to find something local to us so that we could have repairs and adjustments done as needed. Please, I don't for one second think we will embark on this journey with 2 3 year olds and never have a glasses mishap or disaster.

Today, I FOUND OUR BABIES THEIR GLASSES!!! They will each have 2 sets - consisting of a wire pair and a plastic pair - and, perhaps most important, they are both excited about their choices. We should be able to pick up our order and have them adjusted sometime next week...and I dare say, these kiddos are some of the very cutest glasses clad preschoolers (gasp) I have ever seen!!

So, here we go - entering a new realm. May they take all their bumps, hiccups and unplanned snafus so well.

Just for kicks, I'll include a pic of Everett while sick:

Um, yeah. Ok, ok, really - he has glassy eyes here:

and a hint of a snot nose:

and his hair - his hair was flat:

 and yes, his tongue is constantly dragging and drooling these's how he does teething. (and it's my unfailing source of entertainment - as if Mary Louise and David aren't enough right?)

This morning, I woke at 7:30. Everett was nursing, and grinning, Mary Louise was in my bed and had her little hand on my forehead saying, "Mommy? you hab a good night sweep and feel much much better today?" and David, also in my bed (inches from my face) announced, with a grin no less, that he had pooped and needed a fresh diaper pweese. Really, I'm the least morning, non-morning person I know and I couldn't help but giggle at my audience.

Good times.


Sunday, January 6, 2013


Once this is over, once we are all over this thing - this awful awful virus - the words Fifth's Disease will only be whispered very quietly within our walls. Hushed tones only I tell you - and only when absolutely necessary.

David's fever had remained at bay for about 2 days until this afternoon when he spiked yet another temperature of 102.5. But even that is better than it was during the first few days of this mess.

Everett has an ugly cough and unreal congestion, but his fevers have been relatively low (thankfully). He nurse literally for 4 or 5 days straight - after which I found a buggar of a big top tooth emerging. Poor boy can't catch a break it seems.

Mary Louise has had all of the classic symptoms of Fifth's. Her color was much better today. She played and helped to pick up toys. She also had a really nice long bath and played with her roll on colors - great to see her sweet smile again.

Nebulizer treatments have been in full swing. Everett even needed 2 or 3 during his worst days. I'm just thankful we at least have a protocol for respiratory issues that seems to keep us out of the hospital (even if it is just barely out of the hospital).

Poor Mommom tried to help for a couple of days - and ended up sick herself. We had asked Mere and Pops for help but quickly realized it wouldn't be very nice to expose everyone to this special kind of misery and asked them to stay home unless we got into real trouble.

Brent has been nothing short of amazing. I know he felt awful too - even having to go to Urgent Care for shortness of breath and chest tightness one day. He developed bronchitis on top of (or because of) the virus and was having asthma symptoms as a result. Home he came with a steroid shot on board, antibiotics and his very own Albuterol inhaler. Despite all of that, he has absolutely kept us safe and afloat amid our sea of sickness. He's kept up with the laundry (including diapers), cleaned dishes, made time for me to nap, cooked dinner last night and cleaned the kitchen completely this morning.

I finally felt human enough to move around normally today - making trips up and down stairs slowly, but with stable steps. I feel like I can complete a thought for the first time in almost 2 weeks. It will be a slow recovery I think but we'll get there with time.

To the mother with the 7 month old recovering from RSV:

Breathing treatments are just hard - and that age would make them even more so. I have toys and games and even TV shows we watch and play with only during treatments. I sit with ML and give her individual time - as much as possible - during her treatment. I used to breathe with her - demonstrating deep breathing (which kept me calm as well). At such a young age though, it's just hard. There are many attachments that can be used as a mouth piece. I've had friends get a pacifier attachment as well as masks in the shape of animals, etc. I've let ML and D decorate mouth pieces, draw on them, and place stickers on them. Most of all though, patience is key (as with all things parenting right?)- and if all else fails, know that if they are crying during the treatment, their breathing is deeper allowing the medication(s) to penetrate more lung tissue.

I'll keep thinking on that - but I hope this helps.

Thank you to all who have prayed, offered to help us in various ways and sent happy thoughts our way.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Back Soon!

We're here. We're alive. We're fumbling through Fifth's disease. And people, it's ugly. Mary Louise topped out with a fever of 104.5 this afternoon but it has since come down (to normal actually) and she seems to be doing much better now (at 2am). Everett has a nasty cough and has had some trouble nursing - he nurses very very frequently for shorter periods - presumably because of his very irritated throat. David has had a few low fevers, coughs often and has a runny nose but is still playing and eating relatively well. Thankfully, a visit from Mommom coincided with our worst few days so far.

Fact: at the weigh in at the pedi office this morning, Mary Louise was 27 pounds and Everett was 17 pounds!

So, we are quarantined completely for about 2 weeks in an effort to keep our germs to ourselves - this can be very dangerous for a woman in early pregnancy and can (obviously) hit a young child very hard. I'll get a proper post out soon...right now, we're definitely in survival mode.