Parenting


I love summer. I love the long days and being able to go outside without having to bundle up. I love sitting on our porch at night enjoying the weather and the sounds of our neighborhood (kids laughing and playing, the ice cream truck, people mowing their lawns).

Griffin loves summer, too. In fact, he loves it so much I can barely get him back in the house for dinner. He loves running in the grass in his bare feet and playing in his little pool. I don’t think he cares what he’s doing as long as he’s outside.

We went outside this morning so I could take him to day care. He immediately ran up to his little bike and sat on it and started saying, “Mommy…bike!” over and over. It was so sweet. I watched him for a while, wishing I didn’t have to go to work, wishing I could stay home with him and play outside. It’s days like this, these gorgeous summer days, when I get frustrated with work. I love what I do, but let’s face it, if  I didn’t have to work I wouldn’t. Well, maybe something part-time just to keep my mind fresh. I feel like I miss out on so much with Griffin. I realize it on weekends when I don’t have to be anywhere. We snuggle on the couch and watch Curious George. I make him pancakes and we sit together at the kitchen table just eating and talking. I love those times with him – the everyday moments.

I have no idea why I’m going on and on about this. I guess it was one of those difficult mornings where I wanted so badly to stay home with him and play and giggle. I do have a whole week of vacation scheduled for the end of July. I’m really looking forward to doing all those little things with my Griffin.

My Griffin (with his curly hair and scratched nose!)

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Griffin is a cuddly kid. As a baby, he loved to snuggle on Patrick’s chest or snuzzle his little face in the crook of my neck. Pure sweetness. As he got older, and mobile, those snuggling moments have come in the form of just before or after sleep. He’s ready for sleep or still a bit groggy after waking up, which means his little arms and legs that are usually moving non-stop are just too tired and he needs to sit still. I love sitting on the couch with him on my lap. His muscles start to relax and his body grows heavier. Sleep is not far off.

Despite his snuggly nature, Griffin won’t kiss me. Oh sure, there have been those rare moments when I bribe him with a graham cracker or a Hershey kiss, but never when I just ask for one. It used to break my heart, but then it became a running joke in our house, and then it just broke my heart again.

Yesterday, on Father’s Day of all days, Griffin was giving out kisses for free. We sat on our front porch and I leaned in close to him and said, “Can you give mommy a smooch?” And he leaned in and kissed me on the lips. All day, anytime I asked for a kiss, he gave me one. I even leaned in to tell him to give his daddy a smooch and he kissed me first, then ran over to Patrick to give him one.

Who knows if that will continue, or if yesterday was just a fluke, but I’ll take what I can get.

Griffin developed a nasty ear infection at the very end of April (including a temp of 103). After ten days on amoxicillin, he continued to rub at his ear and be completely irritable. OK, so some of his behavior is also due to the fact that he is just about to turn two years old. We took him back to the doctor on Monday and the ear infection never cleared up, so he was placed on a ten-day dose of Augmentin. Now, just four full days into that treatment, he starts rubbing his ear again and whining. Today we start round three of antibiotics. This time it’s Omnicef. At his appointment on Monday, the doctor said that if this doesn’t clear up quickly, or if he still has fluid in his ears at his two-year check-up, we’ll be referred to an ENT and he’ll have to have tubes placed in his ears.

At this point, he’s had about eight ear infections. The majority of those have come in the past ten months. As much as I don’t want him to have to go through the surgery (and yes, I’m very aware that it only takes 15-20 minutes, but it’s still surgery and he’s my baby), I’m ready. Ear infections in toddlers are way worse than teething.

So, yeah, I pretty much went from being swamped at work to being swamped at home – let’s not even mention the fact that in the past few weeks Patrick has travelled to Charlotte, NC twice (he’s there now) and Colorado Springs. I’m not sleeping much and it’s taking its toll on me.

I hope round three of antibiotics works. For Griffin’s sake and for mine.

No, not “I love you,” but rather “Mama, ball rolling.” OK, so in Griffin’s toddler-talk it sounds more like, “Mama, baw row-ee,” but we know what he means. He even points to the ball as it rolls down the driveway.

It might not seem momentous to anyone else, but this officially marks Griffin’s first 3-word sentence. I’m a proud Mama.

Just as I vowed to post more often (like I used to do), everything came crashing in on me. Griffin got over his bout of bronchitis and finally got all the steroids out of his system only to get sick again last week. Another case of bronchitis, but this time it wasn’t responding to his antibiotics. When I picked him up out of his crib on MOnday morning, he was hot to the touch. I felt the heat from his skin burn through his pajamas and even through my pants. His temp was 103 and he was miserable.

After a trip to the ER and another chest x-ray, the doctor came in and told me it was double pneumonia. We had to pick up a really strong antibiotic, rotate Tylenol and Motrin every three hours for the next 48 hours, and give him lots of liquids (he stopped eating and lost over a whole pound).

I’ve been swamped at work and have some major deadlines hanging over my head. Patrick agreed to watch Griffin for the rest of the week so I could go to work, but early on Tuesday morning, Patrick complained of a sore throat. Let me preface this part of the story by telling you that Patrick never complains about feeling sick and he rarely goes to the doctor. When he called me around 12 PM and said he was going to the doctor, I just about fell off my chair. The doctor diagnosed him with influenza and started him on Tamiflu. Patrick had a temperature of 102 for the next couple of days and I wasn’t able to go to work. I couldn’t leave Patrick, who couldn’t get out of bed, to take care of Griffin, who had pneumonia.

By Wednesday night I was sick again (I had a cold last week). I developed a horrible sore throat, cough, and headache. I ended up with a sinus infection, a bronchial infection, and a flare-up of my asthma. So now I’m using the nebulizer, have antibiotics, and am on Prednisone.

Long story short, I missed a shit-load of work and I spent my weekend writing grants. Thankfully, my parents are wonderful and came to visit this weekend to help us get back on our feet. They bought us some groceries and helped sanitize our house.

Summer can’t get here soon enough…

Oh, who am I kidding? It was the worst of times. This weekend. Last night. Awful. Plain and simple.

Patrick and I took Griffin to Chicago to go to the One of a Kind Show where my sister has been one of the artists for the past four years. We went in 2006, 2007, and we skipped 2008 because Griffin was just too little and we were just plain exhausted. He’s 16-months old. We figured this would be a great age to take him downtown to see the show and maybe even the lights on Michigan Avenue.

To make that part of  the long story much shorter, I’m just going to say that about a month or so ago, we realized that Griffin had hit his Terrible Twos really, really early. We’ve nicknamed him Mr. Meltdown and Mr. Noodle (his whole body goes limp and he’s suddenly about 40 pounds heavier than usual). That’s what we dealt with all weekend. The poor kid was stuck in a carseat for three hours to get to Chicago and then we needed to get him in a stroller to look around the show. He wasn’t having it. He also wasn’t having someone carry him around. Those were our options. He struggled. I got frustrated. Patrick and I took turns. Thankfully my mom was there and gave us a break here and there (and of course, he wasn angel for her).

So two days of battling Mr. Noodle.

Then comes the drive home. Again, long story short, it took us 5 hours to get home. Coming straight from the Loop, it should only take about 2.5 hours. We hit some massive traffic and then Griffin screamed and screeched the whole way. In his defense, I think he was in a bit of pain (anyone with kids knows that sometimes eating a whole pile of grapes can wreak havoc on the tummy). So as not to bore anyone with this story in narrative form, let me just hit the highlights:

  • Screaming commences before we get out of Chicago
  • It continues until we pull over somewhere in Naperville (at this point, we could have been in freaking Alaska – I couldn’t focus).
  • I change Griffin’s diaper in the car in the parking lot of Macy’s
  • We drive to Portillo’s to get him out of the carseat for a while.
  • All is right in the world and we leave.
  • Screeching commences about 15 minutes into the drive.
  • I pray he falls asleep soon.
  • Griffin teases me with his fake snoring (and then a loud snort and a giggle).
  • He screams some more and finally falls asleep.
  • I fall asleep.
  • I awake, 20 minutes later, to more screaming.
  • This goes on for what seems like forever.
  • I announce to Patrick that if I had a gun, I’d freaking shoot myself (I think Patrick contemplates pulling over and dumping me and Griffin off on the side of the highway).
  • More screaming.
  • I ask Patrick to smother me and put me out of my misery.
  • Griffin finally falls asleep at Mile Marker 25 (yep, only 25 more miles until we hit the Iowa border).
  • I sit still and rigid in the front seat, hoping he stays asleep until we at least get to the single digit mile markers.
  • We pull into the driveway and relax.
  • Griffin starts screaming.

He seemed fine once we got inside. He was smiling and laughing. I think he was really tired of being in the car seat all weekend. The only running around he got to do was at my parents’ house on Saturday night/Sunday morning. Not much.

Oh, and when we walked in the house, we were hit in the face by the overwhelming smell of natural gas. We had the gas company out at our house at 11 PM. They checked and said everything was OK, even though the guy said he could smell the gas.

So yesterday sucked big time. The only highlight was that we learned that if you ask Griffin what Santa says, he will say, “Ho Ho!” Definitely cute, but not enough to wipe away the memory of the crap day we had.

I was browsing some of my favorite blogs during lunch and came across this gem of a post from All & Sundry – I don’t think I could have said it any better myself. Especially after the past couple of weeks.

And yes, Griffin, I love you very much, but seriously?

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