Patrick climbed into bed with me this morning, wriggling like a puppy, and asked, "How far is it from the Domestic Republic of Congo to Cameroon?"
It was a strange way to wake up and it took me a while to process. A better mother - one who is dedicated to nurturing intellectual curiosity no matter what the hour - would no doubt have grabbed her bedside atlas and flipped immediately to Africa. I just groaned and pulled the pillow against my head. Eventually I realized that I was not going to be allowed to fall back asleep (Patrick burrowing, offstage babies vociferating, ditto Steve's voice raised in song like a French Canadian woodsman) so I grudgingly got up. As I brushed my teeth I considered Patrick's geography question. It occurred to me that there was something not quite right about the phrasing and as I drank my tea I identified the problem: "Hey Patrick, it's the Democratic Republic of the Congo."
"It's not a Domestic Republic; it's a Democratic Republic."
Patrick looked up from the Lego dungeon he is building. "Mommy, that was an hour ago."
And, sure enough, it had taken me a full sixty minutes to frame that response. I am not a morning person.
Edward was doing very badly....
huh, I just received an email from a woman who asks me if I feel guilty when I do not post and tells me that it is rude to go so long without writing and mentions that I left you guys hanging for ten days re. Edward. She suggests that I should announce that I am no longer blogging if I can't pick up my game. Or something like that.
I had thought that I have been clear about my Divided Loyalties but apparently not; so to reiterate: the good people of REDBOOK pay me to co-write their Mom Moment blog, I update there at least twice a week, the link is on the sidebar, you certainly do not have to read anything over yonder but if you ever wonder what is up with me that is an excellent place to look, and you may always feel free to leave comments here or there or not .
I hope that covers it. And yes, actually, I do feel guilty when I don't post here but I feel guilty about a lot of things. Just this morning Edward was sitting up looking ridiculously sweet so I turned away to grab the camera and as I did so he reached for me and toppled over on his face. I felt guilty about that and as I described to Steve just how guilty I felt I failed to notice Caroline pulling herself up using my shirt and as I gesticulated to show how Edward toppled I knocked Caroline sideways. Oh the guilt. And then later I told Patrick to quit hassling the baby and he was hurt and said, "But I like her and she likes me!" and I looked at them smiling at each other and realized that the reason I had told him to stop playing with his sister was because her screams of pleasure were driving me batty. I apologized and I felt guilty.
Seriously, Caroline has a shriek that melts paint off the walls. It is painful when she is happy but the few times she has used it to express displeasure... my god I thought I was going to die. She starts about an octave above high C and then she just goes up and up and up until you cannot even hear her anymore but you know your ears are bleeding.
.... but back to Edward. Edward was doing very badly. The plan to thicken liquid for him so that he would stop breathing it into his lungs failed to meet with his approval and he opted to stall negotiations on the subject by launching a hunger strike. Or rather, a liquid strike since he was perfectly happy to eat Cheerios and those odd Gerber carrot cubes and bowls full of multigrain baby cereal the consistency of mortar. I got quite desperate and took him back to the speech pathologist and they gave me permission to backtrack with the thickened stuff and miraculously it seems to have worked. He abruptly started eating again on Thursday morning and now we are up to an almost-thick-enough consistency. I always wondered how people figure out the preferences of their nonverbal children ("Oh Leonard loves his WubbyDuck!" and you look at three week old Leonard and think, "Really?" but yeah he probably does love that duck.) Somehow you just piece things together and I know that when it comes to thickeners Edward is a 8-oz-to-6.5-TB-formula-plus-rice-cereal-in-BornFree-with-size-3-nipple-
during-the-day/Y-cut-nipple-at-night kind of a kid . He hated the various gel thickeners for some reason (bummer. AlexaFlotsam was kind enough to give me Simone's leftovers and then I bought some more while I was at the children's hospital... I have a ton of SimplyThick now and no use for it beyond a cheater's pudding - do you think I can donate it?)
I felt victorious when he started drinking again until I realized that all I accomplished during the past grueling week was to return him to the point where he was at prior to his appointments. Oh wait, that's not entirely true. We now know that he is aspirating and I can tell he does it after he eats as well as during. So we have him on prevacid and I am optimistic that the combination of dealing with his reflux and thickening (mostly) his bottles will have a positive effect on his lungs.
-- I am writing this over the course of two days (edited: three days, I guess because the last bit is from Tuesday and I started this on Sunday) because that's how I roll now. Steve has taken all three children to run errands while I pack for our trip tomorrow. Steve asked what I needed and from where. I told him - in excruciating detail. As per usual he said ok, got it, and then he calls me from every aisle of each store because obviously he was never going to remember my saying I need the stuff that Edward likes that is green and some of those little things we had that time we went wherever it was with Patrick.
Five minutes ago he called to tell me that Edward has just said "da da da da da". I could hear Patrick shouting excitedly about it in the background. This is Our First Starting Consonant (I am sure there is a name for this - is it fricative? because I would love to write that word: fricative. it just sounds good in my head) and we are all very excited.
I have said this a billion times, but I cannot get over how different Caroline and Edward are from each other. Edward has just started getting up on all fours and rocking, occasionally propelling himself forward; always face first. Caroline has started pulling herself up onto her knees. When she gets there she doesn't know what to do so she just sways back and forth until she falls over. Last night she found her feet and stood up briefly in the bath tub. She liked it. I aged another six years. Caroline can pick up Cheerios with a pincer grasp; Edward rakes 'em in. However, once the Cheerio gets into her mouth Caroline just pushes it around with her tongue whereas Edward rolls it around his mouth like vintage port before slowly masticating it. Edward babbles (now with consonants!) Caroline squeaks or shrieks. I found out yesterday that Todd has taught Edward the sign for "tickle" and Edward will excitedly sign until Todd tickles his thighs. It is very cute.
We are leaving for the airport in (oh god) twenty five minutes and all five of us are still in our pajamas so I should go. Steve swears this will be a vacation for me so I theoretically will be back to write again sooner rather than later. We'll see.