Thursday, December 23, 2010

done and done.

I know there is a little over a week to go in 2010, but today's title sums up how I am feeling, even if a little premature. I'm just done. This applies to work, this applies to shopping, this applies in lots of other ways. But if I reflect back over the past 51 weeks, I do have to say that 2010 was one of our better years. Things really went off as they were planned without too many flies getting all gunked up in our ointment. New baby, vacations on the Cape and Ireland, healthy families. Lots of good stuff that I don't feel weird or full of myself saying we really deserved.

God almighty I hope I am not dooming myself by saying all of this. So sad that's how my mind works, the superstition.

Tomorrow we rise at an ungodly hour to drive ourselves, the kids, the dog and lots of other stuff to upstate NY. I have to admit, I feel slightly giddy. I am so excited to see Paudie's reaction to the Christmas spread and to each of his gifts. I hope he can savor them but fully expect him to rip and toss paper, repeat. I am already thinking of how sad it is to be a little kid and have Christmas be over. It's sort of minor-depression inducing, at least it was for me.

So I'll end this last post for 2010 by saying thanks to God, the cosmos, karma etc etc. It's hard for me to bask too much though as my mind is still processing the bad things/good people reality from last week's post. My wish for 2011 is that some measure of peace and understanding can be found by those whose hearts are heavy right now, even if that grace is fleeting. Life isn't fair and it's that cruel reality that sends me home each night hugging and praising my children a little more intensely than the day before. I'll never be all that I could have been because of Cian's death, but the perspective I have gained doesn't feel as heavy as it once did.

Merry Christmas to everyone. Like the commercial says, give thanks for the healthy kids in your life and give to those who are not. Now that's a great little tag line.

Friday, December 17, 2010

the dimple.

Ahhh how I love Noel's single dimple. I think this photo is a great showcase for it. I also think Noel looks like a beautiful little girl in this picture.

Hard to believe we are a week out from Christmas. A week out from our sojourn in upstate NY where it has been snowing like nobody's business, well except for maybe Minneapolis and Chicago. It's getting to be go time. The chaos and busy-ness will be peaking any day now and then.... nothingness. Hooray for January and bitter arctic blasts and nothingness. I hope Paudie is on board with nothingness because it feels so right to me. Weeks and weeks of nowhere to go and nothing to do. Clearly I am spent. This year has been a whirlwind between welcoming our gorgeous Noel into the fold, more travel than usual, and some increased intensity at work. Lately I have been very sort of absent-minded and forgetful and I can't help but wonder if that is just working mom-ness, closing in on 40 or some sort of preview of neurological issues to come (my mom was diagnosed with dementia in her early 60s). OMG, it sucks whatev it is. I am so type A, typically so on top of my game and lately, I feel like I have no game. Like I can't walk and chew gum. We'll see if it eases up as we embrace nothingness next month.

Paudie is getting so excited for our trip to NY and of course Santy. It's so fun to be living in a world negotiated and understood through the eyes of a three year old. I hope we have done right by him come Christmas AM - he changed his mind so many times about what he was asking Santa for - I'm so worried the toys are going to fall flat. I'm really wishing for a total AFV moment when he opens the crane he has been asking for since we got the Toys R Us toy book last month and goes totally bananas, jumping and screaming and doing a happy dance. Not that he has ever once done anything like that. Why? Because Paudie is his mother's son. Like if we were ever on Extreme Home Makeover the bus would move and I'd be all, 'wow, looks great. thanks.' Inside I might be screaming and crying but those emotions just don't make it outside of me very easily.

Trying to think... what else is going on? Feels like an increased incidence of bad things happening to good people. Really bad things, really good people. After Cian died, so many people told me, and perhaps I have written this before, that basically we have our cross to bear, we have our painful tragedy. And we'd be set. But I would never for a moment believe that. And recently this has been reinforced for me. Who knows, maybe we get passes all the time. A few years ago during a brief consulting stint at BCBS MA I was crossing in-between traffic to get coffee at Dunkin Donuts. All the cars were stopped. As I went to cross the second line of traffic I heard car brakes squealing increasingly loudly - a car was driving the wrong way (trying to get into Dunkins natch) and trying to avoid hitting me. I was frozen in fear for a second watching this car come at me. I couldn't even walk after the incident, my legs were so weak from the shock. I felt at that moment like, that could have been it. I could have just died getting an effing cup of DD coffee which probably tasted like shite anyways. But I didn't, I got a pass. I thought of that incident several times after Cian was diagnosed. Did I cosmically get a pass that I just don't understand? You don't know what you don't know, right?

So am I getting too heavy for a Friday at 4:30? BTW, I am so happy it is Friday at 4:30. Short week next week and a week off the following. Will try to get in one more post before Thursday - some more end of year reflecting might be in order.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The crew meets Santy

Yup. We took the boys to meet Santa at a charity event for the local animal shelter. The event was really meant for pets, but you know me, always looking to save a buck. So in theory it seemed like a good idea, make a donation and get a picture with Santa. My lack of foresight never ceases to amaze me. Trying to get two kids and a dog to sit still, smile and look in the same direction is just not feasible. The group was kind enough to give us about 20 shots on a CD - each more ridiculous than the previous. I kinda like them though -they really make me laugh. Like in this one, Banjo is blinking. That's such a human thing to do. Anyhoo Noel was half asleep and on the verge of crying the whole time and Paudie just is scared to death of the big man in red so he wouldn't sit near him. Nor would he take his mittens off.

The last few weeks have been flying by. We had a very low-key Thanksgiving and post-Thanksgiving weekend. P really gave us a run for our money behavior wise. He was such a brat. We took him to see Santa and 3 (elderly) elves jump out of an airplane and parachute into a field by our house - froze for an hour plus. How did he repay us? Well by a complete and utter meltdown of course. Then the next day we froze for 2+ hours at the Christmas parade in Quincy. Again, some really brutal behavior. I had no choice but to bust out our brand spanking new shelf elf. We've been talking the guy up for weeks and finally I decided enough was enough, time to get some reinforcements in for some nice-boy behavior. I put him in the stairwell and when John took P up to bed, as they came around the corner and P spotted the elf... silence. And clinging. And right to sleep. Thank you elf on the shelf!

So Mr. elf, who P named, "tree," has been doing wonders for our little Padraig's temperment. Earlier this week I asked John what would we do after the holidays once Tree is put away. "Threaten to take away all of his new toys" of course. Ah yes - good answer. I never thought I'd parent-by-threat as much as we do, but I also never thought an angel faced pre-schooler would be screaming. "don't be stupid" in my face several times a week. Where does he even get it from I wonder because we may say lots of things that we shouldn't say, and we're working on our language, but we really aren't angry yellers.

We are also working on teaching Paudie how to be charitable. That's a hard lesson to teach we are finding - or rather the concept is lost on P. I think he can't really get his head around the fact that some kids don't have toys. So when he sees us donating to Toys for Tots etc, he really struggles with seeing shiny new toys go unplayed with. He even tries to argue that he too has no toys. He was watching Even Almighty with John Saturday night, which really had him in stiches, and John was trying to explain about God to him. Then when the St. Judes commercial came on with Morgan Freeman P said, "look dad, there's God." I had to bite my tongue to not express my deep down thoughts on where God is or isn't when it comes to children with cancer.

There are a handful of children whose stories I continue to follow in terms of their cancer battles and my heart breaks that the vast majority of them are reaching or have reached the end of the treatment line. To be looked in the eye and told there is nothing further that can be done for your child is... just so wrong in this day and age. We can study life on other planets, transplant practically every organ there is from one human to another, fight pointless wars and so on and so forth but we can't help cure children whose diagnosis stems from (I love this) bad luck. Until my own child was diagnosed with cancer I really thought modern medicine was kicking the ass of childhood cancer. I miss that ignorance.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful, me? You betcha.

Not sure if I am channeling Sarah Palin or Marge Gunderson but it sure is fun talkin all folksy like. See, I can be lighthearted. I'm not always a downer. I'm quite grateful for Thanksgiving because it always does seem to slap me in the face or grab me by the shoulders and shake me. I am thankful. I am enormously thankul for what I have. Every day at some point in the day I think, shit I am lucky. Sure things haven't gone as I thought they would, but I have two living, amazing children that inspire me every day. I have a wonderful husband. I am doing pretty well as far as Maslow's Hierarchy goes. I don't think I can actually say 'life is good' because I am wildly superstitious, but it could certainly be a lot worse - and has been a lot worse. I guess this all is demonstrative of the change that happens post-trauma. Everything gets re-arranged in terms of perspective. I can't really sweat the small stuff anymore. I can rant and rave like a lunatic but deep inside Pollyanna is alive and kicking. I've been to bad and am just so stinkin' thankful to have what I have today even though so much of my being tends to be defined by what I've lost.
Short and sweet today.
Happy thanksgiving. I hope you are able to spend tomorrow with loved ones, I hope miracles are happening, big and small. I hope you have your needs met, I hope you can help meet the needs of others. I hope if life has thrown you a curveball that you can somehow make sense of any despair, even in a small way. I hope today I can be living proof for someone that you can spiritually rise from the ashes, at least from time to time.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aw shucks

Over the past few weeks traffic has picked up on my blog as evidenced by comments to my last post from people that are not Will Lacey's dad. For much of the past few years that I've been writing about my experience as a mom, it's really been about me getting some therapy through written expression and simultaneously communicating with a handful of friends and family I'm not able to talk with or see every day. But now that I have an actual, um, readership, it's kind of exciting, but it also makes me think, am I profound enough? Am I Debbie Downer too often?

A big shout out to Max's dad. Andy, I have been a lurker on your blog as well and followed Max's fight closely. He actually passed away on my birthday. It means a lot to me to hear that all of the craziness in my head is completely understood by others. Since Cian has died I find that I natually gravitate towards stories from other bereaved parents. I remember one time that 60 Minutes was on and the coach from the Indianapolis Colts was on and it was of zero interest to me until he started talking about his son's suicide. Then it was instant interest. I needed to know more. How strange that I felt a connection to this person whose adult son committed suicide just because my 7 month old son died of cancer. It's amazing to me how many public figures there are that have lost children - and everytime I learn that fact about one of them, I need to know more. Keith Richards. Joe Biden. Patricia Neal. I guess it's because I look at them and think they must have the kind of craziness in their head like I do. Or I look at them and think, how did they move on with their lives so well?

The other thing I've come to notice about being a bereaved parent is how the state of being a bereaved parent = poignant character flaw. How many movies have I seen since Cian died that involve a bereaved parent? 1408. The Matador. Syriana. And those were only in a matter of months after he died. And at the heart of those plots, it wasn't about the child dying - that was just background to why the parent was mentally, emotionally, life challenged.

Something else I've come to ponder is that if you are batshit crazy on the inside because your child died, but you tuck it away deep enough from the outside world, it's like, I wonder to what degree outsiders get it. Like, just because I act like I'm okay and brush my hair most days doesn't mean I'm all okay. It just means I'm conforming. Because I don't want to make anyone else uncomfortable. And I think about the people in my life who were touched by their own loss of a child before I was and if I am going to be brutally honest here, until it happened to me, I was clueless to how they were hurting. I guess that explains my interest in other bereaved parents. When Cian died, I mean this is days after he died, I had to go pick up a framed work article that had been sitting at a framer's for weeks. This woman kept calling me to see when I was coming to get it. The day I mustered up the courage to go in, the first thing she asks me is 'where have you been?' So naturally I proceed to cry and verbally throw up all over her about my dead son. Then she starts to cry because her 40-ish year old son had just died a year or so earlier of a heart attack. "Welcome to the club' she said to me. And it took me a long time to get it. The secret society.

Here is the one thing I'll never understand. I think most rational people would agree that losing a child is about one of the worst things an adult can experience. Raw, unabashed heartache and trauma. Now you would think that upon hearing this about a person, taking in this new piece of information, that most people would dualy note that fact and store it away as to avoid any future awkward conversation. Do you know how many people I have had to tell more than once that I had a son that died? It's shocking to me. I try not to take it personally but it really is puzzling - what does it mean that the one thing that has basically made shit out of many aspects of my life can't be retained by people I have some sort of relationship with or to. Shocking. While this has largely happened in the workplace, it's a mistake with me that a person cannot recover from. I will look you square in the eye and tell you again that I had a child that died and then from that point on, we're done. You can't recover from it. And I don't care if you're just an idiot. It's unacceptable to me. And it's not even that I feel all that uncomfortable telling you, again, it just reveals that my son's death, the most profound event of my life was only small talk to you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Our youngest...

Is actually not the froggy you see here. Because today master Noel is 7 months and 8 days old. For those of you just joining our program, Cian died at 7 months 6 days. Maybe that's why I've been feeling down in the dumps. It's a good but tough milestone. "Bittersweet" as they say, the word to describe every day of a bereaved parent's life (if they are lucky that is cos there have certainly been times I was just bitter).

Had a pretty good Halloween with the boys. Actually bought a new car which was not emotionally easy. Yes, I had an emotional attachment to our 2005 Murano. We bought it when I was about 12 weeks pregnant with Cian. So hopeful then. Months later it would sit in the garage at Children's Hospital for 3 weeks straight - the scratches and dings were something else. It was the car that transported us home after Cian died. It was the car that brought our other two newbies home. So Murano was there with us through a lot and it really was a good car. But now we have another car - the Murano has moved on. When John was cleaning it out he found one of Cian's hospital bracelets in it. Those little hellos are kinda nice.

Another Halloween activity was attending a cocoa stand fund raiser for Jack's Magic Bean Fund in Cian's memory. The boys wore there costumes and chilled, literally, with Jack's family and our other friends hosting the stand. Gotta love people who love to raise money for kids cancer! Every Halloween I think of the Halloween after Cian died - there we are two weeks out from losing our only child - had a Halloween costume for him and everything - and all we want to do is stick our heads in the sand. But the doorbell keeps ringing. We didn't even have candy I don't think - ended up giving away granola bars. I was practically despondent.

So this year John took Paudie out, up and down the block. He was digging it. The next night he was ready to go back out and at it again. He was pretty good about the candy situation, not eating it all or crying/whining about wanting to eat it all. Someone actually handed out brach's hard candies. Come on! Really? Seriously? That's granny candy! Grody. But I guess I should cut them some slack given our granola bar faux pas in 2006.

Blah. That's all I got. My head is spinning - and of course every time I feel this way I think brain tumor. Thanks cancer!

Friday, October 29, 2010

you talkin to me?

Noel is looking pretty old school gangster in this photo. You have to admit, the tuxedo bib totally makes the shot. That was his wedding bib. Ah yes, the wedding that was nearly one month ago that I haven't found the time to write much about. Paudie was the pageboy in his godfather/uncle's wedding (hence the tux in last post's photo). I had no idea how he'd react to the tux as he can be really picky about his clothes, which is normal pre-school behavior. But I get the sense he might fancy himself so he was pretty pleased with how he looked. We talked up the walk down the aisle a lot so he wouldn't balk - but he kinda did. His uncle prodded him down the aisle - no tears, but no happy face either. He was very antsy through the ceremony, but only a minor fit of crying. Once the ceremony was done, he was all party. He and his cousins had a great time chasing each other and taking photos with the disposable cameras on the tables. And throwing said cameras on the ground. Noel and I were sitting apart from P and John - P at the kids table and John at the head table - was kind of weird not to know exactly what he was doing/eating, but his cousins seemed to keep him in line. Amazing how they go from helpless little babe's like Noel to ridiculously independent in only a few years (I'm talking about Paudie here, not John).

Noel was getting sleepy around 9ish - there I was in the corner of the ballroom with my fancy dress on rocking his stroller trying to get him to sleep. A babysitter arrived around 10 PM and I was encouraged to get Noel into his crib and have her watch him. I was really reluctant. The jaded American in me kept asking myself, is she going to steal my baby? I was so reluctant as I left him even though she was the sweetest girl. I think John's sister thought I was a bit wound over the whole thing. I eventually relaxed and one by one the kiddos went up - Paudie fell asleep around 1 so John and I had some time to enjoy ourselves sans kids. The next day was a bit brutal but we survived.

Noel ended up with a double ear infection two days after the wedding. Poor thing was a mess - was interesting for me to experience what it's like to see a doctor in another country. No paperwork, no HIPAA forms. No major wait. Getting the antibiotic took about two minutes in the pharmacy across the street from the doctor. So luckily he had enough medicine in him that the flight back wasn't nightmarish for either of us. Of course even 5 days after finishing that drug the ear still wasn't clear so onto round 3. Ugh. what we have learned about our fat and happy baby us that antibiotics = the runs for little Noel. It was out of control. One day he pooped all over his clothes twice, then the dog pooped/peed/barfed in the kitchen and Paudie peed on the floor. Good god.

So Noel is healthy again and gearing up for his first Halloween - he's a frog, assuming the costume fits. Noel has started to crawl the army crawl this week and he is completely and utterly aggressive. He will not sit still for diaper changes and must always be moving towards something - the TV cabinet, the corner of the rug, the metal bar on his pack and play. I don't remember Paudie being so crazed about getting around at a young age but who knows. I guess I could go back and read through old posts. Maybe it all seems heightened now because we have so many toys in the house and a dog with lots of dog hair.

In Pau news... our boy has taken to swearing and I know we have no one to blame but ourselves. What kills me is the finesse with which he uses his swears. He isn't jumping up and down yelling them out as he occasionally does with the word 'poop,' rather he has integrated them into his everyday speech with no fanfare. "Oh shit, that piece doesn't fit there" was overhead this week as he was doing a puzzle. And then there is the f-bomb. John and I are very aware of our language right now and trying to do what we can to clean our potty mouths as I don't want to be the parent of the kid who taught everyone at daycare how to swear.

I had my first business trip post-kids this week - 4 days in New Orleans. John was left in charge of the house and fam - I felt so guilty leaving him, especially since it was our anniversary, and over a weekend. But as per usual, he totally kicked ass. Even braved the zoo. It was really weird for me to travel without them. I must confess to having a soft spot for NOLA at the moment - the food was soooo good. I swear I gained 5 lbs. And the people have a lot of spirit. Well not the drunk gross tourists but the locals. We did a cemetary tour that was quite interesting and has prompted me to actually want to learn more about the city's history... you know, read a book? I was so happy to get home, I missed everyone so much. But I'm glad I went and proved to myself I can do things without them. Sometimes I'm so damn co-dependent.

Happy Halloween y'all.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

i won't fight and i won't hate (well not today)

Okay so going to depart from the doom and gloom and talk about our time over in Ireland. What a great trip we had. I completely enjoyed spending lots of quality time with the kiddos. Posting some pre-wedding pics here. P in his tux, which he was really into wearing, and Noely getting his wedding onesie on. Flight over was really uneventful even with Noel having an ear infection. He fell asleep before we took off and stayed that way until we were about to land. P was super pumped to be on the airplane. He and John were sitting behind me and I could hear some meltdown type whining etc. but couldn't really intervene or help due to sleeping baba so John had to manage on his own - anyhoo P ended up sleeping about half the flight and had lots of energy when we landed at 6 AM local time. Ugh. He managed to basically stay awake all day that first day - between the cows and his uncle's construction site next to his Nana's house where we were staying, there was just too much action to take in. Me, I crashed. But we all seemed to recover from the jetlag well. They were both super sleepers. P would stay up to midnight most nights and sleep till about 11 each morning.
We had Noely baptized at the church John went to as a child with his whole family present (about 35 aunts, uncles and cousins) with Noel wearing the antique baptismal gown that his grandfather was baptized in as well as his two brothers and most of his cousins. OMG, it barely fit him. So tight on his chunky arms. I was so half assed with his attire for the day that he wore brown cotton pants under the gown with blue/yellow striped socks. Whatever. He was still not feeling great - had the runs from the antibiotics - and I just couldn't get my act together to get him something fancy to wear. I think God or Jesus Christ or whomever removed Noel's original sin that day was okay with his look. Anyways the baptism was no nonsense - love that. Very fast, no messing. I had to laugh because it really was the first time P has been in church since he was baptized himself and he was running around it like a madman before we got down to business - fascinated with the alter and the candles. Once the service started I could tell he was a little out of sorts about the attention Noel was getting. So he came up to stand with us, then announced he had to go to the bathroom - said it about 3 times, each time a bit louder and more crassly than the previous declaration, and ended with a crotch grab. Good stuff. His uncle whisked him away and saw to the need.
After the baptism we had a little party to celebrate Noel, then a big party later that night for John's sister's 40th birthday. It started at 9 PM at a hotel and things were getting ugly with P before we even left the house. He was out of control at the hotel. There was a grand staircase that he was obsessed with playing on, climbing up. I figured there were about 10 cousins keeping an eye on him so I let things go more than I would usually - until I couldn't find him. My heart. He was up on the third floor by himself. !!! So we had to reign him in. Then Noel got a big case of the runs again and I'd forgotten extra clothes. I won't even get into what he was wearing at that point because it wasn't much at all. White trash baby why yes. Then he fell asleep on a couch outside the function room. Then Paudie had a complete and utter meltdown on the stairs - I was trying to get him back up the stairs when he went into dead weight mode so I was pulling him up the stairs and threatening that I'd call the police. God what a hag I must have sounded like. Then I had my version of a complete and utter meltdown. "WE ARE LEAVING NOW." It was about 12:30 at this point so can you blame us really?
The next few days we laid low. Noel started to come around, P did more construction work up at the site. It was like he really thought he was going to work. Left one day with his sandwich and his wellies and come home covered in cement. But really had the time of his life. Ireland is a great place for little boys. Lots of tractors, animals, sports. And in John's family, 12 out of the 15 cousins are boys. It brought me such joy to see him playing with his cousins, they all got on like a house on fire. Only the third time he's seen them all so I worried about his loner/introvert attributes coming to the surface, but he was mostly engaged.
One day a friend of mine working in London flew over to Cork so we could tour around. We ended up in Kinsale at a really lousy Irish pub for lunch. P demanded Spaghetti and Meatballs which I knew would be sketchy in an Irish pub but he was so persistent I didn't argue. Well when a plate of pasta showed up with brown sauce on it, I wasn't exactly surprised. BBQ sauce. Grody. He wouldn't touch it. So we were offered a replacement dish... of ice cream. That about sums up how he ate for two weeks. Another day he was offered his first taste ever of soda - 7-Up. I figured why not, we're on vacation. You should have seen the eyes as he tasted it. He passed the glass over to John and exclaimed, "TRY IT!" The next day he had orange soda and coke. Good god. As I told him, enjoy it while you can my friend because they don't have this in America. I know it's bad to lie but it's also kind of fun sometimes.
Next up... the wedding.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

four years.

Here we are, October 13. Four years ago today Cian left us. Each anniversary my feelings about the anniversary change. The pain and anger certainly have not diminished, but with each year I get a little braver about not letting the actual anniversary consume me. But my God how it stings knowing Cian should be starting kindergarten next year. That perhaps we'd have moved on with our lives like I'd always planned - having our 3 kids then relocating to a more family-oriented community. But that all got put on hold for reasons unbeknownst to me for the rest of my livelong days I suppose. When I question where I am in life and what to do next, all the confusion stems from the events of 2006. I wish I could just put the scarlet letter on my chest and be done with it.

The cliche is true. And believe me, I hate cliches. Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare. I look back on our days in the comfort room in Children's - all 3 or 4 of them - and think, how did I make it? From a distance I'm now one of the people who read our CarePage and left a note saying how strong we were, asking how we were getting through it. From this distance all I can surmise is that it wasn't me at all. I remember taking a shower the day he died - actually I think it was the day before. Looking back I think, how on earth did I leave his bedside for 15 minutes? Then I recall I hadn't had a shower all week and I just needed 15 minutes to myself to try and feel like a human being again.

Prior to Cian dying, I never had a face-to-face experience with death. I was so scared he would pass in the night but it was physically impossible to stay awake all night. I remember asking John what it would be like when he died - John's father had died about two years earlier and John was with him. It's amazing to me that the palliative care clinicians knew what would happen and when. Towards the end we were almost scared to hold Cian - hard to say why. Maybe it was a crude form of detachment starting. But they urged us to hold him - his dad, his uncle, his grandpa. When he got to me, things started to change. The room slowly filled with people, drugs were being pushed. I just sat rocking him. Someone's cell phone went off. I remember asking, is he gone? Then he'd take another labored breath. Then he really was gone. But if I stared hard and long enough, I'd swear his stomach was moving.

Eventually everyone left the room. He lied on the bed as if he were a doll. We bathed him and put a clean outfit with clouds on him. Then they took him, wrapped in a blanket as if he was a sleeping baby.

Leaving the hospital after your child dies is a surreal experience. First you pack your things - like checking out of a hotel almost. Then you put on a brave face and walk through the halls - there is no emergency exit - and see the other families wishing for a miracle, getting a miracle, getting the shaft or just having an ordinary day. You go to your car and see the empty carseat and wonder if another baby will ever sit in it again. You go home and see all the toys and clothes that are left behind. You cry. You cry a lot. You want to rip out your insides. But you can't. You have to pull it together. There are plans to be made. Phone calls to place. Thoughts to process.

It's true I'll never be the same because of what happened four years ago today. And it's hard to go through life every day faking it. I know what some people think. That Cian was just a baby so we probably didn't get too attached to him. Or how we'd just have more kids because you know he could be replaced. I sit in meetings at work where jokes have been made about hospital morgues or pity is levied for parents of sick kids. People talk to us about our two kids or ask if we are going to have a third. All the while I fake it. What choice is there really.

I'll never understand why we were chosen to give up our first child after only 7 months of life. The trauma of having your parenthood taken away is simply ridiculous. Obviously I'm appreciative of getting it back, but I will always wonder what kind of parent I'd be now if I wasn't carrying that baggage. Better? Worse? Hard to say, probably a little bit of each.

Miss you more than words can relay. Thanks for everything you taught us. The memories you gave us. And I'm eternally sorry for what you endured.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Keep on keepin' on

Did I already use that title once? Probably. Everything old is new again these days anyways, you know, derivative. So here we are, mid-September. Paudie our superboy is 3. He is potty trained. He uses a real cup. We have a pre-schooler! We had a small get-together for him last weekend with a bouncy castle. A little over the top for like 8 friends I guess, but the fact that he keeps getting older is so meaningful for us - we don't take it for granted. There was a time I never thought we'd get here. And yes I realize that the way I am talking right now sounds as if Paudie is the one with cancer or some other illness. I wish I could parent without baggage but I just can't no matter how hard I try. The poor kid, having to grow up with a half crazy mama. Noel is so lucky that Paudie gets the brunt of my pathology.
Speaking of Noel he is now 5 and a half months - another milestone for us. If he wakes up tomorrow without being diagnosed with cancer, which I am fairly certain will happen, we'll have surpassed another marker in my mind. He is so much like Cian. Happy, happy, happy baby. And fat. The fattest thighs you have ever seen. I had John get all the 6-12 month clothes from the attic last month and just gave up on them - chunker is now in 12-18 month clothes and they aren't exactly hanging off of him. In no time at all he will be taking his brother down. Have I mentioned the drooling yet? Noel is the drooliest kid. OMG. He soaks through his shirt in no time at all. It's like a faucet. The bibs and shirts we go through each day is really something else. You hold him for like a minute and you are slimed.
Hmm what else has gone on lately? Paudie had his 3 year well visit and I have to say, he has come a long way. While he was very vocal about not wanting to go see Dr. I, he was largely a trooper. Didn't cry for the finger prick/lead test. I thought that would be the worst of it (hence me scheduling the appt on his actual bday), but it turns out he needed a booster shot. And then I figured why not throw in the flu shot if he is going to be crying anways. Bad mommy! But he calmed down and had a good visit with our wonderful doctor. He clocked in at 40 inches and 34 lbs. Still completely lanky. Oh, and we had another successful haircut. He was sporting this Bieber look which was a total bad scene but I wanted to wait till right before our trip since he's the ring bearer and all, needed to make sure he is well-coiffed for the photos.
Oh, right. So as mentioned above, the big news is that Weds night at 7:15 PM we will all board a plane for Ireland. Between now and then I need to pack 172 Lbs of stuff to carry us through our two-week getaway. We are going to have a very busy time with John's family between a wedding and associated dinners, a birthday party and Noel's baptism. Paudie is going to be on perma-high playing with his 13 cousins, stomping in mud and puddles, riding a tractor, looking at the cows etc. If we could just fast-forward past the plane ride and two-days of jetlag/sleep deprivation. It really is incredibly painful to lose a night of sleep. But hopefully we'll get settled in without too much drama and conflict. Hee.
Bon voyage peeps.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Today is August 31.

38 years ago today, my mother's water broke and I entered the world at 7:07 AM.

13 years ago today, Princess Diana was killed (I learned of this while celebrating my 25th birthday at JJ Foleys).

5 years ago today, I had an ultrasound of a 12 week old fetus that would eventually be known to all as Cian.

Also 5 years ago today I watched in disbelief as Katrina hit New Orleans; I thought to myself how lucky we were.

4 years ago today I sat in a hospital room on 6N in Children's Hospital still so devastated by the news that my son had cancer. I wondered if he'd ever smile again. I was not feeling lucky anymore.

3 years ago today I was 39 weeks pregnant, getting ready to welcome another little boy into the world as well as an inordinate amount of accompanying anxiety.

2 years ago today I was picking myself up from a miscarriage and wondering why things had to be so hard.

1 year ago today I found myself 8 weeks pregnant.

This morning John and I subjected ourselves (and Noel) to a belly scan as a peace of mind measure - making sure nothing is there that shouldn't be. The tension was absurd. We did not speak. I did not sleep last night. When we got the all-clear from the radiologist, we almost cried. I don't want to be this way. I want to let it go. But I can't.

So Happy Birthday to me.

I am not happy about getting older. I am finding it harder and harder to deal with anxiety that seems to be increasing in my life. It all stems from living through something that most people would say is irrational. It is an irrational fear as a new parent to think your baby will die. Everyone thinks that right? It is a fear all new parents have. But it really happened. Any because of that fact I struggle with how to manage other irrational fears. I'm going to get into a car accident. Noel is going to have cancer. Paudie is going to get hit by a car. The list goes on and on and I am so angry that I can't control the workings of my brain. I hate you neuroblastoma. I hate you for taking my son and for making me someone I don't like much of the time anymore. I want to be happy but even at my happiest right now it's still a fraction of what it means to be unequivocally happy.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Funny, as in sad

So if you ever told me, oh say 5-10 years ago, I'd be the mother to 3 boys, I'd have laughed uncomfortably. If you'd told me one of them would be heavenly only months after arriving, I would have thought you were lying. But such is life. And now this is how I get a family photo of my three boys. This photo is really more of an outtake from a session we had at our house a few weeks back. The look on P's face makes me kinda smile at an otherwise sad image.
Have to put it out there that Tuesday marks 4 years since the most horrific day of my life. It feels so far away. Like it's in the rearview mirror and I am really squinting to see it. But I am such a different person for having lived through that day and all that followed - including the 1400 days since. I was thinking today that Cian's illness and death was the pinnacle of stress for me and maybe that's why I cope so well with stress. It's not even coping with stress - it's like I am teflon for stress. Now anxiety is a whole other ball game, but I've been to the apex of stress and I don't think I will ever go back. Kinda makes me a bad employee at times and sometimes I even question my parenting skills as a result.
It's kind of nice that only two weeks after Cian's dx anniversary we have P's birthday to pick us up. I can't believe he is going to be 3. When he's happy, he's so much fun. When he's unhappy, he's incredibly dramatic and that too can be kind of fun if it wasn't so ear piercing. Like this Am he had a miniscule splinter in his foot - John needed a huge toy magnifying glass to see it. You should have seen the limping. You'd think he had a broken foot. He really has a flare for the dramatic. Has since he was a baby.
Speaking of baby... Noel loves food! Praise the lord baby jesus we have an eater. Last night he lapped up a jar of peas like I would a dark chocolate pudding. He is a dream baby. So relaxed, so giggly, so fun. A lot like Cian. I thought for sure I'd be punished this time with a colicky screamer, but we have been blessed with an amazing baba. And when I look into his big blue eyes, I feel as if I've looked into those same eyes before and it brings me comfort.
We took Noel for his 4 month check-up last week and he almost broke the office's record for size. he clocked in at 21 lbs - two P didn't weigh that much till he was 9 months old. Noel is totally going to take P out in a few months and I have to say, I am sure he will deserve it. P does a lot of regressing around Noel - like suddenly his favorite toys are Noel's toys. I find it pretty irritating, I can only imagine what Noel will think if the behavior continues. Gonna totally take him out.
It's fun to read back over this pathetic blog and see how when P was Noel's age, I was soooo gaga over him - then over time as he has gotten older and all the toddler stuff has set-in, there isn't as much outright gaga-ness. Now to have another cuddly, chubby, toothless baby around who is so innocent, it's wonderful to feel that gaga all over again. Part of me honestly cringes at the thought of doing infant-mama all over again, but another part of me can't come to terms with not having any more gaga in only a few months.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Reunited and it feels so bad

Before I get into what the title of this post means, let's reflect on how cute Noel is. Awww. He is officially 4 months old. Drooling like no tomorrow. Rolling over - both ways. He is actually a compulsive roller. At night when he wants to sleep he just keeps rolling over, crying and barfing from laying on his stomach. It's a vicious cycle. I gave him a little oatmeal last night because he has been so cranky about taking the bottle. I had hoped some semblance of solid food would do the trick and make him happy. It didn't. But he wasn't horrified either.

So this weekend I went by myself - well, I went with my friends but sans family - to my 20 year high school reunion. All I can say now is what was I thinking? I gave up a weekend with the fam to hang out Friday night in a hideous townie bar with, for the most part, people I was never friends with. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely a handful of smart, interesting people from the clas of 1990, but for the most part, it was a bust. We didn't even go to the picnic Saturday. In true high school fashion, we drove up to it, didn't like what we saw and drove away. Anyhoo I had my first night out in 18 months so 3.5 drinks later I was totally intoxicated. So hungover the next day. So between being hungover, tired, alone etc, I spent way too much time being introspective. Thinking things like, hmmm... 20 years. Am I where I thought I'd be? Am I happy? All the shit I am better off just not thinking about.

So Satuday I spent some time alone with my mom at the nursing home. Never really spend time alone with her since the fam is always with me on my trips. Again, more time to introspect. Is that even a word? My friends and I hit the beer tent, a la Hilton Zoo, Saturday night. This is basically a huge frat party on carnival grounds. Free to enter, bad cover band, no lighting, lots of smoking and Genny Light cans for $2.50 each. Never drank in the beer tent before. So I can cross if off my list. I can remember the Hilton Carnival being like the best 4 days of the summer, what you looked forward to the most just to walk around it 500 times and ignore people you went to school with. This time I was walking around it clutching my purse and feeling like I should go give some parenting lessons to the people letting their 2 year olds drink soda from a can at 9:30 at night. And the security guards! What is life coming to in the little town of Hilton, NY? Security guards at the volunteer fireman's carnival?

Sunday was tense. I just wanted to get home to the boys. I felt guilty for leaving John to take care of them all, and I didn't even have the time of my life. Should have been at a spa. So the plane is about to take off at 7PM... then back to the gate we went. I swear I almost stood up and started to shriek, "Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!" But I held it together. Even when it looked like my best chance to get home was a 6:oo AM the following morn via Washington DC. But USAir came through and got me home for 11:00. And really I wasn't bitter that I had to spend $50 for a cab since the kids were in bed.

So there was my weekend. When I first saw Noel Sunday night it felt like I hadn't seen him in months. He seemed slimmer and blonder. Paudie looks the same but isn't being a very nice boy to me. And his potty training is not advancing very quickly either. I just hope some day soon he wakes up and is ready to say goodbye to diapers forever. Well at least for the next 75 or so years. Even super hero underwear doesn't pique his attention.

As I sit here typing and thinking, oh my aching back, something else I will add is that in an effort to make my stomach muscles behave and GO BACK to where they came I am binding my belly. Yup, like a girdle. So we shall see. It's helping with my posture which I really need to work on since someone asked me at the reunion if I was pregnant (because of the way I was standing he says). So we'll see if the belly bandit can work magic or not. There is no time for exercise.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

How soon we forget...

So there they are. The boys. In this pic Noel is very sort of Cian-esque. It's the eyes. And the roundness. Hard to believe Noel is nearly 4 months old. It's amazing the stuff your brain flushes when it determines knowledge to be no longer relevant. Like right now we are in a stage with Noel where he hates his bottle and is obsessively trying to turn over and getting very frustrated. Now I know I've seen this before but I'll be damned with who and how long it lasts etc. At first it's like... what is he doing? Why is he so cranky? Is something wrong with him? Then it starts to set in, the feeling of deja vu. Anyhow Noel remains completely charming and sweet. I really think he is going to be our eater. Cian never really got the chance to enjoy food and Paudie has hated food since the start. He has said that to us on several occasions lately. "I don't like food." But Noel seems pretty interested in what we are eating so fingers crossed we get to experience a child who happily eats.

The potty training with Paudie is going so-so. Good god what a pain in the arse it is. He actually does better with it at daycare than he does at home. He does on occasion respond to our bribing, but he has yet to really show initiative to go to the bathroom on his own. He is only 7 weeks shy of turning 3 so I hope it clicks soon because he already looks older than he is and I don't want people to think I have a 5 year old in diapers. Which I think they do anyways. The check-out woman at Trader Joes asked him how old he was and he said 5 and she bought it. Not because he thinks he is but because he can't count.

I am sitting here typing feeling that my eyes could close any minute even though I am getting a pretty solid 7-8 hours of sleep most nights. I wonder if sleep deprivation just hangs around as you get older? Or if being tired all the time is from getting older? I guess I just have to accept I will be tired every second of every day from here on out - comes with the parenting territory. Jaysus I miss sleeping in. I am so glad that I used to sleep till like 2:00 when I could. Who would have thought 6:00 could be the new 2:00?

So John is home with Noel. Just read an article in Parent's about how something like 25% of dads stay home with the kids now. Look at us, part of a trend. Meanwhile I am back at work trying to be productive. And wishing I head a treadmill desk. I have 8 lbs to lose. I know, not a lot, but my body refuses to relinquish it. I wake up starving every day, have a 400 calorie salad for lunch and carrots as a snack and nada. Booo. I am trying to fit in walking when I can but I know what I need is some real aerobic exercise. And I know if you burn energy it makes more energy but tell my lazy bottom that.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

meet noel.

There he is. Crowley boy #3. And yes that basically is a picture of his dimple. His asymetrical dimple. He's very cute huh? Can't believe it's been about 4 months since I was on here with an update. Scratch that, I can.
So here's the story of Noel. I went into labor at about 7:00 on March 31. We got to the hospital at 10, he was born at 12:30 AM. April 1. The Fool's Day, to his father's chagrin. While we were at home I had some denial about being in labor. But John convinced me we had to go to the hospital - by the time we got there, I couldn't even really walk. I was almost crying. I never had that experience with the first two because I was induced with Cian (epidural at 4 cm) and got the epidural at 5 cm with Paudie. I was at 6 cm when we got to the hospital and about 8 when I finally was able to get the meds. They weren't on board very long when it was time to push. He was out in no time at all. What I remember is that no one (there were only 4 people in the room) would say what the gender was. "Oh this baby has a lot of hair" "Oh my, what a long baby!" Finally I asked and was told, another boy. Which I had expected and is perfectly fine. We are so well equipped for boys!
Paudie had a hard time adjusting to big brotherhood. I'm not going to lie, it was so brutal. He was a total brat. When have I ever said that about him? He seems to have settled in some. But the first few days were a disaster.
So what can I tell you about Noel? Well, he is the sweetest baby like ever. He never cries. Only when he is uber hungry. He is low key and super smiley. He is enormous. Top of growth charts for height and weight. Has Cian's big blue eyes. Acutaally he looked a lot like Cian at first and now is more of a fat, blue eyed Paudie. But he def has Cian's personality. All party all the time.
Sleeping was rough at first but in the last week or so (he just turned 3 months) he has started doing 7-9 hour stretches at night. Hallelujah! Just in time for me to go back to work. John is home with him for the next few months till we figure out where we can get some infant care from. Easier said than done.
I still have a lot of panic about pediatric cancer. Hate it. Hate that I just can't be 100 percent confident and happy. Especially because Noel is so Cian like. But I am getting by. Denial perhaps.
Funny how having a baby makes you see your other children. If Paudie was 2 going on 5 before, now it's like 2 going on 10. He is riding a bike, feeding the dog, letting him in... if only he could use a toilet - that is our summer project.
So there you have it. 5 years in the making, we now have two living children. Who would have thought it would take so long. Me, bitter? Why yes. :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Just like his mama

Paudie is the image of me when I was small in this pic. Yes, I looked like a boy. A boy with a bad haircut. It's the eyes. Except he has long, luxurious lashes and I have horrid stubby ones. I'm so fortunate Wendy takes lots of pics at daycare cos lately John and I have been slacking big time.

So it's been almost a month since my last post. Ugh. What even happened I wonder? Well we survived Cian's birthday. It was harder this year than last - last year we were landing in Ireland on his bday so between jetlag and preoccupation, it was easier to cope. This year it was all in our face. I managed to make it to about 9:30 PM before I had my total meltdown. Then it takes about 2 days to get over the anniversary hangover.

But enough about that. Paudie started swimming Saturday and... success! John took him and I really had no idea what the report was going to be. I guess he was a little unsure at first - but then he was all about it. He was exhausted when the 30 minute class was over. The boys came home and got me and we went to breakfast and Paudie chowed! He rarely does that - but clearly he worked up an appetite, as did his dad.

Paudie has also been very pro-mama lately which has been nice. I am sure it is a phase but I'll take it while it lasts. I'm loving a little cling. He's also been cracking us up with some of the things he's been saying. The other nights after dinner he asked us, "guys, you wanna watch a movie?" Guys. Priceless. He was at his 30 month check-up earlier this week - a total screaming mess for much of it, until the doctor came in. Then he looks at the doc and says, "You Dr. Irons?" And from that point on he was the most well-behaved, compliant patient. Maybe we are over the hump? During the exam the doc had to take a call about getting his basement pumped out and that was all Paudie could talk about once we got home. So funny the things kids latch on to. I wonder if he'll talk about it again next time we see Dr. Irons which should be any day now.

So things are really great with Paudie though I can't help but feel sorta sorry for him since his whole world is about to go upside down and he truly has no idea. He has been the center of our worlds in so many ways for 2.5 years (really longer I guess). A total golden child. Though if I may pat ourselves on the back for just one minute here, I do think we have done a good job of not letting it go to his head too much - this isn't a spoiled brat. I think he likes our laid back vibe and understands it's intent/genesis in some weird cosmic way.

Friday, February 26, 2010

leave me alone mom.

I was told that at least two times this week, perhaps three. And then there were the times I was blocking the TV or sitting in the spot Paudie wanted to sit. I can't believe two year olds can already sass their parents. It seems like it went from him barely being able to talk to talking to me like I talked my mom for a good 20 years in about no time at at all. So unfair. Where is the unconditional love and cuddling and neediness I ask you?

Big hit last weekend with the boys haircuts. Banjo spent hours being groomed and is like Westminster material, if only he weren't a halfbred southern mutt. And Paudie made it through his cut without a single tear! Even sat in the chair by himself. There were some tense moments, particularly when the razor came out. I have to say, I think we are done with Snip-Its now. The woman who cut us had less than zero charm and personality. Asked me how much I wanted taken off, I said not much/I liked it a little longish... she then proceeded to cut the cast majority of his hair off. Thanks. I think it has been a long time since I met someone working in a service industry who clearly hates her job as much as this charmer. The only reason I rolled with it was that I figured well, at least he won't need another cut for a long time. But he's got way too serious of a look going for my liking.

Since daycare was closed yesterday, John took Paudie to the aquarium. The real aquarium not the New Bedford sham. John has wanted to take him there since the kid was like just able to walk. He was all pumped up. Unfortunately, Paudie hated the crowds, was scared of the fish and only wanted to climb on things he wasn't necessarily supposed to climb on. So it was sort of a let down for John I think. Paudie was so excited the night before and the morning of - and he loves animals - but he just wasn't feeling it I guess. I spent 30 minutes on the phone trying to register him for swimming class this AM and all I could think is, good god I hope this isn't like the aquarium experience. He says he wants to swim, pretends to be a dolphin all the time... is excited about the notion of swimming when I mention it... so we'll see. I think it will be good. John will have to take him though since I think I still gag at the smell of indoor pool chlorine. That reflex is what ended my professional swimming career at a very young age.

Can you believe on Sunday February is over? The most hated month of the year behind us. Hurrah! I have to say though, it was pretty damn tolerable this year. Now we just need to get over the March 7 hump. I hate that's how I feel about Cian's birthday, but anniversaries just loom... almost mocking you. Anticipation can be evil.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Paudie's 15 minutes

So this is the photo that was featured on TV last night, on Chronicle from the Day in the Life series. Sure the credits were running over it, but that's okay. And yeah we watched Chronicle till 7:50 waiting for it and then turned the channel to Diego so Paudie would get his PJs on so we missed it. And there we were telling him all night he'd be on TV. Sigh.
We haven't taken pics of him in so long. I'll chalk it up to the winter blahs. Maybe we'll get some tomorrow afterall it is "boys haircut day" where all three boys are getting groomed - that is how we are selling it to him. I don't know who will be a more difficult client, Paudie or the dog. But they both need some clean up. I know Paudie is going to balk but we'll just ply him with sugar and hopefully that will soothe him.
So earlier this week we had a two-day run of a hungry boy. It was amazing to see him really eat and to hear him saying that he is hungry and actually wants to eat. But like I said, seems to have been a two-day phase. Drat. I had thought we turned the corner but I guess he was just teasing. We did learn recently that he "loves sushi" (his words) so that's been kind of fun - we get rice and rolls once a week now and he does pretty well with that meal.
Trying to think what else has happened since the last post... Paudie had a great Valentine's day. Lots of chocolate so he was a happy camper. And his mom was too. Last Saturday John took him to a music program at the library and I guess he did pretty well with that - a little standoffish but he eventually got his groove. I'm sure it will be like another year before he goes back to the library because once the weather warms up the homeless people start to sleep there.
Obviously life is pretty mundane right now. Things are quiet, which is good. Paudie continues to enjoy Banjo and continues to get more verbal. This week's gems were "Leave me alone" and "Don't you tickle me... EVER." He loves to throw EVER onto the end of sentences all angry like for effect. He is still sleeping in bigboy bed most nights, though he has little command of head on pillow. I wonder when that will kick in. Every morning I check on him and he is in some new convoluted position. And have I mentioned he is still teething? He's 2 and a half and is missing teeth - and we don't even know if there are teeth coming or if he inherited my dental issues (too many teeth here, not enough there).
In other news, March is coming and you know what that means... I think we might do a small birthday cake for Cian this year to try to involve Paudie more in celebrating his life. Hopefully I won't be bawling my eyes out singing to him... but I probably will be. Hormones.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

fixing the law

Thank goodness for my iPhone or there would be no new pics of Paudie in a long time. We areally are slipping these days! Look at him banging away on his cousin's drumset. He looks like a natural. I think he could be some sort of rockstar, he does have a renaissance toddler vibe going for him. Likes music, dance, cooking, reading, dirt, animals, soccer. You name it. Everything but haircuts, the doctor and most meat except sausage.

Today's title refers to a funny, back-page of Parent's Magazine, thing Paudie said the other day. We were in the car and John turned the wrong way down a one way street and Paudie asked where we were going and John said he had to turn around since he was breaking the law and Paudie suggested he could fix the law. Cute.

So the boy is healthy again. I think he lost a pound or two as all his pants are low rider at the moment. But being his grandmother's grandson, he does still complain that they are too tight. At least he isn't asking for a hanky every ten minutes.

The last few weeks have been pretty good. The mornings are going pretty smoothe. We have learned how to use TV properly as the bribe. Give him a little then threaten to turn it off if clothes are not changed in a timely manner. Works in the AM and PM. About two weeks ago Paudie woke up one morning and had a hankering for the Muppets. Demanding to see them. Well we had none. So to the mall we went and grabbed a few of their movies. My god, for a week straight it's all he wanted to watch. Asking for the Muppets constantly. When we put on a movie, he goes into a trance and cannot be disturbed. He says Animal is his favorite but he seems to like Fozzie as well. Me, I still have my Rolph the dog ceramic mug from 1981. No idea if I really liked Rolph or what the deal was there cos he isn't really doing it for me right now. But man who didn't looooove the Muppet Show? That was such good stuff. I have to say what has surprised me abotu the movies, particularly the original, is the violence. It is rated G and there is a lot of gunfire and talk of killing Kermit. Even the main plot - frog legs - is kind of morose. Man I miss the 70s. Everything is so sterile these days but I guess it has to be. Wah.

Hmmm what else is going on? I can't even remember what we did over the weekend. Oh right, nothing on Saturday. Paudie's cousins came over and were playing with all of his toys and all he could do was run from one to the next supervising. It took him awhile to settle in and be okay with them touching his things. Was really the first time in a long time we had other kids over touching his stuff. Funny to see him so anxious. Sunday we went down to New Bedford to what John kept calling an aquarium. A large room with 7 small fish tanks isn't an aquarium. But honestly it was perfect for him. Lots of wet things and fish to look at and toys to play with. We can cross if off our list. We stopped at an antique mart on the way back and Paudie had a ball running around, calling out all the things he was seeing and nearly breaking many other things. I felt like the people working there were following us around just waiting for something to break. I love how we can take him anywhere, but the doctor or for a haircut, and he can have a ball. Why can't I be him?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

sniffling, sneezing, aching, coughing, stuffy-head, fever...

This was taken last Saturday, a balmy 38 or so degree morning, at the Stone Zoo. Our zoo membership ends soon so we are trying to milk it for all that it is worth. My god Paudie loves the zoo. He was on a high all morning until we got there. While he thoroughly enjoyed himself, he was a bit disapointed that there was no lion at Stone. Who knew the lion was his favorite? He never really showed any affinity any of the times we have been at Franklin Park. He just kept asking for the lion over and over. Poor thing.

Paudie's high was shortlived as he woke up at 2:30 AM Sunday AM with a 103 degree fever. Sigh. He was just sick! What the hell man. Anyways this scourge that he has will not let go! He has been home all week feeling just plain lousy. He's wicked snotty and has a hacking cough. He took him to the doctor yesterday and as per usual, he was diagnosed with an ear infection. I think his 6th now. I think high fevers and ear infections are just his thing. That's all he's ever had.

I made the mistake of telling Paudie we were doctor bound before we got in the car. The tears flowed for about 40 minutes straight and he just repeated "don't wanna go" over and over and over like he was afflicted. Even in the exam room when clearly we were there, he kept saying it. I don't know when his fear of doctors is going to subside. He perked up though when John got an H1N1 shot - totally unexpected last night. He was so excited to be at his doctor's office and see John get a shot. He actually said something like, "so I'm not getting a shot? It's daddy?" Maybe that's what we needed to get us over the hump with the doctors.

Four days of being home with dad and us feeling incredibly sorry for him has meant waaaay to much tv, a late bedtime, and sweets for meals. I wonder how he is going to cope with going back to daycare. Today John took him to Home Depot which is right up there with the zoo. John said he was on fire running around the store, making friends with some of the employees. How funny that he loves that place as much or more than his father. I remember being pregnant for the first time and John saying how much he'd love to have a son to take to Home Depot. And now he has a son that wants to go to HD every day of his life. So there you go. Dreams do come true.

So that's about all that is going on. Our hibernation largely continues with the exception of hanging at the house with some friends.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Hibernation = happiness

Today's title reflects the only good thing about the first three months of the year - it's our time to basically hibernate. The bad thing is that with hibernation comes reflection and the time have to think about all the things in your life that you want to change. Someday...

The last few weeks of December were decidedly busier than I had wanted. Paudie got his H1N1 booster right before we were to leave for NY and wouldn't you know, later that day he developed a high fever and then a rash all over. Ugh. He always gets sick around our travel! I called our doc and, like I always do when I talk to him, referred to myself as crazy neuroblastoma mom. For the first time instead of laughing with me at my attempts at self-effacement, he sort of cut me off and told me I am not crazy and that the practice had recently diagnosed another child, and how horrendous it was for him to actually feel a large mass where there should be nothing. It was a strange validation I felt, perhaps in his mind. Anyways we went in to see him and though Paudie was screeching his head off (and refusing to take off sunglasses), it was the first appt we have had where the doctor talked to Paudie directly about what he was feeling. Felt like a milestone. Guess he just had some random virus and the H1N1 shot was a coincidence. Phew.

Christmas was amazing. We talked up Santa as much as we could on Christmas Eve, that he would come down the chimney at my father's house, and we left snacks. We put Paudie's gifts from us out once he was asleep, following a tradition from John's family - leaving them under his coat. He was stunned in the morning. There were about ten gifts in all from John and I - all super mundane - and he opened them like a pro in a matter of minutes. And then wanted more. He held off until my family arrived and then he dove in, assisting everyone with their opening. And asking us all to sit in a circle during the opening. He got a lot of great toys and they kept him going all week. The next morning the first thing he said when he woke up was "... presents??" and then ran back to the living room to look for more. Poor thing. Though a visit to his godmother later that day did bring with it a cool wooden bike called a Skuut. The child is so spoiled.

The rest of the week was meant to be lazy and glutonous. We did seem to excel at the gluttony, but we were definitely more busy than I had expected us to be. We saw my mom every day for a little while, even though Paudie was getting pretty vocal by the end of the week about his lack of interest in the nursing home. Luckily they have a fish tank in the foyer and that sucks him in. As do automatic doors. Went to the science museum one day as well - what primarily attracted us was an exhibit on the Titanic and artifacts - Paudie hated it. So we ran through it and I retained nothing of what I saw. But he had a blast with the rest of the museum, especially a kiddy archeological dig they had set up and all the animal replicas etc. I'd say 75% of the time he was the model child, the rest of the time was dramatic. But I guess those aren't bad stats.

Spent a lot of time with my family - Banjo was staying with my sister so we'd try to make it there every day or so for a visit. And he really didn't care very much to see us. He seemed pretty well settled in there and possibly in deep love with their much larger, calmer dog. Paudie also settled in well there. But Paudie isn't currently in the deep depression that Banjo is. Banjo doesn't have any mojo to destroy anything in our house currently. His energy is spent on longing for Foster. So all in all, it works for us. I hate to see the poor bugger so down in the dumps, but I really can't take him eating the couch or my shoes anymore.

Getting to spend 9 or so staright days with Paudie is such an amazing thing for me. I feel like I get to know him so much better. John and I agree we feel like he matured so much - the words, phrases and overall concepts he now understands are so far beyond where he was only a matter of weeks ago. I hate that I miss so much of that. It was hard to come back this time, hard to look 2010 in the face and try to get motivated. I think the New Year was particularly rough - and I never saw this coming - because of all the talk of a new decade, leaving the 2000s behind... all the news focused on all the public figures we lost in the decade. Made me think a lot about Cian - just another marker of time moving forward, us without one another.

But the fact that 2010 will (fingers crossed) bring us someone new to love and cherish is of course very, very exciting and uplifting.

So that's where we find ourselves at these days. Had amazing holidays with our friends and family, and now we don't leave the house and spend our time eating, sleeping and thinking. Lots of thinking. Until April, that is the plan.