across the spectrum

Mornings have slowly evolved into a routine in the house. On a good day, this finds me up and ready before either of the girls are awake. While they are both capable of being a little independent, it’s just easier to get started without them requiring any assistance. Since the time change a few weeks ago, this hasn’t been an issue. It’s still dark prior to 7am, and to this point, doesn’t come too far ahead of sunrise.

Some mornings, if we had an early bedtime the night before, Maddi will start making noise. We recently took the side off of her crib, and even though she can get out of her bed, she typically doesn’t. Maybe it’s the low side that’s on it to keep her from rolling out. Maybe it’s the fact that she can’t open the doors in the house so she can’t really go anywhere anyway. Whatever it is that keeps her in bed when she wakes up, I’m not going to complain.

Even if she isn’t awake, Maddi typically pops up quickly after I walk in. She likes to have her diaper changed right away, and then a new outfit is selected. If I don’t have one picked out yet, I get assistance in the closet. Thankfully, Rhiannon loads the closet with matching outfits pre-sorted, so as long as I take the pants under whatever shirt Maddi grabs, we are good to go. Then she likes to run down the hall and say good morning to Rhiannon.

Before I get Maddi, I like to open Brooklynn’s door. This lets the hall light shine in for a little bit before I get her. It doesn’t mean she’s awake. More often than not, it means when I go in, the blankets are pulled over her head and she has her back to the door. Where Maddi seems pretty excited about getting ready, Brooklynn does not. She doesn’t like being uncovered. She doesn’t like getting dressed, or getting out of bed, or getting breakfast. Asking a person to sit at a table and eat food prior to 7:15 is asking a lot.

Maddi runs to the pantry and usually requests rice krispies. Brooklynn sulks at the table and rejects the three options I give her before sighing heavily and selecting the first choice I already gave her, as if her life is about to end because her dad can’t figure out what is the least objectionable food to start a day with. Keep in mind, least objectionable is a very fluid term – what was a hit one morning may be detested the next day. Peach kuchen bars had a solid two week run until she decided one morning that peaches weren’t really good for breakfast anymore and could I just dig all those out?

Maddi finishes eating and runs around finding her SHOES and HAT and COAT and BACKPACK! Every morning is a new adventure full of things to learn. She can pick out her footwear. She can put on her own coat. What is this amazing beverage in my bottle today? Why, it’s WATER! HOORAY LIFE!!

Brooklynn decides about the time we need to leave that her mostly untouched and inedible breakfast is now the finest dining experience and how can we be so cruel as to tear her away from such delicacies before she is allowed to finish eating? Life is not fair. If it’s cold, we make her wear her winter coat, the bulky one that bunches up when she sits in the car. Travesty! If we relent and let her wear the less bulky (and less warm) one, she will decide about the time the garage door closes that she is freezing and where is her warm coat and why isn’t the car toasty yet? Anguish and torment.

If our life were a sitcom with two teenagers, Maddi would be a cheerleader excited about the big game and Brooklynn would be a brooding renegade, wearing all black and muttering to herself about how the world doesn’t understand her.

Then I start the soundtrack to the Frozen movie as we drive. Peace settles over the car, Brooklynn signs along and Maddi chimes in on the words that end the major phrases. Just a simple drive, day after day. Routine. Aside from being both exasperating and exhausting every single morning, it’s kind of comforting.

Now, having committed all of this in writing, I’m guessing tomorrow morning will be drastically different.

the mighty has fallen

I don’t go to the doctor. Since I graduated from high school, I’ve been to a doctor for one issue. I tore my ACL and had replacement surgery. Not that I don’t get sick. No, I think I’ve taken a half day off because of illness in my almost 9 year career.

I’ve gotten colds and even had a couple rounds of throwing up. Maybe I’ve been a little hard headed about going in for medical attention, but things have always resolved themselves.

This winter, our first in North Dakota, Rhiannon has been sick. Brooklynn has been sick. Maddi has been cycling through cold after cold and rarely seem to clear one round before she comes down with the next one. And through it all, I’ve been relatively healthy. A couple days of blowing my nose a little more often, but nothing major. Just a typical winter illness season.

Wednesday night, my throat was sore. Last night, I had a fever of 103, was achy, and didn’t have much of an appetite. I passed out around 8pm after we got the girls to bed and slept for 10 hours. Looking at symptoms, they seemed to line up a little bit with influenza.

Of course, with our move this year, this is the first year I haven’t gotten a flu shot. At my old office, they would have a group come by and provide flu shots in the first floor conference room. At my new office, they don’t bring anyone in. So, since I’m not used to going out to get a shot myself, I never got around to it.

Fearing the worst about illness and the fact she’s never seen me get knocked out for 10 hours before, Rhiannon talked me into going to the doctor, and I listened to her. This morning, after sleeping for a long night and taking some medicine, I felt better. I had intended to stop in at work, fill out my time sheet, and take the day off. Three hours later, I finally left work and went to the local walk in clinic.

Having two kids that get sick from time to time and spending a week in the hospital with Brooklynn, I’m used to answering questions from doctors. It’s still different answer questions about yourself. And having your ears looked in and neck felt.

The doctor I saw didn’t feel like I had influenza. He suggested we test for strep and mono. Negative on both counts. Since there isn’t much to do for general viral infections, his prescription was rest and ibuprofen as needed for pain and fever relief.

It’s probably not the right attitude, but it doesn’t make me think going to the doctor for general illness very soon again.

injury identification

While Maddi is slowly progressing on her speaking vocabulary, her understanding is growing rapidly. At least her decisiveness in answering questions is getting better.

Maddi, would you like to go back to bed?

No!

Maddi, would you like to cuddle in bed for a while with mom and dad in our room?

No!

Maddi, would you like to watch some PBS shows on the TV?

No!

Maddi, would you like eat breakfast out here by yourself?

No!

Maddi, it’s 6:30am on the weekend. No one else in the house is up yet. Would you like me to sit out in the living room with you because you think it’s time to be awake now?

Yeah!

Wonderful…

It’s nice that she can follow directions and answer an expanding repertoire of questions with increasing accuracy. We could do without the stubbornness. She latches on to ideas and won’t let go. Like she needs her pacifier more than we would like. She likes to take care of babies. And she is concerned about owies.

Maddi has a scratch on one of her knuckles, and the last time I asked to see her pretty painted nails, that was the only thing that concerned her. She points to her knuckle – owie, owie! It doesn’t matter how old the scratch or mark it, it’s still an owie.

If she bumps her head or runs into a wall – owie! If I have a scratch or bruise on my leg that she can see, she will walk over, point to it with her finger, and say in her most concerned voice, Owie! Then she will pat it as if to say, Don’t worry Dad, it’s going to be ok.

Last night, we were in the pool for parent/child swimming class. Maddi likes swimming and likes to be in the water, but the class gets over close to 7pm which is close to her bedtime. By the end of the class, she wasn’t happy and wanted to put her toy back in the tub and get out. She reached out to put the frog back and noticed her wrinkled fingers.

She held her hand out toward me and with a small cry, as if she was asking why we were still there so late at night, owie. She grabbed my hand, saw my fingers, point to them and informed that was also an owie. She patted my wrinkled hand with her wrinkled hand, put her head on my shoulder, and sighed a soft owie.
It’s late, Dad. Let’s go home and get well.

they don’t need us

One of the things that Rhiannon and I have always felt strongly about is reading the girls bedtime stories. When Brooklynn was really little, we read a couple books that were more for the parents than for the child, a half chapter at a time each night. As she got older, we transitioned into a couple books each night that you can read through in one sitting. I think she is finally old enough that we could start reading longer stories a little at a time again, kind of like breaking a movie up into small pieces.

Maddi is also now old enough that she likes her picture books and enjoys to read the same book multiple times in one night or repeat the same story night after night so she can find the pictures and say the words that she knows.

Or, maybe neither of them need us anymore and they will take over their own story needs.

Evenying Reading
Bedtime Story

(Let’s just keep the fact that Maddi’s book is upside between us, ok? All she’s really concerned with is that she finds which flap opens to reveal a baby.)