Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Late Summer Daze . .

We've been getting adjusted to life with our Little Rag. Mazel tov to Little Frumhouse on the Prairie for winning our pseudo-naming contest! LFP, be on the lookout for your prize. You'll know it by the (unused, outgrown) diapers I'll be using as bubble wrap.

The past couple of weeks have been sort of a whirlwind tour of parental emotions: elation, worry, relief. RaggedyDad and I have looked over at each other countless times, thinking the same thing: being a parent is really intense sometimes. Whew.

Little Rag was whisked away to the NICU shortly after he was born with a condition called TTN. Thankfully, HE'S FINE (RaggedyDad suggested that I make that totally clear in the beginning), and got to go home after three days, but it was a hell of a scare for us. This was our third baby born at the same hospital, but the NICU is not a place I had been to before, aside from visiting my nephew who was born a preemie a few years ago (and is now a major bruiser, famous for his penchant for peeing into open washing machines).

Let me just say regarding the nurses who work in the NICU - if society were just, these are the people who would be earning tens of millions of dollars, not professional athletes and movie stars. Because they really deserve it.

I remember Ann and Andy as newborns snuggled up next to my hospital bed in their cozy isolettes. With Little Rag, I had to walk about 10 minutes down confusing sets of hallways and heavy doors (a few hours postpartum), "scrub in," and try to find his little face under various beeping contraptions. I couldn't nurse him for the first couple of days and he was fed by IV. There was a night I spent camped out in the NICU "family room" chairs (and using public hospital bathrooms) after I was discharged but before Little Rag got to go home. As I said, he got better quickly, and we've thankfully gotten back on track with feeding and the like, though the ordeal did naturally delay the bris by a couple of days.

Now that that's over with, Little Rag has been somewhat jaundiced, leading to more hospital visits, blood drawn repeatedly from his scrawny arm with a rubber tourniquet (!) wrapped around it, and more stress. As a public service announcement to phlebotomists in training - if you aren't sure whether you're capable of drawing blood from a newborn's arm, please DON'T try to.

Most of the people we dealt with were terrific. Some were less so. The main issue I had was when the 'medical people' forgot that I was a parent, and not a fellow medical person, and were a little callous in their explanations. Eg: "Don't worry, TTN is not as bad as [that other thing], where we'd have to make an incision in his chest." What?!

Or when some very young student-type doctors who clearly don't have kids of their own yet asked how I was coping when Little Rag was in full hooked-up mode. My response - "I know he's where he has to be, but it's taking a lot of restraint for me not to grab him and run out of here as fast as I can." If I'd said that to the nurses (likely most of them are moms), they'd probably have understood what I meant and jokingly offered to drive the getaway car. But the Doogie Howser crowd actually took me literally, got a little alarmed, wrote stuff down in notepads, and asked me to please, please let them know the next time I felt that urge. Tough crowd.

Or the doctor at the Urgicenter who flippantly guesstimated at the baby's bilirubin count and said he was fairly certain that the baby would be re-admitted to the hospital for 'possibly a few days'. Yep. Some of you definitely fell asleep during the mandatory sensitivity training.

I'll update soon about my first solo outing with all three kids, and other things I've been doing (Preview - I've been saying "Don't kick the baby, Andy!" a LOT.)

Just know that I'm still around, if a little worse for the wear, and getting back to reading and commenting over at a some of your blogs.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Names, Pseudonyms

Things here are in that delicious post-baby's arrival upheaval and nowhere near settling down.

In the meantime, we're preparing for the upcoming bris, and as RaggedyDad and I get ready to name our son, I'm also trying to come up with a blog name for him.

Needless to say (or is it?) our kids are not really named Ann and Andy. Rather, they do have names that sound somewhat similar to one another, and it goes with the whole Raggedy theme. Those names are more or less how this blog name was born.

Now that we've got a third Raggedy in the picture, I'm trying to think of how to refer to him on the blog. I'm not familiar with the extensive lore of Raggedy Ann and Andy and whether there are any another character names.

We're open to suggestions.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Raggedy Update

Mazel tov!

The Stats:

Baby boy Raggedy
Born Sunday, August 12 at 1:15 p.m.
6 lbs., 11 oz., 19 inches long

Everyone's doing well!

YAAAAWWWWNNNNN . . . I'll talk to all of you later . . . much later.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Make Mine Skim

Since I became Ann's mother four years ago, a significant part of my life is spent doing a lot more TALKING than I ever did before. I was never the biggest blabbermouth. Except for those moments of redheaded temper, I am usually able to weigh my words fairly carefully.

As someone who majored in linguistics in college, this would seem to be a dream come true, since witnessing my own children's language development is the best real-life playing field I could ever have imagined for seeing the applications of my studies. In reality, though, not always.

With Ann and Andy, there are chunks of time when I hear so much chattering going on that I sometimes feel like challenging them to a silence contest (anyone else remember those?). And then I'm taken aback to realize that a good deal of the talking is coming from ME! Constantly describing, encouraging, suggesting, explaining, answering, reading, narrating all fall within my job description.

One of the major features of our home is that there are always many books available to the kids. I've written before that RaggedyDad and I share the rude trait of often reading at the table. The kids aren't quite up to that, but they do feel very comfortable pulling out a book, doing their thing with it, or asking for it to be read. Lots of my books are the ones I kept in my classroom when I taught English as a second language. The library was also a major part of my life growing up, and I take the kids there fairly often.

On days when I feel like all I've done is talk, I sometimes try to make my read-alouds more of a skimming, or a "let's describe what we see on each page," or, lately, "Why don't you read this to me, Ann?" It is amazing to hear the very close narration after months of her hearing the same story. With Ann, skimming a book is not covert. With Andy, there is a little guilt, since he doesn't always realize it's happening.

There are times when I feel like I'm on autopilot with the things I say to my kids. I've explained the same thing so many times! I've read that story about 43 times this morning! It's tempting to tune out a little bit of myself, and of them. When I feel like that's happening, I know I have to focus on consciously responding and talking in the moment. Do I always? That's another story.

As Ann gets older, I find that she's become far more of a mental challenge than a physical one, and it spurs me to really think about what we're saying to each other. And although a lot of Andy time is spent keeping him safe and helping to direct his actions, he does mimic all that I say, from content to tone to cadence. Which means being more aware with him, too. There's nothing more eye-opening than seeing our negative traits, including negative speaking style, reflected back to us in our kids. It's pretty humbling.

Another story, kids? I'd love to, but how about if we make this one skim?