Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Still Alive

Several weeks ago now (sheesh, time flies!), we had a wonderful trip to Illinois.  We spent time with my parents, with Tyler's parents, and with friends.  Then we came home and... Tye became sick.  Really sick.  

From Tuesday night through Saturday morning, Tye ran a fever between 102 and 105 degrees.  That's a long, hot fever.  When it finally broke, she still ran a low-grade fever until Monday, and wasn't herself until the end of the second week.  Tyler and Etta both ran a fever for one night as well, but Tye's little body was so exhausted from the trip- seeing so many people, moving between environments, sleeping very poorly the whole time- that this illness really took its toll on her, lasting over a week.  We did call the doctor on the third day of her fever, but couldn't be seen until the next day, and by then her fever was below 102 for the first time in four days, so we didn't think a trip would be helpful.
Perhaps the worst was seeing Tye so lethargic that she just laid in bed or on the couch.  She rarely even asked me to turn on the television- she just laid under a blanket, often shivering despite the heat her body was radiating.  One night, Tye woke up and just as I laid down next to her, threw up on me.  I changed both our pajamas and her sheets, then laid down with her again, just to have her throw up again within minutes.  Out of crib-sized sheets, she and I spent the remainder of the night on the couch together.
Seeing Tye so sick was really scary.  I was torn between wanting her to be as comfortable as possible and wanting to let the fever run its course to make Tye well again.  I consulted websites, books, and web forums to find ways to boost Tye's immune system and to ease her discomfort without giving continued doses of Tylenol (which Tye fought tooth and nail anyway).  Here's what we came up with:

- Breastfeeding.  Frequently.  I was so grateful to still be nursing Tye, because it was her main source of nutrition and hydration for almost a full week.  

-Peppermint Essential Oil.  Whenever Tye's fever spiked to over 104, I applied equal parts peppermint essential oil and coconut oil (about 3 drops of each) to the bottoms of her feet and up and down her spine since her torso felt so hot to the touch.  Each time, her fever was below 103 again within 20 minutes, which brought Tye a little relief.  Peppermint essential oil isn't suggested for use on children under the age of 2, so this was my first opportunity to try this technique, and it was really helpful.

-Lavender Essential Oil soaks.  I added 3-4 drops of lavender essential oil to a small bowl containing about 2 cups of cool water. (To help the oil disperse in the water, I mix the oil with a pinch of salt, then stir the salt into the water.)  Then I dipped a washcloth into the water, wrung it out, and placed the damp cloth on Tye's forehead.  If Tye had let me, I would have placed it on her chest, too, but I think the cool cloth felt too chilly on her hot skin to be comfortable. 

-Smoothies.  Occasionally throughout the week, Tye would drink smoothies.  Ours always include banana, coconut milk, fresh greens (spinach or kale, usually), fruit (mango and/or berries are our favorites), and a nut butter (I love tahini).  When Tye was sick, I was sure to include extra liquid vitamin D drops, raw local honey, and probiotic powder to give her immune system some extra support.  

To try to keep everyone else healthy, I diffused Young Living Thieves Essential Oil into the air.  When I felt the first signs of fighting this bug myself, I immediately started taking 2-3 cloves of raw garlic twice a day along with placing a drop of Thieves oil under my tongue 3-4 times a day.  I was able to fight off the fever, for which I was extremely grateful.  I couldn't imagine taking care of Etta and sick Tye while I was sick myself.  Even though it didn't keep Etta completely healthy, she only ran a fever for a few hours- and judging by Tye's response, it could have been far worse. 

Tye is fully recovered now, and we have the wisdom of lessons learned during her illness to carry with us.  Tye now understands the concept of being sick.  I have seen my child through her first illness more serious than a cold, and we all survived.  I can now say I've been thrown up on by my own child, and I now understand why parents keep multiple sets of crib sheets.  After seeing Tye so sick for so long and spending another week resting and recovering, we are fully appreciating our health and all it allows us to do each day.  

Like swing at the playground.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day!

Last year, we celebrated Mother's Day with family.  We spent the weekend with Tyler's parents and then saw my parents at my brothers' place in Chicago.  On the car ride to Chicago, Tyler and I bickered over little things- Mother's Day gifts, where Tye would nap, details too small to remember.  I do, however, remember apologizing to him and blaming my mood on by far the worst PMS of my life.  

That night,  we arrived home in Chicago to find hundreds of ants had emerged from the floorboards and were gathering crumbs off Tye's bedroom floor.  I furiously vacuumed them up and applied every possible natural repellant to the floorboards to keep the insects at bay.  I was livid- these ants weren't just pests, but intruders- parasites, even.

Then it hit me- that cleaning spree felt familiar.  Intense.  Hormonal.  And my period, which had been as dependable as clockwork since it returned, hadn't yet arrived.  The rest, as they say, is history.
This year, I got to celebrate with my two girls.

Life is good

Thursday, May 10, 2012

My 4 Month Checkup

I'm up to 13 1/2 pounds!  Can't you tell by my rolls?  Mama kisses them all. the. time.  
Tye made my exam table pretty with stickers while we waited for the doctor, and then she helped look at all my body parts.  What a great big sister!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

A Girl and her Kite

Don't you sometimes just wish you could bottle up a moment in time and experience it forever?  I think I'm constantly waging an inner war between really being wholly in the moment and savoring it fully, and stopping to capture that moment forever by taking a picture or a video of it. Those moments happen frequently when I'm nursing, or when Etta starts giggling, or when Tye is cuddling with Etta.  How do I best preserve the moment- living it fully uninterrupted, or taking a picture?  It's a constant back-and-forth for me.  

We have found, though, that a video can be a perfect way to extend Tye's experiences.  Then, hours, days, and weeks after the event, Tye can watch herself in the video and re-live the moment.  It has been a great way to re-experience visits with friends, trips to the zoo, and memorable moments.  Our newest favorite video was taken last week while visiting family.  

GG bought Tye a kite, and we went together with Aunt TiTi to the park to fly it.  That a kite can fly is somewhat magical to toddlers, and Tye has long been fascinated with them, so this was a really, really exciting opportunity for Tye.  There was barely enough wind to keep the kite flying, so Tye had to run to keep it afloat.  She ran for about an hour, pulling the kite behind her.  I narrated the kite flying video intending for Tye to watch it later, so forgive the commentary- though you'll notice it sounds much like Tye's own exclamation as she runs closer to me (she says confidently, "I holding on!").  
We've had such a great time re-watching this video of Tye flying her kite.  And, I know it's time to draw the line when I start wanting to record a video of Tye watching herself on video, no matter how cute her reaction each time....

Saturday, May 5, 2012

To Etta, at 4 months

Your big sister placed the tiger there to keep you company while you slept <3
Dear Etta,

Oh, sweet Etta, happy 4 months!  We're spending today with family in Chicago, the last day of a week-long trip to visit family.  You met a set of great-grandparents this week and charmed friends and family with your grins.  These days, you smile easily.  You've become such a happy baby that it's almost hard for me to remember how difficult your first few weeks were for us.  You may have cried every waking minute at one time, but now you hardly cry at all  (unless you're in your car seat- but that's another story, and thankfully, one we don't experience often living in Brooklyn).  

This is such a fun stage- you are happy to be passed from person to person with no stranger anxiety yet, and you sit happily without grabbing for every object within arm's reach (though you're close- so this may change tomorrow).  You can almost sit on your own, so you are easy to hold- that is, unless you're trying to sit up even further, in which case you just might propel yourself off the holder's lap.  You're that determined to observe every bit of your surroundings.  But when you are sitting up, you observe everything quietly, contentedly, with your wide blue eyes moving around the room until they land on a face and- Oh, this I love- your face lights up with a huge smile.  As Daddy says often, your smiles are extra precious because your emotions at this stage are 100% genuine.  You smile only because you're truly filled with joy.  Which also makes those rare chin-quivering cries that much more heartbreaking.  Oh, your smiles....
The only thing that competes in the cute category might be these rolls.
(Forgive me for this one.  You'll understand one day.)
Or your cooing- also topping my list.  You are just an all-around bundle of adorableness and sweetness.  Time with you is passing far too quickly.  I want it to slow down.  So when I smother you with kisses, stop and linger to inhale your sweet, baby scent, or pause to just gaze, thank you for being patient with me.  I just want to savor every moment of your babyhood.  That silent giggle you do when you see me.  Those cheeks.  The sound of your happy baby voice.  The way you arch as you stretch upon waking.  You bring me such joy, Etta, and the incredible part is that I know from experience that it just keeps getting better as you grow.  And that is mind-blowing to me right now, because I can't imagine life being better, more joyful, than this.  I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you.



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