Saturday, February 26, 2011

coffee again

When Elyas finally gave up nursing last month, it meant one wonderful thing in my life could return. Coffee. Any amount, any style, any temperature. For me, it just doesn't get any better.

I never mind reducing my caffeine intake when providing nourishment for a little one. Let's face it - drinking regular coffee after noon resulting in a wide awake, screaming baby on a caffeine rush is horribly not worth it. There is this little, exhausted body completely desiring sleep but my caffeine laden milk simply won't allow it. So, when we have a little one in the house, I have two cups of coffee in the morning and then stop.

Not so these days. I can drink it whenever I want and I am reveling in it! Of course, as the tendency to overindulge when you have been away from something for so long occurs, I took it a bit too far last Saturday. It wasn't until I was trying to text Scott (who was away on a trip with Shelby and Dawson) and realized my hands were trembling that I added up the sheer volume of coffee I had ingested. And entire pot and then some.  Yes, I enjoyed it. Yes, it was delicious. No, it wasn't good for me (obviously.)

And so, as with all things, moderation is returning after an overindulgence. I do enjoy the freedom to drink my coffee willy-nilly. But at some point I do have to be able to sleep.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

to the heart

Dawson is our 12 year old man-child. He constantly amazes me with his deep insights which are immediately followed by some disgusting, boy-style prank. It's just the way of the age, I'm sure.

Elyas moved into the boys room a few months ago and Dawson really fought the change. He wanted Elyas put into the girl's room. His arguments ranged from "They're girls mom! They know how to do the baby thing so well!" to "I had to deal with the twins -- I think I've already paid my dues." All his wheedling fell on deaf ears, though, and Elyas was transitioned into the boy's room. Dawson handled it with his usual grace. Once he realizes he has lost the battle, Dawson tends to be very accepting of whatever is occurring next.

Last week, Dawson shared with me how much he enjoys sharing a room with Elyas. I was washing dishes, folding laundry, or something equally tied down to one place and he wandered in and just began chatting. D doesn't always need an active conversation and is quite good at handling himself monologue-style.

"I am so glad Elyas is in the boy's room, mom. He calls to me in the morning. You know how he says my name? He calls me 'Daw' and when he wants my attention, he just calls out 'Daw! Daw!' I love how it feels to look over the edge of my bed and see him smiling up at me. He knows I'll always be there. He trusts me so much and yet I didn't do anything for him except just be there. You know? I'm just there and that is enough for him. It's pretty cool to think that I can't really let him down as long as I smile at him and serve him. It makes me think about what it must be like to be God. You know, He watches over us and we all just trust Him to take care of us. There really isn't anything there but this amazing trust, just like Elyas has with me. And I think God loves doing for me the same way I love doing for Elyas. Maybe that is what Jesus always means when he says we have to be like children. Not that we have to be babies or anything, but that we have to trust that God will just take care of us. It's really pretty cool and I feel lucky that I get to see it with Elyas. You know, most of my friends don't have a baby brother around any more. I feel kind of bad for them. Well, I see Tucker, so I'm going to get him back for that wedgie earlier. Bye mom!"

I watched my man-child leave the room, trying to ingest the sheer volume of wisdom he had just conveyed without realization. Really, all I could think at the moment was one word.


Friday, February 11, 2011

the blood letting

We have a lot of kids. I know it. If you read this blog, you know it. Anyone who sees our van or walks into our front door or watches us shopping with the kids waddling between Scott and I duckling style knows it. There are some days, though, when you really know it.

The blood letting began today at 4:05, which is when Tucker and the twins were having an all out wrestle-fest and Tucker's knee collided with Aidan's face. Swollen knee, bloody lip, normal boys.

Moments later, I turned around to watch sweet Jane lose her footing on the stairs and tumble feet over head backwards, bouncing all the way to the bottom. She sat up completely stunned and then burst into tears. Tucker beat me to her and tried to comfort her, but in the end she wanted someone tall. As I was snuggling Jane, Keats asked when Jane had eaten ketchup since it was all over her fingers and chin. Uh . . . not ketchup buddy. Blood.

Jane and I sashayed into the dining room where I was originally folding clothes with Isabelle before the knee/face incident. Jane climbed down from my arms and up onto a bench, where she loves to jabber about who wears which clothes we are folding. In between an exuberant "Keats!" and a swoosh was Jane slipping, sending the bench backwards and resulting in her chin colliding with the table before she landed solidly on her rump. Ouch. No tears this time, just a "Hold me, peas!"

Snuggling Jane again I heard a "Yow!" coming from the kitchen. I turned around in time to see Tucker sheepishly throwing the dishrag down before trying to hide his hand and wincing at the same time. Apparently you can never give the reminder too many times to: 1 - not throw sharp knives into the dishwater AND 2 - never plunge your hand recklessly into the dishwater in case someone forgot rule number one. Tucker, who had forgotten both rules, needed a bandage to convince him his finger would not actually fall off from the paper-cut size injury.

Just as I put the last of the bandage wrappings in the garbage, I heard a thump and then blood-curdling shrieks. Elyas had managed to slip off the stairs and catch his fall with his face. Dawson already had Elyas in his arms, but what was freaking everyone out was the literal stream of blood issuing from his mouth, running down his chin, and soaking into his favorite football shirt. I scooped him up and gathered enough details to be concerned he might have done further damage to his front teeth (see previous post.) As I'm standing in the kitchen trying to mop up the gusher while simultaneously sneaking peeks inside his mouth as it's open for screaming, I keep hearing a strange clacking sound. Sure enough, one finger sweep later brought out a very precious baby tooth, root and all.

We threw the tooth in milk and I called the dentist, who asked a few questions, laughed, and then let us know we would be able to enjoy a very charming, holey grin for quite some time. It took a few minutes, but we finally got the bleeding to stop and Elyas was down and running around again. Dawson and the twins immediately got a new jar out to place Elyas's tooth in for safe keeping on the specimen shelf. Weirdos.

I was about to wash the blood off my hands when there was another crash followed by more weeping. This time, however, when Elyas fell he landed on his forehead, resulting in an enormous goose egg. I again snuggled and comforted while Elyas wept into my neck.

A glance at the clock showed it was 4:23. A total of 18 minutes had gone by.

Later, while I was sitting with Tucker going over his reading I happened to glance down at my shirt. Blood everywhere. When washing up, I realized there was still blood on my face. Totally disgusting, yet completely explainable.

Of course it is. It has to be. Otherwise, our life is just really impossible to explain.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Saturday night was relatively routine. We had finished dinner and the evening ritual of mucking up from the day of eating was underway. Tucker and Isabelle bring dishes into the kitchen, where I load into the dishwasher. Keats, Aidan, and Abigail crawl around under the table picking up all the bits of food which fell during the course of shoveling it into mouths. (We really are working on table manners. Sigh.) Shelby was wiping/scrubbing/chiseling the table top clean before Scott lifted the benches and chairs onto the table so we could vacuum underneath. Just our normal, post-dinner ritual.

It was Dawson's turn to bathe Sir Elyas in order to remove his self-feeding misses, so the two of them had been upstairs together for several minutes when our Saturday night became not normal. Well, that isn't really true. The fact that someone was hurt and bleeding is actually a pretty common occurrence. You know -- five rowdy boys and three eager to join sisters. It was the fact that it was Elyas who was shrieking which made it unusual.

He is one tough cookie. Elyas whacks his head, cries "Ow!" while rubbing the sore spot and then goes on about his toddling. He rarely cries and if he should be crying, it is usually over within seconds.

However, Elyas chose to take on the enameled bathtub with his teeth Saturday night and the tub most assuradly won. First Scott held him while he cried and bled a puddle onto Scott's shirt. He kept looking at me with huge, tear-filled eyes and then would bury his face back into Scott. Finally, he lifted his arms slightly in a very pathetic attempt to say, please mother, won't you hold me?

I was no better than Scott though at stemming the flow of weeps and wails. It just continued and continued and continued. Eventually, he went back to Scott who resumed his efforts to try to calm Elyas down. Nothing. Back to me he came. Scott had been pointing out family members in pictures with Elyas, usually a favorite activity, so I took over. Meanwhile, Scott went to put in a call to our dentist. We knew from our experience with other dental injuries that there wasn't much that could be done, but we were becoming concerned at the sheer amount of time he was continuing to cry. Of course, the bloody gums surrounding tiny teeth and an upper lip with a distinct similarity to a Who from Whoville look was also a little alarming.

Eventually, Elyas calmed down enough to weep the word football over and over. Behind our family pictures on the mantle is a signed photograph of Brian Dawkins from his Eagles days. There was simply no way for me to retrieve the picture one handed while continuing to comfort Elyas so he just kept crying and saying football.

The kids sprang into action bringing Elyas the large football he carries around during the day. No good. Then we remembered a smaller, Chuck-E Cheese football my brother had given him which had been played with continuously for weeks before it disappeared. A whole house hunt ensued until it was unearthed in the outside toy bin. By now we were sitting in the large rocking chair while Elyas clutched his little football continuing to cry and Scott had moved onto the pediatrician.

Still crying, but able to communicate a little more, Elyas could now cry the word football while pointing at the TV. It took a few moments for it to register that he was asking to watch football. Uh-oh. Saturday night, football season is practically over, and the one channel that might be helpful was playing old Super Bowl ads. Drat that NFL channel -- they are just good for nothing. And then I remembered the super-capacity TiVo which had several games recorded and deleted from the season. But our new TiVo means that shows aren't really deleted until the machine needs the space. And at 900 hours of recording time, I knew the deleted folder should be a gold mine of football games. Success!!!

We had the Eagles/Packers game on within moments and after almost an hour, Elyas's tears began to subside. He held his little football in one hand, pointed to the players with the other, and ow-ed as the tackels occurred. And then, just like magic, the ball crossed the end zone, Elyas joyfully yelled "Touchdown!" and his tears were officially over. He grinned as he continued to watch the game with the rest of the family.

Of course, both the dentist and the pediatrician told us there wasn't much we could do other than give him Motrin, which we did back at the beginning. Any bump in the general area of his mouth brought about an additional round of weeping and it wasn't until late Monday that he really seemed to be better. But we learned something in the process. The Super Bowl game is now safely burned on a DVD for later medicinal use.

For some of our children, Baby Einstein did the trick. For others it was Five little Ladybugs. For Elyas? Football.