Monday, January 31, 2011

We're All Worth About as Much as a Piece of Paper

I have a new student teacher, Mrs. Cutler, who is  Seriously, she's awesome.  She had to go it alone for two days a couple weeks ago when I was home with sick Sylvia, which is usually what happens to a student teacher right before they drop out of the program and run heading for the hills.  But not this one!  She had that classroom humming along nicely while I was gone - a true sign of a natural!  Today we had a conversation about how great she is:

K:  When does Mrs. Cutler get to teach by herself again?
Me: Soon!  She has a solo day this week, two next week, then five days in a row the week after that, then....well, then she's done.
K:  Done?  What do you mean done?
Me:  Well, it means she's moving on to her next placement and we won't have her anymore.  BUT I DON'T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THAT RIGHT NOW!  So let's not talk about it.
E: Will we get another student teacher?
Me: No.
Rowdiness ensues with lots of "whats?!" and "why nots?!" and my favorite, "You mean it'll just be YOU?"  
Me:  Yes, it'll just be me.  What will I ever do without Mrs. Cutler here?

I: (the smug little boy who sits in the back of the class)  Hey!   Why don't we just cut a student teacher out of PAPER?!

I look at Mrs. Cutler, smack my palm on my forehead and shake it back and forth.  Meanwhile the rest of the kids start shouting, "Yeah!!!  A Paper Teacher!!!"

I used to feel like I was talking to a brick wall, but I guess I was wrong!  Apparently these kids see us as 2 dimensional, flat objects that stand around the room and watch them work.  Which, I suppose, is exactly how it should be.  I'd like them to think they're doing all the work, and I just stand around and watch.  Maybe I'll make a paper cutout of myself and my student teacher, then she and I can just curl up behind our desks and take a nap!  That'll be the day!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Party Animals

Tonight we took Sylvia to a party.  We debated going for the longest time because it didn't start until 6:00 and we didn't want to find a babysitter and we thought we wouldn't know anyone there and....blah blah blah.  Then at the last minute we decided, HECK WITH IT!  Let's go!  The Elliott's invited us and we always have a good time with them.  I work with Mr. Elliott and have become fast friends with Mrs. Elliott in the last couple of years, and we always, always, ALWAYS love seeing the wee Elliott's - Adeline and Arthur.  They have a party every year to honor Robert Burns, a Scottish poet, but it's really just an excuse to eat haggis and drink scotch, neither of which, I admit, appeal to me; but I do love a good funny poem and getting out of the house, so we loaded up the Nugget and off we went.

WELL, it was a dandy time.  Sylvain brought a bottle of Scotch with his own custom had something to do with a French/Scottish Alliance from days of yore?  And something about a Roman wall??  I really don't know; all I know is that he commissioned me to decorate the bottle with "Gaelic Art," which I did with a sharpie marker in the car on the way there.  I really wish I took a picture, because apparently the bottle was a hit!

When I was thinking about how to dress the family for a Scottish affair, the closest thing I could find were....sweaters.  I know, totally lame, right?  We might need to invest in a kilt for Daddy next year.  Anyway, I put Sylvia in her adorable handmade sweater and cap from Mamie, which is really too small for her, but I can't part with it yet, so I force her to wear it every now and then.  And since it was so sunny and warm out today, I didn't feel like wrestling her into her giant winter coat, so I was able to bust out this gem I found on clearance at Old Navy:

She looks like a ghetto fabulous rap star, but I thought it was DARN cute!  Baby girl's gonna drop some BEATS!

As soon as we got there, Addy shouted, "There's Sylvia!" and proceeded to touch and coddle and snuggle with the Nugget for as long as she could.  Sylvia was totally spoiled by that sweet three year old!  Addy is her new BFF:

Part of the festivities included a poetry contest, and Addy wrote (and read out loud in front of ALL the guests!) a remarkable poem, scribed by her uncle.  Something about a cat, who shouted, and ran away, and then "got burned up."  It was incredibly dramatic and sophisticated for a three year old, if you ask me.  I won't complain if my daughter's BFF is a literary GENIUS!

We only planned to stay for a couple hours, but found ourselves leaving at 9:30, with a sleepy baby.  I'm glad we brought her pajamas and her dou dou bunny, because she fell asleep in the car and we just dumped her in bed as soon as we got home.  At one point during the party, I was getting a little worried about the time, and Sylvain reminded me that we both grew up falling asleep on a pile of coats when our parents took us out to their friends' houses.  Parents do it all the time.  No one will take us to jail for it.  Sylvia and I both loved meeting lots of new people and hanging out with old friends.  Isn't that what weekends are for?  I almost forgot!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fun (and FREE!)

This morning, Sylvain was disappointed to learn that the exhibit he wanted to see at the Speed Museum didn't start until February.  I remembered seeing a billboard for a toy exhibit at the history museum, so he looked it up.  Lo and behold - the history museum is FREEEE!!!  (for teachers)

So we packed up the Nugget and headed downtown.  The last time we took her to a museum was in Atlanta.  She was three months old and she loooooved the lights.  The time before that was the day I went into labor.  She loved that trip so much she wanted to come out.  :)

She had a quick snack before we left....

(I don't know if it's because she's been sick or what, but she won't eat anything except her bottles and cheerios lately.  What's up with that?  Should I be concerned?  I suppose that's another post.)

Anyway, we entered the toy exhibit, not knowing what to expect.  Sylvain found some old-timey soldiers, which reminded him of his toy box as a little boy, so he was really hoping to find some old-timey Lego's, but we had no luck with that quest.  He was a little sad about that. 

There were lots of dinosaur action figures, plenty of GI Joe's, and almost ALL of the Star Wars action figures - the originals, not the ones you can go buy at Wal-Mart today.  The GOOD ones.  And I was glad to see a pack of little boys gathered around the Star Wars case shouting, "Coool!  Luke Skywalker!" and "There's Jabba the Hut!" and "Hey!  It's Boba Fett!" And I thought, awww, what sweet little Star Wars nerds. I probably would have dated your dad in high school.  Sigh.

After all of those action figures, things started to get really exciting, and a little bit weird.  Remember, we're in a HISTORY museum.  Where they display trinkets of yore.  Relics of ancient times that need to be remembered for prosperity's sake.  Old, old, long lost things.  Things so OLD they come from..........the 80's!  Gasp!  Could you imagine?
We took a picture of this for Uncle Jordan.  I believe he got this for Christmas circa 1987.  

It's Castle Greyskull!  From He-Man!  However, She-Ra was no where to be found!  I was very disappointed in the exclusion of She-Ra's Crystal Palace.  The nerve.  I thought about writing a letter, but decided to just mention it in a blog post and move on with my life.  

I harumphed away, sulking, until I found.....

Wait for it.......


It's ELEROO!!!
And look how beautiful and tidy he is!  His orange hair is so fluffy and clean!  His Wuzzle pouch isn't frayed and falling off!  His Wuzzle tail hasn't been chewed all to pieces (you can't see his tail in the picture, but trust me, I checked)!  He looks so snuggable and friendly!  OH, how I LOVE HIM!!!!

Alas.  My Eleroo is sitting on my bed at this very moment.  He's worn and weathered.  Chewed and frayed.  Old, but not forgotten.  

Look at the dirt, I mean LOVE, on that poor thing!  The Eleroo in the museum just didn't get loved like mine did.  So which one is better?  I'll take the old, ratty one any day.  But it sure was nice to see a new one!  Hello, dear friend!

Sylvia had a BALL looking at all the toys.  She would kick her feet and giggle and scream every time we walked up to a new display.  Eleroo was in the same case with lots of Teddy Bears, and I think that was her favorite part.  She kept reaching for the glass and trying to put her mouth on it - I think she was upset that she couldn't reach in there and snuggle with all those fluffy teddies!  She's been very into snuggling lately.  She's probably dreaming right now about a giant room filled with cuddly stuffed animals that she can endlessly snuggle.  Sweet baby. 

In the last room, they had a bunch of toys out for folks to play with, so Sylvain and I had a rousing game of Connect Four while Sylvia played with a Rubik's Cube.  To our amazement, she did NOT solve it!  I know, can you believe it?  And here we thought she was soo-ooo smart.  Psh.  Stupid baby, can't even solve a Rubik's Cube!  Guess we better take her back!

 Okay, fine, we'll keep her.  She's lucky she's cute.  Just look at that face!  And those two adorable teeth.  It doesn't get much better than that.  Unless you count....


It was a great trip.  It made me think pretty carefully about Sylvia's toys.  I wonder what'll be in that museum when she's thirty years old (not that I'm thirty...yet).  Doesn't that give you something fun to ponder?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Blast From the Past

We went out to dinner tonight and Sylvia started getting a little antsy while we were waiting for our check.  I picked her up and started walking around the restauraunt.  I was delighted to see that they still had a Christmas tree up, so we headed that way.  She was revelling in the lights when I heard a familiar voice say, "Wow!  Rachael?  With a baby?"

I looked around and saw two folks that I hadn't seen in at least seven years, probably more like ten.  The girl was one of my old residents from the dorm days and the guy was her boyfriend at the time, who I pretended to chase away after hours.  It was very exciting to see them and even more exciting to see them together, knowing they were happily married and living where we live.  We hugged and said, "Oh my goodness!  Oh my gosh!  How ARE you?  Oh my goodness!" over and over and over again, until he finally asked me....

and who's adorable baby is this?

I beamed.  I looked at Sylvia and looked back at them, smiling, bursting with pride while I coughed up the words...

..."she's mine!"

There were more gasps and shouts of "Oh my gosh!  How adorable!  You're kidding?" and then he asked, "Well, who's the daddy?"  I said, "Do you remember Sylvain?  From the dorms?  He lived there before we did, but...yeah, I married him!"  You probably could have cut through my pride with a knife.  I've never felt so excited to show off my little family.

They were flabergasted and couldn't believe it.  I spent about five minutes catching them up on all of my other friends from the dorms who ended up getting married, and most of whom are now exepecting babies.  Then, as if my night couldn't get any better, the sweet girl looked at her husband and said...

"See!  You can still have a baby and look HOT!"

Now, I know she used to butter me up all the time when I was her RA, and I used to think it was just because she wanted me to ignore her boyfriend on our floor after hours...which I usually did, because she was so nice. But tonight, the only reason I can think of for her saying such a nice thing is because she's such a nice, nice, amazing, wonderful, nice lady! was really good to see them!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Thanks, Interweb!

I got to stay home with the Nugget today, and even though she was a little more cranky than usual, she is back to her old no-napping, on-the-go, screw-this-temperature-AND-this-virus, self.  She clearly has a very mild case of this RSV nonsense.  We're still doing the once-a-day breathing treatments, but we've cut out the every-four-hours treatments because she's really not even coughing much anymore.  Yesterday was *hopefully* her worst day, but we'll see.  The doctor says to keep her home for the rest of the week, so I'm really hoping for a couple of snow days so I don't have to use my sick days.

But ANYWAY....I just wanted to say thank you to all the folks who left messages here or sent me an email or left a post on Facebook about this RSV business.  If it weren't for the internet, I'd have been on the phone all day to relatives and friends, explaining Sylvia's story over and over again, begging for help and advice!  But alas, all I had to do was log on once after lunch and once after dinner to get ALL the help and advice I could ever ask for.  And I loved it!

There was a segment on the news tonight about a "dangerous virus spreading across our fair city, who's most susceptible victims are the smallest ones..." And I knew as soon as I heard the teaser that they must be talking about RSV.  Sure enough, at 5:28 the story came on and showed an infant in the hospital, with an oxygen mask and an IV and they were talking all about RSV and how contagious it is.  I'm really glad we caught it when we did and I'm really glad we've been able to keep her home.  I just hope there aren't many other kids at her day care who have it because it spreads through those places like wildfire!  Poor babies.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Did No One Warn Me About This?

Yesterday was Sylvia's nine month well visit.  I've been dying to get in there and see what kind of stats they could post on my baby.  I expected the usual routine - weigh her and measure her, rattle off all of her developmental milestones, discuss her eating and sleeping habits, then hear about how brilliant and wonderful she is.  Right?


After all the stats were posted (she's totally normal on weight, height, development, behavior, blah blah blah), Dr. Abrams was listening to her chest.  She pulled away and said, "I hear a slight wheezing in her breath.  Did you know she was wheezing?"  I glanced at Sylvain, then back at Dr. Abrams and said, ""  Because I didn't!  She's been coughing every now and then, but after our last trip to the doctor's office when we thought she was sick, we found out she has allergies, so when she coughs, I assume it's allergies and I give her some allergy medicine.  But wheezing?  I'm not even sure I know what wheezing sounds like.

She explained that it could be RSV, a respiratory virus, and that if is was RSV, it has the potential to be serious enough that she'd have to be hospitalized.  I'm sure she said something like, "At worst, she'd have to be admitted to the hospital for oxygen and fluids," but what I heard in my crazy brain was, "YOUR DAUGHTER IS SICK AND YOU DIDN'T EVEN KNOW IT AND NOW SHE MIGHT HAVE TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL YOU'RE A TERRIBLE MOTHER!!!"  Then, after she lays that doozie on me, she proceeds to stick a giant cotton swab up Sylvia's nose to test for RSV.  You can probably guess that she didn't like it one single bit.  So now I'm holding a naked, crying baby and she's grasping her arms around my neck, being all "Get me the hell out of here, they just stuck a stick up my nose!" and the nurse starts explaining....

Breathing treatments!  She brings in a machine that whirrs and buzzes and drones.  It has a mask on the end of a long tube that I'm supposed to stick in my crying baby's face so she can breathe in the vapors......

I was so done.  Thank goodness Sylvain was there to listen to the nurse and figure out how this stupid nebulizer works.  I was hoping I wouldn't have to use the word "nebulizer" in reference to my kid until she was at least old enough to explain her own nerdiness.

While we waited for the test to come back, we fired up the nebulizer and tried to hold it to her face.  I'll give you one guess as to how she handled THAT activity.  She hated it.  I hated it.  She screamed and cried at me.  I screamed and cried at Sylvain.  The poor nurses in the hallway probably thought we were beating our child in that exam room.  Not my proudest moment.

We wrestled her through a breathing treatment and tossed that stupid mask on the exam table, exasperated and worried.  The doctor came back and declared that the RSV test was "really positive."  Great.  In a matter of about three minutes, she shoved a "loaner" nebulizer in our hands along with a box of whatevertheheck we just let our child inhale and directions to do it to her once a day for a week; she wrote a prescription for Albuterol which also goes in the nebulizer and we give to her every 4-6 hours; she told us to go buy some regular Robitussin and give her 1/4 of a teaspoon every 4-6 hours, elevate her crib, turn on her humidifier, and "Oh, by the way, I wouldn't send her to day care for a few days.  RSV is really contagious."  At this point my brain exploded and I just let Sylvain take over from there.

On our way out we made an appointment for next week.  On our way home we stopped at the pharmacy to get all of her new goodies.  We discussed how we were going to juggle our schedules to keep her at home.  We spent the rest of the day watching her play and laugh and giggle and eat as if nothing in the world was wrong.  When she went down for a nap, we both went to our computers to look up RSV, only to discover that is is potentially very serious, but it is also very COMMON.  Must not be that common, though, because NO ONE IN MY ENTIRE LIFE HAS EVER TOLD ME ABOUT IT EVER!  If you're reading this and you're thinking, "Geez Rach, settle down.  It's just RSV, it's no big deal."  Then you can blame yourself for never telling me about it.  How was I supposed to know?

Sylvia slept very well last night on her elevated mattress with her newly cleaned and disinfected humidifier humming along nicely.  Sylvain went to school this morning to leave sub plans while I got Sylvia out of bed.  When he got home and before I left for work, we gave her the first at-home breathing treatment.  We were both nervous about it, but should have known better.

In the comfort of her own home, in her jammies, with her favorite baby doll by her side, Sylvia had absolutely no problem breathing in the vapor from the nebulizer.  She helped me hold it and she even stuck her face into the mask a few times!  It occurred to me while I sat there holding this crazy gadget that it wasn't the whole RSV that bothered me, it was the fact that I didn't know what to do.  There is no college course that teaches you how to use a nebulizer on a nine month old, at least not one that Sylvain or I ever signed up for!  It reminded me that I have a lot to learn as a parent - that I'm the "adult" in this situation, so whether I know what I'm doing or not, I better be steadfast and strong in my attempts to make my child feel better.  And I really hope she feels better soon.  A healthy baby would make a happy Mama!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Addendum to my Nine Month Letter

Mom just sent me the cutest picture of Sylvia from our trip to the Conservatory over Christmas break.  I replaced the old pics in my letter with this one because it's a much better shot of her in all her nine-month cuteness!  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Nine Months

Dear Sweet Sylvia,

You are incredible.  I still can't quite put into words how my heart feels when I see you.  You are nine months old today - a snowy, sunny Saturday.  When I heard you stirring in your bed this morning, my heart flipped a little bit because I was so excited to be with you today.  I went into your room and peeked over the rails of your bed to see you lying on your back, kicking and playing and "bah bah bah"-ing.  You were keeping yourself happy and I snuck up on you to say, "Good morning, sweet baby!"  You turned your head to see me and a sleepy smile spread across your face.  When you realized it was morning and you were about to get out of bed, you started flapping your arms and squealing through that smile, flashing those two teeny teeth.  You are such a happy baby, and you make us so happy, too.

The last month has been filled with many milestones and important family events.  We celebrated your first Christmas!  We spent a long time with family this year and you became quite accustomed to people passing you around and playing with you.  You loved opening your presents, especially the part where you got to tear the wrapping paper!  You love tearing paper.  Whenever all the commotion became too overwhelming, you'd reach for me or Daddy and snuggle in our arms until things calmed down a bit.  You're starting to need us a little more than you used to...just for safety reasons, I guess, but we're kind of like your headquarters during any giant family get-together.  And we don't mind one bit! 

You can do so many things now, Nugget!  You can pull yourself up and play in your toy box, walking back and forth all by yourself.  When we ask you "How big is Sylvia?" you strech your little arms high up to the sky and smile until we say, "Sooooo big!" and then you laugh and laugh and laugh.  You also like to hunt for the cat.  You can crawl all over the house and when you turn a corner to find the cat, you squeal and crawl as fast as you can to get to her, but she usually runs away before you catch her.  You can do all kinds of things, but my favorite trick of yours is your kisses.

You love to give kisses to your stuffed animals and to the faces you see in your bedtime books.  You have a Sesame Street book that we read every night, and even though you give a goodnight kiss to every character, you like to kiss Big Bird about ten times before you let me turn the page.  You have a thing for yellow birds, I guess!  You like to kiss Mama and Daddy, too.  Sometimes you'll kiss us when we ask for one.  "Give Mama kiss?" I'll say, and you'll open your mouth wide and slobber all over my face.  But sometimes when I'm holding you, you just get so excited about life, you get so happy about being with us, you think everything around you is just so amazing and wonderful, that you start hopping up and down in my arms, smiling and laughing until finally, you open your mouth for a kiss, wrap your arms around my neck, lean in, and really plant one on my cheek.  Those are my favorite kisses.  The ones where you get so filled up with love and happiness that you have no choice but to let it all spill out.  You are the sweetest.

You are growing so quickly and I don't ever want to forget these special family moments.  Daddy and I are so happy to have you in our lives, we just couldn't imagine what we'd do without you.  You make us smile and we love you for it.

Happy Nine Months sweet baby girl!
I love you,

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Post Holiday Bliss

After five days of family-filled holiday fun, Sylvain and I drove off to Nowhere, KY (Springfield, actually, but it might as well have been Nowhere!) to celebrate our anniversary.  Four lovely years together!  And this year was even more special, because we added that little ol' branch to our family tree.  We left The Nugget with my mom for two nights and spent some quality time together, visiting two distilleries on the KY Bourbon Trail and two wineries in central KY. We did lots of reminiscing about our glorious 2010, and lots of planning and list-making for a hopeful 2011.

We stayed at the Maple Hill Manor, which is a beautiful B&B on an alpaca farm!  Here are the faces we saw in the morning...

 I love going away for our anniversary because most places are still all decked out for Christmas!

Woodford Reserve was our favorite distillery.  The grounds were beautiful and the whole operation there is just very quaint.  The bourbon ain't bad, either!

 Don't get any ideas, those barrels weigh 500 pounds.

 Since we woke up at the crack of dawn (Thanks, baby!  We'll never be able to sleep in again!), it was too early to start drinking wine, so we toured My Old Kentucky Home!  It was a great addition to our itinerary, especially since we were the only ones there.  I had never been, and I thought it was incredibly interesting, not to mention gorgeous!

Our favorite winery was called Horseshoe Bend.  It was really hard to find, the lady there was really nice, and the wine was fantastic!  We brought home two bottles.  This is a picture of Lover's Leap vineyard, which was also very nice.
We went to a couple of vineyards last year, too, and people always tell us, "You should see the vines in summer!  You'll have to come back."  I do love summer vines, but not as much as I love this picture of winter vines.  Cold snow on the ground that will eventually produce the grapes that will warm our hearts!  Mmm.  I love wine...

...oh, and my husband!  It was a lovely trip, but we were glad to get back to our sweet baby.  She loved spending three days and two nights with Grammy, but I missed her like crazy, and so did Sylvain.  It's been nice having all of us back together, in our own home, snuggling away for a few days before school starts tomorrow.