Sunday, January 29, 2012

Keep Out of Reach of Children!

Well, I was planning to sit down tonight and write a post about my new light fixture project, which involves spray painting the old fixture we took down from over our table.  Instead, I'm writing a post about how I'm the worst mother in the world because my child sprayed herself in the face with a can of spray paint!  Agghh!!!

I went into the well-ventilated open-doored garage at 2:30 and spent a total of 10 seconds spray painting my light fixture.  I knew I had to do another coat in 30 minutes, so I ran inside and placed the can on the kitchen table.  Sylvia woke up from her nap earlier than planned, a little before 3:00.  I was keeping my eye on the clock, but it never occured to me to MOVE the can of paint OFF of the kitchen table and place it somewhere HIGHER.  Duh.  I just broke the first rule of Babysitting 101.  I would totally be fired if I were a sitter in high school! 

I was standing at the kitchen sink and Sylvain was standing by the door to the garage.  Neither one of us was more than four feet away from the girl when she grabbed the can, which was pointed toward her face.  She grabbed it by the neck, which had the trigger spray nozzle, and in less than a second, the right side of her face was covered in Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.  I heard Sylvain shout "NO!"  And when I turned around I couldn't see it right away.  He said, "She just sprayed herself in the face!" and she turned toward me - a giant, dripping mass of BLACK on the side of her face - hair, ears, checks, right eye, corner of her mouth...all the important places.  When I saw it, I screamed, then she screamed, and the longest fifteen minutes of my life commenced.

I'm still amazed at how quickly Sylvain and I went from "panic mode" to "survival mode."  He whisked her up and brought her to the sink.  I don't know how the clean, warm rag even got into my hands, but I had one.  I knelt down and started wiping it off of her cheek, away from her eye and mouth.  It stated coming off right away, thank God!  But it was everywhere, and I knew a watery rag wasn't going to cut it.  I said, "BATH!," and suddenly her clothes were off.  I guess we both ripped them off, but I don't remember that, either.  I know I was concentrating really hard on appearing calm, for her sake.  I was working really hard to hold it all together.  For a split second, I wondered if we really should put her in the tub, or if we should put her in the car and head to the hospital.

We ran downstairs to the tub and my brilliant husband brought the can of spray paint with him.  While the tub was filling with water, I lowered her in and started dumping cupfulls of fresh water over her head with one hand, and I somehow managed to open her baby soap and lather it up in my other hand.  I don't know where that third hand came from, but it was there!  By this point she was screaming, but I knew this had to be done and there was nothing I could do about the screaming, except say things like, "Wheee!!!  Isn't this fun!  A bath in the middle of the day, you lucky girl!  Look, you're getting ALL clean!  Hooray!!!"  I must have sounded like a nutcase.

Sylvain read the back of the can, which instructed us to flush out the eyes and mouth, then wait fifteen minutes to see if there was any irritation, redness, or swelling.  He handed me a little squirt bottle which he already ran under hot water, so I filled it with fresh bath water and tried to flush out her eyes.  No dice.  Finally, Sylvain had to take the bottle and I had to pin her down and hold her eye open with my thumbs while he squirted water in it.  It wasn't fun, but it had to be done, and we both knew it.  We never even discussed what to do, it was like an animal instinct totally took over. 

Finally, her eye, cheek, mouth and most of her hair was back to normal, so I took her out of the tub and wrapped her up.  She was still crying and whimpering at this point, but I could tell she was settling down.  Whenever she gets out of the tub, we put her in her purple robe, which we didn't bring downstairs with us, so she started crying for her "Bow! Bow!"  I took her up to her room (right past my mother in law who showed up during the drama!) and put her in her robe.  We rocked for a few minutes until Sylvain brought her some water and some milk, hoping it would help flush out her insides.  After a couple minutes of rocking, we all settled down and my heart rate returned to normal.  Her eye seemed perfectly fine, and she was drinking like normal.  After fifteen minutes, we decided she was going to be alright and there was no need to call poison control or take her to the hospital, but we made sure to keep a very close eye on her for the rest of the night.  She didn't itch, touch or complain about her eye all evening.  In fact, she was back to her normal, bubbly self as soon as I got her dressed and put pigtails in her hair.  Phew.

We went out for a lovely dinner with Mamie, then came home and gave her another bath (she still had a little paint in her hair and on her neck) and I put her to bed like usual.  It felt different, though.  Usually bedtime feels warm and cozy and safe for both of us, but I couldn't help thinking that this was not a safe day for her, and it made me feel icky.  I came downstairs and let the Mommy guilt wash over me and had a good cry about the whole thing.  How could I do something so stupid?  Why isn't Sylvain more mad at me?  What would we have done if it had been worse?  Oh my gosh, it could have been SO much worse.  Shame on me. 

I decided I better sit down and write about it in the hopes that someday I might look back on it and laugh.  But more importantly, I don't want to forget how scared I was or how guilty I felt.  I also want to remember how practical, forgiving and good-natured Sylvain was about the whole thing.  Once it was all over, he said to me, "It could have happened to anybody.  And something like it will probably happen again.  There's a good chance we WILL have to take a child to the hospital someday, so don't beat yourself up about it." 

So here I am, not beating myself up, asking any readers, family or friends, out there to forgive me, too, and please share with me your not-so-great Mommy moments.  I need to know I'm not the only one who's been scared within an inch of her life.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

For the Family in France

After dinner almost every night, while I was dishes, Sylvain and Sylvia get some quality play time in the play room next to the kitchen/dining room.  It has been SO much fun to watch them interact completely in French!  She spends plenty of time with him during the day - he takes her to and from day care and they're together for a good hour before I get home.  Of course, I'm glad they get all of this daddy-daughter time, but I'm secretly glad that this is also good French immersion time for her, too.  In the last couple weeks, their after-dinner antics have been worth recording, so even though these videos might seem a little lengthy and boring to most of us, I think the family in France will appreciate watching Sylvia and Sylvain getting silly together.  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Words for Baby

Dearest Baby,

Oh, my sweet little one!  I love you so much already.  I rarely get the chance to sit down and talk to you or connect with you in any way because your big sister takes up a whole lotta time, so I can already tell that you're going to be very self-sufficient.  You'll have to be, there's just no other way.  Sorry.

Tonight, though, after a wonderful weekend with Daddy and Sylvia, I finally got a second to slow down and think about you.  I'm picturing your sweet little fingers and toes, your eyes and your ears and your chubby little cheeks.  I know you're growing and changing every day, because - whether I notice it or not, and I usually don't - I'm growing and changing every day with you.  My body is your home and I'm doing my best to keep things calm in there. 

It's amazing how "zen" your presence has made me.  I move much more slowly and quietly in the classroom these days, and I try not to worry or freak out about every little thing Sylvia does.  I don't want those worry vibes to pass on to you (or to her)!  With you growing inside, nothing else really matters to me.  You are the most important.

It's been a long eighteen weeks.  We've moved into a new house, we survived a wonderful holiday season with lots of family, and your sister just keeps getting bigger and there's nothing I can do to stop it!  To be honest, on most days I forget I'm even pregnant - which just goes to show that you're already a wonderful baby.  With the exception of a little nausea in the beginning, you really haven't given me any trouble to speak of.  Usually, I don't get the chance to think about you until after Sylvia's gone to bed and I've finished all the chores I've designmated for myself.  I finally lay down to go to sleep, and that's when I say, "Oh!  Hi there, baby!  How was your day?"  And you, of course, give me little flutters and kicks to remind me that you're in there, just hanging out, minding your own business.  "Don't mind me, Mama.  I'm just doing my thing."

I can tell you like it in there, and I hope you stay in there for a good, long time.  Enjoy the peace and quiet while you have it, because there are LOTS of people here who can't wait to snatch you up and smother you with kisses.  Your Daddy is already so excited to meet you, and your sister won't stop talking about you.  She gives you lots of pats and kisses, and she's been practicing how to take care of you by tending to her baby dolls.  I promise I won't let her rip your head off.  It's a hazard that comes with the territory, though.  You're sure to be one tough kid by the time you're done growing up with her! 

We all love you so, so much, baby.  And I love having this time to spend with you.  I love being your Mama and I love keeping you safe and warm.  I can't wait to hold you and rock you and smell you and sing to you.  Life is so much fun!

Keep growing, little one.
I love you,

Friday, January 20, 2012

Daddy's Little Girl

Sylvain is rarely "at home" in public places, but if he had to pick his favorite public place to be, it would be a Natural History Museum.  Any of them.  We've been to many since we've met, and he always walks through them like a kid in a candy store.  He has a huge fascination with Natural History, and he's read countless books on topics like Biology and Gentics and Evolution and Space and....lots of other super nerdy things!

So, when my parents got us a one year pass to the Museum Center (3 museums in one!) as a Christmas gift, we smiled and said "Thank you so much, we can't wait to take Sylvia to the Children's Museum."


Of course, we were excited about the Children's Museum, but Sylvain was DYING to go the Natural History Museum.  I mean, he's only been twice in the last seven years, and now he can go WHENEVER HE WANTS TO for a whole year!  Merry Christmas!

Monday was the day.  We hit up the Children's Museum because we felt like we had to, and Sylvia loved it.  It was crowded and Sylvain paced around like he was itching to get outta there.  We ate our packed lunch and decided to "swing through" the Natural History Museum, saying things like "We might as well take a look," and "We don't have to see it all because we can always come back!"

It was dangerously close to nap time, but we dove right in, expecting the worst and hoping for the best, as far as toddler behavior goes.  Well.......guess who else loves Natural History?

Walking through the ice cave, chatting about glaciers.
Climbing on the rocks, avoiding all kinds of prehistoric predators.

I have never seen her act so much like him before.  Maybe it's because he acts so much like a kid when he's here, but the smiles and the pointing....oh, it was precious!  They were both adorable.  Maybe I'm projecting our own feelings onto her, but I dare say Sylvia likes the Natural History Museum better than the Children's Museum!  It still had tons of interactive things for her to do, it was MUCH less crowded, and it wasn't nearly as noisy and light-filled and annoying.  Okay, that's probably my own reason for loving it, but regardless - she had a wonderful time!  I predict many Daddy-Daughter trips to the Museum once the new baby arrives.  And Sylvia will be reading a book on Evolutionary Genetics in to time, I'm sure.

Now, if it would just get warmer out so we could go to the ZOO!!!  I'll let you guess which one of them is dying to see the monkeys.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Aunt Patty

On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Sylvia goes to my Aunt Patty's house during the day.  We are so blessed to have Aunt Patty in our lives!  (And Uncle Roger, and cousins Kyle, Courtney, and Kevin, of course - they're there too, I guess; but we always just call it "Aunt Patty's House.")  Patty watches my cousin's son, Nolan, and another boy, Will, during these days as well.  Let me tell you something - Sylvia LOVES Aunt Patty's House!

I always knew that Aunt Patty would be a wonderful sitter for Sylvia because I remember when she was dating my uncle when I was a little girl, and she was always SO much fun to play with.  I did not, however, realize that Aunt Patty might as well be a day care director!  She does so many wonderful, engaging, educational activities with these three little ones.  How lucky is that? 

My favorite "project" so far has been the handprint Christmas tree, which is still hanging on our fridge because I plan to frame it sometime between now and next Christmas.  Anyone who is willing to dip my child's hand in paint is a saint, in my book.  That's one thing we have not yet done at our house, and now, I'm in no hurry!

Sylvia's favorite project, however, was this one:

Sylvia came home Wednesday afternoon with her very own birdfeeder!  As soon as I saw it, I asked if she wanted to hang it in a tree for the birdies, and YES she did!  We hung it on that low branch right above her head, then she picked up sticks off the ground and tried to touch the bird feeder with each one.  Such fun!

Today, we looked out the window and saw no birds, but I'm sure they're enjoying Sylvia's masterpiece anyway.  Thanks, Aunt Patty!  You're the BEST!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Things to Remember

This picture should have made the year-end video, but it was buried in my email and I just found it again today while I was at school. It's from October, when Sylvia went to my Dad's house while we went to a football game. Sylvia loves Darla the Dog. If I say, "We're going to Grandpa's house!" She yells "Darda!!!" Then she chants "Panpaw" all the way there.


Sylvia ate her first pants-less dinner tonight.  What a milestone, huh?  I should have let her take off her shirt, too, because we had spaghetti and meat sauce.  It's her favorite dinner by far, and she makes a gigantic, giggling mess!  She ate so much for dinner that she was allowed to have dessert, and since she was already covered in spaghetti sauce I thought I'd give her a little slice of an ice cream sandwich! I've never seen her so happy at the table.  Every time she took a bite, she shivered and giggled and looked at us, waiting for us to laugh, which we did over and over again. 


Today in class, my kids were making "bumper stickers," which are really just sentence strips with little pictures, symbols, or quotes that represent them and their beliefs.  I was showing my example bumper sticker - one that I made years and years ago.  I didn't teach this unit last year, so I hadn't looked at my example since before Sylvia was born.  I was explaining all of my pictures and symbols, then I got to a quote on my bumper sticker that came from my Mom.  I told the kids that family is important to me, and when I was making my bumper sticker, for some reason, something my mom used to say to me when I was a little girl popped in my head, so I wrote it down.  I started to read it aloud, and halfway through it I choked up and started crying, thinking of Mom and of Sylvia, of course.  Here's what she used to say to me all the time: "If God lined up all the little girls in the whole wide world and told me I could pick any one I wanted......I'd still pick you."  Melt my pregnant, hormonal, crazy-crying heart!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Welcome to Our Home

Here are the long awaited pictures of our new house!  I'm so glad I took these, because we have lots of plans for every room, so it'll be fun to have plenty of "before" pictures - something I wish I had done with our first house.  I think you'll agree that our place has a lot of potential!  So come on in!  (Excuse the mess.) 
Here's the front of our sweet new house!  We're hoping to someday add a front porch.

View from the front door.  Here's our living room and dining room, and you can see a little glimpse of the playroom off to the right side of the dining room.  The door with the jingle bell wreath leads to the garage, so it's the main door we use.

Here's the living room if you're standing in the dining room.  Someday we'll have couches, and maybe some art on the walls, real curtains, paint, etc...  This room needs a lot of work.

The dining room and the kitchen. (I'm still trying to figure out where to put everything in the kitchen - it's a puzzle in progress.)

 The playroom!  I love this little extra room next to the dining room.  It's perfect for Sylvia's toys and you can't really see it as soon as you walk in.  That doorway next to her table leads to a really swanky laundry room - lots of cabinets and shelves and such.  I didn't take a picture because it's full of boxes at the moment.

I guess we'll stay upstairs and I'll show you the bedrooms.  Here's the hallway:

Go down the hallway and turn right, and you'll see...
Sylvia's bathroom!  Tile floor and shower (which we're hoping to turn into a bathtub soon, for the kids). 

Next to the bathroom is Sylvia's room.  It used to be the master bedroom, so it's pretty darn big, compared to her old room. 

It's really a purple-y grey.  I'm thinking yellow curtains and accents, but we'll see.

And this place is fun - Sylvia's closet!  Can you see her in there, or is she too cleverly disguised in her Christmas apron and her sunglasses?  There's another set of shelves on the other side, which means I have tons of ideas for this giant closet.  Stay tuned!

Here's another bedroom, formerly (and currently) known as Santa's workshop, soon to be baby's nursery!

Here's the other bedroom which we're using as a guest room.  It's pretty tiny, but enough space for someone to sleep, so...guest room it is!

Let's go downstairs!
Here we are at the bottom of the steps, looking up at the door to the garage.  I love how the staircase is open and airy, so it doesn't feel like a stairwell. 

At the bottom of the steps, turn around and you'll see our "office," which needs tons of attention, I know.  That door behind Sylvain goes to the unfinished room in the basement used for storage.  There's also a little nook behind the steps that has our bookshelves. 

Here's our family room downstairs.  We'll be putting some nice blinds on that window behind the tv soon, but for the moment we have a fancy shower curtain on a tension rod!  Because, you know...we just can't have any glare on that tv during UK games.  Who cares how terrible the window looks, at least the tv looks good!  To the right you can almost see the walk out sliding doors - the first glass structure for which we actually bought curtains!  Exciting!

Here's a better picture of the door.  This is pretty much where we spend all of our time, especially after Sylvia's gone to bed.

If your turn left at the bottom of the steps, you'll walk through a door, right into our Master Suite!!  
 We're still fiddling around with where to put the bed and the dresser, but for now it works because my side is facing the bathroom.  We'll also be getting blinds for that window (right now we have a terrible shade with a hole in it).

Sylvain's closet.  We could fit a baby's bed in there if we wanted to.  We don't, of course, but we could. 

Here's our bathroom!  It's so nice to have two full bathrooms, especially since one of them is in our own room and I can sprint to the potty in the middle of the night, even if there are guests here!

 Look at my fantastic bathtub!  Tile and a little ledge all the way around!  At the moment Sylvia takes her baths down here, so I'll be glad when we get a bathtub upstairs.

 Here's my closet!  Sylvia likes to roll around in my shoes, which is why they're a mess.  I can't wait to organize the heck outta this place!

That's it for the upstairs and downstairs, so let's go outside! 

 I'm excited about landscaping this little corner in the front.  It'll also be nice to see what blooms in the spring.

 Here's our deck and shed.

There's our walkout basement door.  And if you turn around from this spot, you see...

 Our backyard!!  Flat at the top with a great sledding hill, then flat again at the bottom.  I'm just dying to get some chickens and goats, but Sylvain is not on the chicken train, so we'll see.  Goats are a real possibility.

 Here's the other side of the back.  Perhaps a patio here, or a playhouse for the kiddos?  Who knows!  Turn around from this spot to see another view of the spectacular backyard.

 Deer like to have parties back here, and Sylvia has a good time staring at them when they arrive.  Words cannot describe how excited I get every time I look at this yard!

And that's the end of our house tour.  Soon we'll be painting, hanging pictures, moving furniture and making this place ours!  Even though we've only been here a month, we are so at home and joyous in our new space.  Stay tuned for all the fun!  Thanks for coming!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Baby Two

We went to the doctor today for my 15 week checkup and Sylvia got to hear the baby's heartbeat!  Even though we have a group of doctors instead of two doting midwives, like we had with the last pregnancy, I was thrilled when the doctor made a point to talk to Sylvia and ask her if she could hear it.  Now, when you ask Sylvia what the baby says, she says "Bum-bum bum-bum!"  It's adorable.

This poor second baby is already taking a back seat to the mischievous toddler in the house - it's taken me 15 weeks to even write about our newest one!  So for the rest of the post, I vow to leave out any more Sylvia stories or anecdotes and save them for another day (you would not believe the tricks this girl has been pulling lately).  From here on out, it's nothing but baby!

This pregnancy has been wonderful, just like my last one.  I found out I was pregnant in mid-October at 4:30 am on a Wednesday morning.  We were both surprised that it happened so quickly.  When I crawled into bed to tell Sylvain the news, he said, "You're kidding!" Then he rolled back over and mumbled, "Well, that was easy!"  I couldn't go back to sleep, so I grabbed my phone and calculated a due date, started a list of baby names, and Googled doctors and midwives in our area. 

For a solid week we were both walking around with "our secret," which was hard because we were still living with my parents.  If we looked at each other for too long, he'd get a goofy smile and I'd start to giggle.  Finally, we told our parents and our closest friends.  By week 7, I was starting to feel super nauseous and I had tons of weird cravings - mostly just Reduced Fat Whole Grain Eggo Waffles in the middle of the night.  I remember lying in bed at 1:00 am on a Saturday morning, trying to count down the hours until I could eat breakfast when I finally just got out of bed, stumbled downstairs, and made the world's most delicious frozen waffle meal!

Week's 8 and 9 started to get tricky at school.  I had to keep lots of snacks in my desk drawer to keep myself from getting sick and I got lightheaded and dizzy a couple times a day.  Luckily, none of my kids or the other adults who work in my room noticed anything funny.  By week 10 though, I was free and clear of all nausea and I'm happy to report that despite a wonky tummy, weird aversions and cravings, I made it through the first trimester without throwing up.  Hurrah!  I know that's not normal so I feel very blessed.

Between weeks 10 and 15 things were getting very busy at work, we moved into a new house, and we made it through the Christmas holiday.  I was feeling normal, I wasn't showing, there were boxes to unpack and a toddler to supervise.  Not only did those weeks fly by, but most of the time I totally FORGOT that I was pregnant!  It wouldn't be until the evenings that I remembered - when I crawled into bed and felt a sense of exhaustion the likes of which I've never felt before. "Oh yeah!  I'm growing a baby.  No wonder it's 8:00 and I feel about as tired as a corpse."  If people could die from being tired, I'd be pretty close.

And now here we are!  15 weeks already and a happy, healthy baby inside the ol' uterus, making itself at home, boxes unpacked and dirty socks on the floor.  Welcome, little one.  Stay as long as you like.  It's going to be a lovely 25 weeks together, I'm sure!