Lately

I’m working on a million back post (not quite a million, although it does seem like it) so I thought I’d do an update on what is Actually Happening, Like, Right Now.

And that is: Rowen is asleep on my lap (as usual) and sick (not as usual.) This is actually his first real illness – he was a bit sniffly in the fall and we even ended up in the ER one night when he was making scary breathing sounds that apparently are normal for newborns to make (and yet Damien never once made) – but this time he has every conceivable symptom. He woke up at 3am Sunday with a fever of 101 point something (he wouldn’t hold still long enough for the thermometer to register exactly), loud raspy breathing, and a cough. Rowen soon added runny nose and extreme fussiness which lasted the whole next day, and then Sunday evening decided to throw in some vomiting and diarrhea. All in all it’s been quite the event. The worst part is he refuses the Tylenol that would lower his fever and make him feel better – he literally just spits it back up, no matter how long you wait or how sure you are that he swallowed, much like trying to give Ripley a pill. (Pilling Ripley is actually a lot easier, being as I’ve done it successfully and after five attempts I haven’t got enough meds in Rowen to lower his fever.) (It is lowering on its own, thankfully, and Rowen seems to feel a bit better today. Hopefully he’ll recover enough by tomorrow for me to go to my classes.)

Speaking of classes, this quarter’s schedule sucks. I thought it would be easier, and it is a tiny bit easier as far as classwork goes (at least so far), but I have evening classes every day except Friday and that turns out to be terrible. I feel like I never see Damien because I pick him up from school, and then I’m off to class again either thirty minutes or a few hours later. (On Tuesdays, he stays at school an extra hour because Dan has a late afternoon class, so I don’t see Damien until dinnertime.) It’s also hard to actually make meals when I’m gone around dinnertime (or actually during dinnertime) every day; so far we’ve made it work but I don’t know if it’s sustainable.

Related: I realized during Christmas break that I was probably depressed all through the last quarter. In retrospect it should have been obvious, but sometimes it’s difficult to separate the stress of what is obviously a crazy life from abnormal thoughts and feelings. (Also, a very small part of the problem was that last quarter I was in several classes in which depression is considered a choice, and even though I don’t believe that I let myself be swayed into thinking that maybe I really could fix myself, with less than successful results. I take full responsibility for this stupid idea, but I can’t say I don’t wish I had taken those classes while not in the throes of possible-postpartum-but-definitely-depression.) I made a doctor’s appointment for myself to talk about it and when I started listing why I thought I might be depressed, it was pretty clear that this stuff wasn’t normal. The doctor prescribed me a new medication that is considered safer for breastfeeding (I started on Celexa at 16 and stayed on it while pregnant with/breastfeeding Damien, went off it while pregnant with Rowen, and now I’m on Zoloft) but it’s too early to tell if it’s doing anything. Actually, just doing something about it was helpful.

(And before I move on, I have to mention that I purposefully made a doctor’s appointment a town over, because I knew that the local doctor covered by my insurance wouldn’t be supportive of me taking medication. He’s the same doctor that Damien and Rowen go to, and I have no problem with him as their doctor [although I wish his office was better at getting prescriptions to the pharmacy, but other than that, no problems] but he has been dismissive of me when talking about depression. For example, during Rowen’s five month checkup he had a checklist of questions to ask, and one of them was if I was experiencing post partum depression. I told him that I suspected I was and had an appointment to talk to someone about it, but was feeling a little better. His response was that if I was really depressed, I wouldn’t feel better, and that obviously I was fine and should cancel my appointment. Um. This is terrible advice. Being depressed doesn’t mean you feel suicidal 24 hours a day. Chronically depressed people do feel happy, they just start at a lower baseline than everyone else, and medication helps put you above that baseline and on a normal level with everyone else. I can’t believe people are still saying this crap to me, after over ten years with this diagnosis. Ugh.) (Okay, now I’ll move on.)

So, on to Damien! After his birthday he moved up to the three-year-old classroom, and he is loving it! He has a great teacher whom he is enamored with, he’s started playing with the new kids in his class (and can still play with his friends who are still two during their afternoon ‘recess’), and is being challenged in new ways and bringing home fun stuff he made at school. I’m glad we made the decision to enroll him in preschool, even though it was tough at the time, because it’s obviously been great for him. Example: one afternoon I went grocery shopping with Rowen and Dan took Damien to the library to play. When I picked them up again, Dan mentioned that there were other kids playing with the blocks and train set, and I automatically cringed, picturing Damien melting down and yelling at the kids to go away. Instead, Damien asked them to play with him and they built things together. I totally credit preschool for that! (Also, growing up helps too I suppose.)

Being three has ushered in an era of Disney-fication for Damien. I don’t really mind it, probably because he’s a boy and I don’t feel like he’s being Repressed by a Regime of Disney Princesses or something like that, and also because I was all about Disney as a kid (and admittedly I still like it.) He watched Frozen for the first time with Kassi over Christmas break and, like every other kid his age in the world, of course became obsessed. Since then he’s watched it several times a week (we draw the line at more than once a day) and is working on learning all the lyrics to Frozen Heart so he can sing it at preschool. (No idea where this goal came from, but it’s good to have goals, right?) We’ve also had several afternoons of Pretend Play in which he assigns Frozen roles to various members of the family (he’s usually Elsa or Anna, I’ve been Anna or Kristoff, and Rowen is invariably Olaf.)

Damien also asked for, and received, some Jake and the Neverland Pirates-themed Duplo block sets, which led to him wanting to watch the show, so we’ve had some pirate interest around the house too. I officially gave up on keeping his block sets separate – WHY did I EVER try to do this, I don’t know – and just dumped them all in one big bin. The positive result is there’s been so much fun pretend play going on; I love it! He’ll go in his room and play with blocks independently. His other favorite independent play toys are his Star Wars ships and figures (they’re not detailed figures, they’re more like stereotypical Army Guys, and I know that’s not a technical term but let’s go with it) – we brought some home from Dan’s mom’s house that were Dan’s growing up over Christmas break, and Damien picked out another set from Target with birthday money. Again, love all the creativity going on with age three – now if only we could get him to express some interest in potty training… (He’s gone from not caring about potty training at all to NO NO NO; YOU WILL PRY MY DIAPER FROM MY COLD DEAD FINGERS, AND NOTHING YOU CAN DO OR SAY WILL ENTICE ME TO SIT UPON THAT PORCELAIN MONSTER. So that’s great.) (Also, I have a hard time thinking of Star Wars being owned by Disney, but it did make that paragraph loosely connected so there’s that. Can’t really tie in the potty-training though.)

This next part is going to sound like a commercial, but here are some Disney-related apps that have made our lives much, much easier (and they’re free, for what that’s worth) –

  • Oral-B’s Disney Timer App: We were at the point where we literally had to hold Damien down to brush his teeth (at which point he would semi-acquiese, but would randomly chomp down on the brush like a rabid animal.) This app has reduced the mad-dog act to about 10% of the time instead of 100%. We already had a Mickey Mouse toothbrush and Cars/Planes toothpaste, so the whole thing was no cost to us, and Damien loves collecting ‘stickers’. (My one question: how do you unlock either Star Wars or Frozen sticker books? Oral-B/Crest doesn’t make products themed with either of those characters, so I’m guessing it’s something you have to unlock after brushing a certain amount? Feel free to enlighten me.)
  • Disney Story Central – this has been my saving grace for Damien entertainment while Rowen is sick. Basically, it’s a Disney ebook app, and you can buy books to read/for the app to read to you. So far all of our books have been free – setting up an account comes with a free book plus four free books of your choice, we had a free book included with our Frozen DVD, and I earned one book through Disney Movie Rewards. Instead of a ‘sticker’ system like the timer app, this app has badges/trophies like video games, and it keeps track of the number of books and pages you read. In the past two days Damien ‘read’ (had read to him) 298 pages, which is pretty freaking incredible considering I didn’t have to read any of it, haha! (I always offer to read the books to him, as that is an option, but he likes the ebook voices.) Oh, and this website is also an app for iPad, but we haven’t tried that out yet – Damien has been reading on my new computer (which has a touch screen, making it easy for him. More on that later.)

Welp, I think that’s enough random updating for today. I should probably actually do some homework during my long weekend. (I did read an entire book yesterday, and now I’m burned out on homework, which is too bad considering I have another book to read by Friday.)

Uh oh. Damien is coughing and has a runny nose. This does not bode well for my week….

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