Sunday, April 15, 2012

Happy Easter!

I'm in love with our Easter photo.  Not because it is perfect.  To assign that adjective to this picture would mean you are a.) blind or b.) my mother.  No, no, no.  Friends, the Parkers don't do cutesy family pics.  I believe it's God gift for my writing.  Plus, who wants some dumb ol' perfect picture, really?  Who wants something she can hang on her wall in a nice frame to look at and remember fondly?  I mean, not me! Pshh.  (silently weeps)

Okay explanation.  I would just like to note that I feel our individual personalities come across perfectly in this photo.  Let's go left to right.

1.) Whitney: not looking at the camera; not in her Easter dress.  Perfect.  Whitney had a poop explosion in her Easter dress and the backup outfit I had in her diaper bag hadn't been replaced in a while and it was too small for her (as you can see by her exposed legs).  Also, Whitney doesn't do anything she doesn't want to do, so don't make her look at some stupid camera.  Don't..DO.IT!  She's also a little bit of a snob.

2. Jeanette: Smiling because she wants a perfect family photo that she can hang on the wall in a frame to look at and remember fondly.  Oh, Jeanette, stop being anal, you silly girl.

3. Ben: When I want a posed pic, Ben usually humors me out of love with a complimentary eye roll.  He hates posing for pictures unless he can have his finger up his nose or can make some sort of tortured expression.  Also, he's trying to keep Eli from bounding out of his arms. 

4. Eli: Goofball, extraordinaire. When you ask Eli to smile, this is what he does.  He shuts his eyes and screams "CHEEEEEASSSE!"

He is risen! He is risen, indeed!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dream Boat

Happy Birthday
to the love of my life!

  Love that man of mine.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

March Mustache Madness

Oh, the madness.  At the beginning of March, my husband informed me that his employer had sanctioned a mustache growing contest and he would be taking part.  The catch -- he was not allowed to trim it, groom it, nothing.  He labeled it his "nice and nasty" mustache.  Nasty, indeed.

Below is a picture of Ben sans mustache.  He's quite the looker, no?  I should tell you that finding a picture of Ben where a.) his eyes aren't closed or b.) he isn't making a ridiculous face is like trying to find Bigfoot.  You can find one if you search, but they are elusive, my friends. (The preceding statement was in no way a confirmation that I believe in the existence of Bigfoot.)
He's mine, ladies.

Now, here is a picture of Ben and his mustache about 10 days in or so. All he needed was a creepy van and a pair of binoculars, and we would have had the makings of a terrifying Lifetime movie.

Aaaaand here is Ben at the end of his contest...practicing his pose for America's Most Wanted.

Now, these pictures do not do justice to what I was faced with.  He couldn't trim it, so when we kissed it was like I was canoodling with a Brillo pad.  Also, people with children would see us and turn and run. 

And here he is after shaving it off.  And the angels rejoiced.

I'm not sure if he won the contest or not, but it was a great time to be alive.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Whitney: 0; RSV: 1 - Whitney 5 Months

 5 months

Well, your fifth month was interesting.  And by interesting, I mean ulcer-inducing.  Around the middle of the month, your brother developed this cough wherein he would hack up vital organs.  He had a fever one night, I worried about him, the next day he was back to plotting his takeover of smaller island countries -- you know, for the views.  Then you developed this cute little hack.  Oh, it was adorable.  A day later, you just didn't seem like your smiley self, so I took you to see your sage grandmother, NP and she thought you were developing a little ear infection.  Your cough was sporadic and a little more intense.  But, I wasn't that worried.

Enter the worst 48 hours of my life (and I threw up on a commuter train you know what the toilet on a commuter train looks like?).

That very night your cough turned into a "Dear God, did her lung come out with that one" cough and you developed a fever and you looked like you wanted to die; you would barely open your eyes.  You were still nursing, though, so I thought maybe we had hit the worst.  I slept sitting up on the couch with you with the humidifier going.  Oh, I forgot to mention that you were clogged to the eyeballs with snot.  I had to use the aspirator thingy and saline drops almost every hour on you.

That was not the worst.

The next morning, you looked pale, you wouldn't nurse, you were coughing so hard that grey matter was coming out, you couldn't breathe due to all the phlegm, and you would barely open your eyes.  I was sure you were dying of pneumonia.  It was so quick; you turned bad so quickly.

I immediately googled every life-threatening illness I thought you could potentially have.  After I diagnosed you with whooping cough with pneumonia, I called your doctor...the second they opened.
Your pediatrician was out of town, so I had to take you to his very sweet on-call doctor.  I think I cried the entire time I was in his office.  He examined you and said, "Yes, she go to hospital for the night."  Then my heart fell into my rectum.  The what?  Then in a very rational manner, I asked the sweet Indian doctor, "Is she going to die?"  And then the sweet Indian doctor said, "Mother, you are going to be okay?"  Because, oh yeah, I was crying uncontrollably.  He assured me you were fine.  He thought you probably had RSV (a respiratory virus), but he wanted to make sure you didn't have pneumonia, as well, and he wanted to get fluids into you because you weren't nursing. 

So, I called your dad and blubbered something unintelligible to him.  He was able to glean "hospital" and "possible pneumonia" from my sobs.  It's great that you have at least one rational, level-headed parent.  Because during an emergency, I basically shut down.  He assured me it was going to be all right and that he and Eli would meet us at the hospital.  Then, I called your grandma, your grandpa, sent out a mass text asking for prayer, alerted the Vatican, and ran a red light getting you to the hospital.

So, you were given an i.v., they suctioned snot out of you (during which I was put into a straight jacket), then suctioned you again to get a sample for tests, and put you on a monitor, mainly to keep track of your oxygen levels.  A couple hours later we were taken down for a chest x-ray.  You did not move when they placed you on the x-ray table.  Normally, you would flail as if ready to take flight, but nothing.  I started crying again.  Oh, also, you did have an ear infection and were placed on antibiotics.

To recount: i.v., suctioned, suctioned some more, monitor, chest x-ray, antibiotics for ear infection, mother in dire need of sedation.

Your tests came back positive for RSV, but negative for flu and pneumonia.  And after a few hours at the hospital, you seemed to be doing much better.  You slept through the night in a crib that I can only describe as the crib where they send baby delinquents.  The next morning, though, your oxygen levels kept falling, so they...prepare yourself...put you on oxygen.  I'm sure the nurses were ready to kick me out, because I went full on Shirley Maclaine in Terms of Endearment on them.  "Why is her monitor beeping?"  "Her heart rate monitor is beeping."  "She needs to be suctioned again."  "When will she be off oxygen?" "Let me see your licensing." "I would like to speak to the manager."  At one point, a nurse came in and said, "Why don't we just turn the monitor off.  She's fine."  And then locked the door behind her.

the saddest picture ever.

So, the nurse said you would probably stay another night.  Your dad came over to relieve me for an hour, the lovely Jen Decker came to my rescue and watched your brother for a few hours, I came home and packed a bag for the night and looked in a mirror for the first time in a 24 hour period only to discover my incessant crying had given my face a sort of Elephant man look.

When I got back to the hospital, the doctor came to check on you.  He told us that he thought you were doing much better and you could go home in a few hours.  Hooray! So, you were taken off the monitors, your i.v. was taken out, we were given a nebulizer and two prescriptions, and the nurses each cracked open a 40 in celebration of our departure.

I can't express to you how horrifying it is to see your child as sick as you were.  That feeling of powerlessness is overwhelming.  You were so sick, and all I could do was pray.  And, really, the situation was not as dire as I imagine it to have been.  Parenting is hard.  Your heart becomes so vulnerable.  I've said this before, but I cannot imagine raising children without my faith in Christ.  Because, honestly, I can't control your world (trust me, I've tried...stupid hypnotherapy).  You are essentially His, and I've been entrusted to help guide your way in this world.  Having you and your brother has helped me (a little -- I still have a long way to go) learn that He is in control, and as much as I coddle or read books or invest in child-size hazmat suits (they come in lovely shades of highlighter yellow), I can't protect you from everything. 

Okay, enough heavy.  Let's go the likes/dislikes portion of our monthly letter (a format I stole from Sara Falulah Luke).

At 5 months, you like:
  • your sophie giraffe.  This thing is amazing.  Perfect for gnawing, orally fixated babies (and that's why it's important to place commas correctly).  We don't leave home without it.
  • your crinkle book.  Another favorite toy right now.
  • your exersaucer. I put you in this last month, actually, but your love affair blossomed this month. 
  • your swing...still.  I've replaced the D batteries (which aren't cheap) in that swing 8 times now.  I never had to change them with your brother.  We tried to buy cheap batteries one time only to discover a couple days in that they were leaking battery acid.  Which is cool, if you're making meth, but we are not. 
  • me.  I'm not lying when I say that I will leave the room while your eyes are closed, and you'll start crying. You have this sixth sense...and it's...well, it's just terrific.  (when you're older, mommy will teach you about sarcasm.)  Don't get me wrong, darlin', I love, Love, LOVE being with's just sometimes mommy needs her space.
  • my nasally, high-pitched pigeon voice.  Whenever I read any of the Pigeon books (by our favorite, Mo Willems) to your brother, I use this awesome nasal, high-pitched voice for the Pigeon.  And by awesome, I mean ear splittingly annoying.  I also use this voice when I'm changing your know, to ease the tension.  You think it's HI-larious.  Just wait until I use it when your first boyfriend comes to meet us.  That and your father holding his shotgun should make for a lovely meeting. 
  • your monkey pacifier.  This thing is also amazing.  It's a pacifier attached to a little monkey.  Your LauraJean got it for you.  It's nice because if your pacifier falls out, it's easy for you to pop it back in.

At 5 months, you dislike:
  • naps.  When you got sick, your sleep patterns (if you can call them that) went out the window...and we have yet to see any normalcy return.  It's a dilemma right now.  You do nap, but they're not consistent and they don't last as long as they should. And you need your sleep.
  • when your swing stops.  
  • rolling over.  You'll do it, but it's like watching a turtle flipped onto its do the whole airplane move, flail your limbs, and cry.  It's presh.
  • Your Coldplay lullaby c.d.  It cures many a crying spell that occur whilst driving around town.
Please stop taking pictures. 
Tell her to stop.
      Not a lot of dislikes right now, but the no nap kind of makes life...difficult.  When you don't nap, is-a-hard. Sleep training is a little more difficult this time around because I'm learning to balance taking care of you and your brother...and at this moment, your schedules are not aligned.   So, we'll just keep trying.  Until then, I will continue to buy Dr. Pepper in bulk.

      You are lovely to me, Scout.  And even when you don't nap and my brain feels like it's going to shrivel up and die from lack of sleep, I still think you are pretty great.  Happy five months, my lovely.

      Sunday, April 1, 2012

      Whitney: 4 Months - the abridged version...a month and a half late

      At 4 Months, you like:
      • your family...and that's about it.  Anyone else elicits a look of annoyance.  You're such a snob. 
      • your intervention is planned soon.  It's the only place you'll nap extensively during the day.  Soooo.
      • to poop.  You have at least one blowout a's fun.
      • your pink fuzzy blanket.  You will not sleep without it.
      • your playmat.  It's so fun to watch you work at pulling the dangling animals down.
      • your hand, fingers, anything that you can fit into your mouth without me taking it away from you.  I'm not sure if you're teething, but you do not go a minute without either your pacifier or your fingers in your mouth.
      • your brother.  Seriously, that kid could sit on you and you would think it's hilarious.  Everything he does makes you smile. (We'll see how long that lasts.)
      • your moby wrap.  You love being carried around in it. 

      At 4 Months, you dislike:
      • tummy still hate it.  Honestly, I'm not as good at making sure you have tummy time as I was with Eli, but you do spend time on your tummy daily, and you still hate it...with a fiery passion.
      • your crib.  Again, my fault.  Apparently, I didn't learn my lesson from your brother.  You sleep fine in the cradle-thingamajig next to our bed, but the second I lay you down in your crib, you act as if I just dipped you into acid.
      • non-elasticized pants.  And who can blame you, girl.  You've got quite the tummy, and that cute thing needs some give and stretch comfort.
      • your carseat -- at least not for extended periods.  So, traveling to Boston in a few months should be a blast.
      • bottles. Eli did not breastfeed; he refused.  So, when you nursed like a pro, I wanted to make sure you would stick with it.  So, I didn't attempt a bottle until about a month and a half after you were born, at which point you were like, "woman, please".  It's fine if you never have a bottle, it just means you and I are going to be like peas and carrots for the next year or so. 
       You are growing into quite a fun little girl, and your personality is starting to come out.  One of my favorite things about you (I mean, the list is quite extensive, but...), is your smile.  When you smile, you smile with your whole body.  Seriously, your shoulders go up, your legs stretch out, your face scrunches up.  It's perfect.

      I love you beyond eternity, my dear Scout.