Friday, March 27, 2009

Ba Bye, Boobah

Corinne has always been a big pacifier girl. In the early months Boobah, as we called it, was a lifesaver to us. When she was crying and looking for the comfort that comes from sucking we'd just "stick a plug in it" and she'd be content. Sure there were nuisances with it, like when she'd spit it out in the car and you'd have to drive with one hand, eyes on the road, while crawling your other hand around behind you trying to first locate it and then locate her screaming mouth to plop it back into. Or when it dropped onto a dirty floor at a public place and was the only one you had. Or when she couldn't find it or, in the early weeks, couldn't coordinate her flailing little infant hands to pick it up, and there would be multiple late-night trips into her room give it back to her (S@L use to leave a half dozen or more of them in Zoe's crib so she could always find one). But overall we felt that her ability to soothe herself made it all worthwhile. We worked around the inconveniences by having many Boobah's around, attached to things like her car seat, coat, sling and toys with little cords, and that worked for us.

Then Corinne turned one, the age that we had arbitrarily set as the time to wean off of Boobah, and it became clear that getting rid of Boobah would be no easy task. She loved Boobah, needed Boobah, and frankly it was easier to just let her keep it, especially once we got her PDD-NOS diagnosis. Eventually we got her down to just using it to sleep, and that was OK for awhile. Then she turned two. And then three. The love/hate relationship we had with Boobah began to go south, and we just wanted it gone. Pete, in particular, was frustrated with playing second fiddle to a piece of plastic. There was much discussion about how we could go about ridding ourselves of this unwanted accessory. Pretend to give it to Santa? Sew it into a stuffed animal, so she'd have it but not suck it? Haveher give it to Lily when she was born? Or just go cold turkey and ride out the storm that would surley ensue? We knew that what it would boil down to was a number of sleepless nights of screaming and Boobah withdrawl, and we just couldn't bring ourselves to do it. Not out of pity for Corinne, but for ourselves. There was nver a time when we felt like subjecting ourselves to this and there was always some other factor that was more pressing: potty training, school starting, a new baby coming, etc.

So imagine our surprise and delight when, last Sunday morning, she informed Pete upon awakening that she had lost Boobah during the night but that was OK because she was a big girl and didn't need him. In the past, as recently as a couple months ago, I would be jarred awake at least once a week with the refrain of "I can't find Boobah", repeated over and over until I wearily dragged myself into her room and relocated the damn thing, usually tangled in her sheets but sometimes under her bed (try crawling around under a bed when you're pregnant). For some reason this time she decided that she could live without him, at least for the night. I think it helped that Pete had been having a lot of discussions with her at bedtime about what a big girl and big sister she is, and all the differences between her and Lily there were, and how Boobah was really the only baby characteristic she still retained. She has been very pleased with being a big girl, and doing things "all by myself", and I think the wheels had been turning in her little head regarding this one last hurdle. Pete spotted Boobah on the floor and quickly stowed him away when she wasn't looking, seizing this once in a lifetime opportunity. He was prepared to have as many sleepless nights as it took.

That night Corinne asked about Boobah and we just kind of brushed it off dismissively, and shockingly she let the issue drop without much protest. I told her that if she could go a whole week without Boobah, I would take her to a toy store and buy her anything she wanted. Every night and at every nap she would ask if we couldlook for Boobah, until I finally told her that the Boobah Fairy must have come and taken Boobah to give to a poor baby whose parents didn't have any money to buy it a Boobah, and how nice it was of her to share her Boobah with a baby that really needed it. Oddly, she has not coveted her own sister's Boobah even once (yes, we opted to introduce Lily to the pacifier as well. Call us glutton's for punishment, but I still maintain that it is worth it for that self-soothing, instant suck satisfaction that it provides. We'll cross that bridge when we come to it. When she turns one.)

I won't say Corinne wasn't upset about the loss of this most important of all lovey items (even more so than the beloved Shamu). Just about every night that week she had a meltdown of sorts within a half hour of lights out. Each time it was for a random reason: the cover came off her night light, she wanted her plastic bowl that she liked to fill with toys, Dadda forgot to bring her a drink, or the worst one, when she couldn't find her beloved Zoot (I'm sure that to her it was like, oh no, the last thing I couldn't find I never saw again. Will all my favorite things be disappearing one by one?) It didn't take a therapist to realize that Boobah was the underlying cause of these seemingly petty melodramas. But she made it a week and we made a whole afternoon of going to pick out a special present. I took her to Toys-R-Us, but nothing there seemed like the right reward for this huge victory and sacrifice in her part (plus she was picking out things like easter basket grass and marshmallow peeps as her reward, not to mention a smaller version of Shamu, of which she already has at least three). Instead we went t o Build-A-Bear and she chose a turtle with a removable shell/ backpack. We stuffed it and gave it a beating heart and picked out an outfit, and the whole thing had exactly the ceremonial pomp and circumstance that I had been hoping for. And we named it Boobah, so now when she asks for Boobah, it's the turtle that she gets. I ended up spending $50 on the whole thing, which is ridiculous for a stuffed animal, but Pete and I agreed that it was money well spent to be rid of our nemesis once and for all. I would have bought her a pony if she'd asked for one, just to have this chapter of our lives closed once and for all.

So there you have it, another Corinne victory, and a pretty impressive one, given that it came on the heels of what we thought would be the most traumatic eventof her little life: the birth of her baby sister. Once again, in true Corinne fashion, it's when we expect the worst that we end up pleasantly surprised (and when we least expect it that we get blindsided).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Corinne's First Crush

Corinne has developed what can only be described as a crush, on this guy:

He is Zoot, the saxophone player from the Electric Mayhem, the band from the Muppet Show. I mean seriously, how random is that? She is completely smitten with him, for reasons known only to her. She wants to watch our Muppet Show DVD's all the time and every time he is featured (which is hardly ever, and only for the briefest of glimpses) she gets all excited and yells with glee "there's my favorite guy!". She is also thrilled whenever she sees a saxophone in any context, and tells me "that's the ins-ment my guy plays!". The odd thing is that, for whatever reason, she refuses to say his name. She refers to him as "my guy", and if you ask what his name is she gets this funny smile and claims she can't remember. This from the girl who remembers that the cheap blue plastic sippy cup that she found in the back of one of our kitchen cabinets came from "the place where she got her painting shirt", which refers to her blue Minute Man T-shirt, which came from the Minute Man MARCh, which is indeed where she got the cup and was also a year ago! What I'm getting at is the chick doesn't forget much, so I'm not buying that she can't remember Zoot's name, which I have told her about a hundred times.

The other thing she thinks is hilarious is that Zoot doesn't seem to talk. He just plays his sax. So her favorite joke is she'll say something like "do you know what my guy said when I was crying last night? Nothing!!"

I searched high and low for a Zoot anything to give her as a present to soften the blow when Lily was born, but alas the Muppet Show has become "vintage", and obscure characters like Zoot are impossible to find, if they ever existed at all. A tiny plastic figure of him sells for, like, $100 on E-Bay.

Then my friend Meghan (of the candy sushi fame) surprised her (both of us, actually) with a hand-knitted Zoot. It's hilarious and very well crafted. Here he is:

Now she calls him "my guy that Emma's Mommy made me".

I just had to post about this because it gives a nice little insight into the unique, fascinating little person that Corinne is. And to think there was a time I wished she was "normal".

Saturday, March 21, 2009

She's Here: Lily's Birth Story

OK, it's just a wee bit overdue, Lily being a month old now, but better late than never. If having a three year old, a newborn, and no working computer isn't excuse enough, I don't know what is.

Welcome to the world, Miss Lillian Margaret.

Lily officially made her entrance on Sunday night, February 22nd, at 11:46 pm. She was seven pounds, four ounces (not the mega-baby that the ultrasounds had her pegged to be) and 19 3/4 inches long. You may have noticed that she came about 12 hours early, since I had an ultrasound scheduled for noon on Monday. On Sunday we were just chilling out around the house. The plan was for Pete and I to drop Corinne off at school on Monday morning, as per our usual routine, and then we'd head off to the hospital from there. Well, as my father always says, if you want to make God laugh, make a plan. First off, there was a snowstorm forecast for Sunday night and they were calling for a foot of snow, so we had grandpa on stand-by for Monday morning, in case Corinne's school got cancelled.

For much of the day on Sunday I felt kind of crampy. At first I just figured it was because I was drinking a ton of water, and the baby was just kicking my full bladder. As the day progressed, though, I began to notice that the discomfort was coming at even intervals. I mentioned to Pete that he might want to call his dad and make sure he slept with the phone that night, just in case. I consulted the pregnancy bible, "What to Expect When You're Expecting", and confirmed that true labor contractions will get gradually more painful and closer together. Mine weren't even really painful, just uncomfortable. But I decided after our dinner of hot dogs and beans that maybe I should start fasting for surgery sooner rather than later (I was supposed to start at midnight).

We put Corinne to bed and sat down to watch a movie ("Good Luck Chuck"). I got myself a piece of paper and started writing down what time the contractions were starting and how long they lasted. Turns out they were every five minutes, like clockwork, and were lasting 30 to 45 seconds. I decided that maybe it was time to call my OB, just to see what they wanted me to do. I was somewhat alarmed when the on-call OB (who wasn't even one of the ones in the practice. What's up with that?) told me to come in now. Yikes! I told her it would be at least 45 minutes, given that by now it had started snowing/ raining and Pete's dad lives several towns away and all. Suddenly there were a million things to do- last minute packing, showering, telling Corinne we were leaving, etc. It felt like it took Pete's dad and brother 4 hours to get to our house and then we were off to the hospital. It felt kind of surreal. We had just been talking about how nice it would be to go to the hospital in the morning after a good night sleep, and have the baby in a much more leisurely fashion, compared to the highly stressful 30-something hours of labor and "urgent" C-section with Corinne. And now here we were heading to the hospital at 10pm. So much for best laid plans.

We got to the hospital uneventfully enough, even with the slush and snow and freezing rain. The nurses got me hooked up to a monitor and started tag teaming us with admin paperwork. The OB came in and said that we'd be doing the C-section that night, around 11:30. I was surprised, thinking that they'd just hold off until the next morning since my contractions weren't bad. I guess they didn't want me to start laboring too hard (which was fine by me). The next hour or so flew by in a blur. Once again we had a couple "decels", which is when the baby's heart rate drops. It was frighteningly reminiscent of Corinne, except even scarier this time because we feel that this may have contributed to Corinne's PDD. At least this time there was no waiting around- we were in the OR within just a few minutes. I was more aware of things this time (having not just labored for 30 something hours prior). I definitely felt the tugs and pushing and heard a lot of sucking and horrifying noises (Pete likes to speak of how they have a person on each side of the incision pulling it wide open while someone else literally pulls out the entire uterus and sets it down outside my body cavity) Having watched a lot of ER as of late, I was acutely aware of all of this, fearing that at any moment I would "crash", or throw up the hot dogs and beans I had eaten only four hours before. But all went well, and out she came crying heartily right from the start. She did have some meconium (translation: baby poop) in her lungs that needed to be suctioned out, but her Apgar score went quickly from 6 to 9, which was a relief. I got to look at her, but couldn't hold her (my guts being all wide open and all). I teared up a little, but was surprised that once again I didn't cry (considering I cry uncontrollably watching other people deliver their babies on episodes of a Baby Story). She had a head full of fairly dark hair, just like I had been so surprised to see on her sister when she was born (it eventually fell out and came back in blond, which made a lot more sense, at least in the realm of Punnett Squares and Mendelian genetics).

After that Pete went with her to the nursery for cleaning up while I had my tubes tied (hey, while you're in there...) and got stitched back up, which seemed like it took forever. I was shaking like crazy and I hate that feeling of not being able to move my legs; It makes me claustrophobic. I went back to recovery after that and from there it's a bit hazy, which I now know is from the delightful drugs they give you.

Corinne came to visit with Grandpa and Uncle Jim the next afternoon and we were thrilled with how well she did with the invasion of this new person into her life. I think the months of preparation made all the difference, all the counting down and book making/ reading and discussions at home and school. Not only was she not upset, she was quite interested in her new baby sister and even touched her (this is the child who, for the past nine months out of the clear blue sky, would suddenly say adamantly: "I do not want to hold the baby.") She gave her the ultimate compliment, normally reserved only for Shamu, her best stuffed animal: "She's so cute!" I think she sees her as more like a pet or a new toy than another kid and potential competition for her parents' attention and affection. We'll see how long that lasts.

I stayed in the hospital until Thursday, at which point I was dying to get home. Pete stayed with me the first two nights. After that he'd head out to pick up Corinne from school at 2:30, bring her back to the hospital until bedtime and then stay at home with her for the night, returning the following morning. I missed him and Corinne and found it hard to get by at night by myself because of the surgery (things like getting comfortable to nurse, getting up to put the baby back in the bassinet, etc. are easier with help). Plus the nurses kept bringing Lily back into the room with me at night because she wouldn't settle down in the nursery. What's the point of staying in the hospital if you can't get that much needed break from the baby at night that everyone recommends so highly? I think Lily just didn't want to be away from her momma, because she would nurse for about 2 minutes and then promptly fall asleep. She's definitely a little love.

So there you have it, finally. A nice, uneventful birth story. This is a time when high drama or a good story are not what you want. I'll post pictures when we finally get our computer back up (I'm using Pete's work computer for this) and I will post again soon (maybe even today, but I make no promises!) with the happenings of our first month with Lily, which has also been nicely uneventful for the most part.

* Note: I asked Pete to look this over prior to publishing to make sure I didn't leave out any important details. He read it and said, "It looks good to me. You mentioned the hot dogs." That's my husband, folks.