Life and other illnesses

It is not my intention to use this post to complain, so I apologize in advance if it comes off that way.  I am just trying to update folks on what has been going on and paint a picture of what our life has been like for the last couple of months.  Unfortunately, just describing it might come out as a complaint.

Just to recap: Savannah was born the Monday after Thanksgiving.  My mother had been staying with us to help me with Sofia during my last trimester.  She left right before the New Year, when Savannah was a month old.  At that point, the primary care of Sofia during the day passed on to my mother in law, who offered to take care of her at least until she was 2 years old.  Michael and I had decided we were going to start Sofia in daycare around this time. Ann just wanted us to wait a little longer to allow Sofia to be 2, and Savannah to be at least 3 months old.  Ann is wise and already knew that daycare meant colds and other bugs, so she was concerned about Savannah getting them too soon.  She also thought that cold and flu season would be coming to an end by late February early March, so it would not be too bad.

Boy were we wrong.

Around this time my brother came to visit.  He was just coming to meet the new baby, and to stay a few weeks on his way to something new.  After a few weeks here he decided he would stay a little longer to help out.  We hired him at the greenhouse since it is the busy season and we were hiring people left and right.  We thought he would be full time, but he really ended up being ¾ time, since he spends so much time driving us back and forth to doctor’s appointments.  I am not exaggerating.  In the last three months we have been to the doctor at least 10 times.  Last week alone I went on Monday, and Sofia went Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.  We live in the boonies, so the pediatrician is 45 minutes each way, and I don’t drive.

We have been sick so many times; I now have a collection of baby medicine syringes.  There was the ear infection/sinus infection combo we all got.  Except for Savannah, who cannot get sinus infections yet so she gets a pass.  There have been days when we were all coughing, some of us phlegm. There is also the stomach junk.  One night Sofia was vomiting and Michael and I spent all night taking turns between who cleaned up the child and who did the next load of laundry.  There is also the side of diarrhea that affects some of us after taking antibiotics, which then gives Sofia the worse diaper rash I have ever seen. Oh, and did I mention Savannah has been teething for what seems like her whole life?  I mean, she is passed the colic (thank God) but then started teething and is waking up repeatedly at night, drooling and irritable, slight temperature.  All of this happening while we are running a small business that makes most of its money exactly during these two months. That is to say that while all of this is happening Michael is putting in 12 hour days at work, at one point with a sinus and an ear infection. 

This last week was especially brutal.  I have been having back pain, which I also had when Sofia was this age.  It is a combination of hauling a baby, nursing, not sleeping, post pregnancy normal adjustments, big boobs, a history of falling down, etc.  Monday morning, as I am thinking about calling the doctor because I am certain I have bronchitis, I fall down the steps of my house.  Yeah.  Add another reason for the back pain. Make that two reasons, since I did in fact have bronchitis as I suspected.  All that was not as bad as hearing the pediatrician say Sofia might have walking pneumonia two days after. Thank God she does not have it, but she did have her first x ray. Fun!

Michael sleeps on the floor besides Sofia’s crib on a make shift bed (or a pallet, for you southern folks).  This started because Sofia would wake up with coughing fits and he had to walk across the house a few times a night to help her.  I had to stay with Savannah in case she needed nursing, or anything else. They were tag teaming us.  Right when we got Sofia down, Savannah would wake up. After a few nights of that Michael decided it was best to divide and conquer. Sofia keeps him up and Savannah keeps me up, but that is better than both of them keeping us both up. When Savannah was a month old she would sleep 6 and 7 hours straight.  Now I am lucky if I get 3 hours, most nights it is just 2 at a time.  She wakes up for a lot of different reasons.  She too has had her share of colds, luckily nothing too serious.  I am still nursing her so that factors in as well. 

Let me tell you, after almost 6 months of interrupted sleep I finally understand first hand why sleep deprivation is considered a form of torture.

Now, let me focus on the positive.  After almost 6 months of interrupted sleep I still function.  I get up and get my girls ready every day.  Sofia either goes to daycare (which she loves) or to her grandmother (also a treat) when we feel she needs another day away.  I go to work and pay the company bills, call customers, sell on the phone, and of course: mother our 20 employees - because being a personnel manager is like being a mom or a referee, or both.

The business is doing well.  A few new hires in the right places, and a lot of systems put in place by Michael have made a huge difference. He is truly amazing at what he does.  It is a testament to his abilities that we have been able to do well with all the obstacles we have faced this year.  We are not the only ones sick, you know.  This will be known as the year of the sickness.  There was not a week in all of April when we were fully staffed every day.  The stack of doctor’s notes from my employees (either for them or their kids) is at never before seen levels.  Oh! And one of our drivers totaled our biggest truck on a delivery. Thank God no one was seriously injured.  He quit and left us down a driver and a truck right in the middle of the busy season.  Still, the week after that we had the biggest week we ever had for finished product sales. Ever. And we pulled it off beautifully.

My girls are healthy.  I mean, Sofia is using a nebulizer right now, but that seems insignificant.  They both are generally healthy happy babies, and I am blessed that they have no major illnesses. Sofia is the smartest 2 year old I have ever seen.  Her vocabulary skills are so far beyond what I thought a 26 month old could do, it is astonishing.  And she is so darn cute! Savannah is just a sweet baby.  She has been a little high maintenance at times, but she is so sweet and happy she makes up for it. She gets her colds, but has been able to either avoid or fight off the strong stuff. We are very close, because it seems like it is just the two of us a lot, since daddy is on Sofia duty.

My in laws are terrific.  Ann and Robert are always there to keep Sofia when we need them to.  She loves them so much; she even takes her medicine if her Mum is giving it to her.  I am so lucky to have them next door! They really do go above and beyond.  Especially Robert, who never had the time or the opportunity to care for his kids or grand kids this way until now.  Sofia is truly lucky because he is great at it. She calls him Robert, by the way. Mum and Robert. 

My brother is he best brother anyone can ask for.  The other morning I got him up to watch Savannah because she decided to get up at 5 am.  Michael had been up with Sofia since midnight because of the 104 fever. I sent Michael to bed, stayed with Sofia and gave Savannah to KanoKano got her to sleep and kept her with him until 8 am when we were all up.  He and Savannah are crazy about each other, it is really cute. Savannah fusses at the greenhouse and the staff members say “Quick! Get the uncle!”

Michael is the best daddy.  You guys should see him caring for Sofia.  Sleeping on the floor, monitoring her fevers, giving her water in the middle of the night, and rocking her on the recliner because she coughs less sitting up.  I can not imagine a better daddy for my girls. He wanted her to be a daddy’s girl and he has got it – for better or worse. She is potty training and more than once has requested that Daddy be the one to take her to the potty.  I hate to laugh but it is kindof a good deal for me.

I look ahead to a time when the business slows down.  I hope the bugs will take a break at daycare soon now that it is warming up.  I pray that first tooth will break through soon.  Maybe then I can switch Savannah to her crib and Sofia’s room will become “the girls’ room”.  Maybe then, finally, my husband and I can go back to sleeping together in the same bed every night, and I might even sleep more than 3 hours in a row!

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you mothers out there who are reading this and thinking “you poor thing” or “I hear you sista’” or “you are so lucky!”  I especially want to thank Michael’s mom for helping me with my girls so much, and for raising such a wonderful man in Michael. 

And last but certainly not least I want to thank my own mom, who has put her life on hold for me and my daughters, and is such an inspiration to me.  How the hell she did this with 3 kids I will never know. 

To everyone else out there, I am sorry I have been kind of MIA the last few months.  I catch a glimpse of the news and have so much to say about so much of what has been going on.  I just can’t seem to wrestle up enough energy to sit down and put down in writing a coherent thought.  And those days I do, the interruptions from the girls stop me from following through on any of it.  Hopefully soon, very soon, we will get back to some sense of normalcy.  One can hope.


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