Treading Water

We have been in this almost-surreal state lately. Awful things have been happening, great things have been happening, and big things loom that have us stuck in a weird holding pattern.

Remember how we lost my Great Uncle Mark in February? Well, we lost not only Andy’s grandpa to a stroke in March but then in a staggering turn of events lost Andy’s aunt to cancer last week. Not even a week ago now. We’d seen her at the funeral seemingly her normal, albeit grieving, self and a few weeks later she was gone. It’s the sort of thing that makes all your edges raw. We are left almost fizzing with residual anxiety in an anything-could-happen sort of way.

Meanwhile, life in the North is simply beautiful. The weather is warming, trees are greening, things are blooming. We exhaust ourselves on the weekend making our landscaping home-y and beautiful while the boys run around finding sticks and digging holes in our yard to try and outdo each other finding the biggest, fattest earthworms.

Graham planted peas in the back garden this year. There are lots of things sprouting where we planted them, but we’re not sure which are peas and which are weeds, so it’s a garden free-for-all back there until the plants are big enough to determine which to keep and which to pull.

I’ve been on the road the past two weeks doing some intensive research with consumer focus groups. Andy’s been holding down the fort with the boys. I think it’s safe to say: we’re all glad that I’m going to be home for awhile.

Lastly, we are in a holding pattern on everything else until we figure out what’s going on with my job. My company is merging with another in a big deal that is sure to mean changes and soon. The deal doesn’t go through until the end of the year, but everyone at work is on edge about it.

In fact, we have our current CEO and COO visiting our little headquarters site next Monday morning for a 30-minute town hall meeting. The CEO has never been here, so everyone is left wondering why visit? Why now? It has the hallmarks of “big announcement” but it also could just be… “The CEO’s never been here and wanted to see the place” kinda stuff. Who knows.

That’s just sort of the mantra at work right now: “It could be huge, but it could be nothing.” Go about your lives. We’ll let you know if something changes.

So we are. Going about our lives, pretending nothing is over our shoulders. Planning camping trips and chasing each other around with big fat earthworms. Because what else are you going to do?

Friend Lion (and YES, the Armadillo!)

This story has two parts.

Part 1: The Acquisition of Friend Lion

We had a family errand run yesterday. First stop – get Graham’s hair cut. Reid and I stopped in Anthropologie to pass the time. Anthropologie is also known as the place where Reid calls all the clothes “jammies”. Hilarious if you’re familiar with the store.

There, we happened on a stuffed lion. I held it out to Reid and said, “Look Reid, a friend!” Reid took this about as literally as anyone could. He hugged it tight around the neck and didn’t let go. He carried it around the store, introducing “Friend” to every shopper he saw – complete with a huge double-dimpled smile.

Ultimately, it was time to put Friend away and leave the store, but we all know where this is going. Reid dutifully  put Friend back where we’d found him, patted him on the head, said, “Bye, Friend,” and walked away – shoulders slumped. I checked Friend’s price tag, and found that he was 50% off. Thus, our latest acquisition.

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I’ve never seen Reid buddy up with any stuffed animal like this. Friend is real, you guys. He takes naps, needs to be buckled in shopping carts, gets hungry for breakfast – you name it.

Part 2: Guilt

Last night, after a happy homecoming with Friend lion, I read Reid a favorite book, But Not the Hippopotamus.

If you’re familiar with this one – it’s about a bunch of animal friends doing fun stuff with each other around town… but this poor hippopotamus is left out of everything. Spoiler alert: the animal friends come around and ask the hippopotamus to join them.

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It kinda takes this dark turn at the end though, because after the Hippopotamus joins his new friends, we find out that they all left out the Armadillo.

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And yes, that is how sad and pitiful the poor armadillo looks at the end of the book.

After I closed the book, Reid immediately hopped off the chair ran over to his cache of stuffed animals and plucked out this stuffed armadillo that I’d bought him just before we moved out of Texas. Reid has never paid any attention to the thing before, but now that he is aware the emotional turmoil of being left out, I think he doesn’t want the armadillo to be sad anymore.

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This was Reid, after breakfast. Armadillo and Friend lion slept in bed with him last night, ate breakfast with him, and subsequently rode to school in his lap.

Because no book is going to tell Reid who to be friends with!

An iPhone For Your Thoughts

“I wish my phone could record my thoughts.”

That was Graham’s final thought to Andy as Andy was saying ‘goodnight’ the other evening. G uses one of our old phones as an alarm in the morning. He has an alarm clock, but it’s a buzzer and lord knows no one wants to start the day that way. Andy had the idea earlier this year to wipe an old iPhone and let Graham have it for that purpose.

Andy grabbed the phone off the nightstand (what Graham calls his “desk”) and put the Apple Voice Memo app back on the phone. A quick tutorial and Graham was set up with the ability to record his every thought with the push of a button.

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Yesterday was the pilot day. He came down with his phone and asked if anyone wanted to hear the thoughts he had after lights out. Most of them were just short, muffled clips of him clearly figuring out the Start/Stop recording button. A few were of him making silly noises into the phone. There was one were Graham’s voice came on after a couple of seconds and said, “We’ll talk about the Pez tomorrow. Tell Daddy about the Pez tomorrow.”

At breakfast, Andy and I were chatting about something and Graham interrupted. I scolded him lightly and just as he was about to launch into a diatribe about how I never let him talk about anything, I offered that he could go record his thought on his phone if he needed help remembering what he wanted to ask. His eyes lit up and he darted down the hall to get his phone. 

Last night while Andy was making dinner, Graham was recording ideas on the living room couch and he came over and said, “Mommy, do you want to record something on my phone? It’s recording now.” I chirped something saccharine into the phone about how happy I was to leave a message and how much I looooved Graham.

Graham finished that clip out, then he walked over to Andy and asked him the same thing. Andy turned from the stove, bent into the phone and shouted, “ROLLERBEES!!! CAPTAIN CRUNCH!!! …” and some other random ridiculous words. The clip of these phrases layered with the sound of two little boys’ belly laughs is audio proof that dads still understand little boys better than their mommies do. (Although I have made significant progress over the past 5 years, I must say.)

I personally can’t wait to hear what he feels is interesting enough to document. Definitely a mom thing to say – but Graham has such a beautiful mind. He doesn’t see his world the way a lot of other people do. I’m glad to have just a little record of it. Even if that means I’m sorting through clips of fart noises to get there.

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The Kid Loves His Dairy

I took Reid in for a recheck on his breathing at the doctor today, and – Hallelujah – the medicine cocktail/regimen we have him on appears to be working! This marks the first cold he’s had in I-can’t-remember-how-long that we haven’t landed ourselves in the doctor on Day 10-or-so for some sort of medical intervention. (I make that distinction – this was just a recheck after all.) His doc also said that if the nebulizer cocktail is working, there is a chance we’re going to avoid ear infections (someone tell me how that works) in the future. Which means maybe no second set of tubes. :::fingers crossed:::

That makes this a good day.

Reid and I marched victoriously out to the waiting area to collect our coats (because all good Wisconsin public places have AMPLE coat hooks/hangers at the ready and yes, WE ARE STILL WEARING COATS SOMEHOW), and Reid smiled sweetly at me, raised his eyebrows and said, “Go home now?”

I explained that, no buddy, you are going back to see Mr. Danny and Ms. Emily at school. He looked so disappointed, so he tried again. “No school. Go home?” Again with the raised eyebrows.

I elaborated further with an artificially gung-ho voice, “Nope! You’re going back to school! We’ll see friieeeeends and play tooooooys and eat lunch…”

Reid looked at his feet for a minute, then looked up at me again and said, “Eat lunch?” “Yep, eat lunch.” Because of course that’s what he latched onto. He considered that then with fresh hope said, “CHEESE?!”

I shrugged and said, “Maybe?” Reid looked at the door and yelled, “LET’S GO!”

Silly Baby

Reid is home with me today. Wheezing again. He’s taking it like a champ, but we did go see the doctor today to see why his Flovent/albuterol cocktail doesn’t keep him breathing easily during a flareup.

Clearly, he takes this all in stride – as demonstrated below.

He thinks he sounds funny when he’s wheezing, and he has this funny little chipmunk laugh that he does. I wanted to get it on video and ended up just rolling tape and getting a good collection of Reid’s daily antics. It’s perfect. He is a little hamball. Just imagine what it’s like when he and Graham get together! We get nothing done!

On the breathing front, we now have a higher dose of Flovent, and we now have a nebulizer to administer meds when he has a cold to hopefully get his two medicines administered more effectively. Here’s hoping!