A Family That Throws Up Together Stays Together

It all started last Wednesday night I got home late and Liam and Ava were already in bed. I was standing in the kitchen with my husband talking, when I noticed that there was an eerie silence. I can’t explain it, but something was not right. I checked on Ava and she was sound asleep. I then went down to Liam’s room and in the dimly lit room I could see he was sitting up. I went over to his bed and placed my hands on his covers and right away realized they were wet. That was when I saw that Liam’s body was heaving and the horror washed over me. He was throwing up. In his almost four years he has never thrown up. When he was he finished he looked at me and said, “I can’t make it stop.” It broke my heart and thus we began the stomach bug that ripped through our house.

That night my husband and I did not get much sleep every half hour Liam got sick and we constantly were stripping his bed and changing his clothes. However, by morning it had subsided and he was now just a weak, tired little boy. Throughout his stomach upsetness Liam made mention to the fact that he had “the throw ups”. I felt so bad seeing him like that, but I thought the worse was over. Until early Friday morning…. I woke to hear my husband violently sick in the bathroom and right away realized another man down. At 4:00 in the morning I knew I wanted to get out of the house as early as possible for many reasons. One being it would be best for my husband to be able to recover in a quiet, kid free zone; but two maybe if I left I could escape the germs. Having already done 16 weeks of morning sickness and now finally at 20 weeks feeling good I did not want to go back to hanging over a toilet. Besides this stomach bug although short term (lasted about 6 hours) was intense making you sick every half hour. It took days for Liam to even start eating and moving about again, and I feared being pregnant getting dehydrated. I stayed at my parents all day on Friday. Liam still was less energetic and spent most of the day lounging about, but Ava played lively all day. We ate dinner with my parents and as we were cleaning up Ava was running about. All of the sudden she stopped and right there in my parent’s living room, she began her six hour tour of the stomach bug. Fear crept over me as I tried to comfort her. I could see in her face she was scared as she did not understand what was going on. I live 40 minutes away from my parents and knowing the past two experiAva ence, she was inevitable going to get sick in the car. My mother had an ingenious idea and took a huge plastic shopping bag and cut holes to fit over her head and arms to protect her coat in case my fears were realized. Twenty minutes from home as I was trying to make my best attempt to make it before the next episode occurred, Liam announced that Ava had the “throw ups” again. I quickly moved to the shoulder where I cleaned her up the best I could and prayed there would not be another incident before I got home. By the time I got home my recovering husband helped me get the kids inside and Ava situated. Ava finally finished her round of the “throw ups” around midnight. My house was silent and still. My poor husband and kids lay in their beds as their bodies were trying to heal and rest. I was wide awake. Exhausted but terrified. I had come to the realization at this point that I was the only standing survivor and it was not likely I would stay that way. I believe I related it to on Facebook like a game of Russian Roulette. The trigger was going to be pulled and it was only a matter of time to find out whether it was a blank or not.

Bang! 2:00 AM I awoke and knew immediately my time had come. Paranoid of the dehydration after each round I sipped cautiously Gatorade. Funny thing is that maybe it was the sugar or the electrolytes in the Gatorade, but throughout my bout I could feel the baby kick, which gave me peace at mind. By 8:00 in the morning it was over but I was weak, achy and very tired. It isn’t an easy position to be in in general, but when you know your family Mommy and Ava Recoveringisn’t at its best either it’s hard not to feel bad. Luckily my husband who certainly wasn’t completely better rallied and took care of the kids and me. I slept most of the day. Liam and Ava using their doctor kit they got from Santa, periodically checked my temperature and gave me shots to feel better. There something so soothing about the innocence and kindheartedness of a child. Liam repeatedly said that day, “Mommy I just want to make you happy and feel better.” And you know what, he did. Those four days were a rough time for our household and I hope we may never have to go through that again. We had to lean on each other, take care of each other, and in our own ways did what we could to make the other person feel better. However, I am convinced a family that throws ups together stays together.

The Heartache of the Fourth Birthday

Liam Turning Four
Liam Turning Four

In three weeks Liam will be four years old. I am not sure why this upcoming birthday has been so difficult for me. But if I talk about it too much or let my mind wander to him being four I tear up. It isn’t that I want him to be a baby again either. I much rather have him be the age he is now. We can play, talk, and interact with each other and have some real bonding moments. However, next year will be his last year in preschool and then he goes off to Kindergarten. That blows my mind. Where did the time go?

When Liam was born everyone said it goes fast and it wasn’t that I denied it, it is just unimaginable to me how four years evaporated away so quickly. My husband and I were just reminiscing this morning about Liam’s third birthday and what we did to celebrate. It seems like that was just a couple of months ago. How did a whole year slip away?

I took the kids for haircuts yesterday and when Liam was finished it took everything in my power not to start blubbering. His golden curly locks lay on the floor and there he was with a little boy haircut.   The transformation unfolded before my eyes and I was blown away.  To me it felt like a huge milestone had been made, but in reality it was just another haircut. An undeniable reminder of how big he has gotten.

On Friday Liam called for me and when I got there he said, “Look mom I wrote my name.” There he had written “Lia”.  I said to him, “That’s great but you are missing one letter.” He said to me, “I know mom, but I did not know how to write an “m”.” My heart soared. My son knew how to spell his name, but at the same time a little piece of me was sad. I was so proud, happy and every other positive word you could think of, but I didn’t even know he knew how to do that. He is learning something new every day. It is so much fun to see him learn and explore these new things, but it is also hard as I know these are the small pieces that are needed for independence.

Of course, I want him to develop learn and become independent, I just was hoping it would happen at a slower rate. I then think maybe no rate would be easy as it always going to be hard to slowly let go. But that is part of the process of growing up. Liam learning new things and mommy learning to let go. It is a beautiful bittersweet process for mother and son to learn together. He will teach me how to slowly let go and I will always be there cheering him on as his grows and learns. However, if he ever falls in the process of trying something new and he needs someone to pick him up, my arms will always be open.

Yesterday I Lost My Patience

Yesterday morning started out like all other mornings.  I awoke to Ava calling for Mama from her crib which promptly woke Liam.  As I shuffled to Ava’s room I could here Liam stirring and knew soon the request for warm milk and brown sugar (oatmeal) would be coming.  Once my husband and I got through the morning rush of getting the kids what they needed and letting the dog out my husband had to run out for an appointment.

The kids and I went downstairs to watch Team Umizoomi and Ava got upset with me about letting Liam pick the first show and hit me.  I gave Ava a warning saying if she hit me again she would have to go into time out.  Ava hit me and I put her in time out.  This isn’t a recurring event still Ava has been put in time out before.  However, this specific incident sent her into a meltdown of epic proportions.

temperYou see Liam and Ava both have had their fair share of temper tantrums, but their ways of dealing with it are so very different.  Liam’s outbursts are not as often and due to his age much easier to reason with him. Even when we was younger, if you took the approach of ignoring the tantrum, he would quickly pull himself together and then explain what was upsetting him.  However, with Ava it is very different.  Sometimes her tantrums seem to come out of nowhere and once she begins there is no quelling it.  No words of comfort, cradling, and attention will soothe her.  In fact, the only way to calm her is to let her escalate herself to such a frantic hysterical state it eventually tires her out and then looks for soothing.  As a mother this is not only very upsetting to observe, but it is also very draining.  These episode can last up to 40 minutes long and I sit helplessly by as she demands for certain things (glass of milk) and then right away refuses it.  Liam sometimes comes in and tries to do his part as well.  He will try to hug Ava or even make her laugh.  There have been a few occasions where this actually has helped, but for the most part Liam usually leaves the room saying that Ava is being too loud.

I have talked to a couple of professionals regarding this and it seems that the general consensus is that this is very typical toddler tantrum behavior.  Even though that is reassuring to know in those moments of helplessness it is very hard to see past it.  This particular tantrum lasted 35 minutes.  When it ended I had Ava in my lap rocking her.  Once she was calm she crawled down and joined her brother in playing.  Most of the time during these tantrums I stay super calm, speaking in a soothing voice while trying to create a calming environment for her (soft music playing, dimmed lights, warm milk).

Unfortunately, yesterday I did not deal with it so well.  I lost my temper and as soon as I did I felt terrible.  In the midst of Ava’s tantrum I noticed that her pull up was leaking and was leaving wet marks on the wooden hallway floor.  I quickly cleaned up and knew I had to change Ava.  This riled her up even more.  Screaming and kicking Ava was not letting me remove the diaper or put a new one on.  Many may think just let her stay in the oversaturated diaper.  However, unless I was going to follow her around with a mop until the tantrum was over she was getting the floors wet.  So there I was with her on her changing table kicking and screaming and I was struggling to get the new pull up on when I just snapped and yelled, “Ava will you just please let me put this diaper on you!”  She paused for a moment stunned and then screamed and kicked even harder.  Now not only had I just lost my patience, but I just made the situation worse.  Shortly after that she began to unwind and I rocked her until my husband got home.

In typical mommy fashion I have replayed this scenario in my head multiple times.  I am constantly trying to think of new ways to calm her faster and now this time I have the added bonus of berating myself for snapping at her.  As I have heard from many people, “this too shall pass”, and although I know that that is true, right now it does not give me much comfort nor help.  I just hope I can come up with Mommy/Ava solution so I can help her through this easier and I will not lose my sanity.