sometimes you gotta have faith…

Friday, February 5th, 2010

Earlier today our middle daughter, Hattie, had an outpatient procedure to put tubes in her ears and remove her adenoids.  In the grand scheme of things it was not a big deal.  We have been through this twice before.  Hattie had her first set of tubes 3 weeks after her 1st birthday.  Laura got tubes less than a year ago.  Hattie breezed through and is already feeling and hearing better.  No biggie.  Our past experiences made today much easier for us as parents.  This wasn’t the case when Laura got her pacemaker two years ago.

As many of you know, Laura was born with 3rd degree heart block.  In lay terms, it is an electrical problem.  The top and bottom halves of her heart do not communicate with each other about what her heart rate should be.  She will have a pacemaker to correct this problem for the rest of her life.  (I know that I am being overly simplistic.  It’s easier for writer and reader alike, I promise!)

As parents, we have a heavy burden.  There is a lot involved with raising children.  It is an enormous responsibility to be “in charge” of the life of a child.  In our house of girls there is a lot of drama and a lot of cleaning up – both physically and otherwise.  Robert and I have gotten pretty good at managing the chaos.  Some days are better than others and some days we’d rather forget altogether.  But for the most part we’re successful…and busy.

When it was time for Laura’s surgery, we felt helpless.  In all the things that needed to be done, the only thing we could do was get her to the hospital on time.  Everything else was out of our hands.  We handed over our 13 month old baby and were forced to put our trust in the staff of doctors and nurses.  We had to have faith.  In modern medicine.  In others.  In whatever is out there that is bigger than we are.  In the unknown.  In our daughter.  In ourselves.  It was not easy but we survived.  Laura is doing great.  She is a stellar patient and has amazed more than one cardiologist.

This morning when the nurse came to wheel Hattie back to the OR for her procedure, Hattie flashed me a smile and a little wave as she rolled down the hall towards the big double doors.  I got that all too familiar feeling.  There is some cliche involving heartstrings…it felt like a little tug.  Once again, I was reminded of my deep and unending love for this little girl.  And I had to have a little faith….

Hattie and Dr. Hellstrom

who’s in charge here?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

That’s an excellent question.  I’m beginning to think that it’s not me.

I came to this realization a few moments ago when I was rocking the 2 (almost 3) year old to sleep for her nap.  That’s right – I said it – rocking her…to sleep….for her nap.  What exactly is going on here?

When Abigail and Hattie were little I made sure they fell asleep on their own and I turned up the music and ran the vacuum when they were napping so that they would learn to sleep through anything.  Guess what?  They can sleep through anything.  Thunder, lightning, nuclear holocaust…anything.  With Laura, we have quiet time during her nap.  There is a rational explanation….if she doesn’t have a nap, the latter part of the day is almost unbearable.  One half of my brain wholeheartedly agrees with that logic.  The other side is laughing at me.

When Abigail was a baby, I rocked her to sleep every night until she was 15 months old.  She was my first child and I cherished those moments with her.  When she got too big to put her in her bed easily after she fell asleep, we suffered for a few nights while she learned to self-sooth and fall asleep alone.  I had learned my lesson.  When Hattie came along we put her in her bed with her blankie and left the room.  She’s never had a problem.  You would think that I would be a master at this for the third child, right?  I don’t know what happened!!!  Maybe it’s because she’s my baby…my last baby.  Maybe it’s guilt.  Laura has a congenital heart defect that she got from me.  It requires a pacemaker that was installed when she was 13 months old.  Even though I know it’s not my fault there is still some subliminal mom guilt in there somewhere. There’s always been a reason for her (my?) need to be soothed to sleep.  Skinned knees, moving, stomach bugs, surgery, ear infections, bumping her head on the coffee table…the list goes on and on.  Now, I put Laura in her big girl bed, fix her blankie and leave the room.  She waits about 15 seconds then moves out into the hallway with all of her paraphernalia.  She proceeds to lie down, talk, read books, ask us to fix her blankie, etc…until finally falling asleep.  Before going to bed, I pick her up and put her in her bed where she stays for a while before climbing into bed with us.  I’ll ask again…what exactly is going on here?

On other issues, we are better parents.  She goes to time out for hitting or yelling and even goes to her room on her own if she knows she’s been bad.  But still she gets a lot more slack than the other 2 girls.  It seems a lot worse when I put this all in writing….

I guess it’s time for a shift in the balance of power.  I’ll start when we’re out of potty purgatory…or tomorrow…..