Archive for Daniel

Hot and Delirious

Well my predictions were 100% spot on. Reid’s way-too-high fever finally broke and started coming down last night. It’s pretty crazy when you take your kid’s temperature and are relieved to find it at a chilly 102 degrees. Reid spent the better part of 3 days with a temperature close to 105 degrees, sometimes probably higher. I didn’t take his temperature because he was SO uncomfortable already and hates having his temperature taken. I just watched him to see if I needed to worry.

The first night, he had a hard time sleeping, which we expected. He woke often, but also fell back to sleep relatively easily. But at 5:30am, it was too hard to get him back to sleep so I just got up with him. We snuggled on the couch while he dozed on and off. Because he only wanted me, and would have nothing to do with daddy, I didn’t end up getting to nap or rest much that day (Saturday).

We gave Reid Motrin a couple times (we tend not to give medicine during fevers at all because they are the body’s way of battling the illness and reducing fevers can actually prolong the illness, but in this case, we felt intervention was necessary due to the extremity of Reid’s discomfort)–once before bed on Friday night and once on Saturday when his fever seemed out of control. The last time he had a fever like this, Tylenol did nothing for him, and it was a huge production to even get him to take it in the first place. When we tried Motrin, the fever went way down and he actually had a fraction of a personality again. But the Motrin gives him a tummy ache and gas reminiscent of the kind dogs get when they eat people food… absolutely horrible. So we tried to get away with not giving him any medicine the next night in hopes that the fever would break or at least that he could somewhat sleep through it.

He went to bed easily enough at 7pm while I sat by his bedside. But within about one minute of my sneaking out of the room, he was awake and crying. So I went back and sat down until he was good and asleep again. And again, within a minute of my leaving, he awoke crying. This went on until about 11pm. It didn’t matter if I stayed in his room for 5 minutes or 30. The result was the same. So I finally just gave up and brought him into my bed and went to sleep. But as fevers tend to do, his kept getting hotter and hotter as he slept and he got more and more uncomfortable. He was waking every 20-30 minutes screaming and crying, shaking and begging me to hold him. And every time there was some specific reason for his episode. “Don’t take my trains away, Daniel!” he screamed once. Or “Don’t push me!” or some other wrong was being done to him. He was having little tiny 2-year-old vividly real bad dreams (hallucinations?), and it was heart-breaking.

Around 4am, I finally got out of bed with him since no one was getting any sleep, and sat on the sofa with him on my lap. I watched movies and he slept fitfully, but cozily snuggled in my arms. Curiously, during two of the movies I watched: The Business of Being Born and The Science of Babies (by National Geographic), when Reid would wake and catch a glimpse of the TV, for a moment or two, he seemed like his regular self. He loved seeing the babies on the TV, talked about mommy’s baby and Reid’s baby (he’s convinced he has a baby in his tummy, too), and asked where the babies went when he couldn’t see them on the screen.

But around 7am when he was STILL waking up screaming and crying for one reason or another with no sign of a reduced fever, I finally gave him another dose of Motrin. He napped for about 45 minutes before waking again, and I decided it was time to wake Dan so I could get some sleep. Dan got up and cuddled with Reid (after much crying, cajoling and convincing that Reid didn’t, in fact, need Mama, and that Dada would hold him and comfort him) for a few hours so I could sleep. Around 10:30am, Dan brought Reid to bed and he and I slept solidly until Dan woke us both up at 2pm!!!

I can’t remember the last time I slept until 2pm in the afternoon–probably not since college when I pulled all-nighters. Even when Dan and I first got married and we would stay up late nursing a bottle of wine, I don’t think I managed to sleep that late. It felt surreal to wake up for the day with only a few hours of sunlight left, but Reid and I were the better for it. I rushed to get myself ready for a meeting I had at 3pm. Dan let the kids watch Rocky and Bullwinkle and when I got back home around 5:30pm, Reid still had a fever, but it had obviously dropped because, while he was still obviously clingy and acting sick, he wasn’t a miserable fire bomb anymore. He was interested in playing trains, he was willing to eat some dinner, and he didn’t require a lap in order to exist.

He actually slept well that night and today he and Daniel both woke up with the sweetest, politest, most helpful demeanor than they’ve had in a long time. And even though they argued a couple times, once was over who was going to clean up the space toys that were all over the table. I’ll take that kind of arguing any day! They played happily together in their room for over an hour while I cleaned the kitchen, they laughed, they said please and thank you to each other, they even went to bed without much of an argument.

So except for the fact that Reid may still be contagious and we’re stuck in the house for at least another day, I’m actually looking forward to tomorrow. And I’m thankful this illness happened when it did because beginning on Thursday, our days are going to be packed with activity. But more on that later.

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Sick Again?!

My poor little boys are sick again. This makes the 3rd time this summer! It’s so entirely frustrating given that we’re a generally healthy bunch. But here’s the pattern.

Daniel gets really grumpy for a day or two and I just about lose my mind. I find myself going completely against everything I believe in as a parent: yelling, scolding, taking toys away. And then I notice a bit of a runny nose, or that look in his eyes (you can always see the “sick” in Daniel’s eyes), or he looks like he may have a sore throat (you know, that slow gulp-type of swallowing you do when your throat hurts). And then I feel terribly guilty that I lost my cool at him when he wasn’t feeling well. But by that time, the hard part is usually over and the next few days he has a runny nose, a few sneezes and a bit of a cough at night due to the drainage, but he is completely back to normal.

Then when Daniel’s about better, Reid develops a super high fever (the last two times it was at 105!) super quickly (like over a period of a couple hours) that lasts for about 3 days. He gets super clingy, tired, and completely uninterested in anything but sitting on my lap or being attached to me in some way. Then the fever breaks and he has a mild runny nose for a few days, but that’s it.

Right now we’re in the beginning stages of Reid’s fever (I only just noticed it a few hours ago) and he has a tiny hint of a runny nose. Daniel is pretty much better except for the remnants of runny nose that drives him up the wall, so he’s constately (and I mean constantly) rubbing his nose with a cloth or tissue which results with a bright red scabby patch just under his nose from all the irritation.

And guess what. Soccer picture day is tomorrow. And my son looks like he painted a Hitler mustache under his nose. Sigh.

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The Fearless and The Anxious

Enough with the generic titles. It’s getting awkward to list the kids’ ages, and I get frustrated not being able to title the blogs based on what they actually contain. So from here on out, I’ll be nixing the time-stamp and utilizing my creativity.

Reid is 11 months old now. He is learning new things every day, and it is getting so fun. Just in the last couple weeks, he’s learned to wave bye-bye, give hugs and kisses, pat my breast when he wants milk (he usually says, “Mama” while patting), and sign “more” when I say the word… I’m not sure he quite understands what it means yet.

I thought for sure he’d be walking by now. He’s been standing on his own with confidence for months. He can stand up from sitting without using anything for leverage. He can go from standing, to squatting, to sitting. He can bend over and pick something up off the floor and right himself. He can wiggle, dance, clap, play with toys while standing. But he shows no interest in walking. Only occasionally will he let me lead him around by holding his hands while he walks. He prefers just to crawl since he’s a master crawler–a sprint-crawler even.

He’s also a climber. He tries to climb on everything. We bought a sit and stand stroller from some friends at church recently which both boys love. When not in use, it is parked in our front hallway. Reid loves to climb up into it and stand in the seat. He could stand there playing for several minutes. In fact, I’m not sure how long he’d be content there since I usually get him down after a few minutes so I can attend to something else. We have also found him sitting on the bottom shelf of our built-in DVD unit, inside the bathroom cupboard (completely inside), standing on the open door of the dishwasher, on Daniel’s bed, and he desperately tries to fling himself into the bathtub as soon as he notices the water is on. He is going to get hurt one of these days. He just is. And I’m afraid.

Daniel never did that kind of stuff. He was curious. He would make feeble attempts. But he wasn’t the daredevil that Reid is. I can see huge differences in the two already. It’s as if I birthed the two most opposite boys our DNA would allow, and not just in their behavior. Reid is nearly three inches shorter than Daniel was at this age. Reid still barely has any hair, while Daniel had his first haircut at 3 months old. Daniel could say several words at this age, but Reid is still only babbling–he does say, “Mama” and perhaps “bath” (as “ba!”). Several wise moms have told me that you think you have it under control, when the next kid comes along and changes everything. It’s so true.

Daniel has been dealing with some anxiety issues lately. Thankfully, they’ve calmed down and he’s slowly getting back to his old self (phew!). The immediate trigger for his anxiety was two-fold (three-fold, if you count Reid being born). First, Dan and I planned a trip to San Fransisco to surprise his friend Mike for his 30th birthday. We arranged for Daniel to spend the night with his grandparents (something he loves to do), bought our plane tickets and booked our hotel. We told Daniel that we were going to go on a trip while he spent the night with grandma and grandpa. But that didn’t go over very well. We decided not to talk about the trip in front of him, and instead just talk about how much fun he’d have spending the night since he was going to get to go to a baseball game.

Right around that same time, during Daniel’s gymnastics class (he’d been attending for about 6 weeks already with absolutely no issue), he looked up to where I normally stand and watch him to let me know he had to go to the bathroom. When he couldn’t locate me (I had gone around the corner to another viewing area to eat a muffin and wasn’t paying attention to the class below), one of the teachers walked with him to the bathroom. On his way back he spotted me and seemed okay. He went back downstairs to the class, but before he even sat back down on his spot, looked up to find me again, couldn’t see me for a second, and freaked out. He started crying and wouldn’t return to the class. And every class since then (about 6 weeks ago now), he’s needed me to be with him down in the gym area (the gym regulations state that parents are not allowed to be in the gym area, but they have kindly made an exception for us). For a few weeks, he would barely leave my side, but now he’s content as long as I am within 10 feet of him.

I think the initial problem started when I attended my dear friend’s birth when Daniel was only about a year and a half old. I left him for several hours with my mom in San Diego (he’d never been without me for more than an hour or two). He didn’t know my mom very well, and he wasn’t terribly familiar with her house. We’d visited several times, but nothing more than a day or two here and there. It seemed that the day went well. He ate, slept, and played with my mom. He didn’t seem lethargic, or depressed. But he was obviously relieved to have me back. And every time we visited my mom after that, he wouldn’t let me leave his sight. I couldn’t go to the bathroom without him. I couldn’t even go around the corner without him panicking. And while he is okay visiting my mom’s house these days, he still has to be reassured that I am not going to leave him there. I’m sure the issue is not with my mom, since he adores her when she visits at our house. But in his mind, her house is associated with that feeling of abandonment.

Thus, I have concluded, when we told him we were going on a trip without him, when he couldn’t spot me at gymnastics class, that terrifying panic was conjured up for him. Now, whenever we had to be separated (dentist appointments, a date with Dan), Daniel screamed, cried, had to be peeled off of me. A good friend and child psychiatrist confirmed my suspicions that we (at least I) should not go on our trip without Daniel–that his extreme separation anxiety would only be made worse if I forced us to be separated, that we needed to help him deal with his anxiety step by tiny step.

I felt frustrated, powerless, worried, annoyed. I thought it was going to take months of hard work. Instead, things have been getting easier on their own. Well, not totally on their own. We have been talking with him about his feelings, reassuring him that we would never leave him without telling him first–and even then we would always leave him with someone who loved him and who he trusted–and we would always come back.I’ve been leaving for short amounts of time when necessary (multiple dentist appointments, Holistic Moms meetings), but never more than necessary, and I’ve called to check in and make sure he’s okay. And little by little, he’s been okay with my leaving. Little by little, he’s going back to the confident little boy who plays by himself and reads books to pass the time. He’s once again comfortable enough to play with daddy, or auntie, or grandma with me in another part of the house. He even went happily with Dan to the grocery store a few days ago.

I’m relieved. But nervous about what else might trigger his anxiety response again. I know the fear. I have the same feelings about earthquakes. And I was reminded of how terrible those feelings are when we had a small but violent earthquake in the middle of the night. I could barely sleep afterward. I jumped with every move Dan made in the bed. I lurched awake with that firey surge of electric butterflies in my body every few minutes sure that the whole house was going to come crumbling down on me. For several nights, I was afraid. The fear got less and less every day, but occasionally something would bring it back up for me.

So even through my frustration, my worry for Daniel, through my own fears, I was able to have real empathy for him. Fear is a terrible thing to have to experience–especially as a child with no real ability to rationalize, to talk yourself down. I dealt with irrational fears as a child myself, and remember how paralyzing they were. I’m sad my poor little Daniel has to deal with that dumb inherited trait of mine (and Dan’s as well), but grateful that Dan and I both have experience dealing with it personally so we can help him through it gently should it come up again.

For now, he is doing well. He still won’t spend the night at his grandparents’ house. He still prefers that I stay close by. But he’s¬† not terrified anymore. And for now, I’ll call it a win.

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8 Months Old & Crawling

Last week Reid figured out how to crawl. He has be loving his new-found freedom. Of course, since everything goes directly into his mouth, I have to be extra vigilant, but I am actually really glad he’s figured it out. He’s just a happier guy, and he’s more stable now that he’s figured out how to maneuver. The only thing that’s been stressful is when he crawls over to the coffee table and pulls himself to standing. He’s very unstable on his feet. Unlike Daniel who was a bit of a scaredy cat, Reid seems fearless. He’ll get himself on his feet, then let go of the table with total confidence in himself, even though every time, he falls and usually bonks something. I think it’s safe to say he’ll be walking before his first birthday.

We just got back from a 10-day vacation in Seattle and Canada. Most of our group (Dan’s immediate family) was sick for the bulk of the trip, so it seemed like a bit of a downer vacation. It was good to get away, and I did find the time out of my normal routines refreshing and renewing, but by the end of it, I was really ready to get home. Daniel didn’t do very well cooped up inside, and his jealously issues seemed to amplify with his general frustration at being bored. He’s really testing his limits right now. Today I had to actually reprimand him twice. Usually, I just have to tell him to stop doing whatever it is he’s doing, and he generally stops. But today, he didn’t stop.

I know he’s acting out because he’s jealous. He’s been asking to nurse a lot lately and has been asking to be carried in the carrier. One time about a month ago, I gave in and let him “try” nursing. He opened his mouth, came close, then giggled and turned away saying he didn’t know how. After that, I haven’t let him “try” again. I really wish he would have just nursed a little right after Reid was born, so we could have had a more ceremonious ending that he remembered to our nursing relationship. But now that he’s approaching 4, allowing him to start nursing all over again (which means I’d have to teach him how) seems a bit much, even for me. I wish there was something I could do for or give to him that could help him feel less jealousy.

There’s a book called Siblings Without Rivalry: How to Help Your Children Live Together So You Can Live Too by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish that I hope to buy and read soon (unless someone has a better recommendation). I hate the idea that I will need to up the ante in the “discipline” department with Daniel, when his actions are clearly dictated by him feeling pushed aside. Still, I can’t be passive while he yanks things away from his brother, lays on him, puts his feet in his face, etc. And I feel like I need to nip this in the bud for Dan’s sake as well, or I can kiss my chances of having another baby goodbye. He’s already having a hard time with things as they are. I know he really wants to be finished having children. He’s really loving Daniel at his age, but Reid is still tough for him to know how to handle. Starting over yet again with another baby and all the stuff that goes along with them really stresses him out.

I have given up my hopes for a full house of children, though. Now I only hold out hope for one more. And the easier our current children are, the more likely it is that #3 will come to be.

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7 Months Old and Finally Jealous

Daniel is the jealous one. He’s been showing off his jealousy by “tackling” his baby brother, head-butting him, and swatting at him. All of these things have been rather mild and gentle–Daniel is still just testing the waters with what he can get away with.

It’s not just with Reid that he’s testing us. He’s started using some violent language lately that is tough for me to handle. I’ve been doing a pretty good job of it, though–thanks to Playful Parenting by Lawrence Cohen, PhD. For example, today, while sitting in a play car, he announced that he just hit and killed “that guy who does mean things” (an imaginary “friend” who does mean things like knocking Daniel over or hitting him). Instead of reacting with anger and reprimanding him for saying such a thing (what I wanted to do), I took Cohen’s advice and said, “Oh no! That would make his family very sad. Let’s call the ambulance to take him to the hospital. When he gets better, maybe you can teach him not to do mean things any more.” To which he responded that the ambulance was on its way. Phew!

Reid is trying so hard to crawl. He can’t quite figure out what to do once he’s on his hands and knees, but he knows there’s something to it. Sometimes he rocks back and forth, but usually, he just lunges forward and bonks his head on the ground.

No teeth have popped through yet. Reid is definitely teething, and sometimes I think that maybe his gums are a little swollen. But there’ve been no signs of imminent teething–just the standard drool and chomping on everything.

Reid is still screeching and screaming–he’s done it at several restaurants now, which is so stressful for us. We always had such an angel at restaurants with Daniel. We’re just not sure how to deal with a screamer.

Christmas is only a week away and I am so unprepared this year. I haven’t thought about stockings really at all yet. And I haven’t wrapped anything yet, either. I’m feeling so behind. There’s no way I’ll be getting Christmas cards out this year. Next year I will, though. I will, I will, I will.

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6 Months Old and 3 1/2 Years Old

Readers, where have you gone? You’ve abandoned me because I’ve abandoned you… So much has been going on lately, I just haven’t gotten around to writing. I’m getting back to it. I promise.

Reid is nearly 6 months old now. The time has flown by so quickly. As I said above, I’ve been so busy–with Holistic Moms Network stuff, mostly–that I feel that age-old tug-of-war between identifying myself as Mom and as Woman. They don’t have to be at odds, but I am currently feeling as though they are.

I cannot claim–as many women can–that I have ever been fully self-sacrificing. It is fine with me to sit on my rump instead of clean the kitchen if I just feel too tired. And it is fine with me to strap baby to my chest and pace the house while reading a book. But I struggle with what is an appropriate balance between doing the work of mothering–playing, cooking, bathing, nurturing, going on outings, giving my full attention–and doing the things that satisfy my adult longings–sewing, knitting, graphic design work, planning events, volunteering, talking to friends, shopping for a pair of jeans that actually fits me.

I can sense, by Daniel’s behavior as of late, that I have been spending too much time with my adult self. Even when I was sewing his astronaut suit for Halloween (that he begged me every day to work on), I could tell he felt neglected. Lucky for me, I suppose, Daniel really likes to look at books. Sometimes he won’t even let me read them to him. He prefers to just look at the pictures and tell me about them. He can sit in the same spot looking at the same book for over an hour! Where does he get that attention span? And while I am thankful that he is able to sit still for so long, I wonder what is going on in his head. I worry that he is moping as he sits there. I worry that he’s not utilizing his creativity; that he ought to be playing make-believe or running, or dancing, or something.

I am not very good at playing either. I never really played pretend as a kid. And when I used to babysit, I had a really hard time figuring out what to say and do when the kids wanted to play school, or house, or store. So part of Daniel’s problem is lack of example. I don’t really know how to show him how to pretend, or to guide him in the way of creativity. Now that Daniel is 3 1/2 (!!!) I’m feeling kind of at a loss as a parent.

When I imagined being a mother, I always just thought about parenting babies and toddlers. I know how to care for a baby. It is easy and second-nature. But bringing up a preschooler is bewildering. And thinking about parenting elementary-aged children, and teenagers (gad!) is beyond me.

I am part of a small group of moms with similar-aged children who have been talking about doing some kind of homeschool/preschool co-op. We tentatively said we’d meet in January to talk about getting something started. I really think having some structure–any structure–will be helpful.

We also plan to enroll Daniel in the YMCA’s little tots T-Ball league. I’m not exactly sure when it starts, but sometime in the spring. I can’t wait to see a bunch of 3-5 year-olds running around pretending to be like the baseball players they see on TV. Daniel already thinks he needs to spit when he plays baseball–and he wiggles his bat around when he’s in his batting stance waiting to bat.

Reid continues to be an easy baby. He sits well now, rolls easily from front to back, can support himself on his hands and knees (though he can’t go anywhere just yet), plays with toys (his favorites are Sophie the Giraffe, a Sassy ring toy, and anything that crinkles), jumps in the doorway jumper, adores the ExerSaucer, and loves to hear the sound of his own voice.

He has lately been experimenting with screetches and squeals. He used some high-pitched sounds a couple months ago, but then moved onto others. But now the upper end of his range is getting tested out again–both for pleasure and for displeasure. Either way it brings displeasure to his parents. We are nervous about him becoming a screamer.

I experimented with giving Reid some solid foods a few weeks ago. He was grabbing at everything and stuffing it in his mouth. His first reaction to a bit of banana that I was eating was as if I had given him a lemon. He twisted his face and shuddered. But then he grabbed for the banana again. And again–lemon face. I gave him little bits of banana, avocado, and sweet potato which went over fairly well after the inital shock of the flavors, but his tummy was a bit rumbly after each, so I didn’t give him any more until tonight.

Tonight, it was a totally different experience. I gave him some avocado mashed up with some breastmilk and he ended up eating nearly half an entire avocado! Then when I put him to bed, he only nursed for about five minutes before he detached and fell asleep. We’ll see how his tummy does tonight and tomorrow, but I think he may really be ready to have solids regularly.

Just in the last couple weeks he’s been spitting up so much less as well. He still has one or two good sized up-chucks per day, but that’s down from ten or twenty! Daniel seemed to stop spitting up around this age, too. I’m so grateful.

I have recently swapped graphic design services for professional organizing, and have since completely cleaned off my hallway mail center/cabinet area so it is functional, and have rearranged and completely cleaned up Daniel’s room. Even just having these to areas looking magazine-esque is enough to clear some cobwebs from my mind. My focus and motivation in other areas of my life are much improved. And it’s a good thing, too, since the holiday season brings its own hustle and bustle and I’m going to need all the focus and motivation I can get.

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The Terrible Threes

Oy. I have been composing blogs in my head for the last several weeks. I’ve just not made the time to actually write them. I have been pretty busy with my active boys, Holistic Moms Network, some pro bono design work, organizing my house, going on vacations, etc.

But those are all excuses. Onto the meat and potatoes.

Reid has been a dream. He has completely turned back into a happy easy baby. But Daniel has been unraveling. He’s having a hard time figuring out what effect his voice has in his world. Regardless of what I do, he tells me in a whiny or frustrated voice he wanted it another way. He tells me what to do, what not to do, where to sit, where to put things, and he often breaks down in tears if things don’t go his way.

I think the problem is a combination of things. Because I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been able to get down and play with Daniel as much. This is compounded by the fact that he is aware of how I drop what I’m doing in order to respond when Reid needs something–when he wakes, when he needs to pee, when he’s hungry, etc. Even though I comparatively¬† give Daniel more attention and time because Reid sleeps so much, I think he’s jealous that he has to wait for me to be finished with something while Reid gets my immediate attention when he calls.

I also think Daniel is over tired. I really think he ought to still be napping, but he refuses. I am not willing to fight the nap-time battle every day, so I don’t push it. But by 3 or 4, Daniel’s eyes are red-rimmed and his bossiness and frustration levels are on the rise. He will take a “rest”, though, so I still get a little time to myself. His rests consist of him listening to Veggie Tales songs while reading books or playing cars by dim lights in his room–usually with the door closed.

We really ought to get him in bed earlier, but our evening routine already seems pretty tightly scheduled. I start dinner when Dan gets home and can hold Reid. Then we eat and usually begin the bedtime routine shortly thereafter. It’s all the fussing and complaining that drag our evenings out so long. We ought to be able to get it all done and have the children in bed by 8. But even on nights we are able to accomplish this, Daniel usually lays in bed awake for at least an hour or two–periodically calling for one of us, or getting up to pee (he usually does this 4 or 5 times every night before he falls asleep).

Tonight was better. I used a quiet, low, even-toned voice while getting Daniel ready for bed. I ignored his “I don’t want to” and his “but I wanted to…” statements and just proceeded with what I was doing, and things went okay. He still clung to me when I was hugging and kissing him goodnight, but there were no tears (not immediately anyway–he did cry once about 30 minutes later, but that was fairly easily mitigated my Dan sitting in the rocking chair in his room for 5 minutes).

He also asked for milk tonight. I really wanted to say yes. But instead I made a silly face and joked that he didn’t know how to drink my milk–that he only knew how to drink milk from a cup. He asked a lot of why questions, but never got upset. And then he asked me to squirt him…. Bizarre, I know. But I did it. And he cracked up and begged me to do it again–but I couldn’t bring myself to. I’m kind of frustrated with myself for not letting him try it. I know he’s pretty old to be having my milk, but I think it would relieve a lot of the tension for him. I wonder if we could accomplish that same release if I pumped some for him.

The threes so far have been much harder than the twos. The phrase should be the Terrible Threes. The twos were comparatively a breeze.

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