Hiking

One of our fun weekend activities lately is hiking in the forest preserve not far from where we live. There are several miles of trail, mostly easy for small people to hike, and it’s just so lovely this time of year.

It reminds me of all the weekends I spent doing the same thing in the park with my dad when I was growing up. He seemed to know everything about trees, leaves, plants, bugs, moss, and rocks. I wonder if my kids will feel the same way about me after I point out moss on the forest floor and eloquently compare it to a carpet? Heh.

This is one of my very, very favorite photos. I was such a goof! My dad was so young! My brother in that 80’s hiking backpack!

Nonetheless, I love to see the natural world afresh through their eyes. Being outdoors together is absolutely one of my love languages.

Would you, reader, indulge me if I share a relevant poem? I just adore Maggie Smith, who has a way of writing the things I didn’t realize I needed to read.

November is Here

Today feels like one of those days when everything is coming together perfectly. The weather finally got cold, for one thing. I went out for a run this morning and needed long sleeves. I swear there is nothing more wonderfully invigorating than a long-ish run in the cold.

Long-ish, you know. Long-er. Long-adjacent. I went for 6.2 miles today, also known as 10 kilometers. Not on purpose; it just wound up being a perfect 10K route that I ran serendipitously and by feel. The trees are starting to turn; the sidewalks are littered with the pine needles, acorns, and other seasonal detritus; the parks are full of older people walking their dogs and children collecting leaves and sticks. At home afterward I had hot coffee waiting for me and a slice of leftover pumpkin bread I could pop in the toaster.

My main task for work today is to make some significant progress toward finishing the novel I’m teaching in a couple of weeks. It’s rare that I assign a book I haven’t yet read, but I have it on good authority that this one will be a great addition to my class, so it’s time to dig in. I suppose I’ll have to spend some amount of hours today reading, snuggled on the couch with a blanket and another cup of coffee. I cannot complain about this life. It’s a work-from-home day, by the way, which is what allows me to do things like go for a 6-mile run and then read on the couch all day on a Friday. Yes, I am grateful for the flexibility of my job and no, I do not take it for granted.

Tonight is Pizza Friday, and I am making a couple of New York-style pies featuring this dough recipe (which is pretty much flawless) and maybe the kids will be in a happy mood when they get home and maybe we’ll watch a movie and have some leftover Halloween candy. Hell, man; anything is possible.

The End of November

It’s the last day of November, which means I’ve successfully made it through NaBloPoMo, publishing a post every day this month. I was hoping to get back in the habit of blogging (and personal writing in general), and I suppose I did that.

Most posts I cranked out were not that great though, for me. A lot of the time I just sat down with my phone app and typed some stuff into the WordPress text box without much thought. Some posts were dumps of photos I’d already posted on Instagram; others could just as easily been a series of tweets. (Although, to look at it another way: long Twitter threads really ought to be blog posts, so I think I’m in the right on this one.)

I’m not sure whether this exercise will get me back to regular blogging again, though: most of those posts typed right before bed only exist because I am a completer and couldn’t let myself get away with skipping out on my 30-day commitment. Now that the month is over, what’s to stop me from just whiling away that time on other social media? Nothing! Nothing’s to stop me!

But maybe this list of things I intended to blog about this month, but never got around to, will encourage me to come back and say some more things:

  • Yoga and the om
  • Favorite milestones and memories of the last 10 years (because I’m about to turn 40)
  • Morning people
  • Weight and body stuff
  • Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 hats tutorial

We’ll see.

 

 

 

 

Gin Me

Last night I:

Got approximately zero sleep due to a sick, sad, and restless toddler who turned out to have an ear infection.

Spent some unknown number of hours cuddling said toddler on the futon in his room trying to get him to let me put him down in his bed.

Finally convinced him that I needed to leave the room “to go potty,” which he accepted. (Him: “Pee? Potty? Pee-poop-pee! PEEEEEE?!”)

Today I:

Forgot to put on shoes before I left the house and realized when dropping the well toddler at daycare that I was still wearing my slippers, so I had to make an emergency stop at Target before school.

Found out my fly was unzipped in between classes.

Left work early to come home and take care of my sick Buddy so CW could get some of his work done.

Ate chips and salsa for lunch and a piece of leftover apple pie as “lunch dessert.”

Watched like four episodes of Daniel Tiger.

Had to have a long spousal discussion about who stays home when a child is sick.

Sick Buddy

Buddy came home from daycare completely miserable and with a fever of 103. He’s definitely got some kind of respiratory infection going on and the pediatrician’s office said they’ve been seeing a lot of RSV right now.

My husband has an out-of-town overnight trip planned for tomorrow. If Buddy has to stay home from daycare and only one parent is available, then Booboo has to stay home, too, because the sick child can’t/shouldn’t go into the daycare classroom during drop-off or pick-up but also can’t be left alone in the car.

EVERYTHING IS FINE. FINE.

Toddler Hearing Test

E&L had tubes placed in their ears earlier this year after a series of ear infections and constant fluid in their ears. In addition to the effect so many courses of antibiotics would have on them, we were also worried about their hearing and speech development — if they couldn’t hear, how could they learn to talk?

So we had the tubes placed and it was relatively quick and easy (as far as surgery goes — it’s still not great to hand your baby off to a nurse and know they’re going to be put under general anesthesia) and afterward they could hear! And they started to talk! But part of the Ear Nose and Throat doctor’s follow-up care involves tests to make sure that they’re hearing well. L passed his right away, but E has never passed her tests.

The audiologist has to place an instrument in the outer ear that makes sounds and measures the ear’s response to it (an Otoacoustic Emissions test, or OAE). They get best results when the child is still and quiet, so, you know. Difficult for a toddler to achieve. Plus, frankly, the audiologists at the ENT’s office never seemed willing to try very hard to make it work. They wound up referring us to a hearing specialist to do more and different tests to see if they could get a passing result for her. She was so cooperative and good! Her left ear got a passing result right away, but then she wanted to move and talk a bit while the doctor was testing her right ear. She was able to measure the response she wanted, but not at a high enough level for a pass.

The next step was to let her respond to stimuli in the booth. This was kind of fun to experience. E got to sit in my lap inside the sound proof booth while the doctor was outside observing. The doctor made sounds at different levels on E’s right and left side to watch her look for the source. My job was to be so quiet and still and not consciously or subconsciously cue E to look in any particular direction — just keep her comfortable and calm. She passed this test at normal levels and did great. Then, while we were still in the booth, the doctor tested her speech comprehension by asking her to touch her nose. At first, E didn’t seem to want to respond. I know she knows this because she has been playing touch-your-nose forever, but she can be a contrary little soul. So when she didn’t touch her nose after several requests, I kind of shrugged at the doctor through the window, like, enh, you win some, you lose some. But then E decided to get on board with the game and proudly showed off her nose, eyes, and ears while also waving and grinning at the doctor. Yay!

File Nov 27, 7 34 50 PM

So the upshot today was that the left ear is totally fine. The right ear may have failed the OAE due to noise/movement, or she may have failed because sometimes tubes cause them not to see the desired OAE response. But she’s doing great with her hearing and speech development and the doctor had zero concerns right now. If we start to have concerns in the future, we can go back, but otherwise we’re good to wait until her next six-month follow-up at the ENT. I wish we could have just gotten a straight pass on the OAE for both ears, but I guess this is still fine so I’ll take it.

Use Your Words

Do you ever just feel like making some inarticulate screaming noises? Yes? I do. And so I have total sympathy for my toddlers when their feelings well up and they have to just let it out: low-key whining, flailing, screaming, or full-on wet-noodle tantrumming.

A lot of the time, I can cut off the crying loop if I interject to remind them that I would be very happy to help them but I can’t understand what they need if they’re whining; could they please use their words instead? It’s impressive how often this works. They can stop and say, “MAH CHOO-CHOO” or “NO-NO DOGGIE” or “MO DJOOSE” or “HEP PEEZ.” Of course, they’re at a stage where this trick only goes so far — a lot of the time, the source of their turmoil is as yet inexpressible to them. Still happens to me on the regular, honestly, so I get it.

There are a lot of things they can’t say yet — their own/each other’s names, for example. the names of some of their toys and books and of some of the foods they like. Usually, pointing and asking for “dat” is what helps. “Dat” book on the high shelf, “dat” box of crackers, etc. Several times recently, E&L have been playing together in the playroom when all of a sudden L bursts into tearful wails. When I ask him to try to tell me what’s wrong or what he needs, he just turns to his sister with angry tears in his eyes and points at her emphatically, “DAT.”

And that’s when I see that she has taken the structure he’s been painstakingly building out of his Mega Bloks and threw it on the floor and smashed it. “All my hard work!” “Why does she like to annoy me?!” “Now I have to re-build!” L isn’t able to express that all just yet, so an accusing point and an emphatic “DAT” are the best he can do. I would be lying if I said it doesn’t crack me up every time.