Progress

For the past few months, it has felt like Penelope’s development stalled. She had started rolling over in May and then…nothing. Once she got the G-tube, even the rolling over wasn’t happening a lot because it irritated her to be on her tummy. There were some little things happening, like reaching for and grasping objects a lot more frequently once she had her hands free, but the big thing we were looking for- Penelope being able to sit unsupported- was just not happening. She also hasn’t gained any weight at all since May. This was all very discouraging, and really intensified our worries about what the future would hold for her.

And then all of a sudden, she started doing this:

Look who's sitting!

Look who’s sitting!

She was sitting. And it made me so happy. Now, it’s not perfect- she is pretty wobbly, and will topple over, so I have to be right there with her when she is doing it, but it is a big improvement. She can sit, on her own, long enough for me to snap a few (ok, a lot) of photos with my camera. It’s like she knew how worried we were getting, and did this to say, “Relax! I’m on my own schedule!”

Sitting and playing

Sitting and playing

More sitting

More sitting

That’s not say all my worries have disappeared. She still doesn’t have any consonants, she still has a lot of issues around feeding and weight gain, and she’s clearly significantly behind other babies the same age as her. No one has been able to tell us what her abilities ultimately will be, and that is frustrating and disheartening. But her sitting up is SOMETHING. And I desperately needed something to happen.

Ok, Mom, enough pictures! I get it! You're happy that I'm sitting!

Ok, Mom, enough pictures! I get it! You’re happy that I’m sitting!

I’m so proud of my girl and the progress she has made. I can breathe a little bit easier now, knowing that she has taken a step forward. And I just have to accept that she will do these things in her own time. No amount of worrying or sleepless nights is going to change that.

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Routine

Ahh, summer. Warm days, playing outside, swimming, relaxing- what’s not to love? And while I absolutely adore summer, there is an aspect to it that I’m not crazy about: the complete and total destruction of any routine in our household.

When you have small children, and a spouse who is a teacher, the “vacation mode” feel to summer is magnified times a thousand. Mark stays up late and sleeps in. Charlotte constantly asks, “Who are we going to see today?” Penelope’s nap schedule is completely shot to shit. Mark takes advantage of his time off and takes Charlotte to tons of fun places, like the zoo, the farm at Archibald Orchards, and the CNE. And it’s wonderful- they both have a fantastic time, but it means later bedtimes and toast for dinner on occasion.

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At the zoo

 

Beautiful butterfly at Buskerfest

Beautiful butterfly at Buskerfest

At the CNE

At the CNE

With Mark being off, I have found time to go the gym, but I seem to have sacrificed my writing time. Whenever Penelope and I come along on these adventures, her naptime and/ or her feeding schedule gets messed up, and she ends up crying and unhappy. Then we get home, and I’m exhausted and the laundry isn’t done and the dishwasher isn’t unloaded and it’s all too much. I am officially experiencing summer overload.

Out for a walk on Queen St, about ten minutes before she started crying and didn't stop for an hour and a half

Out for a walk on Queen St, about ten minutes before she started crying and didn’t stop for an hour and a half

Whenever I envisioned how I would feel when Charlotte headed off to kindergarten, I assumed I would feel sad that my baby was no longer, well, a baby. This could not be farther from reality. I am DYING for school to start and to get things back to normal around here.

As a kid/ teenager/ young adult, I hated routine. It was so boring. I wanted spontaneity and excitement and the opportunity to lounge in the sun all day. Now, I am CRAVING routine. I love getting up in the morning and knowing, more or less, what the day will bring. I love having a schedule. Before school let out, I had Penelope on a wonderful, predictable schedule. Now, every day is different. Some days she has one nap, some days it’s two, some days (the hardest days) it’s none. And I can’t stand it. I’m really hoping that within a couple weeks of school starting she will have a schedule once again. And I will have my sanity back.

The Wasps

At the beginning of the summer, Mark noticed a wasp’s nest hanging in a tree above our backyard deck, accessible only via the roof. We were both somewhat troubled by these pests residing in our backyard, but as neither one of us is schooled in the art of wasps’ nest removal, we left it alone. I was fine with this- we only saw the occasional wasp back there, so I wasn’t too worried about it. As the summer progressed, however, Mark became quite bothered by its presence. He vowed to get rid of it. At first I assumed he meant he would call an exterminator or something to come and take it away, but it soon became clear that he meant to do it himself. This worried me. I was not confident that Mark’s many talents extended to wasp nest removal.

Last week, Mark built an extension onto our deck so that we could fit some patio furniture out there, along with Charlotte’s sand table. He told me he planned on getting rid of the nest. I gently hinted that maybe an exterminator would be the best way to go, but either he missed the hint or he ignored it.¬†After assembling our new patio set yesterday, he could stand it no more. The backyard was no longer big enough for him and the wasps. The nest had to go.

When he told me his plan to remove the nest, I envisioned that he would at least be mindful of getting stung and dress accordingly, like in a ski jacket and oven mitts. Apparently, we have very different ideas of what constitutes appropriate attire for interacting with wasps. He headed on up to our roof clad in shorts, a T-shirt, sunglasses, and a baseball cap. I couldn’t watch. I ushered Charlotte and Penelope into the living room and hoped for the best.

Until my dying day, I will regret not staying outside and recording the events on video. Armed with a garbage can and lid, he set about evicting these wasps. He placed the garbage can directly under the nest. He cut off the branch from which the nest hung, and the nest fell neatly into the can. He quickly placed the lid on the can, and I’m sure he was congratulating himself on his handiwork when the wasps started swarming him, angry that he had destroyed their home. He attempted to drag the can with him up the slope of the roof as he tried to escape the wasps’ wrath, but that worked for about three seconds before he dropped it. It was at this exact moment that I was walking to the back door to check on his progress, only to see our large can come crashing off the roof. When Mark’s sting-ridden body did not follow it, I turned around and headed back to the living room, not wanting to know what was happening.

Up on the roof, the wasps were looking to extract their revenge on Mark. He couldn’t get down because there was a swarm by the ladder. I could hear his footsteps on the roof, running to avoid the furious insects. He actually contemplated jumping off the roof, having endured about four or five painful stings at this point. Thankfully, the wasp venom had not affected his judgement and he opted to NOT break his neck. His dad, who was here helping him putting together the furniture, brought the ladder around to the front yard, and after a few more minutes of dodging wasps (i.e. flailing around our roof, somehow tossing his cap and sunglasses into our neighbour’s awning), he was able to climb back down to safety.

Now there was the small matter of getting the nest, which was now IN our backyard, back into the garbage can. Frankly, I’m surprised Mark didn’t just wash his hands of the matter and say, “Well, the backyard belongs to the wasps now.” Instead, he bravely got that nest back into the can with his dad’s help, and the nest was finally disposed of, once and for all.

I gave Mark some Benadryl to help minimize the swelling from the stings, and distracted him throughout the afternoon whenever he started to panic that his throat might be closing up. You gotta love a guy who is willing to face a swarm of angry wasps to prevent his family from getting stung.

A few wasp stings is a small price to pay to keep Daddy's girls safe

A few wasp stings is a small price to pay to keep Daddy’s girls safe