Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Napless in Birmingham

Anna June has never liked to sleep. We've gone through phases where we've been certain that dropping her nap was inevitable. She usually naps better at school than she does at home. Just like at bedtime, she'll go to sleep better if everyone else in the house is perfectly still and quiet. This almost never happens.

When she goes to bed at night, I'll go in my room and "go to bed" to read and then later, get back up. Often, though, I just fall asleep, too.

She didn't nap Friday at school. Afterwards, she was all wound up after dinner with Maddie, and it took her forever to get to sleep. Saturday, AJ didn't nap, either, as I was moving around the house trying to accomplish a few things. Sunday, we all laid down to sleep, with AJ on a mat beside our bed, despite our instructions for her to go back to her room. To be honest, I wouldn't have cared where she slept, as long as she slept.

Yesterday, she was back to not napping at school. I'm afraid she's disturbing the other kids, since Ms. Kaye said she kept wiggling around and refusing to be still. We keep getting reports that she's the best behaved kid they have, and, if that is true, then may God help all the other parents!

AJ has friends her age who do not nap. Their parents are OK with it. "We get them in bed by 7:00," they say. Oh, how much different their life is than ours! There's no way we could be ready for her to be in bed by 7. We don't even get home until 5:45 most days. Even if, by some miracle, dinner is ready in 15 minutes, that would still leave only an hour for eating, cleaning up, bathing, etc. 8:00 is really pushing it, to be honest, but that is our goal.

There are 3 problems with not napping at all:
1. When she doesn't nap, she sleeps worse. It seems counter-intuitive, but I promise it is true. Last night was plagued with nightmares after she finally settled down. The first one had her crying around midnight, unable to be consoled for a couple of minutes, and the second one had her very clearly calling for me and asking for me to turn on her lullaby CD again.
2. If she doesn't nap, she gets tired before bedtime. So some time between getting home from school, getting dinner ready, getting her bath, any other activities we need to do, and getting her actually ready for bed, she will have a meltdown. It is completely predictable. The more we try to rush her through the routine, the worse it is. May my dentist friends forgive me, but it is on these nights when she's crying with anguish over her going to the potty, her pajamas or the choice of clothes for the next day, I send her to bed without brushing her teeth. We have to do what we have to do for the wailing to stop.
3. On the weekends, if she doesn't nap, we don't get a nap. And, after dealing with all the meltdowns, we need one!

So let's all hope that she's just been too tired to sleep, and she'll be back to her normal napping self today.

Monday, February 27, 2012

New Red Carpet Critic

Anna June, ever the fashion critic, was over at her grandparents' house for dinner, and the Oscars were coming on.

We were watching the red carpet arrivals, and when Sherri Shepherd came on screen, AJ exclaimed, "Disgusting."

I asked her what was disgusting. "You could see her boobies," she said.

What can I say? She was right!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Anna June went to our friend Allison's birthday party yesterday, at Mountain Brook Gymnastics. She had been to Olivia's party there last year, and she had a blast. (Photo courtesy Allison's mom, Mary Hassell Petty)

It took her a few minutes to get used to the idea again, even though we had talked in the car about listening to the "teachers". Once she was acclimated, she had a great time.

The difference in the last party and this one was that last time, when the kids were smaller, the parents stayed with them on the gym floor. This year, we went to the observation area above it all, where we had a lovely visit. We've all found it's much easier to talk about our kids when they're not in earshot!

A good time was had by all.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oh, Internet

Anna June is pretty interested in technology. She plays with her toy laptop and cell phones, but likes our real ones even better.  She loves the read-to-me technology on our Nook and on her iXL. She knows that when we don't know the answer to something, we look it up online. She also knows that things can be ordered via the computer. I marvel how life has changed so much since I was a kid - I thought picking things out from a catalog and calling on the telephone would be so cool, but I skipped right over that and went straight to the digital age.

Sometimes, I believe, like my friend Lindsey says, "the internet is my boyfriend." (Just kidding, Ben!) But I spend way too much time in front of the computer, at work, at home, and even on my phone, when I'm neither place.

This week has brought some very exciting things, though, via that medium, and I wanted to share some of them with you.

First of all, our friend Laura Kate, who also happens to be a fantastic and popular local blogger, did this write up of Rusty's BBQ. If you read my blog, you've most likely been to Rusty's. Because of my internet addiction way with words, Rusty has given me the responsibility of being his social media marketing manager, which means I get to use the official company twitter account to remind people to eat more barbecue. It is way more fun than washing dishes or making pie. In this role, I have to say I'm terribly excited when bloggers (who are not compensated by Rusty's) do my work for me. This writer also did a great piece in Discover St. Clair magazine. It's one thing for me to eat and wax poetic, but it's quite another for total strangers to do it.

Another exciting online thing that happened this week is that Josh Ritter debuted a new song, "Love is Making its Way Back Home." More awesome, their video for the tune, found here, used photos of construction paper cutouts to animate it. It is really cool. Ben and I agree that the song is not his best ever, but the video must have employed a lot of artists, which is nice.

One more online tidbit: although I am not required to in any way, I've decided to give up Pinterest for Lent. I didn't want to join at first, knowing it was a time suck. But I have spent way too much time browsing things from centerpieces to nail polish, and for the next few weeks I'll be trying to focus on being thankful for all that I have, rather than drooling over things I do not have, especially (contradictory!) things that I've pinned like new workout shoes and dessert recipes. It will be hard to find that one cake pop recipe I pinned using plain old Google, but I bet I can do it in time for AJ's birthday party.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Better Than Nothing

I realize I haven't posted any pictures of Anna June lately. Sorry. It's hard to photograph her during a tantrum. I thought I'd use some more of her artwork though, as it is better than nothing. Here's what she came home with yesterday:

We've been very busy lately, and it doesn't look like it is going to slow down any time soon. AJ's birthday is right around the corner, and there's lots to do.

We try not to book our weeknights too much, but we wanted to have a play date with AJ's friend Maxwell, and we went to Chuck E. Cheese on Wednesday evening. It's not in our neighborhood, which meant just getting there and back took some time. The kids had a great time, and AJ selected to use her hard-won tickets on candy. I let her have some before she went to bed, and it took her until 10:00 to get to sleep.

Then she slept badly, including a nightmare where she screamed.

Her afternoon teacher reported her as being "isolated" and "a loner" the day after.

After such repercussions, one would think a responsible parent would do more to get her child to bed on time. What? And interfere with Zumba? Forget about it.

AJ was so excited when I got to school, toting our Zumba bags and dressed for a workout. She loved going to class, as her former teacher was there, and she danced about half the time. After class, though, I had to stop and talk to our teacher about her plan for Kids Zumba at daycare, which conveniently starts the Wednesday after soccer is over. The best part: shoes are optional. Then I had to make a grocery store run, which I planned to include just a few things and a prescription pick up, and a stop by the deli for dinner, but there were delays.

First, at the Apron's stand, where they demonstrate cooking, our cousin Libby was working. I had either forgotten about or never known about this cousin, as she's actually my granddaddy's cousin's daughter. (Someone else can figure out how many times removed that is, etc.) Granddaddy has recently been in touch with her, and, of course, she works with Beth. I hadn't introduced myself, and, sweaty as we were, I decided that there was no time like the present, especially since she was serving a delicious fettuccine with sage cream sauce. The recipe cards were gone by the time we got there! We chatted and sometime during that, I realized we needed to select AJ's birthday cake, so we went over to look at the cake book. Then we got the Rx, then we got dinner, and then, we ran into our neighbor Sandy, who owns Radar's BFF, Chip. Finally, we got home, around AJ's prescribed 8:00 bedtime, only to still have to eat and get her bathed and ready for bed. Ack!

Needless to say, she stayed up until nearly 10:00 again. She slept poorly again, and at almost 5:00, had us both tending to her after a nightmare where she encountered "strangers". Nothing would calm her down but me, and, desperate for a few more minutes of shuteye, I let her come to her spot on the floor by our bed. I never did get back to sleep, and after taking Radar out, I had just enough time to figure out I wasn't really going to sleep before my alarm went off. AJ finally fell asleep sometime right before then, and was difficult to wake up, dress, feed, etc. I'm looking for another stellar report today.

We're going to have to re-map our game plan for next Wednesday, when we're slated to take AJ to her first basketball game. We're definitely going, we just may have to come home early, although the Blazers tend to get exciting at the end. So maybe next Thursday, we won't make it to Zumba (or at least, AJ may get to stay home!) and hopefully, we'll avoid another epic grocery trip. These long weeknights are killing us.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Bonus Post: Welcome, Siblings!

AJ has a new teacher, Ms. Shae. Friday I picked AJ up from school and Ms. Shae told me that AJ had almost convinced her (Shae) that she has a brother and sister at home. I assured her we do no have any other children. Pressing Ms. Shae for further details, I found out that AJ said she had one brother and one sister, and that their names were Jogger and ChiChi. This girl has quite the imagination.

Later I asked AJ about it and she told me Jogger is Radar and ChiChi was (Laura? -- not clear on this).

So, if AJ happens to tell you something, trust but verify.

Credit Where Credit is Due

Anna June doesn't like anything today. She hated the clothes she'd picked out, and, of course, she hated her shoes - it is soccer day. She was so angry with me that when I put her on the potty (after asking her to do it herself) she didn't even pee. That's some fierce self-control. She refused to eat breakfast, and she went to school in a tank top and jacket, but immediately after we got there, she put the jacket away and refused to put it back on.

This weekend, Ben saw the opportunity to give AJ a taste of her own medicine. I was washing dishes, and AJ came and told me, "Mom, come quick. Dad is throwing a fit." "About what?" I asked. "His clothes," she said. I tried not to laugh. I ran into the bedroom and there was Ben, in his underwear, refusing to get dressed because he didn't like his pants. They were uncomfortable, he said, even the ones he just bought. He didn't like his shoes or shirts, either. He said he wasn't going anywhere, and would have to stay home, because he was NOT going to get dressed.

Afterwards, we talked to AJ about how silly it was to have a meltdown over clothes. We thought she got it, as we talked about how it applied to her behavior. I forgot all about it until she stayed with my mom that night, and, the next day, she asked, "Did Ben have a meltdown yesterday? AJ said he had a tantrum because of his clothes." So, maybe she thought it was for real, and didn't learn the lesson, after all. 

I realize that on this blog I do not give Ben enough credit. He does a lot of stuff. Last night he took out our recycle bin (which was basically full of water that he had to dump out first). He sweeps and vacuums. He picks up AJ from school. He often bathes AJ and puts her to bed. He helps with dishes and laundry. He shops and pays bills. He fixes things. He walks the dog. He even, occasionally, schedules play dates. We're in the process of looking for an elementary school for AJ, and he's attended meetings and a school tour with me, and is making a spreadsheet of our options. I am very lucky to have him as an involved partner in life, even if sometimes it feels like we're in some kind of foxhole, waiting out the tantrums.

Here's a picture of him at work at the bank:

Maybe he was smiling because it was Friday, and not soccer day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


To answer your question, yes, Anna June has gotten A LOT better at coloring lately. I know she practices every day, but it seems like a light bulb went off with her and she's all of a sudden staying in the lines. And, sometimes, coloring things a color that they may actually be in real life!

Here, in the last one, you see her signature. "JA". We don't think she's dyslexic, but we just think no one has ever really emphasized that you write left-to-right. I don't think she really knows left from right anyway. But I did start calling her "June Anna" and calling her attention to the fact that she needs to start with A, then put the J, or everyone will think that's her name.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Too Busy Being Fabulous

Anna June had a pretty good weekend, because basically we stayed home a lot and she got to play. Both she and her dad declared they were bored at certain points, but we made it through.

I've decided that a lot of our conflicts come when AJ wants to keep pretending and we want to bring her back into the real world. Her imagination is a force to be reckoned with. In these pictures, she and her friend Amber are making up songs and dancing at school. They made a mess, but they had fun.

We did go shopping for a while on our rainy Saturday. I had a dress that I wanted to buy - thanks to the awesome virtual shopping assistance given to me by the incredibly savvy Michele. I had shown it to AJ ahead of time, and she wanted to know what was up with the ruching. I told her it was gathered at the waist to be a little bit fancier. We went to get the dress, and I had to get the saleslady to help us find it. I showed her the name of the dress that I had written down, and she asked what color it was. "Purple," I said. "It has a gather," AJ told her, helpfully. She knew right where it was, which ended up saving me the price of shipping. Afterwards, we went to eat dinner and cruise around the other mall. AJ's favorite part was the bookstore, of course.

On Sunday, there was church, then, after nap, AJ got to watch some TV while I caught up on some projects. Sunday night, she had a pajama party with her Nana while we went out for our Valentine's dinner. I had a very nice time - Ben would have rather gone to Rusty's.

AJ probably had two favorite things we did this weekend.

1. Indoor Picnic. At breakfast on Saturday, Ben showed us a totally unrealistic magazine picture of a family on a picnic, complete with a tiered tray of cupcakes and a vase of flowers. AJ decided that we should go on a picnic, to Railroad Park, and we should bring flowers, too. I didn't think too much about it. After Zumba, she came with me to the grocery store to pick up a few things, and when she spotted the flowers, she insisted that we NEEDED them for our picnic. Then, she changed her mind and decided that the park was too much trouble and we should just picnic indoors at home. It involved Radar being trapped in the kitchen, but she set out a blanket in the hall and we carefully placed the vase of flowers in the center as we ate our sandwiches, strawberries and cheese puffs. We didn't have cupcakes, but we did, later, have cookies.

2. Pretending. It varied, but I think her favorite thing, on Sunday, was pretending to be Tigger. Before lunch, she was Winnie the Pooh and I was Rabbit. Then, after lunch, she was Tigger and I was Owl. She enjoyed bouncing around the house.

Friday, February 17, 2012

AJ Explains

Anna June often explains her reasoning for things. When the teachers interviewed her for this project, I am guessing she said more than the other kids. Here's AJ's explanation of why Valentine's Day is fun:

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Time Out

Anna June is getting to know her time out chair pretty well this week. She's sitting in it pretty often, against her will, due to her repeated defiance of direct commands. It's hard to ignore her tears while she's sitting there to calm down, but we're getting better at it.

We're not being wishy-washy. We're getting down to business.

This morning, it was over standing up so I could brush her hair. Pretty much every meal time since last Friday has been ruined in some way with AJ not doing what she was supposed to do. It has us frazzled, to say the least. When you find yourself grateful to go to work to get away from the tantrums, you know it is bad.

We do try to avoid spanking, as we're finding it doesn't get her attention. We don't spank her hard, FYI. And I haven't read the study, but this recent article reminded me that, no, I'm not really in favor of the practice, but I have certainly done it to poor Anna June.

Her teachers, and other parents, have encouraged me to keep doing what we're doing. In the real world, actions have consequences, good or bad, and a child must learn this. She breaks our rules, she pays the price, even if it is just taking away a story at bedtime. Right now we have one major rule: Do what your parents say. She's very good at arguing, finding excuses (some of which make absolutely no sense), and negotiating. But we're trying to ride out this phase by sticking to our limits. One of her teachers assures us that by her birthday, she'll pretty much be done with this, and go back to being the pleasant child we once knew.

Let's hope so.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Naps with Dogs

On Monday night, Anna June's grandparents asked if they could surprise her by picking her up from daycare. Our answer was a resounding yes. They had planned to do this the week before, but were thwarted by AJ's scary illness.

Ben and I ran an errand, ate dinner, and then went grocery shopping to get our stuff for our special V-Day dinner. We went to pick AJ up again, and it was a little past her bedtime. We went to find her in "her" room, and she was curled up in the blanket on the floor with Jesse, one of their dogs. This quick phone picture doesn't really do justice to how adorable it was. Jesse was pretty excited to have a nap buddy, even for a brief while!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Anna June is off to her Valentine's Party at school. It's a brunch. We brought grapes. No, this is not what she's wearing. She wore this to church a couple of weeks ago, with tennis shoes.

AJ told me that she doesn't like Valentine's Day, but I don't believe her. She enjoyed picking out Valentine cards for each of her classmates and teachers. She even made me write one "To: Anna June, From: Anna June." She may get to an age where she doesn't like all that mushy stuff. But I haven't gotten there yet, so I don't know if she will, either.

I know a lot of people don't like Valentine's Day. Their argument is that one should express love to others every day, not just once a year. My argument is that it is worth it to make an occasion out of it.

You see, I believe that one of the most important things we can do for Anna June is to set an example of a loving marriage. It is very hard to find in this world. People (including, ahem, myself) can be extremely selfish, and having a successful relationship seems to be quite rare these days, if not darn near impossible. It is hard to balance everything. For us, we must juggle AJ's needs with our own. In the daily grind of what's for dinner, did anyone feed the dog, paying bills, work (where we sometimes seem to be on call 24/7), a million things we must teach our daughter AND all that lovey-dovey stuff that got us together in the first place, I have to admit that the romance has to take a backseat a lot.

One thing I read that stuck with me long ago is that successful couples make time for each other. For us, that usually means a couple of weekly dates: one at lunch, and one at dinner - without AJ. Sometimes, we get together and just talk about AJ. (It's really hard to talk about her in front of her!) I need to stop right here and thank my parents (and sometimes, my brothers and sisters-in-law) for generously giving us absolutely free babysitting for these date nights. And, I will admit (and you probably know this if you follow my blog), sometimes our date nights involve trips to the grocery store, but if you are a parent, you can forgive this, too, since you know how exciting a three-year-old-free grocery shopping trip can be.

Anyway, our dates are critical to our family life. If we don't make time for them, we can feel the tension start to build. Things that shouldn't get on our nerves do. We need to take an hour or two to stop, get out of the house, and look at each other and have real conversations. We can even use swear words if we need to, without worrying they'll be repeated at daycare. We can vent about people at work without AJ parroting that later. Mostly, we have to make ourselves stop and say, "You are important to me. I am still interested in what you have to say." We certainly don't always agree! But we are committed to making things work between us, which is huge for us as a family.

How we met may have been a fairy tale but daily life, nearly ten years into a marriage, is certainly not. A special date in honor of the occasion is being planned for this weekend, after the crowds have thinned out and we could work it in to our village's schedule. Tonight, we plan to cook dinner together and we may even eat off the fancy dishes! But china or Chinet, the idea that we're all together, in the spirit of love, will be central to the meal. And, the same rules as always apply - if my dinner doesn't work out, there's always the drive-through. (Another indication of how we make it work around here!)

I think Valentine's Day is as good of a time as any for us to stop and say, "I love you" to our partners in this life. It's not a time to rub it in the faces of our single friends, like some have said. To those people, I say that I believe God has a plan for everyone, and you will meet "the one" when it is time.

Also, if you're in a relationship, a little gift or a bouquet of flowers might be a good way to say thanks to the person who expresses their love for you by taking out the trash, cleaning the toilet, picking up after the dog, washing your clothes, or giving birth to your child.  People express love in different ways. I would say if you're not sure what your partner's love language is, err on the side of giving gifts on a special occasion such as Valentine's Day. After all, wouldn't you rather be the guy that makes the other ladies in the office jealous of her instead of having her be jealous of the other ladies?

Just so you know, Ben sent me flowers. AJ helped pick them out.

And, if you're a guy who forgot, you can play this song for your beloved. Who could be disappointed after that?

Monday, February 13, 2012


Anna June has been a naughty kid this weekend. It seems that every thing she's done has been to get our attention in a negative way. Responding to direct commands such as "sit in the chair on your bottom" or "get your coat on" have been met with pouting, slumping over, twisting around, screaming, and worst of all, the word "no." She has been stuck on repeat with "no" all weekend, and creeping into this morning.

We're sure it's just a phase. She spent too much time cooped up in the house while she was sick, and our non-stop lifestyle is a lot for her to take. But honestly, the whining and defiance is pretty much for us to take, too.

I was trying to get some sympathy from my dad on the phone, explaining we'd done everything we could think of to try to get her attention. AJ told me that she "doesn't like me" and I'm not her "best friend". I told her that was too bad - I don't need her to like me, I just need her to mind me.

Dad said, "Now you're parenting."

I could barely hear him through the screams, but I will take it as a compliment.

Both he, and AJ's teacher, agree that it's just a phase, and if we stand our ground, she'll figure out we're not the pushovers that she's known previously, but we're authority figures in her life, and obedience isn't optional - there will be consequences. We often explain why we do things: to keep her safe, to keep her healthy, etc. But whether she understands why or not, she has to learn to obey us. Even a pointed children's sermon on obeying your parents didn't help. She just doesn't want to do what we say, despite threats of disappearing toys, time outs, or even spankings. We did discover that taking away candy, tv, and bedtime stories seemed to be the most effective, if that can be determined by the volume of her tantrums.

If you need us, we'll be at work, recuperating from the three-day-battle. We'll need our strength to start over tonight.

Saturday, February 11, 2012


It has been a (mostly) fun Saturday for Anna June. Actually, she's been pretty cranky. But here's a glimpse of our weekend day. AJ maintains that Sunday is not part of the weekend, because we have to go to church.

  • Pancakes with blueberries on the side
  • Glow-in-the-dark nail polish on fingers and toes
  • Dishes, laundry (wait, that was me. AJ watched Super Why!)
  • Radar threw up, and then ran away, but we caught him.
  • Chick-fil-A, for a good cause this time: a fundraiser for Turner's Syndrome Society.
  • A nearly three-hour nap. for everyone
  • Returning books and a movie on time to the library - this seldom happens and is worthy of mention
  • BBQ at Rusty's for dinner, and a quick visit to the auction, where AJ's granddaddy gave her the carousel music/jewelry box pictured in the background as an early Valentine's present.
  • Shamrock Shakes from McDonald's. We have never seen these seasonal items in Birmingham, so when Ben reported them at the UAB location, I was pretty excited.We tried Eastwood, but they didn't have them. So after dinner we drove across town to get them, even though the lady at the drive through had no idea what we were talking about. They were delicious.
  • AJ's first true purchase: the blue "goof ball" pictured above. She spotted these at Shoe Carnival last weekend, and I told her I wouldn't buy her one, but she could either wait until her birthday or she could buy it herself from her piggy bank money. She must have been thinking about it all week. This morning she asked me if I'd open it up to get the right amount. We had quite a time with her deciding which wallet and which purse she'd use to carry the money in. We talked about trading her quarters for cash to save us a lengthy transaction, but decided against it, and the clerk actually commented she was about to need quarters, so this saved her the trouble. 
Now if we can just get her to bed, it will go from being a pretty good day to a great day.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Where Kids Come From

When I was combing AJ's hair yesterday, I discovered the plastic part of a clothing tag in her hair. I joked with her that we could act like she was new and return her to the store.
Tonight, she was pretending and asked if I would put a tag on her and return her.
I asked her where she came from.
She said, "TJMaxx. Granny buyed me and sent me in a box."
Makes sense to me!

If You Turn Your Head Just Right

I can't resolve the problem between the picture that Ben sent to me yesterday (which is sideways), so you'll just have to tilt your head.

My abilities to solve problems are limited today.

Anyway, AJ is better. Wednesday, Ben stayed home with her as planned, but, after her nap, her temp measured 104.7. We called our pediatrician again, who said to get in immediately. He tested snot and blood, only to find that she does not have flu or walking pneumonia or strep. Just a nasty virus.

He recommended that she stay on the amoxicillin, so as not to contradict the other pediatrician's orders, although he disagreed with the diagnosis of possible pneumonia. The reasoning is that she has a lot of drainage and he doesn't want a secondary infection like strep or an ear infection to set up. He had us continue the Tylenol-Motrin dance. We've discovered through this illness that AJ likes Tylenol Meltaways better than regular suspension liquid...she flat refused the cherry flavor, which we thought she liked best.

Blessedly, Dr. Walley gave her some real cough medicine. He also disagreed with the blanket statement that kids shouldn't have cough syrup. AJ is, after all, almost 4, and healthy and big for her age. In other words, he let us all get some sleep.

AJ's Granny and Aunt Nonny sent a cookie bouquet from Cookies by Design. As much as I love Icing on the Cookie, I have to say that I liked these cookies even better. I hate saying I like a chain or franchise as much as the local, independent version, but I did. Either that, or I was really cookie deprived. And, these cookies are the size of AJ's head. And the basket was as big as she is! Passing around the photo at work, my friends said that, yes, that should make her feel better.

Besides a disastrous coughing bout last night, and a very cranky morning, AJ has seemed fine, and we sent her to school today. It was Pajama Day, although she wasn't very excited about it - she's been in her jammies for three days now!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Full Moon Fever

Anna June is sick, but she's going to be fine. After I got off the phone just now, I realized I can stop making reassuring phone calls. This is why I have a blog.

Here's the scoop.

After coughing all night Sunday, we decided to try to head off another night of coughing last night with some cough syrup. It did not help. In the middle of the night, she woke with a fever. I gave her some ibuprofen, and she ended up sleeping in the floor next to us.

We checked our schedules and decided that I'd stay home Tuesday and Ben would stay home Wednesday. We'll re-evaluate when it comes time to see about Thursday and Friday.

When AJ woke up from her nap this afternoon, her fever had shot up to 104. We called the pediatrician, who said, since it was late in the day, that we could either plan to go to the after-hours clinic, or else we could make an appointment for the next day. At first, I said it could wait, but as I looked at my listless, glassy eyed, shallow-breathing child, I changed my mind and called back, and booked us for 6:30.

AJ immediately started backpedaling, trying to convince me that she was not at all sick, and that she was fine to wait to see her doctor. The idea of going to a new place terrified her, and she was very distressed.

The experience there was pretty good, as these things go. She was seen, and, the doctor determined her to have some sort of infection, but did not go into specifics to decide whether or not, for example, it was strep. Her ears are fine. Her lungs, well, not so much. There's some congestion more on one side, which he wrote up as pneumonia but only told us it was "possibly" pneumonia. Either way, he's prescribed amoxicillin, our old friend, and Ben has gone to the pharmacy to get it filled.

Basically, I got very little done today, because AJ wanted me to hold her. So I did. We watched Cinderella, Curious George, and Caillou. We napped. I tried to get her to take medicine, eat, and drink, mostly unsuccessfully, but the doctor said that she's not dehydrated.

The doctor also mentioned that AJ's too young for cough syrup, but he doesn't live here. I'll try not to give her any, which shouldn't be hard since it didn't do any good. He said to run the humidifier, which AJ is scared of, too, but we talked about that in front of her, and we'll see how that goes.

We're hoping for a better night, and rest.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Weekend Review

Anna June had a pretty good weekend.

I am still sick, although getting better each day. Unfortunately, Anna June has started a cough of her own. Yesterday, she skipped her nap, so she was over tired, and, therefore, prone to poor sleep anyway. She screamed out "Mommy" about a hundred times last night, in between coughs that ranged from pack-a-day-smoker to non-productive seal barks. I was all drugged from my own cough medicine, so that wasn't helpful, either. Ben and I were up and down all night. Going to work and school this morning was quite difficult.

But on the whole, we had a surprisingly creative and fun weekend, led mostly by Anna June's own ideas.

Back on Wednesday night, AJ asked to spend the night in her Playhut Dora tent. We told her no, knowing it wouldn't go well, and it was a school night. So, we told her she could do it on Friday night. She could not wait. As time went by, we thought of more elements to add besides her tent, which we determined would be located in her room, in case she decided not to sleep in it, after all. We got down our one sleeping bag to squish up in her tent. We found marshmallows and bamboo skewers to pretend to "roast" them on. I explained S'mores to her, and we ended up making those in the microwave, with mini Reese's cups, since we didn't have any plain chocolate. (Verdict: delicious). We decided to have hot dogs for dinner, but we didn't have any, so we went to Hamburger Heaven to eat. AJ got her hot dog to go, so she could eat it around her "campfire" made up of blocks at the foot of her tent. We sang songs around the campfire, although she wasn't interested in hearing stories, lest they might be scary.

We tucked her in to the sleeping bag, which she had zipped and unzipped repeatedly. You could almost go into our room and count down, "3...2...1..." and then the screaming started. She did not want to be in that tent. She got into her bed, as instructed, but still was upset. Way upset. She had me remove the tent from her room and asked me to put the sleeping bag back in its box. She wanted nothing more to do with the camping experience. She slept a while, but ended up on the floor beside our bed on her nap mat, because I couldn't calm her down enough to sleep all night. At least we tried.

Saturday morning, to my surprise, she did NOT ask to watch television. She wanted to play. She requested hash browns for breakfast, only to turn her nose up at them when she saw them and said, "not THAT kind of hash browns." Good grief. Meanwhile, she was playing on her own. She brought her purse to the table. She had picked out a certain spoon with which to eat her oatmeal. She played with her dolls and was quite content to make a huge mess in her room as she went along. She laid out a tea party for her dolls Heather and Princess Bear. I was content to let her, as my major activities still involved blowing my nose and coughing.

We went out for an errand: to see about getting new tires for my car. Remarkably, our tire place said I didn't need them yet (while the place we had gotten my brakes done said we did). Afterwards, we stopped by the new location of Dollar General to see about getting some Valentines cards for AJ's class. We settled, after much debate, on some cat and dog-themed cards, and heart shaped lollipops. AJ informs me that there is a difference between suckers and lollipops: lollipops are flat, and suckers are spherical. (For the record, she didn't use the word spherical, she said round, but I knew what she meant.)

Then, it was on to lunch at the Gallitz Formal Dining Room, so AJ could eat and play in the indoor playground. She said that some other kid asked to be her friend, and AJ responded by saying yes, but saying she would have to know her what her name was. I am glad she's starting to negotiate some of these playground etiquette issues on her own now...we just watched her through the window while we ate, marveling at how tall she's getting and how well she gets on with other kids. Also, Chick-fil-A now has "grilled nuggets" which is a relief, because now AJ can get her own grilled chicken without taking mine off my sandwich, although on this particular occasion, she opted for the more traditional kind, and ate every bite.

Then, we had a nap. Much needed and enjoyed by all.

When AJ woke up, she had her next project on her mind. She wanted to decorate her bike (tricycle), like she'd seen on an episode of Caillou. Unfortunately, I didn't see the episode, so I was slap out of ideas for bike decorating. She had specific requests she wanted to emulate, though.
1. She wanted a flag, on the back. Well, we didn't have a real flag, and even if we did, there was no good way to attach it without duct tape. I tied a dish rag to a ruler, and I tried to situate it between some blocks stacked in the "trunk" of her bike, but she did not like the way this looked. She had a flag she'd made at school that had a good, sturdy stick and a flag of construction paper, but it was also deemed unsuitable. We abandoned this idea.
2. She wanted a sticker on the wheel. This one was easy - we have lots of stickers. I expected her to put it in the center of the wheel, but instead, she put Snow White right on the tire. I didn't say a word.
3. She wanted a horn. Well, we don't have a horn, but not for lack of trying. We tried to get a bike horn for her 2 wheeler, and it simply did not fit, so we returned it. I quickly thought of her squeaky rubber clown nose, and tried to tie it on to the handlebars to where I wouldn't compromise the elastic (so it could still be used as a clown nose) and it wouldn't flop around. Again, I could think of no solution besides duct tape, and a tearful AJ insisted that I remove the stupid nose. She decided she could wear it around her neck and honk it if necessary on her bike ride.
She decided the bike needed more stickers, mostly princess ones. She donned a pair of pedal pushers, a tank top, and a sweatshirt, along with her sneakers (!) to go with me to McElwain Park. When we got there, she complained it wasn't our regular park, but I reminded her that Crestwood Park is under construction.  She rode her bike for 3 laps, and it looked like rain, and we were tired, so we went on home.

We went to Rusty's for dinner, and then we went shoe shopping. It was supposed to be a trip to find Ben some shoes, but instead, I finally found a pair of flats I could live with, and AJ found some lace-up tennis shoes. She loves them so far. I bought an 11 1/2, thinking they'd be too big, but they seem just about right. That girl has some big feet!

Then, we baked cupcakes to take to my parents' for their Super Bowl party. I'd let AJ choose the cake mix and frosting when we had shopped. Her selection? Funfetti with Funfetti icing.  We decided to bake them Saturday and then frost them Sunday.

Sunday brought sunshine and a brighter outlook. AJ slept well and greeted us happily. We ate breakfast, and  frosted the cupcakes, which necessitated an outfit change - although she insisted on wearing her new sneakers with her fancy church dress. Then, she settled in to watch Betty Boop cartoons. Her dad doesn't like these much, but AJ loves them, and was sad to turn them off when it was time to go to church.

We did church. We did lunch.  We tried to do a nap, but AJ just couldn't, despite a change of venue to my bed with me. Blessedly, they let me sleep after an hour of failed attempts on her part. Instead, they started on one of AJ's great Christmas presents, Crayola Story Studio. A computer program uses a photo of the child to insert in the story, and the child colors pictures of herself in the story. This one featured Anna June as Rapunzel. Ben and AJ colored together for a while, then I helped out after I got up. Then, it was time for AJ to go back to church for Sunday Explosion, a new kids' program they're trying to start up at our church. Unfortunately, AJ was the only kid who came, and she claims she didn't have any fun, so this project may be short-lived. We went to pick her up and she ran to the door, eager to get to her Nana's house for the party.

We left after the 3rd Quarter, and we all went straight to bed, which was a good thing, since we were up so frequently last night. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Pink Day

At Anna June's school, today was wear Pink Day. They expanded it to Pink OR Red Day, since they figured the boys wouldn't want to wear pink. As it turns out, it is also Go Red for Women Day. I tried to get AJ to wear red with me, hoping I'd get a great picture. No such luck. Just like the character Pinkalicious, she said, "Pink, pink, pink!"

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rocking Out

I don't know what she was listening to, but AJ was trying out her dad's new headphones, borrowing his iPhone for a minute. The way she was dancing, she should have been in one of those Apple commercials. Meanwhile, I asked her what I should post on the blog today. She said, "Tell them I am sitting in your lap right now, looking at that picture. The picture she's talking about is a poster for Bob Dylan. Appropriate for these pictures, right?