Thursday, August 31, 2006

A Much Anticipated Vacation

Two more days of work...I am SOOOOO ready for vacation, it's not even funny.

We are headed to beautiful St. Louis for a liver check-up for Tanner and to see all the fun sites that St. Louis has to offer. We'll be hanging out with all the monkeys at the zoo, chasing around the big animals at Grant's Farm, and trying to make something magical happen all while trying to rationalize with two two-year-olds.

Wait a second, this is sounding more & more like a day at the office...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

A Random Post about our Growing Toddlers

It's started...the questions.

Two weeks ago on our way home from Iowa, Morgan turned to my husband and asked, "Daddy, what happened to Baby Einstein?"

It's been so interesting watching Morgan's speech patterns emerge over the last month. She's gone from putting together two words here and there, to telling us complete sentences, and using words we didn't even realize that she had.

She now questions us - pauses in her conversation where she is expecting a response from us - and tells us long stories. She knows very specifically want she wants, and she beginning to use words like "need" and "want".

She's beginning to use logic and reason things. This weekend when something wasn't working, she took it to Randy and told him "Daddy, battries please". Every day, we have to tell her who will drop her off at school and which vehicle they will be driving and who will pick her up. She'll try to negotiate, "mommy drive black car", when she knows that daddy always drives the black car. It's really fun to watch this pattern emerge.

Tanner is getting there - his speech is most definitely delayed, and we are workign with a speech therapist. His understanding is there, and he's starting to put words together. I think he's realistically about 2- 3 months behind Morgan.

In about 2.5 weeks, Tanner & Morgan will begin their transition to the "big kids" room. Our Montessori based preschool has 3 ages groups - infant (6 wks - 12 months), Toddler (walking - 2.5 years), and Preschool (2.5 years - 5 years). I'm excited for the transition because I think the kids need the stimulation developmentally - and I think being around the older kids will give them good speech patterns to imitate and mimick.

I know that Morgan will take to it just fine. She loves playing with older kids - and just wants to be one of them. Tanner, I'm more worried about. Physically he's further behind than Morgan. And, at only about 24 pounds a piece, they are definitely on the small side. Imagine those same 24-pounders playing with 4 - 5 year olds...

Now, our real dilmea is whether or not to separate the kids. Do we put them in separate classrooms? It would really benefit Tanner more than Morgan - he'd be free of Morgan who has been bossing him around. He'd have to speak for himself. And, when he isn't around her (Friday), I'm told that he totally came out of his shell and blossomed. I want them to be close and best friends, but I really want them to be independent, too.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

One is SOOOO Easy

Friday, Morgan got another set of ear tubes in. At 7 a.m., we loaded up Tanner and dropped him off at the daycare, and then proceeded to the outpatient surgical center.

Morgan did very well through the whole thing (besides a slight bout of screaming when she first spotted the ENT - she's terrified of him). She colored in the waiting room, proudly announcing each color as we'd swap them out. When we went back to the pre-op room, she clung to my neck, but was cute reading for the nurses. And, in recovery, she was snuggled to the nurse when we came back there. Again, she behaved like an angel the entire time.

We came home afterwards, and Morgan got to spend the day with mommy. She hung out on the sofa, ate crackers and cookies, and drank some 7Up. She then took a 4 hour nap (anesthesia is marvelous - we're looking for some during our next extended car ride).

And, she did all of this without fussing, whining, or putting up any kind of a struggle. No fights over the yellow marker at the doctor's office, which coloring book each child go to use, no asking one to stop doing something only to have the other one start the behaviour. About 1 o'clock in the afternoon, it hit me - this is what it's like to have singletons.

Wow...I know that this was only one day, but wow. It was so easy. I was able to do laundry, cook supper, clean some house, go shopping, and work - all that with one child. With two children, you are constantly refereeing, entertaining, feeding, and changing diapers. It's much more than twice the effort - as you are also stopping all the behavior that occurs because of the fact that they feed off of each other.

Now, I understand while people have multiple pregnancies...they're lured into the thought that "hey, this isn't so bad".


Thursday, August 24, 2006

The House of No


That seems to be the word I hear most frequently these days. Well, actually, it's been happening for several months now.

About two months ago, Morgan started saying "no" to everything.

Do you want to go outside?

Do you want to stay inside?

Do you want ice cream?

Really? Hmmm...mommy will take it.

Then after a few weeks, she learned the word....YYYYYeeeeeessss. And, instead of hearing "No!" all the time, we'd usually hear "YYYYYeeeeeessss". Even though it wasn't necessarily what she meant, it was infinitely better than "No!".

And, then she started, to get it...

Do you want a spanking?

Do you want ice cream?

But, after a few months, she's got that down pat. Now, it's the boy. And it's aggravated by the fact that his "NO!" are usually directed to his sister, who has started bossing him around. Which, she then responds to.

Tanner, no pushing!
No, Tanner, no, no

Tanner, lay down.
No, Tanner, no, no

Hi, Tanner
No, Tanner, no, no

Is Mommy tired of the word "no"?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Mental & Spiritual Rejuvenation

At the beginning of the year, my company announced that they would be giving us two new personal holidays each year. These personal holidays were to be used for "Mental & Spiritual Rejuvenation". It seemed appropriate to use one of them to go to Tampa this past weekend to meet up with my liver moms.

I knew that Lisa, Laurie, and I would get along. We chat online frequently - 2 - 3 times a week (heck, sometimes twice a day). We both have young little boys who have a transplant, we've been medical mommies for awhile now. So, I really wasn't worried about flying over a thousand miles away to spend the weekend with total strangers.

What I didn't expect from this weekend, was the absolute connection I felt with these women. We didn't have to explain to each other what it's like to be told that you child will need a liver transplant, what choliangitis is, what it feels like to have to take your child in to have labs drawn, or to see machines breathing for your child. They knew... They had been there... They completely understood...

We could sit and talk about bilirubin values, Prograf, and long term side effects of our child's meds without getting that glassy eyed look that often accompanies our other friends and acquaintances. We could discuss the strain that all of this puts on your relationships with family, friends, and your spouse - without the other person thinking you were psychotic or on the verge of divorce. We all know what it's like to lose a friend that can't deal with you because "it's too depressing to be in your life". We were able to share the pain of losing one of "our" liver kids - and cry together.

Now, please don't misread this. We have wonderful family, friends, and neighbors who have been extremely supportive of us through our entire process. But, this was the first time that I've spent time locked away with parents of other biliary atresia babies.

The weekend was so relaxing...a spiritual rejuvenation to say the least. A time when we could let go, remember, relax, and let our guard down. It was an incredible experience to be there - so uplifting. And, as my plane was taking off, it took me awhile to figure out why I had tears rolling down my cheeks. And, then I realized, this was something that I had needed for so long.

So to my friends, Lisa and Laurie, thank you.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Headed to Tampa...

In 24 hours, I'll be jumping on a plane and heading to Tampa. I am excited to finally be meeting Laurie and Lisa. Laurie & Lisa also have a son who had biliary atresia and a liver tranpslant before their first birthday. Tanner was actually the "oldest" at time of transplant - he was 10 months old.

These women have been a HUGE part of my support system through the last two years. We met online in a support group for families of children with liver disease. While there are lots of people on this site, the three of us really seemed to click. I'm excited to finally meet them in person, even if it is a bit weird to spend the weekend with people you've never met.

What I'm not excited about is the new FAA regulations...I flew last night and these regulations were not in place. This means that instead of flying with only carry-on, I will now have to check luggage. Because there is no way that I am going to Tampa without my SPF 45.

Monday, August 07, 2006

It's All About Presentation

In my previous post, you'll note our attempts to bribe our children with cookies to get them to eat vegetables.

Now, my husband and I both work, so cooking a good, nutritious supper means that we don't usually have fresh fruits and vegetables. (Hence, when I turn on the microwave, my kids start saying "Mommy cooking!") Tonight was no exception, I had thrown a very convenient microwavable bag of frozen veggies into the microwave.

When they were done, I placed a few carrots, peas, brocolli & water chestnuts on each of the kid's plates (along with some grapes and meatballs). Tanner threw a crying, bawling fit. Wouldn't touch the veggies - and would only eat the grapes.

After feeding them, Randy & I sat down to eat. I brought the Microwavable Bag of veggies to the table, put some on my plate, and then passed them to the Hubby in front of the boy. Tanner immediately reached inside of the bag and proceeded to eat about 10 pieces of carrots from the bag.

It's all about presentation...

Is it wrong to bribe your child?

We are trying to introduce healthy foods to Tanner & Morgan. This usually means that each meal consists of a fruit and a vegetable. Tanner & Morgan have never been good about eating vegetables, and it's actually deteriorated since they were infants. What they have come to adore is cream, M&Ms, and one of their favorites, cookies.

Tonight, after they had polished off their grapes and at least tasted their meatballs, they were refusing to touch their vegetables. I finally told them that if they ate a piece of brocolli, they could have a cookie. I even went and got the cookies and laid them on the table.

At first, this didn't work. So, I called Daddy in, explained to him that if he ate a piece of brocolli he could have a cookie. Daddy preformed well - and that prompted Morgan to grab the whole piece of brocolli and shove it in her mouth.

She chewed and chewed....went bleck with her tongue...and then chewed about another 73 times. She started to retch, but then Daddy & I started cheering her on. At this point, she slowly swallowed down the brocolli bit by bit...and polished it off with some chocolate milk.

All of that pain and suffering for a cookie...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Work is kicking my butt right now. I'm buried up to my eyeballs and sinking quickly. But, don't get me wrong, I'm loving it.

When I came to my current employer almost 2 years ago, I filled a position vacated by a middle-50s guy. He ran the consulting group, which consisted of 3 guys and 1 secretary who traveled the country helping our customer implement their software. This was his only responsibility.

This worked out nicely when I first came on board. Mother of new twins, exhausted (mentally, physically, and emotionally) and at that point, we were very sure that Tanner was headed towards transplant. It fit - I made it work, and even did a few more things. I looked good - doing what really was only a part-time job.

As the kids got older, I grew bored, and started taking on more responsibilities. I did my job well, and more and more was thrown at me. And, then, new ownership entered the picture. They re-organized the company. I had to go "under" someone because I work remotely (I work in Kansas and my employer is in Denver), and I ended up underneath a woman who was actually younger than me and who had no experience running a group of people.

It has not gone well. She's a nice person, but she doesn't understand our entire product line (she knows 2 of 5 products) nor our industry (the mechanical contracting industry - you know, the people who do ductwork, piping, and plumbing). No, you don't necessarily need this to be a manager, but in her role, and the fact that we are a small company, she needs to know more than what she did know. Or at least be willing to learn. It was a frustrating position.

The new ownership has gradually recognized my value. It's not atypical for the owners to receive several glowing letters on my behalf at least 2 - 3 times per month (no, I don't write them on the customer's letterhead, either!). I've gradually become more and more involved in everything from meetings on developing a company vision to how to address our customer's needs. I enjoy it - it's fun.

But, the Bossgirl wasn't liking that. She didn't like the fact that I was invited to more meetings than her - or that I was involved in more than she was. It was rather uncomfortable. So, it was time for me to move.

My new position involves working with customers, sales, marketing - and reviewing all of our internal processes to see where we are weak. I no longer report to Bosslady, or even her boss (the VP of Operations), I'm reporting directly to the owners. Now, the VP of Operations was supposed to tell Bosslady this, but he went the Boundary Waters....with no phone access...

Definition of F.U.N. - Explaining to your Bosslady that you no longer report to her.