Thursday, June 25, 2009

1st Trip to the ER

A day at the pool ended up at the hospital, but not in a way one might think.

After doing the things that you do with a toddler at a pool, we sat down in the concessions area to eat our snack.

Slight tangent: I am appalled at the number of Moms who feel it's okay to disregard not only signs, but public health and cleanliness by allowing their kids to eat and drink by the water, not in the eating area! I saw torn up string cheese under one chair with the wrapper next to it, and others eating bags of food. Hopefully, these kids will become more socially conscious than their mothers.

Back to the snack. So our social consciousness backfired. After getting his fill, JD started playing with his cousin, running and jumping around. Part of the picnic area is the housing for the pool's mechanicals. It is an elevated cement platform that is roughly 18 inches tall, 6 feet wide, and 15 feet long. JD and his cousin climbed on it and were jumping around. Harmless.

JD was not wearing shoes and his cousin was. Cousin jumped on what looked like a metal grate and JD followed suit. As soon as JD jumped on it, he let out a scream. I thought he was scared but my wife felt his pain.

It was not a grate, but a metal plate that is the door to the pump or one of the pumps. It is flat with some dimples and faces directly upward so that it has 100% sun exposure. After JD went on my wife, I felt it and sure enough, it was super hot, probably a couple hundred degrees.

My wife went to run water on his feet, but he was screaming and screaming. I saw him a few minutes later and his left foot had already blistered and popped so that the underlayer was exposed. Time to go to the hospital.

We ended up in an ambulance which I thought was overkill at the time but probably made sense, as it would not have been easy to drive rationally with a screaming child in the back, though I'm sure I could have done it.

We were at the hospital for a couple of hours. They were all nice and, of course, sympathetic to this little boy in so much pain. I don't think I'd ever held him for so long and he never felt heavy.

The hard part was holding him when they examined and dressed the wounds. He's got tree-trunk legs and it took all of my strength to hold him steady while not hurting him.

To sum up his injuries, he has 2nd degree burns on his left foot, 1st degree burns on his right foot and right hand (he sat down and probably put his hand down briefly when he jumped on the plate.)

Worst of all is trying to keep him off of his feet. Imagine yourself not being able to put pressure on the bottoms of your feet. Now try doing that with a 2-year-old.

The good news is that he is not in visible pain. That is, with the help of Tylenol-2. I'll try to update; we have a trip to the Loyola burn center tomorrow. What a fun outing!

Thursday, June 11, 2009


My wife was not sure whether she wanted a second child. I think the thing that made her want to do so was when I asked her if she could imagine life without her sisters.

The first week two that Toodles was home, JD, for the most part, ignored her. As he has come to terms that she is not going anywhere, he has warmed up to her and then some.

He first began trying to play with her while I put her on her small play mat for tummy-time. JD would come over and play with the trinkets on the soft poles that arch over the mat. Then he began to point to her body and identify eyes, nose, mouth, ears (though I have to make sure he keeps his fingers out of those places!) Then he would pat her head and her belly. Finally, he asked to hold her, so I had him sit on my lap and then brought her on top of his.

My favorite moment so far was the other day in the car. I looked in my mirror and saw JD's hand in her car seat. He was looking down at her. Though I couldn't see inside her rear-facing car seat, I think that he was holding her hand while she slept.

A Greater Sense of Now

A quick catch-up on the last 5 weeks: we brought #2 (to be referred to as "Toodles") home from the hospital. She's doing great. My wife and I are tired but trying to avoid being cranky. A shout out to the many people who have helped us one way or another. Especially my Mom who stayed with JD for 4 days while we were in the hospital and then 2 more days after our return home. Now that she is gone, I don't have extra hands to cook, clean, give attention to JD, pay bills, etc etc.

And that is where I find myself. Looking out at my kitchen, which was never consistently spotless, I see what the addition of a second child has done. Dishes and counter-tops are found clean less and less often or with greater and greater piles.

While JD still sleeps 2-3 hours in the afternoon, I find that I only have about 30-90 minutes to accomplish things.

The good news is that my wife and I are learning to share responsibilities. As she heals from c-sect surgery, she is more able to take on chores. One problem I face is relinquishing the control over how the chores are done. If she takes on, say, kitchen duty, as in cleaning up counters, etc. I can't expect her to do it to my specifications. In a perfect world, she's going to ask me how I want it done because in seven weeks' time it will all fall back to me. But that is a lot to expect. Just be happy they get clean! I tell myself.

The many many things I was able to accomplish consistently have become a list from which I have to choose. Do laundry or download, organize, and email pictures. Cook from scratch (or semi-homemade) or help JD with oral motor exercises. Tend to the lawn and flowers or sleep. Change Toodles' diaper or shower.

But maybe they're not choices I have to make, but rather a list or a routine that needs to be reorganized. That is the optimist talking. Nevermind that I am the type of person that tries to pack 25 hours of activity into 24 hours, leaving time for neither inefficiency nor error (of which many are made).

Remembering back to my adjustment to having JD, I believe it took around three months to establish a routine. Then I could make small adjustments whenever his schedule changed.

And that's what we've been doing - waiting for a routine to emerge.

Waiting for a routine to emerge will be death, so to speak. If the routine creates itself, it will be chaos. There is a way to create a structure, be it rigid or loose, by which we can guide our days rather than letting our days guide us. That was good for summer vacations when the most I had to do was wake-and-bake, but those days are long gone.

I am not the only one who needs the reassurance of structure. JD is happier when he knows what's coming. My wife certainly is a person to whom uncertainty is an unwelcome guest.

When I mentioned creating a schedule she said that the idea was thoughtful, but could I really follow a schedule? The answer: not to a T, but having some structure is a much needed step away from the chaos that has begun to take over.