This morning the entire family awoke at 4 a.m. to take Brian to the airport, who is flying out for the annual Bataan Memorial Death March.  Previous years here and here.  

On the way home, a heavy rain started falling.  I turned up the wipers, and heard Helen singing in the backseat:

Helen:  The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish ...

Jennie:  Good song.

Helen:  The mommy on the bus goes shhh, shhh, shhh ...  The daddy on the bus goes ... (silence)

Jennie:  (waits for a while to see if she comes up with anything) What does the daddy say?

Helen:  I don't know!

Jennie:  Well, what does your daddy say?

Helen:  Be quiet?


What a difference a day can make

I realize that by posting this entry and these pictures, there will be no less than 4 family members on my doorstep this weekend ready to take Alice away from us.  Please know that prior to posting these pictures, Alice was seen by the pediatrician and treated.  So she is on the road to recovery.

Now that I've scared you all to death, on with the show!

Alice was diagnosed with a severe double ear infection 2 weeks ago.  We were visiting my parents in Birmingham, and she kept getting a fever.  I knew something was really wrong.  Trust that mother's intuition, right?  Sure enough, the doctor confirmed it, and she got her 10 days' of antibiotics.  She seemed to improve - no more fever, a couple nights sleeping straight through, and I thought all was fine.  In fact, the evening of day 10, I took a bunch of pictures of her playing in the tub.

Gorgeous, right?

Then on the 11th day, she woke up with tiny red dots and hives all over her. 
Freaky, right?

The hives, from previous experience with Helen, screamed allergic reaction to me.  But for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what caused it.  Did we switch detergents?  No.  Did she eat something new?  No.  Did the daycare give her someone else's food?  No.  So we went to the doctor, who told us that Alice presented both of the classic symptoms of allergy to amoxicillin, the antibiotic we used for 10 days.  One reaction is tiny red dots (check) and the other is hives (check, check, check).  I said, but wait - she had an ear infection we treated with amoxicillin at the beginning of January!  Why did we not see anything then?  Typically this happens on the second run, the doctor said.  Okay, but why did the reaction take 10 days to appear?  Because that's when you typically see it, after the course has built up in her system.  Sure enough, the ear infection isn't cleared up, either.

So we're on a whole new antibiotic, as far away from the penicillin family as we can get.  In the meantime, the dots are subsiding, but the hives and welts got much worse overnight and during the day.  We're managing with Benadryl for now, which I can tell helps a bit because she stops scratching at the back of her head during nursing sessions.  Otherwise, she's fine. Congested, red and puffy, yes.  But fine.

As a Southerner, I believe the words you're looking for are, "Bless her heart."  

So, to all our great-aunts and mothers and to my sister specifically - you can put down your keys, and step away from the car. We've got this one.  I promise.


Setting the Standard

About a month ago, when Alice started rocking back & forth on all fours, I commented to Brian that all she lacked was figuring out how to move her hands. She moved her legs and turned around, but she kept her hands in the same spot. So Brian got on the floor with her, and proceeded to show her how to move her hands.

I remember yelling at him to STOP RIGHT THERE, MISTER. We already taught one of them to walk & talk, and now I spend my days telling her to sit down & shut up! So, why in the world would we show another one exactly how it's done?

Well, despite my best efforts at prevention, last Friday Alice put the rocking behind her, and started crawling. Those little hands moved her purposefully around the room - toward a toy, toward me, toward her sister - and eventually, as we all know, toward independence. (sobbing quietly into a Kleenex)

Whenever I left the room to get something, I'd come back to find her several yards away. She did laps around the living room all weekend, crawling like a little champion.

Tuesday, I picked her up from daycare, let her bite on my finger in the car on the way home while I was searching for her pacifier - and discovered she had a tooth. One of the bottom ones had poked through at some point during that day, and although it's tough to spot in her mouth, you can definitely feel it.

Two milestones in one week is really all I can handle as a mother. I could cheerfully freeze her at this point - smiling & happy & generally sleeping about 5-6 hours in a row. Instead, I'm getting a "baby" moving as fast as she can toward "toddler" and it's really freaking me out. Up next: driver's license!

I joked about that yesterday with my mom - the kids were still at daycare, mind you - and then this morning, in the car:

Helen: Mama, do you have a driving license?

Jennie: Yes, I have a driver's license.

Helen: Where?

Jennie: In my purse.

Helen: Oh. Okay.

Jennie: Why did you ask me about that? Where did you hear about a driver's license?

Helen: Well, you know, that lady on TV, the police? That lady?

Jennie: (draws a blank, no idea where she could have seen this) Uh-huh ...

Helen: That's what it was. I was just asking you about it.

Jennie: Okay.

Dear Reader, I will admit that I completely ignored whatever crap TV show she may have caught at some point in the past few days to say a quick prayer she wouldn't ask how to get her own driving license. Because this week, I don't need these kids to grow up any more than they already have.



These two love each other.  Alice smiles and laughs at Helen whenever she sees her.  Helen tells me often that she & Alice are falling in love, and when they grow up they're going to get married.  

Sweet, huh?

One day in the not-too-distant future, Helen will learn that this little sister of hers knows EXACTLY which button to push to start World War 3 in the Wyatt house, and she will also learn her little sister DELIGHTS in pushing that button.  Repeatedly.  But I have not burst her bubble yet.  Far from it.  I tell her that no, they won't marry each other, but they will always be sisters, and it's definitely a good thing to love your baby sister.  That way, they will always be sisters *and* best friends.  

A very quick update:  Alice is eating her homemade baby food like a champ.  After eating the first supply I made in 3 weeks, I took a few hours last weekend to make a bunch more (including green beans & peas, which were much easier than advertised).  Now I'm stocked up and ready to go for several more weeks.  

I'm sure it's not the last time I'll get a picture of her with this much food on her face (for the curious, it's sweet potatoes), but the smile is genuine, and priceless. 

Snow Day

Today we got about an inch of snow on the ground, and Helen took advantage of the fun to dress up and play:

Later Helen took her camera to get pictures herself.

Folks, I have to tell you that in about 15 minutes, she took 75 pictures.  Many of these pictures are out of focus because she moves as she snaps the shot.  Outdoor subjects of her photographic skills are blades of grass, rocks, fence posts, bricks, etc.  So now I have 75 pictures of mostly nothing.  

But after carefully persuing the camera's hard drive, here are the 3 best pictures from the lot.I'll call it luck that some of them happen to be artistic.  If you watched her running around the backyard snapping away like I did, you'd know why. Enjoy.