Ordinary Days: Finding Normal Again

I started writing this on Leap Day, 2/29.  The thunderstorms have come and gone, leaving a fair amount of mud for the boys to use for whatever purpose boys like to use mud.

Outside my window: It’s spring. High clouds are moving in this afternoon after two blue and clear days in the 60’s. Thunderstorms in the forecast tomorrow, daffodils in full bloom in front of the barn, purple crocuses open in the leaf litter of our azalea garden, blueberry bushes with tiny bell-shaped white blossoms still curled up and waiting… Springtime. Right now Chipmunk and Leo are outside playing with the dog in their bare feet.

Daffodils

What I’m hearing: Chipmunk and Leo outside playing with the dog. (The back door is open to the screen.)  The hum of the refrigerator. Amazingly, the house is otherwise quiet as the two littlest are taking naps.

Boys playing

What I’m wearing: Usually I don’t talk about what I’m wearing, but today I’m still in that place where I’m wearing maternity clothes that are a little big but my regular clothes (any of the various sizes that I own) don’t really fit. I ordered some nursing shirts before the baby was born, but they don’t fit that well either. (From Milk Nursingwear in case you’re curious.) So I’m in that frumpy state of just beginning to feel normal again so that I notice I’m frumpy. It’s a good sign. And one day I’ll wake up and I won’t have to wear maternity pants because my incision will have healed enough to stand a regular waist.

What I’m Reading: Only books about Down Syndrome, although I think it is just about time to take a breather there. I’ve read three memoirs so far, and two of them have terrified me with hospital stories of the first year. I’m not sure the comfort of knowing the rest of life is pretty good balances out the sheer terror I feel when I read stories of 9 week old babies with pneumonia and congestive heart failure. After hyperventilating a little, I have to remind myself that Rose’s heart defect is not as large as the little girl’s in my book. (We also got good news from the cardiologist last week; the hole is actually smaller than he originally thought and is partially blocked by tissue. It may still require surgery in her first year, but still – it’s good news.)  I find myself just wanting to skip the scary parts (in life as well as in the books) and get on with helping Rose do all the normal things that kids do. But reading is one of the ways I am working myself back to “normal”, I guess… Reading my way through the shock and grief of diagnosis to the other side that says, “This isn’t going to be so bad. Life is going to be normal again. We’re going to have dollhouses and tea sets and crayons, just like we thought we would.” Three weeks and seven books later and I think we’re beginning to regain a little ordinariness around here.

Learning All the Time: Thank goodness for that culture of learning we’ve built. For the past three weeks, the boys who can read have more or less been trying to keep up with their math and their assigned reading. The big kids have been reading to the little kids — Thomas the Tank Engine stories by the Rev. Awdry and Richard Scarry books mostly.  We’ve watched a few NOVAs, a Nature about Emperor penguins, and an adaptation of Nicholas Nickelby.  I discovered the HGTV show Fixer Upper in the hospital and now Leo requests it as his afternoon TV viewing; he’s spent about a month watching contractors remodel our kitchen, and Fixer Upper is just more of the same, except on a bigger scale.  (One of the reasons I like the show is that they often involve their four kids.)  Dennis and Huck have read their way through the Gregor the Overlander series, and now Dennis is working his way through a stack of Three Investigators books (I found the entire set at a used book store in Ocean City, MD when we were on vacation years ago) and Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain.  George has mainly been focusing on survival skills and learning to flintknap with a kit he got for Christmas, but we just bought a 3D Game Design course from Youth Digital for the boys (they do run sales sometimes, so keep an eye out for them) and so there’s that. I’m conflicted about encouraging more computer time, but the Youth Digital courses are a little different since they teach kids how to code.

Thinking About a New Rhythm for the Day: Or an old rhythm for the day, whatever.  Our days don’t change drastically, they just flex to accommodate what needs to be accommodated.  Anyway, I’m trying to get us back into a school day rhythm, little by little.  This week I’m trying to consistently do Morning Time and work in reading practice with Chipmunk.  The key word there is “consistently”.

In the Kitchen: Our kitchen still isn’t done.  For the first two weeks after Rose was born, our friends fed us (we have very kind friends).  For the last week or so, we’ve been eating out of the freezer meal stash I laid up before I went into the hospital.  Those meals are… okay.  Almost all of them are made from Internet recipes that I was using for the first time, and their seasonings seem to be uniformly bland.  On the other hand, we are not picking up takeout every night and I have something to eat.  Otherwise, the kids are living on melted cheese sandwiches.  The kitchen is to the point where some of it could be used — we have a sink, a dishwasher, a stove, and countertops — and I’m to the point where I’m a little frustrated that the finishing-up is dragging out so long.  If we got some drawer organizers for the island, I believe we could move into it without collecting dust on everything.  We’re probably funding our own plastic silverware company at this point.

Backsplash

Around the House:  The house is about what you would expect with Mom laid up for three weeks and a remodeling project taking place in the kitchen.  My mom kept us going on the laundry while she was here, but now she’s gone and I’m wondering if I could just talk her into living here.

Speaking of organization, though… I have this book on order:

If I read about it, maybe it will feel like I’m making progress.

Diet and Health: I’ve finally realized that I ought to be telling people that it takes me three weeks to feel human again after a C-section.  Two weeks is just me being hopeful.  I’m almost through all the issues that I need to tick off my list, though: digestive system works, can get in and out of bed without curling up in pain when I accidentally pull the incision, various surface infections are almost taken care of, incision is closed, night sweats are almost gone, have lost that 10 lbs. of water that was swelling up my ankles, can walk around the yard before I have to sit down again… It will take me the full six weeks before I feel “normal” again, though.

My Domestic Church: Well, it’s Lent.  It’s the Lent that was given us, not the one we thought we’d be able to choose.  But we’re about halfway through, on our way to Easter morning.

And I have to say, St. Therese has showered our little Rose with her share of roses already.

There is supposed to be a super-cute picture of the baby sleeping here at the end of the post.  But I took it with my iPad and didn’t post it to Facebook or Instagram and so it won’t load to WordPress in the correct orientation.  You’ll just have to imagine a sweet little two week-old baby girl instead. 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Well you definitely have your share of Lent going on! It sounds like you are recovering well considering the C-Section – I wasn’t anywhere near where you sound and I didn’t have C-Sections! Hope you continue to grow stronger every day. :)
    Amy recently posted…Two Questions to Ask Yourself When You are StrugglingMy Profile

  2. I’ve been praying for you, have been thinking of you and aware you would be journeying through the ‘shock and grief of diagnosis.’ {{}} In my thoughts often {{}}

    Did you end up finding any Downs blogs you were searching for?

    How’s the kitchen modeling progressing now?
    Erin recently posted…9 Tips For A New Homeschooler From An Old HomeschoolerMy Profile

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