Saturday, September 22, 2012

The 11th Hour, er, Month

Walter is 11 months old today! And what a day it has been.

It started early. Too early. With lots of tears, lots of croup-y whoop-y sobs, and many excellent efforts at comfort given to no avail.  We took Walter into the bathroom and steamed it up real good; I nursed him there and we sat in the dark in the steam for awhile, sweating and breathing deeply.  After some more nursing back in his room, Walt (still reluctant) went back to sleep for another hour or so.

We played a bit and got dressed for a chilly day at the farmer's market. The market was full of good things, especially peppers, which Sean is turning into goulash tonight. Walter enjoyed a HUGE breakfast of Hmong-style veggie egg roll, sweet sesame ball with red bean filling and a little bit of chicken wing. By this time he'd perked up considerably and was starting to really enjoy himself.  The enjoyment continued as we went from the farmer's market to Copps, our grocery store, where we walked in and there was a marching band playing right inside the door, seemingly there to welcome Walter on his birthday (that's how the three of us reacted, anyway.)  It was a homecoming celebration, and the whole store was very festive and free sample-filled.  All three of us got enough food via samples to constitute a lunch, which is always a cheerful thing.  Walter giggled and sang and flirted his way through the store.  On the way home he fell asleep, and even though he woke up when we got him out of the car seat, he went right back to sleep in his crib, grateful for a nap after an exciting morning.

Sean and I put away food, did some dishes that have needed doing for days, and got dinner going in the crock pot (country ribs, sauerkraut, apple and onion cooked to perfect tender goodness.  Ahhhhhhh.) We even got to nap ourselves for 30 minutes before Walt woke up again.  This time he woke up happy, and we nursed and played for a bit before I had to get ready to go officiate at a wedding.  While I was getting dressed I listened to Sean teach Walter "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" which has now joined the ranks of songs that Walter knows, asks for by name, and participates in (he nods emphatically during the "yes, sir, yes, sir" part of the song.)

Shortly after I left for the wedding, Walter and Sean headed out to the Central Wisconsin Children's Museum, where Walter played and played and tried to keep up with/learn how to be a rapscallion from some big kids.

Sean and Walt got home not too long before I did. As I came in the door Sean let me know that Walter was F-U-S-S-Y and very tired and very nap-resistant.  We nursed and I put him back down in his crib, where he wailed so loudly that Hank had to come check in on us.  One of my favorite moments of the day, even right there in the middle of an awful time getting Walt to sleep, was looking down and seeing Hank's nose poking through the crib slats.  The baby must have smelled safe, because Hank felt OK leaving the room and I followed close behind, leaving a still-crying-but-less-frantic Walt, who fell asleep after a quick pat-pat from Daddy about 15 minutes later.

He didn't nap for very long at all, maybe half an hour. He woke up screaming.  Usually when Walter wakes up sad he calms down right away when we pick him up and take him out of his room, but this time he was inconsolable.  Like, too upset to nurse.  That's unheard of for Walter, so we got pretty worried.  I noticed there was pus coming out of his right ear ... lots of it, all down the side of his face. He was also rubbing and tugging that ear in a way I'd hoped never to see again post-tubes.  We walked around with him until he started to calm down a little, then I called the on-call ENT.  After getting up to speed on the story of the past two weeks (started oral antibiotic on Monday before surgery; tubes in a week ago Friday; added aural antibiotic drops after the surgery; finished oral antibiotic on Monday; broke out in hives all over his body on Tuesday; continued antibiotic ear drops and finished those on Wednesday; croup symptoms started on Wednesday; hives stuck around until Friday) the doc decided that prescribing anything else would be too much of a shot in the dark, and asked us to go into urgent care to get Walt's ear pus cultured.  As we got ready to go we realized that the stains from his ears on the crib linens were bloody, which we found out later is normal for infected ear drainage but which alarmed us even further at the time.

Before we left for urgent care we gave Walter some Ibuprofen and he started feeling better right away. By the time we got to the hospital he was giggling and smiling and singing again and no one believed us that he was sick and in terrible pain.  His ears were still full of grossness, though, so they were able to get a culture and we'll hopefully find out more on Monday afternoon.

Walter's good mood continued as we headed home, singing patty cake, black sheep, and row row all the way.  Sean showed me another new development from this afternoon: if you snap your fingers, Walter tries to imitate the movement and snap his fingers, too.  He's pretty close to getting it, actually. We all had delicious dinner and then Walter did quite a bit of walking/running around the kitchen, moving very fast and with great confidence and joy in this incredible new skill.  It's amazing to watch him, and unbelievable how good he's gotten at it in such a short time.

Then Sean poked a small hole in caramel apple for this month's candle-holder.  Before we sang and took pictures for Walt's birthday we made a video of us singing for my Aunt Fran's 50th birthday.  We told Walter what we were going to do and he repeated back a word that was a recognizable approximation of "birthday."  I think that, when his ears are finally free and clear, this boy is going to talk and talk and talk.

After blowing out the candle (no caramel apple for the baby. Only for the nursing mommy) we shifted into bedtime gear: quick scrub down with a wash cloth, nighttime diaper, tooth brushing, lotion, jammies, nursing, lullaby/prayer, bed.

Walter still usually cries when I put him down awake in his crib.  Tonight, though, when I picked him up and kissed his belly on our way to the crib, he giggled and smiled at me. I put him down and he stretch and sighed and smiled some more, snuggling his face into his Easter lamb's arm, and looking right at me in a loving way, even as I started to move toward the door.  It was almost more difficult to leave the room with him smiling like that than it usually is to leave the room when he's crying.

Who knows what the rest of this night will bring ... Sean's already had to go in once for a pat-pat, and the Ibuprofen will wear off around 2 am.  We may be steaming up the bathroom again, too, if his breathing gets croupy.  But right now, at this very moment, all is well.  I'm the happy, proud Mama of a remarkable 11 month old.  What a day, what a month, what an almost-year it's been!
Happy 11 Month Birthday, Walter!

1 comment:

Umma Sue said...

Ah-ah, Walter. Pat-pat. Row-row.
Yes-sir, yes-sir, three bags full. Love and hugs from Umma and Baba.