Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Life with Lana today (3 years, 6 months)

Sleeping: Thankfully, bedtime has gotten much easier.  I think part of it was just a “stage,” or whatever you call it when your child inexplicably, temporarily loses their mind.  The other part of it was relatively simple…her sheets were cold.  I bought her a twin size electric blanket and put it on her bed.  When I put her in the bathtub, I turn it on and let it warm up her bed and sheets.  After I tuck her in, I turn it off so I’m not worried about it during the night.  She loves, loves, loves her “cozy” bed and will sometimes ask to go to bed early so she can get in it.  Funny!
Eating: Just in the past week or so, she has been trying to say she “doesn’t like” things.  I’m guessing she’s probably picking that up from friends at preschool.  We are just handling it like always….”That’s fine.  Try one bite,” and then we don’t push anymore.  I made a major mistake the other night….we had friends over for dinner, and they require that their children eat all of the veggies on their plate.  (They really do just put a couple of bites!)  This is not something we’ve ever required of Lana, but they were having a conversation with their son and asked him to eat all of his, and so I told Lana she needed to eat all of hers.  It turned into a small struggle; she did eat them, and then went on about her business.  However, later I regretted handling it differently than I ordinarily might just because we had company.  It was a reminder to me that every child needs to be parented differently, and I need to parent my child the way she needs, no matter what others are doing.  Because, of course, they are generally parenting their children in the best way for them.
Talking: I have been so proud of the kindness that Lana has shown around the house this month.  I literally can’t remember spanking her more than once in the past month.  She really has been respectful and obedient.  We are working hard on the “tone” of her words – i.e., not whining.  This is not something she does on purpose; I really just think it’s a sin she struggles with.  When we remind her, she can usually correct her tone.  Obviously she has more trouble with this if she’s tired or hungry.  So do I, if I’m being honest.
Discipline: My sweet girl…this month has really been a joy.  A few minor things here and there, but overall, she has just been a blessing to us in so many ways.  Discipline this month has been focused more on instructing her how to love God well, and how to love others well.  She’s been asking some questions that lead into great discipleship….”How do we get to heaven?” and “How can I do EVERYTHING the Bible says?  It’s got a lot of words,” and “What if I don’t want to consider my friend first?”  Sometimes as we’re talking and praying through the things she asks, I am reminded that her tender little 3 year old heart is struggling through things that lots of adults are struggling with, too.
PlayingOh Christmas time!!  Between the gifts from her grandparents and aunts and uncles, and the gifts we were able to give her through the generosity of Bay Leaf Baptist Church, Lana is having a blast playing with her new toys!!  Her favorites by far are her digital camera, her pop-up princess castle, her sand table (filled with gravel – I hate sand), and her indoor trampoline.  These are all wonderful things to get us through this remaining cold months!

Pretend has reached an all-time high at the Davis farm!  She is, of course, always the mommy – I am usually the daughter, Dan is the big brother, and Tucker is the little bitty baby brother.  The Daddy is at work.  She likes for us all to pretend we are kitties, too.  Her imagination is taking off, although she is always happiest when we are engaged in the pretend play with her.  She still doesn’t do very well pretending on her own.

Monday, December 14, 2009

2nd visit to CPD

This morning I took Tucker back to see Joan at the dysphagia clinic for the second time.  As soon as we walked in the door, the receptionist said, "Good morning, Tucker!"  I love that they pay such close attention to each patient.

Joan is the therapist we see, and the owner of the clinic.  She truly is wonderful.
This morning she did some tongue therapy, noting some improvement.  That was encouraging - we'll keep on working.  The goal is for him to allow us to depress his tongue with our finger instead of pulling it up high and back.

She watched him eat again, and within just a few minutes told me that she thinks his issue is primarily respiratory, as opposed to gastrointestinal.  She definitely hears his reflux, but his breathing patterns are the major problem she sees.  It's as if he can't eat and breathe at the same time...within a couple of sucks, his nostrils flare and he begins gasping for breath.  Essentially, he feels like he's drowning while he eats - no wonder it's been so tough for him! 

She showed me how to "pace" him while he's eating, which involves tilting the bottle so the milk is out of his mouth, but not taking the bottle away, giving him a chance to catch his breath.  She showed me how to read the smallest cues that he gives...incredible.  

She reminded me that Tucker is not the kind of baby that will let me watch tv or have a conversation while I feed him - right now, he's going to require my entire attention.  She also told me that for the time being, no one needs to feed him besides me and Dan (once he learns the new techniques).  

Because this is a respiratory issue, she said that she'll give him a couple of months for this to resolve, but if it doesn't, then she will send us back to the cardiologist to make sure nothing is going on.  

I'm so thankful that Dr. Dirk had the insight to send us to Joan at CPD - she really is a gift! 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Life with Tucker today (3 months)

Eating: We’ve had quite a bit of difficulty with Tucker eating, although thankfully it hasn’t affected his growth any!!  We have been seeing a therapist at Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia, and are seeing some slow progress.  Joan (therapist/owner) believes that his eating issue is respiratory – you can see when he eats that his sucking/swallowing pattern is arrhythmic.  She has given us some techniques to work on, and we go back at the end of the month for a barium swallow study.  The best news of all, though, is that just last night Tucker ate at 7:00 p.m. and went to bed, and didn’t wake up to eat again until the next morning at 7:00!!!!  Hallelujah!  He’s been eating on a 3-3.5 hour schedule, but we’re going to try to stretch him out to 4 in the hopes that feeding him will be easier if he’s hungrier.
Wake time:  Such a happy boy we have…when he is awake, he’s content to just look at you, although he often will let out a squeal to get your attention.  He loves to be talked to, and is very verbal for his age, making lots of squeaks and grunts.  He’s generous with his smiles, too!  He still can’t stay awake for much longer than an hour, although I think he’s transitioning to staying awake longer these days.
Sleeping: Oh, how exciting that night of uninterrupted sleep was for us!!  We hope that pattern continues, although we are leaving in 5 days for almost 2 weeks of travel, so we’re not counting on it.  We’re still swaddling, simply because he sleeps longer that way.  He has begun waking up happy in the morning, smiling and cooing in his bed until we come get him.  I LOVE that!
Tucker started going to preschool with me, and he is doing really well!!  His teachers are so precious…just really invested in caring for him well.  They try really hard to keep his routine stable, while doing whatever he takes for him to have a happy day.  Best of all, they are honest with me about how his day was – I need that!!  He sleeps in the swing there, which is fine with me.  Eating is a disaster at preschool – he just screams and screams.  Hopefully we’ll make some progress with the dysphagia therapy, and he’ll be better after the new year.

Day of specialists

I told my friend Mary Katherine yesterday that I have two healthy kids, and am just so tired of taking my healthy babies to see doctors.  She was so kind to remind me that I'm taking my kids to these doctors to KEEP them healthy.  I am so grateful that we live in an area where we have access to wonderful health care.

We started yesterday morning with an appointment for Tucker at Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia at 8:00 a.m.  Thankfully, my friend Allison agreed to keep Lana for us and take her to preschool so that Dan & I could both be with Tucker.  We saw a therapist named Joan...what a wonderful, calming woman.  She watched several videos we had taken of Tucker eating (or trying to!), checked the structure of his mouth, and observed him eating.  
She immediately noted his severe silent reflux, and pointed out to us several times that we could actually hear him refluxing.  She suggested trying a different that is time released, and giving him infant probiotics to help heal his GI tract. 
Another major problem she noted was his tongue placement.  Here's how she explained it to us: most babies curl their tongue around an object placed in their mouth, whether it be a finger, a bottle, a toy, etc.  Tucker, however, has a tongue aversion, and pulls his tongue back and up.  When he's eating, this means he is compressing the bottle nipple, but not actually sucking.  He's essentially "squishing" the milk out and drinking it instead of sucking it out.  (No wonder we had latching on problems when nursing!)  At this point, this is not a major problem because even though it makes feeding frustrating for all of us, he is still intaking the right amount of nutrition and he’s obviously thriving.  However, she said that if we don’t teach him to get used to having things on his tongue, spoon feeding will be a nightmare!  Her recommendation was for us to put our clean finger in his mouth several times a day and just rub back and forth across his tongue. 

The last thing she pointed out to us (and the one I’m most concerned about) is that he strongly prefers to turn his head toward his left, so much so that his head is becoming a bit flat on that side.  This was probably a preference he developed in the womb – that sometimes happens when big babies are tucked inside mama for 42 weeks!  This prolonged turning of his head could possibly mean that the muscles in his right shoulder are lengthening, and the ones in his left are shortening, and when he tries to eat, it causes his discomfort.  That, combined with the pain of reflux, is what makes eating a disaster for him.  She gave us some PT suggestions to use to gently stretch his head toward the right.  This morning we discovered the most effective way to encourage him to do that – we turned on cartoons and put them on his right side…you should have seen him turn his head!

We are going back to see Joan again on Monday morning. 

After leaving Tucker’s appointment at 9:30, I went straight to work and worked until noon, when I picked Lana up from her classroom and took her to her pediatric urologist appointment at Duke.

Here are some of the concerns we’re having with Lana: after her third and latest UTI (around Thanksgiving), she has been really struggling with some potty issues.  She will occasionally wet her panties…not a full fledged accident, but almost as if she can’t make it to the bathroom in time.  She sometimes has a period of time where she potties in “clusters,” going to the bathroom as many as 5-7 times in 15 minutes, almost as if she’s not completely emptying her bladder.  At first, I thought this was a ploy to get out of bedtime, but now it is happening even when she is engaged in something she wants to do. The other day it happened while she was playing with her dollhouse, and she was in tears over it.  We have been dropping off frequent urine samples, so we know she doesn’t have an infection. 

Thankfully, the pedi urologist at Duke had a cancellation and we were able to get in today.  She talked with Lana & I about what has been going on, tested Lana’s bladder to see if was emptying, and talked with me about some options for treatment.  One of the immediate things we are going to do is a total body clean out…and yes, that’s exactly what it sounds like.  Sometimes bladder problems are related to bowel problems, and that’s a possibility in Lana’s case.  On a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 being extremely constipated and 7 being not constipated at all, Lana is a 1.5.  We’re going to do the clean out, and the maintain her bowel health with daily Miralax.  We are going to Duke on January 4th for a kidney ultrasound and a VCUG to test for reflux in her kidneys, and then we’ll meet with the urologist again and go from there.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Tucker is so happy.  Truly, if he is awake, he is smiling, cooing, and giggling at whoever is around.  He finds totally happiness in watching us go about our day or looking at his mobile.  He is really just a happy baby.

Until it's time to eat.  And then he becomes a 

back arching



hands flailing


We've tried everything.  Reflux medication.  Different bottles.  Mylanta.  Rice cereal in the bottle.  No rice cereal in the bottle.  Swaddling him while he eats.  Walking him while he eats.  Praying out loud while he eats.  No joke.  

Nothing works.
Someone suggested trying a chiropractor.  We're generally pretty mainstream medicine people, but we're desperate, and willing to try almost anything.  The pediatrician is NOT willing to try that, however, and has thus far refused to give us a referral.  We're still working on that.

He did, however, give us a referral to Carolina Pediatric Dysphagia.  They treat children with swallowing/eating disorders.  

When he suggested it, I almost laughed at him.  I couldn't imagine how swallowing would be Tucker's issue...he's gaining weight just fine, and he does eventually swallow.  So I did some research, and he meets nearly all the criteria: crying/fussing during or after feeds, gagging/coughing during feeds, hiccupping during feeds, seeming desire to eat and then refuses, requiring distractions in order to eat (patting and rocking, in his case), arching, etc. 

So I called their office, described what Tucker was doing, and they said, "That's exactly the kind of child we treat!  Merry Christmas, mama, we're gonna help your boy eat!"  
We have an appointment on Thursday, December 10 at 8:00 a.m.  I'll be very interested to hear what they have to say.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Touchable nativity

We believe in having "touchable" nativities in our house.  

One day, maybe when we're out of seminary, I want to have a Willow Tree nativity.  The whole, $300, gorgeous thing.  That will NOT be touchable.  

But, as I was reminded while reading a blog I follow (, Emmanuel means "God with us."  So we have several nativities that I put out for Lana to play with, and she has already spent HOURS with them.  

Baby Jesus and others getting a ride in the Hope Depot this!<br />Emmanuel = "God with us."

Tonight I was folding laundry and listening as Lana pulled around her nativity characters in a wagon:

"OK, angel, scoot over and make room for the donkey. Shepherd, please quit falling over. No, baby Jesus can't go in the back!! He's the most important guy here!!"  

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sticky and good

Today we stopped by Palsie's to get some popcorn for me to take to our staff Christmas party.  Lana got to pick 3 pieces of candy, and as usual, she picked taffy.  She was eating in the kitchen after naptime....

Lana: Mommy, this candy is SO sticky and good.
Me: Lana, YOU are so sticky and good.
Lana: I'm not sticky, but I sure am good!  

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Life with Lana today (3 years, 4 months)

Sleeping: OK, so just as soon as we taught Lana that she could only call us from her bed at night for “potty, throw up, or blood,” suddenly she has to go potty 25 times before going to sleep.  Hmm.  The trouble is, we’re waiting on an appointment with a pediatric urologist, so it really could be a manifestation of a physical problem.  Maybe her bladder isn’t completely emptying or something similar.  Ugh.  So we can’t give her a limit on how many times she goes potty.  My wise, wise husband finally came up with the solution.  We close the hall door so that she can’t see out in the living room and told her to go potty whenever she needs to.  She usually gets up 2-3 times to go, but she doesn’t call us at all. Speaking of sleep, here’s the funny part about having two: if one sleeps through the night, the other doesn’t.  It’s just true.  Our sweet Lana girl has started waking up in the night, crying her little heart out saying, “I just want you, Mommy!”  No one besides Mommy will do in the middle of the night.  When I am bone-weary and just want to scream when she wakes me up, I remind myself that there is soon coming a day when she might NOT want Mommy to come to her rescue.  So I get up, and go in, and soak up those little arms wrapped tightly around my neck. 
Eating: Lana’s teachers at preschool made a book with a page for each student.  It has that child’s picture, and their answers to some fun questions.  The book comes home with a different student each week, letting the parents learn about their child’s friends.  Lana’s page says that her favorite food is broccoli – love that!  I’m so grateful that she’s a good eater.  In general, she refuses anything to drink except water or milk.  She does like a good dessert, though!  J
Talking: She’s been trying out difference voices the past month.  Mostly it’s cute; sometimes I just remind her to “talk like Lana.”  It’s so interesting to watch her develop her own idea of who she is, and what she wants to sound like.  She’s doing lots of role playing, too, with her dolls in her dollhouse.  She is so enjoying talking to Tucker...she loves to sing to him, read him books, tell him about what's going on.  She is such a good big sister!
One of my favorite things that she does right now is mix up awake and asleep words.  She’ll say that Tucker is “wide asleep” or that he’s “falling awake.”  Oh, and here’s a not so cute conversation we had this afternoon after she dropped her bubble wand in the dirt:
Lana: “Dang!”
Rachael: “Lana!  That is not a wise thing to say.  Where did you hear that?”
Lana: “You guys, Mommy.  You and Daddy say that.”
Discipline: Wowzer.  This month has ushered in the “Terrible Three’s” for sure at our house.  This has totally, completely come in the form of pitching fits.  And when I say pitching fits, I mean all-out holy-moly tantrums, with lots of screaming and kicking and saying “Don’t you touch me!” and running away from us.  Unless you’ve been unfortunate enough to witness one of these doozies, I cannot even begin to describe to you how bad they’ve been.  This has been so sad for me, and I’ve done more than my share of wallowing in sadness and guilt.  “What happened to my little girl?”  “What have I done wrong?”  “How have I let this happen?”  Thankfully, Dan has been consistently encouraging and dedicated to getting this behavior under control.  At my women’s accountability meeting, I poured out my heart to my friends, weeping, sharing with them what was going on with my sweet girl.  They so encouraged my heart, reassuring me that it is a phase, that I had to expect Lana to act out in some form or fashion.  She has shown no jealousy toward Tucker himself; instead, it's coming out against us.  Another friend reminded me that no matter how big of an adjustment this was for me, it was an even bigger adjustment for Lana. 
So I’ve taken a deep breath, and sunk my teeth into James 1:20: “Man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”  Getting frustrated and angry with Lana when she is acting out does not produce any good fruit in her.
Dan and I sat down and came up with 2 major things that we need to be committed to when disciplining Lana: (1) We will be calm and gentle at all times, and (2) We will be very, very, very consistent.  We are already seeing some results – she has not had a major tantrum in the past week.  It may not sound like much, but boy is it an improvement! 
Playing: My sweet girl has found a new love: pennies.  She could play with them all day long.  She has a purse full of them, and she just loves to take them out, put them in buckets and cups, rearrange them, stack them up, put them in her piggy bank, take them out….the games are endless for her.  She has not idea the real value of them…as a matter of fact, I found her throwing the dollar bills from her piggy bank into the trash because she said, “Paper is not money!”  (I guess she usually sees us using our check card!)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Bathtub babies

Lana at 2 months old:

Tucker at 2 months old:

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Life with Tucker today (2 months)

Eat: Tucker is now eating about 6 ounces of formula 5 times a day.  We’ve been putting cereal in his bottle to keep him from eating more than that.  It seems to be constipating him some – we’ll talk to Dr. Dirk about that when we take him for his 2 month check-up later this week.  He’s a bit of a fussy eater.  He wants to be sitting a certain way, and he’s very distractible.  The reflux medication has helped with his spitting up.  We forgot to take them with us when we were in the mountains on vacation, and he was miserable.  We won’t make that mistake again! 

Wake:  Tucker’s wake times are becoming longer, and he is definitely more alert.  He is happiest in the morning, and sometimes can’t eat because he just can’t stop smiling and cooing at us.  His little smiles go from ear to ear – they melt our heart.  He likes his Baby Einstein mat, and hates tummy time.  He enjoys his swing, but will quickly drift off to sleep in it.  He loves the mobile in his crib and on his changing table.  He also likes to look at the big painting on one of the walls in our living room.  He’s really a very happy baby unless he’s hungry or tired. 
Sleep: This is, by far, the hardest part for me of having a newbie.  I just like to sleep.  Uninterrupted.  For long stretches of time.  I’m nicer that way.  That being said, I can’t complain one bit about how Tucker sleeps.  At two months old, he’s already sleeping through the night. 
No matter what time we feed him last (8 p.m. or 10 p.m.) he is sleeping through his middle of the night feeding, waking up around 4:30 and fussing for 3 or 4 minutes, going back to sleep by himself, and waking up between 5:30 and 6:00 to eat. 
He doesn’t love to nap during the morning hours – he will rarely sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time.  But in the afternoon, he will sleep for hours on end. 
We read that around 8 weeks, newborns start losing the “need” to be swaddled and it starts becoming a sleep prop, and that we should start weaning him off of the swaddle.  So last night, I swaddled him loosely to see what he would do.  He woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep because just as he would drift off, his arm would jerk and he would hit himself in the face.  Forget about it.  I went in there and swaddled that little dude back up like a burrito, and he went right back to sleep.  I’ll swaddle him until he goes to college if it means we can all sleep through the night.
Tucker will begin going with Lana & Mommy to preschool next week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  It will be the first time anyone has kept him besides Mommy & Daddy & Nana. 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Aplasia cutis congenita

Tucker had his appointment at Duke Dermatology this week for the doctors there to look at the abrasion on the back of his head.  

Basically, when he was born, he had a wound on the back of his head about the size of a dime.  It looked just like a wound that would have been caused by nodes put on his head to monitor him during delivery, except those nodes were never put on.

It scabbed over, and the scab came off, but then it again took on the look of a wound: red and peeling around the edges.

When it had not gone away by the time he was a month old, Tucker's pediatrician wanted to be sure that it was nothing wrong, so he referred us to Duke.  

The dermatology team there looked at the spot and diagnosed it as "Aplasia cutis congenita."  Wikipedia defines this as "a congenital focal absence of epidermis with or without evidence of other layers of the skin."

The Dermatology Online Journal defines this as "a rare anomaly presenting with absence of skin. The most common site is the scalp. No definite etiology is available. Heredity is proposed with not much evidence."

That whole heredity part at the end is kind of crazy to us, because Dan's younger sister Mackenzie has a spot that looks just like Tucker's in exactly the same spot on her scalp.  Wild, huh?  Sounds like evidence for heredity to me.  

Anyway, everything is fine.  He's just weird like his Aunt Kenzie.  I hope he gets her sense of humor and good looks, too.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Today's prayer

People ask quite frequently how Lana is adjusting to Tucker's arrival.  

This prayer she prayed before breakfast is a perfect example of her heart toward her baby brother:

Dear God, thank you for this awesome day and thank you for our English muffins.  They are so good.  Thank you for Tucker waking up, God, cause I love him so much.  God, you are such an awesome God!  And thank you for sending my brother out of my mommy’s tummy.  Amen.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Great is Thy faithfulness

I just left Tucker's room after feeding, rocking, and laying him down to sleep.  I still have that sweet baby smell on my hands.

It's been a really tough much so, that I texted my sister-in-law tonight and told her that I didn't think I was cut out for this.  (This being motherhood.)  She so kindly pointed out that it's a little too late for THAT revelation.

But that was just my feeling at the end of this awful, tear-filled, homesick, lonely, hate-the-cold-weather weekend.  

So as I rocked my baby boy tonight, I confessed all my failures and shortcomings to my Father.  Tears rolled down my face as I, once again, admitted to Him that I am desperate, weak, poor in spirit, and in need of rescue.  I nearly sobbed as I asked for forgiveness for all the myriad of ways that I wronged my husband and my children over the past 3 days.

As I watched Tucker's eyes slowly close, I felt the Holy Spirit, my Comforter, come sit with me.  And  the words of that old hymn came flooding over me, so much so that I had to sing them out loud.

Great is Thy Faithfulness, O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee
Thou faintest not, Thy compassions they fail not
As thou hast been, Thou forever wilt be.
Great is Thy faithfulness
Great is Thy faithfulness
Morning by morning, new mercies I see
All I have needed, Thy hand has provided
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.

Books of the week

Every week or so, Lana & I go to the library so we can pick out books.  We take this tote
 This is how we transport our library books.  We take it with us to the library, and when its full, thats all the books we can choose!
to the library, fill it up, and then read them over and over until I can't bear it anymore and take her back to the library to replace them.  I'm going to try to jot down some of her very favorites from time to time so I can know, the ones that she asks to read over and over, and begs not to have to return to the library.

Farmer Dale's Red Pick-up Truck by Lisa Wheeler
Chicken Little by Rebecca Emberly
The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear by Don & Audrey Wood

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life with Lana today (3 years, 3 months)

Sleeping: It is so bizarre, but always true, that the later we put Lana to bed, the earlier she wakes up.  So, since it’s been getting dark earlier, we have been putting her to bed earlier….around 7:00.  She is most often asleep by 7:30, and doesn’t wake up until 7:30 or 8:00 the next morning!  When we were putting her to sleep at 8:00 or 8:30, she wasn’t falling asleep until 9:00, and up at 6:30 or 7:00.  It’s just so strange, but putting her to bed earlier has helped me manage Tucker’s nighttime routine better, especially when Dan is at work.  *our biggest discipline struggle this past month has also been around bedtime…more about that below.*
Eating: Lana’s new favorite food this month has been fried okra!  For some reason, she calls it “cornstarch.”  Who knows?  In any event, she loves fried okra.  Shamefully, the only kind she’s had is from the deli at wal-mart.  I can’t wait until we go home for Christmas and my mom can cook her some REAL fried okra.  She won’t know what to do with herself!  I wonder if she is so in love with fried okra because we rarely eat anything fried. Come to think of it, when we fried up fish, she loved that, too.  A true southern girl at heart, loving all things fried.  Too bad her mama hates cooking with grease.
Talking: Just the past week or so, she has begun “reading” books, even if she doesn’t know the words.  For a long time now, she’s been memorizing her favorite books and reciting them as she turns the pages.  However, lately, she’s been opening books that we haven’t read yet, and telling a story by looking at the pictures.  The teacher is me is just overflowing with joy!!  Using illustrations to predict text is a great pre-reading marker, not to mention the fact that she’s exercising her imagination.  I love hearing the stories she “reads” out loud to us.
Discipline: The big discipline struggle for Lana this month has been around naptime/bedtime.  She is pitching fits, calling for outlandish things, and just in general trying to control what goes on when we are putting her down for bed.  So a couple of weeks ago, Dan & I took some time to come up with a new plan.  Then we sat down with her on the couch and laid it out for her.  She can call us from her bed for “potty, throw up, or blood.”  No other reasons.  Anything else has to be handled before the lights are off.  If she wants a band-aid, a sip of water, chapstick, etc. – she better remember before we turn the lights off.  If not, she has to wait until it’s wake up time.  She may not pitch a fit if one of us is laying her down, and she wants the other one – instead, she should be grateful for whomever is with her.  These were the major issues we wanted to address, so we kept it simple.  The consequences were that the first time she cried or pitched a fit or called out for something she shouldn’t, we take all of her “guys” out of her bed (baby, stuffed animal, blanket).  The second time, she goes to our room gets two spanks with the wooden spoon.  *note – this is the first time we’ve used a spoon to give spankings.  Always before, we’ve used our hand, but we were finding this becoming ineffective.*  It is taking a lot of consistency and patience, but it’s paying off.  She’s giving Dan more difficulty than she is me, but we’re not giving up.
Playing: As I’m writing this, there is a perfect picture of what Lana loves to play with right now.  Our living room floor is covered with baby dolls, strollers, books, puzzles, and dress up shoes.  I just asked Lana what she loved to play, and she said, “Baby dolls. My dollhouse.  And I love playing with you, Mommy.”  And on that note, I’m publishing this and am going to play with my girl.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Silly girl has had us cracking up this week.  Here are a few of the funny things she's said:
  • When we ask her what song she wants to sing, or what book she wants to read, she'll often answer us by saying "It doesn't matter to you," when she means "It doesn't matter to ME."
  • While we were driving up and down the mountains, our ears would pop.  Lana would tell us, "My ears won't come on!"  "Are your ears coming on?"  "Oh, there they are!  They turned back on!"  Such a cute way to describe that weird feeling.
  • We walked outside this afternoon to check the mail, and it was dreary and drizzling. She said, "Mommy, this weather is SOGGY!"
  • While we were roasting marshmallows for s'mores, the wind changed and blew smoke right at Lana.  She started coughing and said, "Oh!  My breath hurts!!"
  • Her new favorite food is fried okra.  (I can't WAIT until we get home so my mama can cook her some REAL fried okra...she is going to think she's died and gone to heaven.)  But...funny...she doesn't call it okra.  She calls it cornstarch.  Seriously.  And we have no idea why.  So, Sue Sue, when she asks you for cornstarch, you'll know what she means!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Adjusting to life as a family of four

Tucker is 6 and a half weeks old, and we are all learning our "new normal."  

Lana has probably been the BEST at adjusting!!  We have not seen one bit of jealousy, she is always eager to help, and she just adores her little brother without trying to smother him.  

We have been so proud of her!  She has been a bit needier at bedtimes, and has been pushing some discipline issues since we can't always drop everything and handle them right away as we did when it was just her, but truly - those are the only issues that we are having.  She loves to lay with Tucker on the floor and talk to him, she pats him if he gets fussy in his carseat, and she loves to make suggestions about what he needs if he's crying.  (Lots of times she's right!)  We've obviously been spending a lot more time at home than we did before Tucker's arrival, and she has handled that remarkably well.  The only trouble she's had with that is when we missed several weeks of church and small group...that was HARD on her!  So precious to see how much she loves the local Body we're a part of.  

Dan took fewer classes this semester, in anticipation of this adjustment period.  He was so kind to know that the itty-bitty baby stage is difficult for me, and he wanted to be available to me as much as possible.  We're glad that he made the choice to lighten his class load this semester!  I can't imagine how we would have kept up with reading and writing papers for a full-time load.  He's having to learn how to balance loving his family well, helping me, spending time with Lana and Tucker, getting the reading done for his internship, making it to all the required meetings, finding time for accountability with his friends and mentors, working on his internship project, etc.  Just a new normal, and we know it'll all change next semester when he goes back to taking a full time load!

(With that in mind, please be praying for some of the MAJOR leadership opportunities the Lord is opening up before Dan: being at the head of beginning a recovery ministry, possibly helping lead a foreign mission trip, and helping to birth a small group.  We are so grateful for the way the Lord is growing Dan and helping him to develop his leadership abilities.)

I am getting adjusted to being the mommy of two, also!!  Besides dealing with the lack of sleep, the major adjustment for me has been in the reduced amount of time that I have with Lana, especially on the weekends. Before Tucker was born, if Dan was working, Lana & I stayed busy with lots of fun activities and outings.  That has obviously changed, and sometimes I miss that a lot - for both Lana & I.  I have really been praying through the discipline of contentment...I want my heart to rejoice in this stage of life!!  The Lord has been good to grant me peace in this area.  I could tell how He was working tonight especially.  Dan called from work just two hours after he had gone in and told me that he had the opportunity to VTO (voluntary time off) and come home early if I needed him to.  Tucker was crying, and I was in the middle of disciplining Lana, and would you believe that I told him NO?!  I felt confident that I had it under control, and that we were okay, so he could feel free to continue working.  A few weeks ago, I would never have done grateful for the new rhythm we have gotten into! 

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Our first middle-of-the-night trip to the ER

Lana was "off" all day yesterday.  Just very teary, wouldn't nap, needed lots of extra attention, etc.  Naptime was really a nightmare.  She kept calling over and over, and I was fed up.  I even fussed at her.  *sigh*  In hindsight, not a shining moment of parenting, considering she was sick and we didn't know it yet.

Because she didn't nap, we put her to bed early.  She woke up shortly crying her heart out, but couldn't tell us why.  I resettled her, and she went back to sleep. A  little while later, she woke up hysterical because she had pee peed in her bed, just the tiniest bit.  

She has not had an accident in I don't know how long, and she has only had one or two bedtime accidents in the 10 months she's been potty trained.  

I knew something was wrong.  As I put her on the potty to finish, that mama-instinct really felt like she might have a UTI.  When I pulled her off the potty, there was blood in the water, immediately confirming my suspicions.  I cleaned her up while Dan changed the sheets (thank goodness he was home!), and settled her back in bed while I called the nurse advice line at the pediatrician's office.  

While I waited for a nurse to return my call, she had another accident, with more blood in her urine.  At this point, I knew we would have to do something immediately, so I put her in a warm bath to relieve the burning.  As I sat there with her, a nurse from WakeMed called me back, listened to her symptoms, and advised us to bring her in immediately.

Super cool fact: WakeMed has a Children's ER.  Strictly for kids, with pediatricians on staff...we don't have anything like this in Alabama, so I didn't know what to expect.
Around 10:30, Lana & I headed to WakeMed, while Dan stayed at home with sleeping Tucker.  She was SO SWEET.  Just wanted to chat with me, asked lots of questions about the hospital, etc.  I have had UTI's before, and they are miserable.  Her sweet little disposition made me want to cry.

The Children's ER was amazing.  I can't say enough about it.  Really clean, kid-friendly, the staff was wonderful.  Lana was so excited that she got to watch Fox and the Hound while she waited!  The wait was thankfully short, and I was able to catch a urine specimen from her while we waited.

As we headed to a room, we ran into a parent of one of the children in my class at preschool!  I almost cried at the sight of a familiar face.  She was so good to Lana - turned a movie on in our room, bringing her popsicles, giving her a pillow to take home with her...just spoiled her rotten.  As she left the room after bringing Lana a popsicle, Lana said, "Purple popsicles in the middle of the night!  This is crazy!!  I'm so glad your friend is here, mommy."  

They got lab results back quickly, confirming that her urine was "dirty." They gave us a script, and told us that the hospital pharmacy could fill it, but it would be another two hours.  No thanks!  They discharged us quickly.

Going home was a bit of a fiasco...we almost ran out of gas, couldn't find a gas station, couldn't find an open pharmacy, had to wait 20 minutes to have it filled, Lana had to pee pee while we waited in the drive through.  Whew!  She was such a trouper - amazing what a little apple juice and some vanilla wafers from Walgreens can do!

We got back home around 2:30 a.m., which is really good considering all things.  She slept until 9:30, and took a good nap today.  She is back to her normal self, and says it doesn't hurt when she pee pees.  We'll follow up with Dr. Dirk this week, to talk about why this might be recurring.

We are so grateful to live in an area with such wonderful medical care!!