Agent A (age 2) has been asleep for nearly two hours, and Agents E (age 6) and J (age 4) are ready for bed. After brushing teeth and a last-minute bathroom breaks they climb into bed surrounded by a menagerie of stuffed animals. They claim to be too tired for stories, so I turn on their "stars" (a light projected on the ceiling) and cuddle between them for a few minutes. I tell them I will go check on their brother and be back in five minutes. I actually stay ten minutes, come back and E is out but J is still awake. I cover her up again, snuggle a bit, and tell her again that I'll be back in five minutes.
I bump the heat because I'm freezing. I feed the cat because her incessant banging on the cabinet trying to get to where we keep her food is loud enough to wake the neighborhood. Trying to figure out what to do once I confirm all three kids are sleeping. Get online? Write? Watch TV? Go to sleep? A solves that for me: He wakes up coughing. He wants to cuddle and nurse again, but this time sitting up. We move to the rocker where he nurses briefly, then proceeds to cough so much he makes himself puke (a classic J move). I change my shirt and clean us both up, and together we check on J, who is now asleep. Then we go back to rocking.
A is finally gives out and goes back to (relatively) peaceful sleep. I lay him down in his bed and decide that my laptop and the television will both have to wait until tomorrow. Of course, then I can't sleep, because I keep thinking what if the whole throwing up incident wasn't just a fluke related to coughing, and he's really getting sick and has some nasty stomach virus and that means the girls have it and OMG then I will get it and Hubby is gone and how will I take care of everyone and . . . breathing, breathing, breathing.
A is up again to nurse. This time he's content to lay down and that's fine by me because I'm exhausted. I'm sure I'll fall asleep next to him, but I manage to make it back to my own bed. I toss and turn some more and last remember looking at the clock at 1:00-ish.
E comes into the room. I'm back in A's bed, but I have no recollection of moving down there. E tells me she's not tired. (Yes; my six-year-old gets 7 hours of sleep and feels refreshed. What the what?) I tell her to climb into my bed, I grab the TV remote and join her. She half watches Jungle Cubs while I doze in and out beside her. Soon she decides she'd rather be out in the living room. The next hour or so is a blur; I think I fell back to sleep, but maybe not.
A is awake! And happy and squirmy and literally bouncing on the bed. I guess he's feeling better. Good morning snuggles all around. Yeah! I make coffee while he and E color. I'm not moving very fast this morning. Lots of cuddly time on the couch. A tells me, "mum mum, coffee, hot." He knows me well.
E and A decide to wake up J so she can watch Charlie and Lola with them. I finish my coffee, putter online a bit, and then hang out on the couch with them again. I cut up fruit for us to share for breakfast and afterward we all get dressed. I am especially careful brushing A's teeth this morning.
I get everyone in the car and we're off to A's dentist appointment. I discovered last week that A has two top teeth with brown spots on the underside . . . I literally had to have him upside down to see them. It's about a 30-minute drive and I mistakenly rely on the GPS to navigate us; I could have gotten us there easier following my own sense of direction. On the way we talk about what will likely happen while we're there. E and J offer to help distract or soothe A with singing.
At the dentist office, the kids admire the waiting room fish tank, books, and toys (including a giant stuffed caterpillar) while I check in. I already have most of the paperwork done, as I printed it at home and brought it with me. Anything to avoid having to complete medical questionnaires while simultaneously keeping three monkeys from destroying an office waiting room. We chat about the fish and flip through a few books. Mostly A wants to be held. He knows.
We head back, and the girls plop into the dentist chair, fascinated by the TV on the ceiling. I hold A in my lap facing me and flip his head onto the hygienist's lap for his cleaning. She is really sweet and patient with him as she brushes his teeth with strawberry toothpaste while he screams his head off. All the while I hold his hands and talk gently to him. It doesn't do a whole lot of good. The cleaning is done and he grabs onto me tight. I grab back and kiss him and stroke his hair and try to calm him while we wait.
The dentist comes in and takes a look at his teeth (through more screaming) and confirms my suspicions: two cavities on his top teeth, plus the beginning of one on one of his molars. With A still on my lap whimpering a bit but mostly relaxing now, the dentist and I discuss options. Clearly we need to do something, because while A's not experiencing pain right now, we don't want them to get worse and/or to affect his permanent teeth. We also talk about possible sealants for the remaining molars. Then the obvious: A would need to be sedated for this dental work. Yikes. I mean, intellectually I know the risks are minimal, and I don't want to take chances with his future oral health, but still. The thought of my two-year-old with IV sedation is unsettling. I hug him a little tighter.
Dentist is back after stepping out briefly and we continue to discuss treatment options and preventing future decay. Breastfeeding comes up. While he acknowledges that night nursing might have partly contributed to A's issues, he by no mean "blames" it and is more understanding (neutral?) than expected. He does ask if I've considered when I might wean him. I say that I intend to wean him gently, but fully expect it to be within the next few months. (Which is mostly true, even though I am still a bit torn.) We kind of drop the subject and he tells me a bit more about the pediatric anesthesiologist they work with.
After making a follow-up appointment for A (a recheck in a few weeks just to confirm it's not getting worse too quickly) and scheduling his dental work (fairly far out at this point, hence the intermediate appointment) we get ready to leave the office. Before we go, E cleans up all the toys they had out, unprompted. She even recruits J and A to help her with specific tasks. (She takes her oldest sibling role seriously.) This time we ignore the GPS lady and take our own way home. Mostly, we talk about what we're going to have for lunch and what fun we will have this afternoon. Not surprising, my 5:00 a.m. wake up call dozes off in the car for a bit.
Home sweet home. I fix everyone a quick snack and they run off to play. I take this opportunity to publish a blog post (already drafted the day before) and check Facebook. I send off an e-mail to Hubby explaining our morning. Then I clean up the kitchen a bit while periodically checking on the kids playing in the girls' room.
Time for a book party! They all pile into my bed and I drop a giant stack of library books down. E settles into her latest Cam Jansen mystery. J and A mostly use the books like building blocks, but eventually request a read. I climb in between them and we flip through 3 or 4 books together. Then they are back to wanting to just "arrange" them. Which is fine; I use this opportunity to make tea. I think I'm getting A's cold/sore throat.
Time for another snack. (How is it we managed to miss lunch?) I start Roomba and we decide to go outside. Except there is a lizard on the inside of our sliding glass door (the screen is torn on one side) and he's right by the handle. Which means the second we open the door he's going to scoot inside. And I don't want to be chasing him around the playroom (which of course is a mess; thousands of places for him to hide). So we wait.
It's just as well, because now A needs changed and wants to nurse again. Then all three go back to their usual reading, coloring, stuffed animal adventures. Before long I hear J screaming from the other room, "A pooped on the floor!" Given that I had just changed him, and he was wearing a diaper and pants, I kind of doubted her assessment. E stepped in and informed me that it was just an old craisin. Whew. A litany of poop comments follow. Why are little kids so fascinated with bodily functions? I make another meager effort to clean up a bit while they play, every once in a while popping in to join their pretend world.
I see the lizard jump off the screen and scurry away. All three kids head outside while I decide I should probably fold the laundry that's been in the dryer since the night before.
I determine it would be way more exciting to do a Google search of "risks of IV sedation for toddler dental work." (I know, I know.) Luckily, most of what I find is positive and encouraging. I continue to check on the Agents every few minutes. (I check more often if it's just J and A out there, but when E is with them, she is my eyes and ears.)
The doorbell nearly scares the life out of me. Two Amazon boxes delivered; one is a Christmas present for the girls from my MIL and the other is my new Kindle. (Ack!) I put the girls' box up in my closet and open the Kindle so I can charge it. Then I check on everyone in the back yard (again) and stay out with them for a short while before coming inside to actually fold and put away laundry for real. A comes inside about half a dozen times, each time wanting me to remove his jacket and then put it right back on.
They are still playing outside, so I take out the trash and get the mail . . . avoiding lizards again. (Our mailbox doesn't always close all the way and sometimes they crawl inside. I learned not to just stick my arm in and grab a big stack of mail unless I want to be completely freaked out.) Hubby calls and we chat about A's dentist appointment. A comes back inside again, this time to stay. Of course he needs to talk on the phone, too. "I talk dada!"
Everyone is back inside now and they all pile into the bathroom to wash hands. I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, cut it into pieces to share, and we have a "picnic" on the living room floor. We watch some Octonauts.
It's our usual dinner time, but I'm not sure how hungry anyone is since we just snacked. I heat up leftovers anyway, and they all eat three servings. I guess they were still hungry. Which is no great surprise; most of the time they are pretty much like ravenous wolves. Sometimes J will go through a carrots-only phase, when that's all she wants for dinner. However, her siblings love them, too, so we tend to have carrots almost every day.
After dinner they go off to "clean" their room . . . this is when they are supposed to be getting their room ready for bedtime (i.e., making a path to the bed) and instead end up playing with everything they find. While they do that I clean up from dinner and start the dishwasher. Soon things start to spiral downward; a little pre-bath insanity ensues. There is some pinching, pushing, poking. J hurts herself (again) and needs some love. We decide maybe we should just roll into bath time early.
We actually end up starting bath time five minutes late. But finally they are all in the tub and giggling and clean. (Outside time with no shoes = little mud monsters.) We talk about our day. We count down the days until Daddy comes home. We chat about what we'll do the next day.
Everyone is in pajamas and A is clearly ready for bed. We turn off all but one lamp and I sit on the couch and nurse him while E reads J a story. I continue to snuggle with A long after he falls asleep, but eventually I move him to his bed, get the girls a bedtime snack, and send off another e-mail to Hubby with something I forgot to tell him earlier.
I'm off to take my shower. I'm in the bathroom for exactly five minutes total, during which J interrupts me three times. When I come out the girls are watching Gaspard and Lisa and clamoring for another snack, this time grapes and strawberries. While I'm in the kitchen I compose a quick grocery list for tomorrow. I realize I haven't been to the commissary in almost two weeks, because Hubby was here recently and he went for us. Although, shopping is not really my nemesis. It's usually manageable to get all three to the grocery store; they actually enjoy going.
A is awake. He wants to nurse for a few minutes, then settles back to sleep. E and J want me to read to them from their children's Bible. The three of us snuggle on the couch and they each choose a few stories. We read about four, and then they go back to rearranging their stuffed animals. And more coloring. Oh, the coloring that goes on in our house!
Bathroom breaks and teeth brushing, but no one is tired, so we head back out to the living room. Hopefully they'll be ready for bed soon.