First Broken Bone!

At the end of September, Malcolm broke his arm.

It happened during after-school. He fell off the monkey bars (which is sad because he LOVES monkey bars) and I guess he landed on his right arm.

I was not there when it happened; I was finishing up teaching my photo class when I got the call, and I hated that I was thirty minutes away! A. was on an airplane flying home and we were texting back and forth about what we should do.

The paramedics were called and made him a splint, and explained things to me when I finally arrived. Little Malcolm was just sitting there quietly, not crying. I learned the term “visible deformity” about possible breaks – he sure had one. His forearm was curved where it should have been straight! (I’ll put a photo at the very end of the post in case you don’t want to see it.) By the way, the rule is that if there is no visible deformity you can go to Urgent Care because it may not be broken, but if there is a visible deformity, you go straight to the ER. 

I took both boys to Randall’s pediatric ER and while we were in the car M was finally  upset and scared, crying a little. He insisted on being carried and held when we got to the ER and I was so happy to snuggle him and reassure him that he would be okay. 

We were there for five hours. Everyone there was amazing and it was a wonderful experience (for being in the ER for five hours, that is). 

Malcolm went back to being pretty quiet and stoic once they got him in a bed. First they undid the split and x-rayed him: distal radial fractures of his right ulna and radius. Emmett was super patient. Most of the time was just waiting around for all the specialists to be available for his reset. (Apparently it was a busy night there.)

The room had a TV with cartoons, a clown came in with magic tricks and coloring sheets, and there was a Child Life Specialist who came in to explain everything to M and show him the tools and things the doctors would be using to give him the special medicine to rest while they fixed his arm. He wasn’t allowed to eat until the sedation (around 8pm), which means neither of them got any dinner. Thankfully the TV kept them entertained enough that they didn’t seem to notice. 

Watching the sedation happen was hard for me to see, and they suggested I not stay for the reset. The nurse said something about the noise of the bones being upsetting to parents, which made me shudder and agree to leave during that part. I took E to grab a bite to eat at the hospital cafe, and when we got back M was waking up. They said it went perfectly and his arm was looking great. They gave him a splint and some good drugs. 

We got home at 11pm (A. had just gotten home from his flight; I was so glad that he got to see M). Malcolm had a very rough night and barely slept, moaning and crying…yet also refusing medicine. So we *all* had a very rough night! At like 8am, he *finally* allowed some medicine and thankfully he slept for awhile–I had to wake him up at 1230 in the afternoon! (We’d decided M would get the day off school and that E would be able to sleep in and go in to school late.) 

Once he woke up he was pretty much his normal happy self. Especially when I took him to get a special treat. 🙂 That was the very first day that the boys spent the entire day apart! E did great at school by himself. 

All of this happened on a Wednesday. He went in to the orthopedist on Monday morning and got a cast past his elbow. It was a hard time to maneuver with that, getting dressed, getting him in his car seat.

He went back a week later for a checkup on it, and they found that the bones weren’t quite in the right place. So they took off the cast, and put on a new one with a little more angle/direction to it. Thankfully it was also shorter, below his elbow. This made his life way easier!

 

Look at the picture he’d drawn at school and how he sounded out ‘orthopedists’! 🙂

He was never really upset about the cast or about his arm being broken. He was shy about it, though , and he always tried to hide it–either he would hide his arm behind his body, or stand really close to one of us and his arm behind our leg, or insist on wearing his hoodie so the cast wouldn’t be visible. He was afraid of people asking about it, or commenting about it, because he thought they’d be laughing at him. 😦

He also began using his left hand! He’s the only righty in our family but he quickly learned to write and draw as a lefty. After three weeks he said he would keep being a lefty even after his cast came off. 🙂

 

After a month he got his cast off! (Since he’s so young, his bones heal faster. If he were older it would have taken six weeks.) The x-ray showed that the bones were healing well. (It wasn’t totally done yet; apparently it takes at least six months to fully heal and remodel!) He wasn’t allowed to go on the monkey bars or do any “active” things for another month. We cheated and let him ride his bike and scooter, though, because he’s a little kid and he needs to be able to do *some* things! He was good about wearing the brace they gave him at school recess. He also went back to using his right hand after about a week.

Just last week, his ‘probation’ month was up and he could once again do monkey bars! I was glad to see that he was happy about it, that he hadn’t been scared off one of his favorite activities. 🙂

Overall we were so impressed and proud of how Malcolm dealt with this whole experience. I felt so sad for him when it happened; I felt like he’d lost a tiny bit of innocence or something. He was never whiny or angry or upset about the cast, or about not being able to do everything he normally would. But he was so resilient!

 

Scroll for the broken arm pic…

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Lincoln City, Summer 2018

Every summer we’ve taken a family overnight trip to the Oregon Coast. (In addition to occasional daytrips through the year.) This year we semi-reluctantly chose Lincoln City. There’s no big attraction there really, so we weren’t sure if there would be enough to do. We were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed our two days!

First, we visited the brand-new Tillamook Creamery Visitors Center! (Of course, this is not *in* Lincoln City, but it was on the way-ish.) The boys loved seeing the cheese factory a few years ago and I couldn’t wait to see how the new updated factory looked. Plus, you know…delicious Tillamook cheese and ice cream. The new visitors center is gorgeous and large, and they have (cheese-focused) food area and a separate ice cream counter. The boys once again loved watching the cheese production, specifically the slicers.

From Tillamook, we drove to Lincoln City and found a huge playground! It was at Regatta Park, situated on a sweet little lake. It was totally perfect!

For dinner, of course we went to Pig n Pancake–our favorite coast place. 🙂

We stayed in an oceanfront hotel, which we’ve never actually done before. That first day/night was crazy foggy, so the view was of basically nothing. The next morning though, we were all wowed. The boys loved standing at the window just watching the waves.

We spent a good chunk of the day outside. In the morning, we walked to the main drag to explore some shops. We found a cute little bookstore and also a candy shop.

After lunch it was beach time! There were some sweet tide pools but also splashy waves, so we explored carefully. E in particular was very worried that we would get ‘tided on’ and at one point M and I were standing on a tide pool rock when a big wave crashed up and soaked half of me. Thankfully we kept our footing. (I also had my phone in its waterproof case hanging around my neck, so that stayed safe!) We had just bought a beach tent before this trip and brought it out…it was really tough to put together. It did sort of work to keep us out of the constant wind, but of course the boys weren’t interested in sitting in there for very long.

We hit up the playground again before dinner, and found a pizza place next to an arcade for dinner and entertainment.

Any time we’re all at a hotel, we make sure to stay at a place with a pool so the boys can swim. As always, they loved paddling around in their floaties! They went swimming all three days we were there.

We left after lunch the third day! It was a good amount of time with enough variety to feel like a fun adventure. Hurray for coast trips!

 

Starting School! A ramble

Our boys will begin kindergarten this week.

I think I need to say that again because even though I’ve said it a lot in the last few months, the gravity of the idea still hasn’t quite sunk in. (Hence the wandering mess that I’m sharing with you here.)

E and M are starting school this week. They will be in kindergarten. They will be real students in a real school.

I started this post on Sunday. The ultimate Sunday–the last Sunday of their little childhood! Holy big deal!

Here’s what is getting me all emotional–the change, the huge, massive shift in our lives, and in all of our identities.

For these last five and a half years, the boys have been in some kind of daycare/childcare, but we’ve always had so much flexibility. Since A and I both work from home and especially since I became self-employed, we’ve been able to do schedule things whenever we want. I can pull them out of daycare for a random trip to Seattle, or for a birthday outing, or just to go have a special day together. It’s always especially nice to be doing fun things on weekdays, when all the other kids and grownups are at school and work! It feels like we’re playing hooky and getting away with something. And it feels like freedom.

But this is a really big transition. We’re now chained to the school year, the school day, the school calendar. They will be in school for the next THIRTEEN YEARS, which is basically forever. We’ll have to do our vacations, our special days, on all the holidays just like everyone else. No more freedom, no more spontaneity. (Sure, we can do a random day off I suppose, but I don’t think I’ll actually want to do that much. I’m too much of a rule follower and I do believe that attendance is important.)

This kindergarten transition is also about the boys ‘belonging to the world’ more and more (I just read that phrase the other day, isn’t it perfect?). We’ve had a little of that with daycare, where all these people know our kids and we don’t know them. It seems really weird and it makes me feel protective and cliquey, like hey, they are OUR boys, why do you know them. But of course that makes no sense. They’re going to have a new life at school, with new skills and new influences and new friends. None of which we have any control over!

They’re big little kids. They’re independent. They love math problems and they’re starting to sound out words. They don’t know how to tie shoes. They don’t know how to swim. They hold my hand when we cross the street. They lay down and cuddle on the couch with me. They pile on my lap so I can read them a book. They are best friend brothers and I think they also play with other kids, but probably mostly each other. How will they do at making good friends with other kids? Will they only hang out with each other? How much of a bad influence will they get from other kids? (I freaking hate the big after-school kids at their daycare who have taught them all kinds of terrible things.) Will they totally lose their innocence? Will they grow up too fast and want to stop being sweet little boys?

From now on, they are students. School-age children. And we are school parents! We’ll join the PTA and volunteer with school events! This is a whole new level of adulting and I feel a little blindsided and intimidated.

Another funny thing is that the day is the FIRST day of school. And I have to keep remembering with a little bit of shock and dismay that then they KEEP GOING. Forever and ever! It’s not just one day, it’s the first day of the rest of their lives! Ack!

Will they have homework? (Not in kindergarten, thank goodness. But I’m sure it will start after that.) What if it’s terrible and annoying? How much of a pain in the ass is schoolwork and projects and stuff going to be? What if one or both hates going to school?  What if someone cries or throws tantrums about not wanting to go to school? How will we deal with packing stupid lunches every day? Will they make friends? Will we make friends with the other class parents?

This is a huge transition for us too. I’m having a really hard time because I’m so used to school from a teacher point of view. From a parent point of view, this is completely new and different and this summer I’ve felt so helpless! I know absolutely nothing!! I also know nothing about what I *should* know and expect! For someone who likes to be in control, this is difficult.

I bought their school supplies several weeks ago, because someone on FB had to tell me to look on the school website to see the list. How would I have known to look on a website for a school supply list?! Was I supposed to know that?! Why does everyone else know this? Why do I know nothing? Why is the our district school website such a terrible labyrinth of bureaucratic confusion? I feel so new and bumbling!

We haven’t bought them new backpacks for school. I didn’t know what size backpack they’re supposed to have for kindergarten when they’re still so little. There are so many sizes of backpacks now, did you know that?! What do they even bring in a backpack? Are they going to be carrying notebooks and binders and pencil pouches? Two years ago I got them these little backpacks that we’ve been using for traveling and summer camp and daycare change of clothes. The lunch boxes that we got them two summers ago don’t really fit in the backpacks, so what *does* go in there? I don’t know if we’re fancy enough to get those metal bento box style lunchboxes that would fit. It doesn’t seem very special to just use the same old backpacks–but now it’s three days before school starts so have I completely ruined the Special First Day of School?!

This is their VERY FIRST FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!!! Shouldn’t it be the most special of them all?! Am I making not enough of a big deal about this? Why haven’t I been able to plan better for this?

We’ve been able to roll into daycare whenever we wanted, and pick them up whenever we wanted. Now we’re locked into an actual, firm schedule. Miraculously, our school doesn’t start at the crack of dawn. We’ll be able to maintain their normal morning routine (wakeup between 7/73, breakfast, playtime, leave around 830), so we are very happy and relieved about that.

We are also super excited about physically going to school. It’s only a few blocks away—we timed it this week and it took less than NINE MINUTES to walk there!! We’ve been taking them to a daycare is 20 minutes away for the past FOUR YEARS. Each roundtrip to drop them off or pick them up was an hour. So there were two hours of daycare driving every day!! We will save so much gas and so much time! Plus, a little exercise and fresh air! (This is very easy to say in sunny August–we’ll see how I feel in dark and rainy November…)

We have one boy who is excited about kindergarten, and one boy who is nervous about kindergarten. They’ll be in the same class, so I think that will be really nice and helpful for them to have their best-friend-brother right there. They’ve never been apart or in separate classes, and I think going through the transition to real school together will be good.

I guess I just need to remember to take one thing at a time. Our kids are good kids and I think they’re going to do really well in school. It’s just a new part of our journey together as a family.

Anecdotes of Five and a Half

We took the boys to get donuts on a Sunday morning. But we waited too long and forgot to give them a snack and it got too close to lunchtime, which of course is a recipe for disaster. So they wanted to eat the donuts at the shop, but there wasn’t a place to sit and eat. We said we’ll eat them when we get home, and they whined and whined and whined and then Malcolm said, mama should leave the family forever. And of course so we kept getting irritated and finally we said, OK well you can’t have your donuts right now because you’re being too whiny.  We did eventually let them have one bite to try it, and then after dinner when it was dessert time, neither of them wanted the freaking doughnut!

They still love getting hugs. They like to pretend to be a baby, and they pretend to be a kitty or a puppy. They have a special kitty or puppy voice and a special kitty or puppy name that they use. They are very playful and they can still be very loving, and they like to say I love you and sometimes they’ll say it just out of the blue which is pretty much the best thing ever.

But…they’ll also say I don’t like you and E especially will yell NO KISSES sometimes.

A Week in Maui!

My little brother got married in Maui this November. I got to spend six nights there with my family, and Andy stayed home with the boys. Not too shabby!!

It was gorgeous and peaceful and wonderful. Obviously! It was a pretty quiet week, with a lot of quality family time and relaxed hanging out.

This was the view when we walked into our condo. Our jaws literally dropped.

The wedding was simple, sweet, and beautiful. It was at a beachside/cliffside restaurant at Kanalua Bay, late afternoon just before sunset. My little brother and his new bride looked amazing and so, so happy. We were all so thrilled for them, and to be there to celebrate them.

We went snorkeling a few times: by my brother’s hotel, at Black Rock, at Honolua Bay. (I tried to snorkel by our hotel but got caught in a riptide.) Just like the last time I snorkeled (in Australia), it took me awhile to catch my breath and also try to float. But after the first outing, I got used to it and fell in love and felt right at home. It’s so quiet and peaceful and colorful gazing under the surface, while floating effortlessly. Just magical. It is absolutely my new favorite thing and now I can’t wait to find another vacation as an excuse to snorkel. And take underwater photos–I quickly became a little obsessed.

My sister and I went ziplining! I had so many things on my to-do list but the week didn’t really turn out to be too much of a tourist-activity kind of time. However, I knew I would be mad at myself if I didn’t do a zipline. (I’ve also done them in Guatemala and Costa Rica, and sort of in Australia.) We went with Skyline Zipline, on a hill overlooking the ocean with views of other islands. It was incredible, and I was so glad we did it. 

We did wander Lahaina a couple times, and hang out by a pool or beach.

I read three books over the course of the week! My brain did not allow me to sleep in past 6am, which sucked. So I would just get up and read on the balcony listening to the ocean. And that definitely did not suck.

Overall it was just so beautiful, and a really special family time together.

FIVE!

  Here’s all the stuff M and E have been up to in 2017 as four year olds and the first month of five. I read over the Four post and a lot of their behaviors and stuff is still the same.

These boys are kids now. Not toddlers or little preschoolers anymore. They have lost all baby talk and sound like real little kids now. They still have sweet little boy voices, though, especially M. They say “drawl” for “draw” and E still says “helicoffter”. They love saying “actually” and doing that little head shake that 4 and 5 year olds do. They still have big chubby cheeks too. Here’s them getting to work like mama and daddy. 🙂

They are such kids in other ways. “This is boring” is a frequent sentence heard in our house. They think it’s hilarious to copy everything we say. They shorten words like little millenials! Breakfast foods mostly: oatmeal=oat; cheerios=cheer; pancakes=pank; french toast=french. 🙂

They’ve been in full time daycare/preschool a little more than a year now and it’s going well. In September they moved up to the 5s class, advanced pre-k. Their learning has started to expand so much. Their unsavory vocabulary has also increased, thanks to the older after-school kids. Grrrr.

They can write their names, they can write all the letters and numbers, they can write if you dictate to them. For awhile M drew his name with a backwards C. E doesn’t always write his letters all in the right order. They’re pretty good at trying to spell out words, except for vowels, which are always so tricky.

They can also do math! They can do very simple addition on their own and some of it they’ve seemed to memorize, like two plus two and three plus three. They can also mentally subtract. Just this morning I was doing a “spot the difference” with E, and there were six differences. We found some; he counted four and then said, “Only two more!” I am not super familiar with all the age milestones but I feel like that kind of two-step mental math is pretty impressive at this age.

Behavior wise, they are definitely five year olds. They get very hangry at the end of the day when I pick them up from daycare. There is FREQUENT and annoying whining. Here is a mean-mama photo I took of E: We were at the ICE CREAM SHOP and he had a tantrum because his ICE CREAM was in a cup not a cone.

They love crafts. They draw people now! It is so adorable! They also like making necklaces with pipecleaners and plastic beads, making bracelets with those tiny rubber bands (which are every-damn-where all over the house), drawing with markers, coloring, cutting paper into “tickets” (tiny squares) or snowflakes.

For extra-curricular activities, we put them in gymnastics for another term, which was wonderful. The teacher is SO patient and kind, and added new skills each class. And then we finally put them in a swim class for the late fall! We’ve been meaning to for, um, years now, but the Saturday morning classes fill up instantly. This time we decided to try a weekday evening class, which means we had to go straight from daycare. It actually worked pretty well. The boys loved it! That teacher was also fantastic–super patient, loved playing lots of little games with them.

Big travel year: Another visit to Washington DC this spring! We got to spend four days with A’s parents in Virginia and then two days in DC. This age was great, because they could understand so much and communicate so well. Plus they were so excited for everything, and that made it so much fun for us.

We did our yearly coast overnight trip to Astoria in September. It was our first time there, and it was great! (Except that the entire gorge had just caught fire, and the smoke rolled all the way out to the coast and made the sky awful.)

They continued to be scooter speedsters this year, racing down hills with confidence. They got bikes during Grandma and Grandpa’s visit in October and man were they excited! They ride well and definitely still need training wheels.

They’ve grown a lot. They still haven’t gained a ton of weight though; E has weighed 39 pounds and M is about 41/42 pounds forever. They’re in 5T clothes and size 11 shoes. Their feet don’t seem to grow very fast, and they wear out the velcro on their shoes faster than they outgrow the shoes themselves, which is annoying.

M has become an expert on the monkeybars this year! He has conquered all three sets at our local school playground. E finally learned how to really do the monkeybars while we were in Astoria.

Our house is officially de-babied! I took down the last baby gate in front of the stairs early this year. And we finally got big kid beds this spring! I can’t believe we kept them in their crib toddler beds for so long. They started wanting us to lay down with them, so we had to contort and fold ourselves, and it was super uncomfortable. One day I was like, I’m over this! and made the beds happen that weekend. I found these cute twin beds/bunkbeds on craigslist and we got awesome new mattresses and bedding at IKEA. They also slept in real beds at the hotel this summer and while visiting grandparents!

This summer they went through a huge phase of Ode to Joy. They would request to watch a certain concert fragment at night before bed, and they came up with their own interpretation of the words:

I can stop and make any venya
Us every morning save the things
Hark then im shoe petals
In California zumfit way ma foss

Ode to Joy

On TV/Netflix, they really like Paw Patrol, My Little Pony, Spirit. They really liked Magic Schoolbus for awhile too. Curious George occasionally; Daniel Tiger, Little Einsteins and Super Why are no longer of interest.

This summer M declared that he doesn’t come to snuggle in our bed anymore in the mornings. E does most mornings right when their owl clock turns green at 7, and snuggles with Daddy for awhile.

Bedtime is supposed to be 830 (meaning we leave their room around then), and on weekend days when they run around, it works great and they conk out quickly. During the week it’s much harder since they have so much more energy, and we don’t leave their room til 9 or later. Ugh.

Oh man, big news from this summer–they attended summer camp! That was the first time they’ve been in such a brand-new place, with brand-new teachers, and even in a brand-new language! It was at the language-immersion camp where I worked for the summer, so I was close by and got to see them a lot. It was so sweet, seeing their little selves with backpacks and new lunchboxes, starting to learn some Spanish, participating in the field days and stuff. They did really well and I was so proud of them.

The boys play together all the time. Last month I saw them play “Egg” where they both say “eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeg” and the first person to finish saying “egg” loses. They make up games with random materials. They love running and racing in the kitchen/living room. They love playing hide and seek. They love playing with Hot Wheels cars. They make forts, they pretend to be monsters, they pretend to be babies, they pretend to be superheroes. They are so creative, and we adore seeing them be fun and creative and interesting *together.*

They’re old enough for lots of puzzles and board games! They love Chutes & Ladders, Paw Patrol, Uno, Ring It, Monopoly Junior Party. M has a hard time losing games though, and will either pout, or quit playing, or start crying loudly if someone else wins. We also subscribed to High Five Magazine, and added on Puzzle Buzz and Hidden Pictures magazines.

They moved up to harness car seats! It’s kind of my favorite because they can buckle themselves into them! Makes daycare pickup AWESOME, especially when it’s cold/windy/rainy–I can just jump into my own seat and they also get into their own seats. (They’re always whining about being hungry while they do that, of course.)

This year they really discovered Legos! They got some real sets for their birthday and really liked putting them together. (So did Daddy!)

The boys’ Halloween costumes were a little random this year, from Costco: a skeleton knight and Superman.

Their 5th birthday party was at the Lego store, Bricks & Minifigs Portland.  The boys and some friends had a great time playing with Legos! And eating snacks and cake. (Adorable and delicious mini cakes by Jam Cakes!)

These kids are growing up so much. They’re still so little but they think they know everything already! And they love learning and knowing things. They are sweet and exasperating and whiny and wonderful.

Astoria! Coast Trip 2017

Our summer coast adventure this summer was to Astoria! We hadn’t been there before, so it was fun to explore a new place. We went on Labor Day for two nights, so there weren’t too many people aorund. Unfortunately, it was also when that horrible Eagle Creek fire started, and the smoke followed us all the way out to the coast.

Our first stop was actually past Astoria at Fort Stevens the famous beach with a real life shipwreck (the Peter Iredale). The boys had a blast playing in the water, climbing the ship, and playing in the sand.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn, of course, which is my favorite hotel because it always has a reliable good free breakfast, and usually a pool. We brought the boys’ floaties and they loved going swimming! They were so cute–flapping so hard around the pool, puffing out their cheeks to hold their breath.

But perhaps even better than being cute, the swimming totally wore out the boys and they went to sleep really fast and easily. Usually vacation bedtime is *terrible* so this was a very welcome surprise. They shared a big bed–this was our first time traveling without a pack n play or a kid tent. What an exciting move up, to not need special places/equipment for them to sleep!

The next day, we drove out to Cape Disappointment and enjoyed being the gorgeous woods to see the lighthouse and the Lewis & Clark Center. (The boys were not terribly enthused about most of the outing; there was a decent amount of whining and complaining.)

On Day Three, we visited the Astoria Column! The boys walked all the way to the top with us, all 165 steps! And then about thirty seconds later they were like, okay let’s go back down.

We also found this huge playground called Tapiola Park, and the boys had a fantastic time running around playing on day two and three.

tapiola park astoria

Overall it was a really fun trip! I love going on family adventures and exploring new places. 🙂