He will be (legally) mine

To Whom It May Concern:

I have examined the patient, C, and have found her to be in good health. I have no reason to believe that the patient’s health status will in any way compromise her ability to be an adoptive parent.

1972448_10103694651286023_1656771591_nThose are the contents of the letter I obtained today from a local urgent care clinic so that I can submit the step parent adoption process to finally call E my legal son. I am stopping by the courthouse first thing in the morning to drop off the mighty load of paperwork required for the process.

I’ve heard a number of same-sex couples who were legally married last Saturday have already begun filing the paperwork for step parent adoption and are being assigned caseworkers. Step parent adoption, as opposed to second parent adoption, is for legally married couples. Second parent adoption would then be reserved for committed, but not married, couples, but is not currently available because of the stay issued by the Sixth Circuit Court. Truth be told, I don’t love the emphasis on biological vs. non-biological connection to a child conveyed by the title “step parent,” but it seems like a streamlined process that will provide me with the same legal rights to my child, which matters more to me.

After I submit the paperwork and a case worker is assigned, I will have an initial interview with the case worker, pay for fingerprinting, and then schedule and pay for a second assessment, which I think is actually a home study. At that point, it will go to the judge for consideration and, hopefully, finalization.

I was initially quoted $1,500 to go through the process with a knowledgeable family law attorney, and that was what we had planned to do. We spoke with a friend of ours who is also a family law attorney, who encouraged us to submit the paperwork quickly and without the hiring an attorney. The paperwork is really straightforward and is available with instructions on the County’s website.

In about 12 hours, the ball will officially be rolling, folks! We can use your positive energy, prayers, and good thoughts for an ideal and expedited outcome for the sake of our family.

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Seeking Sanity

Up until this point in my parenting path, I think I’ve had a fairly reasonable approach to the unattainable notion of perfection. Recently, though, as E barrels toward a milestone at which he’ll likely only consume actual food for his nutrients, I’ve experienced mounting pressure to make sure I’m introducing him to a wide variety of nutritious solid foods.

As a working mom with husband who commutes a long distance to work, I don’t have all of the resources I need to be able to successfully pull off nutritious and varied dinners every single week night. I am lucky in that E can often play fairly independently for decent stretches of time, but while I’m trying to throw something together for dinner, E inevitably needs my attention. The time I have between getting home from daycare pickup and getting E to bed feels so short, and we try to squeeze in a bath for E every other night, too.  All of these factors have recently combined in a shitstorm of guilt and feelings of failure.

Last weekend, we didn’t have anything on our calendar, so I made the decision to spend the bulk of the time in the kitchen preparing and freezing meals. We have a chest freezer in the basement, which we purchased before E was born with the intention of having easy meals at our fingertips, and I wanted to fill it with yummy things that I could easily assemble throughout the week.

I prepared by accumulating recipes for the meals I wanted to make. I then listed out the amount of each ingredient I needed for each recipe, most of which was doubled or tripled. Finally, I created a shopping list of the ingredients needed for all recipes so that I would purchase the necessary quantities of the items.

I tried to organize my workload in a logical and efficient way, chopping all veggies for the recipes first, and always looking one or two steps ahead so that I could allow time for items to cool, bake, etc.

Delicious quinoa cakes and red pepper - NOT served on Turkey Day.

Delicious quinoa cakes and red pepper – NOT served on Turkey Day.

Here’s what I made/froze:

  • A gluten free version of Chicken Parmesan Meatloaf (double batch made into smaller sized loaves)
  • Black bean taco soup – K’s favorite so far. I made a double batch and froze into half-size batches)
  • A triple batch of my favorite Quinoa Cakes. I make them with gluten free breadcrumbs and, while I’ve had them with the recommended poached egg, our favorite way of serving them is with goat cheese and sautéed red peppers on top.
  • A quadruple batch of homemade taco seasoning.
  • A double batch of this homemade ranch dressing/seasoning mix.
  • A double batch of muffin-sized broccoli cheddar rice bakes, which uses the ranch seasoning.
  • A double batch of twice-baked potatoes, which loosely uses this recipe. I used 8 large baked Russet potatoes, 1 stick melted salted butter, about 1 c plain Greek yogurt (could use sour cream), 2 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese, 1/2 c milk, 1 c. chopped green onions, 1 tsp of sea salt, and 3 tsp of the homemade ranch seasoning. I froze them and can bake from freezing at 350 F for about 55 minutes or thaw and bake for about 15 minutes.
  • A gluten free powdered mix alternative to “cream of” canned soups.
  • A double batch of my friend Dan’s Mexican shredded chicken. 4 lbs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, two 16-oz jars of salsa, and 4 Tbsp of the homemade taco seasoning listed above, cooked on low in my crock pot for about 8 hours. I shredded the chicken in my KitchenAid mixer by using the paddle attachment for about twenty seconds, then mixed the shredded chicken breast back in with the sauce in which it cooked. I froze this in sandwich sized freezer bags to use as taco filling, to top nachos, or in a Mexican-inspired rice bowl.
  • A double batch of my mom’s top-secret white chicken chili, frozen into quart size freezer bags.

Since I had purchased two very large packages of chicken breasts, I had some leftover from the above recipes. I bagged and froze 1.5 lb quantities into freezer bags with marinade so they would marinate as they thawed in the refrigerator.

I completed the bulk of this work on Saturday, then wrapped up by around noon on Sunday, taking breaks to rest and spend time with K and E. It felt like a monumental task, but truly made for much easier meal prep throughout the week. As the week concludes, I am proud to say that we had a delicious, nutrient-dense, homemade meal every single night with very little weeknight effort. I have enough in our freezer to likely last about six weeks, too!

I have a feeling that this periodic meal preparation strategy will become part of our family’s organized way to stay sane, save money and feel successful and nourished.

10 Months Young

E 9 month photo

Technically his 9-month photo

Whoa. I can’t believe how long it has been since our last post. So sorry about that, y’all.

On Saturday, K and I officially became parents of a thriving, happy, TEN MONTH OLD. I can’t even believe how quickly the time has flown, and how rapidly we seem to be closing in on that looming one year mark.

Here are a few stats on our growing guy:

Weight: ~21 lbs

Length: ~28 inches

Clothing size: Mostly 12-18 months for tops because of his long torso and mostly 12 month bottoms, as long as they’re stretchy to accommodate the fluffy cloth diaper butt.

breakfast with daddy

Breakfast with Daddy

Favorite food(s): Pretty much anything Daddy is eating! E has turned into quite the little foodie and will literally try anything we put in front of him. Even things he previously rejected like scrambled eggs and any variation of potatoes are now fair game. He gets really excited when we give him super flavorful food like the quinoa risotto I make that has garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, lemon juice and zest, and goat cheese in it. Like Daddy, he’s a big fan of fruit. He seems to be eating us out of house and home, though, and is now waking in the middle of the night because he’s hungry for an extra bottle!

Favorite activities: Standing and cruising against furniture. E has also recently started doing this hilarious thing where he scoot-hops forward while on his butt and without using his hands. Bath time is also a popular activity, as E tends to melt down when we take him out of the bath before he feels like he’s done with the fun.

Favorite toys: Cups of any variety and any sort of musical instrument.

Health: Doing so much better with his ears. He’s had his first ear infection since getting tubes, and it’s kind of gross to see the drainage come out, even though I know it means his ears don’t have that painful pressure. Treating ear infections is so much easier with tubes, too, and only involves ear drops twice a day. He’s fully stopped his reflux meds without incident. He’s had a random cold once since getting tubes, but it’s been minor.

keepin' it classy at Costco

Keepin’ it classy at Costco

Number of teeth: He has the two middle teeth on the bottom, has three of the top middle teeth and one more top middle tooth is currently peeking through. That would make for SIX!

Sleep: When he’s not sick and/or teething, E seems to do pretty well with sleep. Up until his recent increase in hunger and food consumption, he was reliably sleeping through the night. He doesn’t nap very well at daycare, mostly because he has what our dear friend calls FOMA, which stands for “Fear of Missing Anything.” He also doesn’t nap very well for us at home, unless we all take a family nap in our bed, and then he’ll sleep for 2-3 hours without hesitation.

Mommy and Daddy’s humble brags: We hit the baby lottery. E is almost always so happy and curious. This child is a total joy and we absolutely love seeing him explore the world.

Mommy and Daddy’s current gripes: POOP! With the recent increase in food consumption comes a VERY large increase in poop production. Let’s also just say that cloth diapers + solid foods = things that can never been unseen.

Future plans: I really want to enroll E in a swimming class. In a state where bodies of water are so prevalent, it’s important both for safety and enjoyment that E has a good grasp of what to do in the water. It’s also my dream to enroll him in a baby music class, but all of the local ones seem to take place during weekday hours to accommodate stay at home parents.

Looking forward

One of the bonuses of being really, really sick to the point of depleting my vacation time (because of course my sick time is hovering at the zero hour mark), if I have to find one, is that I actually had some time to focus on planning E’s first birthday party.

For months, I have refused to even think about the notion of this event, mostly because of my reluctance to admit that our child is careening toward this milestone, but also because we have a teeny, tiny house that couldn’t contain our immediate family, let alone close friends. The latter concern, now that I’ve solved it, is laughable, given that I am a skilled, professional event planner, but the challenge truly threw me for a loop.

While digesting episode upon episode of the Law & Order franchise, I researched budget-friendly local venues, potential entertainers, and themes. I discovered that a local community center rents rooms of all sizes for very reasonable rates and called their scheduler to inquire about availability. I determined that the musician that E loved when she performed at his daycare Halloween party regularly plays for children’s parties, so I asked about her rates and availability, as well. Within a matter of mere days, I had hired the musician, who will play a half an hour set and bring a craft and an instrument for each child, reserved the room at the community center, paid deposits on both, decided upon a generic music theme, researched decor and sent out preliminary e-vites to close friends and family members.

I guess that settles it. We have a little kid who is turning one year old and we’re celebrating it with a party. Commence freak out.

A River (of Vomit) Runs Through It

Sorry for the revolting title, but it truly felt apropos, given the weekend we’ve had.

On Thursday, after a few days in denial over the clear bronchial symptoms I was experiencing, I broke down and left work early to go to an urgent care clinic. The doctor confirmed my suspicions: my bronchitis had unfortunately returned. He prescribed an inhaler and nightly cough syrup with codeine.

E was still fussy from his ear surgery and teething, so he was sleeping between us that night when he vomited in our bed. In a sleeping med induced haze, I changed our sheets while K got poor E all cleaned up. When we attempted to settle back in, E barfed again. K spent the next several hours with E on the couch, and was blessed by yet another massive tidal wave of vomit all over both of them. Between my bronchial hacking and sleeping meds, I was in and out of consciousness for the remainder of the night.

Early the next morning, we received an email from E’s daycare, alerting us that several children had gotten sick from a stomach virus, and requesting that we keep little ones home if they’re experiencing any of those symptoms. It was clear that E had gotten the virus. K stayed home with both of us, since I was way too sick to care for E alone.

By Saturday, we were feeling well enough to go to lunch with K’s cousins and their husbands, who hasn’t yet met E. It was an enjoyable couple of hours as we caught up with them and E, of course, dazzled them.

A few hours after returning home, K started feeling nauseous. He spent the entire night between the couch and the bathroom in total intestinal misery. I meanwhile did my best to care for E in our bed while I continued to hack away with my bronchitis symptoms.

K was feeling slightly better by Sunday morning when I succumbed to the stomach virus from hell. Even though he was still somewhat weak, he spent the majority of the day caring for E while I was doubly ill.

I stayed home from work again today, though I was finally feeling well enough to eat and drink. K took E to daycare and drove himself to and from work so he could pick E up. I spent the day resting and regaining my strength, and when I had small bursts of energy, I doused the entire house in Lysol, changed our germ-infested sheets, and washed some laundry that had accumulated from our weekend of doom.

What a helluva way to start the week. Is it Friday yet?

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Surgical Success!

I’m thrilled to report that E’s surgery was a resounding success!

K and I woke up at the injurious time of 5 a.m. so we could be prepared to get to the surgical center by 6:15. We weren’t sure if the roads would be icy or congested with traffic, so we wanted to leave some cushion.

My intent was to wait until just before leaving to change E’s diaper and clothes and put him in a coat. I knew he’d be grumpy with the requirement of an empty stomach. He woke up a lot earlier than I had intended and was in happy spirits before promptly losing his shit in an epic meltdown. K and I had to continue bustling about to get ready to leave while trying without success to console him. K was also teary from the stressful experience, bracing himself for the possibility that this response could continue up until the point of surgery.

I’m certain the screaming E woke up half of the neighborhood when we put him in his car seat for the departure. I sat in the backseat with him and, after a few more moments of tears, he settled down.

20140114-202532.jpgWhen we got to the surgical center, we registered and were whisked back to a room, where a nurse conducted an intake. E was in great spirits and charmed every employee who walked by. We then met with the anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist. We were slightly concerned that they’d reschedule his surgery because E has yet another cold, but the anesthesiologist felt his vitals and energy were strong enough to move forward.

E was abruptly taken back to surgery and we barely had time to give him a last-minute kiss. K and I trudged, exhausted and stressed, back to the family waiting area.

I kid you not – the surgeon came to talk to us after only five minutes. He said that the surgery went well and that it was aptly timed because he has another ear infection. He gave us antibiotic ear drops to use and told us that E would have some bloody drainage from his ears, which is normal, albeit gory looking.

After about fifteen more minutes, we were called back into the recovery area, where a nurse was holding and cuddling with our smiling, somewhat groggy son. The nurse reported that he did well, didn’t cry at all, and spent the majority of his time in recovery charming patients and staff alike. We cuddled with him in one of the large recliners in the recovery section, gave him a bottle, and slowly changed him back into his pajamas before heading home.

We were all really sleepy from the ordeal and lack of sleep the night before, so we took a luxurious three-hour nap together in our bed. Throughout the remainder of the day, E played and ate mostly as he normally would, but took longer than usual naps as his anesthesia continued to wear off. Toward the evening, it was obvious that his ears were bothering him and we gave him pain medication to try to make him more comfortable.

After an abnormal amount of daytime rest, E was impossible to get to sleep at night. K tried everything. At one point, K reports that E was jumping in bed between us and I groggily turned to him and, in a sleeping med induced haze, said, “What… the… fuck…?” E was wild but eventually went to sleep between us, leaving us very sleepy the next day.

I’ve already noticed a couple of major changes since E’s surgery:

  • E can definitely hear sounds more clearly. The slightest sound causes him to swivel his head around, which doesn’t bode well for going night-night in an old house with a creaky floor.
  • For the past few months, E has been an absolute nightmare during diaper changes, kicking, screaming, and wrestling to try to flip onto his tummy. I chalked it up to a normal developmental response to having better things to do than sit there while someone changes your diaper. Almost immediately after surgery, while he still might express displeasure, E will lay on his back for diaper changes. It’s clear to me that being horizontal was exacerbating the ear pain!
  • E is also exploring his sounds a lot more and seems to really enjoy yelling louder than I’ve ever heard him. I’m curious to see if he has a developmental explosion as it relates to verbal skills.

Thanks for all of the support, positive energy, and well-wishes, dear readers. K and I are very happy that we made this decision for our little guy, even though it was anxiety provoking.

A Potpourri of Updates

I wish that I could say that we made it through the polar vortex unscathed. The good news is that we were only trapped at home for one day. Our jobs are flexible enough to be able to accommodate occasional work from home, though it was much trickier with E there. At the end of the day, I cheered and dramatically sang “The Wind Beneath My Wings” a la Bette Midler when we saw the snow plow pull up in front of our house. We knew that it meant an end to our isolation.

A few minutes later, our dog went ape shit crazy when we all heard an assertive knock at the door. I carried the dog into our bedroom while K answered the door, surprised to find a police officer on our doorstep. The officer handed K some literature and said, “Here’s how you obtain your police report. It will be available tomorrow.” K, flummoxed, asked, “What police report?” The officer flatly replied, “Oh. The snow plow hit your car on the street,” before turning on her heel and swiftly departing. Uh, what?! K’s car, which as you know, we obtained only a few months ago, was stranded on the street in the snow and sustained enough body damage to impede our ability to drive it. Now, we must wait for the City’s insurance risk assessment team to review the damage and tell us how much they’ll pay toward our repairs. Since the car is not worth much to begin with, we’re slightly afraid that it will be considered a total loss, and there’s no way we’ll find as reliable of a car as this for the amount they’d pay for it.

Here’s a funny diagram of the accident, as found at the bottom of the police report, for which the plow driver was cited for “improper backing.” I have no clue how he failed to see K’s vehicle when he drove right next to it before backing into it!Untitled

We recently transitioned E to a convertible car seat in our primary vehicle, which, thanks to the snow plow incident of ’14, is our only currently working vehicle. It has been such a change from the lugging of a baby inside an infant seat to wrangling an active, wiggly almost-kid! With the baby bucket style seat, he was more contained and it allowed me to better manage all of his belongings, especially when picking him up from daycare. Now, I feel completely incapable of managing it all!  His daycare is a shoe-free environment, so you need to remove footwear (or pop booties on over them) before entering the main space. With all of the snow and the necessity for boots as of late, adding just one more step to the process of picking up or dropping off makes me feel especially inept. I’m sure it will eventually become second nature to me, but in the meantime, it’s an additional frustration that I don’t need.

E’s surgery to insert tubes has been officially scheduled for Monday morning. He needs to fast starting at midnight beforehand, which makes me a little sad. He loves his morning bottle. Hopefully, in a matter of days, he’ll be feeling much improved. Maybe ear pulling will be a thing of the past!

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I’m a firm believer in the power of positive thinking, so we appreciate any woo, light, prayers, meditation, etc. in an effort toward a positive outcome for E.

Eustachian Frustration

After months of agony, trips to the doctor and round after round of antibiotics, K and I finally took E to see a Pediatric Otolaryngologlist (ENT) with the support of his pediatrician.

E had a follow-up with his pediatrician yesterday, who said that his cough and wheezing were improved enough to discontinue the nebulizer. His ears also looked a lot less inflamed but the fluid was still present. She said that tubes were still likely in his future but that the ENT might want to wait a few more months.

K and I battled terrible driving conditions, creeping along with a grumpy and wailing E in the back seat as we crept through traffic to get to his ENT appointment this morning. We saw several cars in the ditch along the way. We were about fifteen minutes late to the appointment but they luckily saw us without any grief or wait. A PA initially assessed E before the doctor came into the room, and kept remarking that E is a very happy baby. We all laughed as E willingly opened his mouth when the PA held up a light and tongue depressor to look at his throat.

The specialist was really nice and informative, explaining as he showed us anatomy charts that E was prone to chronic otitis. He said that E could likely benefit from tubes, saying that we could either have them inserted in the near future or pursue a watchful waiting approach. K and I both liked that he said that there was no wrong answer between those two options, and that he gave us many factors to consider, including those we hadn’t initially considered, like the days upon days we’ve had to take off of work and constant visits to (and associated copays with) the pediatrician.

K and I both agreed and communicated to the doctor that we want to schedule the procedure in the near future because we really feel that this is impacting E’s quality of life and causing him a lot of pain. We also said that we’re concerned with the amount of pain medication we’ve had to administer as a way to keep E comfortable. As soon as we told the doctor our preference, the doc said, “It was the best decision I ever made for my daughter.” We were really impressed by this specialist and feel good about our decision.

The ENT told us that if we, as adults, needed tubes, he would provide the very quick procedure (the doc quoted roughly 30 seconds per ear!) during an office visit by numbing our ears. But E, as a little guy who would likely be stressed and fidgety during the procedure, needs to be given some gas to keep him still and calm, which will, in turn, allow the doc the ability to perform the delicate procedure with much more accuracy.

I’m awaiting a call from the office staffer who schedules these procedures and anticipate that, in the very near future, E will finally have some relief to the months of ear pain hell. We’re finally feeling optimistic about his ears!

Picture Perfect

One of my least favorite things in the entire world is being photographed. I take a lot of pictures of the people I love, mostly with my iPhone and, to this end, K bought me a Photo Jojo macro and wide-angle lens for my iPhone and an online phone-ography class. But I mostly avoid being the subject of others’ photos, much to K’s frequent disappointment.

I knew that he’d been wanting a family photo for a long time and, while I did too, being in said photos felt akin to having a tooth drilled. Since gifts aren’t really supposed to be about the gift giver and I wanted to show that I valued his wishes, I purchased a family photo shoot for K for Christmas.

We were originally supposed to have our photos taken on December 26th, but with both of my guys sick, no one really felt up to the task. Plus, there’s not a frame in the world that’s beautiful enough to overcome the sheer amount of mucous that would be present in the resulting photos.

I rescheduled the shoot for New Year’s Day. Earlier that morning, despite the frigid temperatures and heaping cover of snow on the ground, I trudged outside to install E’s new convertible car seat, a Diono Radian RXT, which K’s parents got for us as a Christmas gift. It was trickier to install than our infant seat, but not too bad.

I knew that with the terrible winter weather and the steep learning curve of putting E into his new car seat, we would need to leave early for our photography shoot. Unfortunately, upon placing him in his new seat, E had the biggest meltdown I have seen to date. It required me to sit in the backseat with him, placing a paci in his mouth and trying to comfort him while K bravely traversed the slippery roads to get us to our destination. There’s nothing quite like three grumpy people headed toward an activity that pretty much demands sincere, lovely smiles.

E rings in the New Year by nomming on some steak

E rings in the New Year by enjoying some of his Daddy’s steak fajitas.

When we arrived, we gave E a bottle and we were relieved that his mood immediately brightened. He was a total charmer during the session and, much to my surprise, a lot of the resulting photos satisfied me. The present I got for K came with a disc of three of the photos, plus two printed sheets, and allowed the option of ordering additional sheets for a discounted price. I liked so many of the photos that it was difficult to decide and we ended up ordering a few extra sheets.

The disc and prints will arrive in two weeks and I plan on posting E’s solo photo that we chose as his 9 month commemorative shot as a part of the package. Since we plan on maintaining our anonymity as best we can, though, I won’t be posting the family photos we selected. You can all just take my word that we looked great. Haha!

Happy 2014, all!

Your First Christmas

E, you thoroughly enjoyed your first Christmas.

A few weeks beforehand, we visited my parents – your grandparents – who live up North to celebrate an early Christmas. It was the first time you experienced a great quantity of snow. We put you into the new snow suit your grandparents gave you for Christmas and took you outside for the obligatory photo shoot.

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Your grandma and grandpa spoiled you a lot more than I thought they would. Toys and clothing were plentiful under the tree. Your favorite was a train toy that had different types of toys with each component. I was surprised that you didn’t try to get at your grandparents’ three Christmas trees. You spent the majority of the time working on your standing skills. Your mama is very proud of your diligence.

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It was sad to say goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa, who are leaving soon to visit Florida for a few months. Grandma cried when you left. We promised to try a few Skype dates with them while they’re away.

We spent Christmas Eve with your aunt and Daddy’s parents, your grandparents who live closer to us. As I suspected, they spoiled you beyond belief. Grandma had a large basket that looked like a train engine, which she staged with other baskets behind it to look like a train, and she placed all of your presents inside the train. Grandma and Grandpa got Mommy and Daddy what they asked for – a really nice convertible car seat that will keep you safe and allow you to stay rear facing in the car for several years.

On the way to visit your grandparents, we stopped at a mall to visit Santa for the first time. You were so patient and cheerful, and thankfully, the line wasn’t too long.

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Dinner was slightly delayed because we waited for your aunt to get home from her new job as a dietician at a local hospital. Your grandparents thought that a Japanese steakhouse would be a fun dinner, but when the hibachi cook made large flame bombs on the grill and you cried in fear, I was annoyed with them for not considering how this spectacle would impact you.

We opened presents when we got back, but you were overtired and overstimulated after opening only a couple of gifts. Daddy took a long time trying to get you to fall asleep in a pack and play in your grandparents’ den. The rest of us slowly opened gifts and the prolonged experienced made your Mommy and Daddy feel pretty stressed about you. We ate pumpkin cheesecake that your Mama spent the morning making, quickly packed up, and drove home.

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You had a really tough time sleeping that night and didn’t seem like yourself on Christmas Day. We opened gifts in Daddy and Mama’s bed and had a nice morning, but as the day wore on, it was clear that your ear infection had returned with a vengeance. We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to make it to the Christmas evening celebrations and we considered taking you to the pediatric urgent care clinic. We gave you alternating doses of Tylenol and Ibuprofen, which seems to keep your ear pain mostly at bay and allowed us to go to Daddy’s Aunt and Uncle’s house for Christmas night for a couple of hours.

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Our extended family members were also incredibly generous in their gifts to you and you spent our limited time there dazzling everyone with your personality. Mommy and Daddy had planned to make everyone homemade food gifts, like they do each year, but didn’t have time and they felt really guilty about it.

You had a really rough time on the car ride home, so Mama rode in the back seat with you. In the morning, we visited the pediatrician, who said that your ears were infected again and filled with fluid. She prescribed what she called “the end of the road” antibiotic and said that if it didn’t get rid of the fluid, we would need to take you to a pediatric ENT specialist with the very strong possibility of tubes.

It was an eventful Christmas, both good and bad, but we spent it together as a family and that’s the best present your parents received this year.