Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Short hospital stays with a one-year old

I've been blessed incredibly to (previous to November) only have ever stayed in a hospital after the births of three babies. I've been the "patient", but have been healthy, & entertained with a new life and the visitors a new baby brings. So I was shamefully ill-equipped to stay the two nights on my own with Theo after his surgery. I had no idea what to bring and what not to bring. Just in case someone else out there finds themselves in this situation, I jotted down a few notes on what is needed:

Things to bring:
- Toys: my baby was bed-bound & bored. I only brought the chew toy giraffe that hangs from his car seat handle. And by "brought" I mean that thing is always attached to his car seat, so it came with us. It did work well, as I could velcro it to the hospital crib so it couldn't be thrown down on the floor. So bring things that can hook on if your child likes to toss things. 
- Baby Books: There's a lot of still, quiet time to enjoy stories with your baby. 
- Blankets: it's nice to have one of their favorite snuggle blankets since they have to spend the whole time in bed. I also brought a blanket to leave in the car so when it was time to leave I could put a fresh, non-hospital-germ-exposed blanket on him. 
- A lot of pacifiers: Like, everyone you own. So many of them end up on the floor, which, in a hospital, deems them unusable. I could've used three times the number I brought. 
- Toiletries: Toothbrushes for you and your baby, your deodorant, face wash and anything else that helps you feel human. 
- Pillow: If the hospital offers you one, it won't help very much. Bring your own so you can at least lay awake on the fold out chair thing slightly more comfortably all night long. 
- Slippers: That way you don't have to choose between putting your shoes on a million times to leave the room or roaming the hospital halls in just your socks. I hate shoes. 
- Paints: Or another hobby that you theoretically enjoy, but rarely have the time to do (like showering). You've got nothing but time in the hospital. 
- Something to Read: Flipping TV channels is the worst! Apparently "The Bachelor" is still on... That's just sad... I'm too spoiled by our on-demand TV habits to search for something not too mind numbing to watch.
- A Pen & Notebook: I used mine for when I was studying the Bible & to catch up on my "what the kids are doing" journal.
- Nail Polish: I actually had time for it to dry!
- Cards: I wrote this down while I was in the hospital, but can not currently imagine why I wanted a deck of cards??? I actually think I meant greeting or thank you cards, as there was actually time present to jot down how much I appreciate those who mean so much to me. 
- Underwear: Oh, you think this goes without saying? Well, perhaps I subconsciously wanted to ensure the necessity of a Target run. 
- Lotion: Hospitals are very dry and washing your hands and your child with surgical scrub multiple times can tear your skin up!
- Snacks & Drinks: I had great intentions of eating delicious food that's not accessible to me in my small town... Instead I just went hungry between the three meals I managed to escape for in the two and a half days. Since you may have to wait to meet with the doctors for an undisclosed amount of time, having snacks and drinks on hand is smart. Think breakfast, late night, and waiting room snacks. 

Things to leave:
- Diapers: I brought enough diapers to last two babies four days... And the hospital generously provides them. And to a mom free diapers=best diapers. 
- Wipes: The hospital provided these as well! They were gentle, thick, hypoallergenic, and flushable! They even gave us a pack for the road. 
- Jeans: Comfy sweat pants are more than sufficient. I packed a pair of jeans and never once thought that sitting around the hospital would be improved by wearing denim. 
- Running shoes: Again, this is probably common knowledge that parents staying with their hospital-bound children wouldn't be able to sneak in a run...But I brought mine just in case. The most cardio I snuck in was taking the six floors of steps every time I had to go out to the car.
- Pump: Theo was still nursing when he had surgery and had to do two days of I-V or clear fluids only. I actually forgot my pump, and by the second afternoon I was really regretting that. The hospital had an amazing machine & sterile, one-user parts that they offered to me as a nursing mom. They even provided bottles with caps and labels to safely store the milk in their refrigerators. 
- Medicine: Any medications that the child routinely takes (even a multi-vitamin) as well as anything necessary after the procedure are provided & administered by the hospital. 
- Bottles: The hospital took complete care of my baby's meals just as he needed. Including the bottles for his clear fluids two days out. The exception to this would be if you have a child who is extremely particular about what they drink out of. In that case, you'll want to bring what your child will be most comfortable with. 

***Disclaimer: This is simply things that the Children's Hospital provided or didn't provide for us. I would assume that experiences will change from hospital to hospital (especially if you have to bring your child to a hospital which doesn't specialize in children). I hope this list is helpful to at least help you get started packing. Feel free to talk to your surgical prep team, if the hospital stay is being planned, for specifics. 

Anything that other hospital stay parents love to bring or know is unnecessary? Please share your knowledge in the comments below!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Myth Buster

We have all been lied to.

Consistently and repeatedly.

Catchy little phrases that almost sing-song in our minds try to sway our mental powers to succumb and accept a fallacy as the truth.

But not today.

i'm here to challenge this bold faced lie...

Weebles do fall down.

That's right, Weebles, much like all other objects of mass, are subject to gravity. Sure, they're designed with marvelously round little bottoms that are weighted in such a way to keep them from tipping over, but they still fall down. If you don't believe me you can ask Theo... who may or may not have been victim to a Weeble air strike initiated by the large, toddling one. If Weebles somehow had the superpower to only wobble and never fall down, then my toes would be perfectly safe from the threat of those heavy little creatures falling out of one of the 7 secret hiding spots in the Weeble tree house that i'm simply trying to put away... chubby little ninjas. And for the record, gravity also applies to that large Weeble tree house. Maverick (who is obviously freakishly strong for a 14 month old) proves this daily as he wanders around the living room carrying said tree house.

So no more buying the lie! No more repeating the catchy genius marketing chant of "Weebles wobble but they don't fall down." They DO fall down. If you would like to cheer Weebles as having the ability to wobble but not tip over, by all means, go right on ahead. For that is fairly accurate.

After all, why are we as a society placing such a burdensome expectation on these brightly colored figures? Why is not falling down something to celebrate? As a parent i think it would be kind of frustrating to new walkers if their toy were to somehow resist the fall that they took while carrying it. Weebles would be levitating, smiling-faced taunters to all children learning how to walk if they in fact never fell down.

Falling down is a necessity. If we allow ourselves to wrongly think that Weebles have reached the level of never falling down, we may start to expect the same for ourselves and others. This would be tragic. For how could our babies learn to walk? How could dances be perfected? How could the sport of diving or pole vaulting continue? Fear of falling would make soccer players dull and diminish tackling to a long, pointless game of chase, where no one is running too fast to risk it. Baseball jerseys would stay clean, circus acts would never be attempted, jousting would disappear, and no one would understand the game of rugby. (OK, that last one may not have anything to do with falling... rugby is borderline impossible to understand.)

And how harmful would this standard of perfection be if it were translated into more than just physically falling? Can you imagine if we all decided that wobbling in our thoughts, emotions, words and character was acceptable as long as we never fell... Expectations like this would eliminate our freedom to confess, increase hypocrisy, encourage escape instead of dealing with our actual struggles... And that would be terrible.

For if we can't fall then we can't
be broken...
be humble...
be weak...
be weary...
be undeserving...
be contrite...

... and therefore we miss out on the blessings of
being close to God (Psalm 34:18)...
being lifted up by God (James 4:10)...
being forgiven (1 John 1:19)...
being comforted (Matthew 5:4)...
experiencing the power of God (2 Corinthians 12:9)...
finding rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28)...
receiving salvation through grace (Ephesians 2:8-9)...
repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10)...
laying what we have at the feet of Jesus and receiving all of Him (Revelation 4:10-11)...

... and what is life if we miss all that?

So let us free the Weebles from the torture of the expectation to never fall and may we find the grace to join them in that freedom.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Giving thanks

November is such a wonderful time! Fall weather... Family gatherings... Yummy food... Thankful posts on Facebook...

If you have participated in this 30 day thanksgiving posting and have, by chance, witnessed any lack of love, you just hold your thankful head high and soldier on. We all need a lot more thanks to be given. Facebook could always be improved with some positive vibes. I may personally scan past your postings... But I'm thankful for my thankful friends. 

The scanning happens more because if I've already read a thankful post or two, then I've already read the rest. We are thankful for our family, children, pets, home, freedom... And should voice such thankfulness more often than we do. But since those things have already been spotlighted (648 times this month) Here's a list of random things that I'm thankful for that you probably haven't already seen on your newsfeed...

- My eyebrows:
My face would look very strange without them. Also they're not too bushy and naturally lay in the same direction (a necessity in my book). I've never had to experience a brow wax. I'm thankful for that. 

- The pickling process:
I join cucumbers in singing the praises of adding veggies to incredibly salty water. 

- Salad dressing bottles with squeeze lid openings:
These save my salads from being drowned in a ranch avelanch. There's not enough lettuce left over to recover after I wrongly assume there is a squeeze lid when in fact there is not...

- I was born after toenail clippers were invented:
I'm trying to not imagine grooming practices previous to these silver hand-held helpers started being mass produced. 

- Bumbo seats:
The single apparatus that has allowed Theo to sit upright for the last 6 months. 

- My husband is bald:
He's seriously handsome with a bald head. 

- The Harlem Shake
This viral phenom is completely entertaining. The song is amazingly catchy. The creative group productions are hilarious. And the Payne Family version makes me laugh harder every time I watch it. If I can figure out how to attach a video y'all can witness the awesomeness... 

- I've never experienced air bags going off: 
Think about it for a moment. It's terrifying.

- The movie "Clue" was in the $5 bin at walmart:
Just buy it. Go to walmart, pay the $5, now you're thankful too. 

- Digital music: 
No more storing 639 cd cases and the ability to shuffle music from my entire collection... Yes. 

- The ability to connect to the internet silently:
Remember that dial-up sound? I'm thankful it's just a memory. 

- I outgrew the fascination with toe lint I had as a child:
I don't claim to understand it. I'm just glad I no longer have to check between each toe before I fall asleep each night. 

- No one has to follow the parking rules in our Kroger parking lot:
I'm not sure why, but this MuSt be true. There's no other explanation for what happens in that parking lot.

- Apple products:
They're seriously great. Regardless of what car taggers may think...

- People who will tell me they don't like my hair:
Whether it's Mic stating that my hair looks "more beautifuller without that circle thing on my head" (referring to my ponytail), or my husband who is honest about his favorite hair color on me... I'm so thankful that I have people who's compliments I can always trust because they tell me what they don't like as well. 

-This balloon:

- The lack of dress code for the stay at home mom occupation:
This may be my number one love of my job... Of COURSE I mean after my children... It's just that my sweat pants never whine or need their food cut up into smaller pieces...

- Down syndrome:
God definitely showed off His creativity with the addition of the 47th chromosome. Just amazing. 

- That I was out of high school before the invention of social media:
We recently looked through our old yearbooks. I'm very thankful that I could put all those awkward pre-teen photos back into a box...
(You're welcome for that laugh)

- Saltines:
These delicious, addictive salty crackers cost less than $1 for a huge box and are perfect to eat anytime. What other food do you desire the same 24 hour period after puking?

- How lilacs smell:
Just imagine it... Sigh...

- Super hero masks:
Making my life always interesting. 

- My In-Laws:
Be jealous. I get along as well with my husband's family as my own. That's something to give thanks for. 

- Teenager's love of ugly boots:
It's not that I understand all the styles out there, it's just that I love that I can wear big, clompy boots with my sweat pants when it's cold and wet outside and no one cares... (Expect maybe my fashion aware spouse...)

- Double Stuff Oreos:
What need is there for the normal-stuff Oreos now?

- The 3 people who actually read this whole list:
Thanks for your support and interest in what I have to say. I truly enjoy conveying it all.