Monday, September 30, 2013

September Gavinisms

Passing by someone walking on the street:
Gavin: "Who is that, Momma?"
Me: "Our neighbor up the street."
Gavin: "I don't know his name so I'm just gonna call him dude."

After church one Sunday:
Gavin: "It's a good day for a donut."

In the car on the way to daycare:
Gavin: "Momma, can you sing me a song?"
Me: "Sure...what song do you want me to sing?"
Gavin: "That one you sang when I was a baby."
Me: [sings song]..."do you remember that song?"
Gavin: "I don't remember the words, but I'm singing it in my heart right now."

Referring to our worship center, which is darker than the sanctuary at church:
Gavin: "When I grow up, I'm gonna play drums in the dark church."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Bennett at 18 Months

This child.
Oh, how I love him.

He still looks so much like his brother, but is absolutely his own person in every single other way possible.

He's speaking a little, but probably only 15-20 words or so. He still signs most everything, though he's picking up more language every day. He mimics our intonation perfectly when trying to repeat back new words, but can't quite make out the actual sounds for everything yet. He understands hundreds of words though, and often answers our questions with a sign, or a head shake for "no" or "yes," but mostly "no" because he's a toddler.
The way he says "outside" (ow-sigh) makes me want to grant every request he makes to go play "ow-sigh" because it's just too damn cute. I'd forgotten how much I loved toddler language and the way their pronunciation melts you into a puddle.

He's also daring--trying to impale, strangle, or maim himself at every possible opportunity. If there's something to climb on, he's scaled it before I can blink. I feel a strong urge to keep him covered in bubble wrap at all times.
He's a feisty one, and a little bit of a biter. If you ignore his demands or dare take a toy he wants, he'll come after you, mouth open, ready to defend his territory with that mouthful of chompers he's got. We're working on time-outs, etc. to curb his angry outbursts, but we've already had to sign a couple incident reports at daycare because he "bit a friend." Dude. Friends don't bite. Not the good ones anyway. We're keeping our fingers crossed that this little phase passes soon.

He's also such a cuddler, and I'm soaking up every single second of it before he outgrows this huggy/kissy phase. When he first wakes, he requires a snuggle. You'd might as well just drop everything else and give in because there's no better way to start the day. He melts his little body into yours and sighs, lavishing in a warm cuddle for a few moments before he's off and moving.

He loves his big brother fiercely, and wants to do everything Gavin does. His latest mimic is trying to jump, which mostly is just him rising up on his tip-toes and then back down again.

At eighteen months (already?!) he's this perfect little combo of spunk and sweetness, and I couldn't imagine our lives without him.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Big Fat Fail

For most of Gavin's life, we've lived as if peanuts were poison. For him, they always have been. The first time he ate peanuts, this happened:
He'd just turned one, and we were trying out some peanut butter for the first time. Unfortunately, this didn't happen until 16 hours after he'd eaten a tablespoon of peanut butter, so when we took him to urgent care, the doctor said it couldn't possibly be a peanut allergy. (Note: Hindsight taught us that we know our child better than any doctor. Grrr.)

Several months later after an overnight at my parent's house, he had peanut butter on a waffle for breakfast, and when I went to pick him up after church, my mom said he'd been complaining about his ears itching. As soon as I'd heard he'd had peanut butter again, I knew immediately that he was having a reaction. I rushed him to Children's Mercy, and by the time we got there, the left side of his face was so swollen that he couldn't open his eye. Scariest car ride of my life, by the way. Every time I looked back at him, he looked worse, and I was terrified I wasn't going to make it to the hospital before his throat closed up.

The nurse practically jumped over the desk to listen to his breathing when she saw him, and took us straight back into a room where doctors pumped him full of antihistamines and stopped the reaction, thank God.

From that point on, we've been a label-checking, epi-pen-carrying, online-researching, peanut-free household, and I've lived with a quiet, constant worry about Gavin being accidentally exposed to peanuts again. He's a child, after all, and we can't expect him, and everyone he comes in contact with to have the same heightened sensitivity as we do. I certainly didn't know what to look for on a food label or which restaurants fry their food in peanut oil before he became allergic. It's something we've had to grow into as a family, and something we've had to ingrain in him. He's gotten so good at asking, "Does that have peanuts in it?" when someone offers him food, and I'm incredibly proud of him for it, but still...that constant, nagging worry persisted.

So this year, when blood tests came back that the antibodies in his blood had decreased steadily every year, and his allergist suggested doing a peanut butter challenge in the office, I was equal parts nervousness and excitement. The day came and he was a champ. The nurse fed him gradually increasing amounts of peanut butter while we watched movies and played on the iPad. Little by little he ate it and nothing happened, and little by little, I got my hopes up that maybe, just maybe he'd have a different where he didn't have to worry about measly little peanut proteins.

But then I saw a little red splotch right below his lip and noticed him scratching his bottom lip with his teeth, and those hopes crumbled. He told the nurse his lips and tongue were "itchy" and the test was stopped immediately. His reaction was mild enough this time that he only had to take an oral dose of antihistamine to stop it, which was a relief, but I don't think it was until that moment that I realized how badly I just wanted it to be over. His peanut allergy. The constant worry. All of it. Though he remained oblivious, I was heartbroken. For him. For me. For the easier future I'd started to imagine for all of us.

So now we go back to the world we've known with our hopes a little shaken, but not abandoned. He still has a chance to grow out of this, and that is our constant prayer. That, and the grateful prayer of thanks we give for a generally happy, healthy, smart, strong, and incredibly awesome kiddo.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Love Letter From a Proud Pre-K Momma

You went to bed a big Pre-K kid last night, and your Daddy and I cried huge tears of pride for the little person you're becoming. You see...we already know your good heart, your kind nature, and your genuine concern for others. We get to see it all the time, but occasionally, we get to hear how that part of you shines even when we're not watching.

Yesterday morning, we walked into your new class and a little girl was sitting at a table quietly crying, with one of your teachers trying to soothe her fears. It was her first day, and she knew no one, unlike you, who galloped into the room and immediately saw several faces you knew and loved. I asked her name and called you over to introduce the two of you. I was this close to saying, "Why don't you help her feel better?" but you were off to the next thing after saying "hi" and I was in a hurry to get to work.

When I came to pick you up last night, you came running as usual, and I noticed the smile you gave to the same little girl, who was still obviously nervous and cautious about this whole Pre-K thing, clinging to the teacher until her parents picked her up. Your teacher piped up then, and said, "Gavin was a good friend today," and then proceeded to tell me how you'd patted the little girl's back when she cried and tried to make her feel more at home in her new classroom.

My cup overflowed in that moment, buddy...Because you were kind. Because I didn't have to tell you to be kind. Because you looked outside yourself to help someone you didn't even know. Because you weren't selfish. For so many reasons, my heart blew wide open with pride for you.

I'm so honored to be your Momma every day, buddy, but yesterday, you reminded me of one of the many reasons why.

I love you more,

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Summer Gavinisms

Wise words that include the word "butt":
Gavin: "It's not good if you lose your butt."
Me: "Oh, really?"
Gavin: "Ya...cuz then you can't poop."

A hero in the making:
Gavin: "If Bennett tries to go in the street, I'll trap him. Cuz I'm a big brother and that's what big brothers do."

Still a Daddy's boy:
Gavin: "You're a great dude, Daddy."

Thinking about his future form of employment:
Gavin: "I want to go to work with you, Momma."
Me: "Well...maybe you can come with me one day when you're bigger."
Gavin: "No, I want to come every day."
Me: "Well, when you get bigger, maybe you can work at Hallmark, too."
Gavin: "How big are your workers?"
Me: "At least 22."
Gavin: "Awww, man!"

Randomness from the back of the car:
Gavin: "I wish I was Batman."

Dancing around while eating frozen yogurt after dinner:
Me: "I love your dancing."
Gavin: "Ya...I should be on a TV show."

Picking up after a game one night:
Me: "How do we always forget one piece?"
Gavin: "Maybe cuz we don't have good brains."

Wishful thinking:
Gavin: "I wish I could swim in chocolate milk. I'd swim with my mouth open and drink it all up!"