We sent Josh to school this morning in underwear (not pull-ups) in hopes he would go the day or at least half the day without wetting but he had an accident about an hour after drop-off. We'll try again tomorrow and take him to pee shortly after arriving. Maybe he'll last longer. At home he's getting pretty good about taking himself with fewer and fewer accidents.

Time for a few Josh-isms:

* Josh sometimes introduces Rusty, "This is my son, Daddy."
* We told him we were going to WhichWich for dinner to which he replied "a what what?"
* Looking at our wedding picture he said, "Is that you and Mommy and Daddy?"

Elliot has a brand new molar popping out through his lower gum. He doesn't seem to mind it now but it did make him cranky last week. He's getting good with using a spoon. He still tends to turn it upside-down as the spoon goes into his mouth (which is fine for thick things like oatmeal, yogurt and milk-soaked Cheerios) but he's becoming more coordinated and seems to prefer to feed himself.

Elliot's also picking up more language comprehension even though he isn't speaking pretty much at all. For example, he now knows the phrases "pick up the ball" and "find daddy" and "walk up the stairs" and "step down/step up". He isn't really walking up and down stairs, by the way. He essentially crawls up the stairs using his hands for support. But occasionally he needs the reminder when walking through a raised threshold or over a gated area. Some words he knows in twos like clap-clap and dance-dance. Right now, the only thing he says is 'da' for pretty much anything that isn't a 'mamama'. He used to sign 'milk' but stopped for some reason.

We have distinguished how our boys take after us so far. Josh, like me, gets excited by doing and going and, like Rusty, doesn't need much sleep. Elliot, like Rusty, is content to chill and watch his brother run amok and, like me, needs lots of sleep. Joshua is an adventurous eater, like his dad, and loves the limelight, like me. Elliot is less obsessed by electronics, like me, but, like his dad, once he gets the TV remote there's no telling how he'll program things.

That was a great speech. Today is a good day. :-)

Tonight was Elliot's turn to be center of attention. He threw up a couple hours after his nap, slowly recovered then began breaking out into hives! We thought he threw up because he guzzled a bunch of orange juice from a friend's sippy cup then had some milk. Around this time his skin began to turn bright red on his tummy, neck, armpits, near his genitals and parts of his back. I didn't pay attention to the redness right away, I just redressed him and sent him off to play since he seemed normal again.

Over the course of an hour, within those "red zones", he developed raised bumps ranging in size from tiny specks to wide plateaus. They weren't brown at all and they itched fiercely. I gave him a tiny amount of Children's Benadryl (.625mL) before dinner hoping that would help. But I think I was too late treating it. Elliot was scratching so hard he tore his skin on his tummy in a couple spots using his sharp nails. I abandoned dinner (his and mine) and took him straight to the bath. I put oatmeal in the tub and even rubbed some of it directly on his tummy where he was scratching most. It took several minutes in the tub for the itching to subside and within ten minutes or so the hives retreated.

We're not sure what caused his hives. It's the second time we've seen him break out like this and not in response to an immediate stimulus, usually an hour or more delayed. Rusty said he fed the following to Elliot after his nap: a cashew, some banana chips, sesame crackers with spreadable cheese, some solid cheddar, and a few Teddy grahams. We're guessing right now that he's allergic to peanuts. (The banana chips are processed near peanuts.) I'll test this theory later this week being prepared with Benadryl and an oatmeal bath at the very first sign of reaction. If he is allergic to nuts I'll seek our good ol' acupuncturist Steve Homoky to alleviate the allergy.

The nuts Elliot has had without incident: pine nuts, walnuts, pecans. The jury is still out on peanuts & cashews.

On the bright side he gobbled up every single pea left over from dinner, ate a whole banana and was treated to some strawberry ice-cream before bed.

The gash on his head after it's cleaned and numbed.

Five staples.

Back to normal waiting for the discharge nurse.

After story time at the library we hung out at Chic-Fil-A for a bit to let Elliot (13 mos.) and Joshua (3.5) play and eat lunch before Elliot's nap. We were on our "3 minutes then we go home" countdown when Josh decided to run across the cushion benches. He had done this earlier with another little girl so I didn't think too much of it. Then his foot slipped on the edge and BANG! he slipped. The back of his head banged against the glass wall. I was prepared for a bump, a kiss, a few tears then going home. Oh no. He had a gash about an inch and a half long and fairly deep. He was bleeding onto his hair, it got on his shirt, his fingers... I was about to cry right next to him. The staff was good at bringing us water and towels to apply pressure. He needed a doctor and we decided paramedics would be best. The ambulance came, they braced his head, put him on a gurney and drove him to Trinity Hospital E.R..

I shed my two tears in the car driving behind the ambulance where Josh couldn't see me. Then pulled myself together, pulled Elliot out of his car seat then walked into the ER right next to him. He was such a champ- he didn't cry, he just talked to the paramedics.

Then we waited for two hours. Well, not entirely waited. He got his gash cleaned, they numbed it, they did a CT scan to make sure there wasn't any internal bleeding (there wasn't) all of which took the span of two hours. Thirty minutes into our waiting Rusty met us there, cheered up Josh then took Elliot home to nap while I waited with Josh. Then they gave him three staples (they don't do stitches anymore apparently) and discharged us with instructions to clean it daily and no swimming.

Whew! He's home, back to his normal wacky self. Lesson learned: do not let your kids jump or stand or especially run on the cushy benches at Chic-Fil-A because a hard enough bang on that glass wall can cause a nasty injury.

Every night we check on the boys before we go to sleep. We make sure they're covered, that Josh isn't about to fall off the bed. If Elliot's leg is hanging between a crib slat we gently tuck it back in. I can't see Elliot's face in his room because it's so dark. Every nightlight he's had either got stolen by Josh or taken out by Elliot in the day. But in Josh's room I can see him well thanks to his new fangled Santa nightlight that "chases the monsters away". And when I check on Josh I pause for a moment and gaze at his sweet sleeping face. I listen to his soft breath and take in his scent that permeates the room. I try to picture how he'll look when he's too grown up for me to check on him, and I try to remember how he looked when he was a baby. I'm in love with that boy every night in that moment. No matter how challenging he is in the day, I still pause and smile to see him sleeping at night.

Some day I'll get a nightlight in Elliot's room again so I can gaze at him as well.

According to my friend Stephanie, we're progressive parents. She means we've hit milestones that she's waiting to tackle with her own kiddos. These are little milestones like drinking from an open cup and expecting our tyke to take his plate to the sink after dinner. Being a progressive parent, I guess, means I have higher expectations of his capabilities and hold him to his end of the bargain. That he'll drink carefully with an open cup. That he's responsible to clean up his area after eating. I'm not sure what the opposite of progressive is when it comes to parenting styles. For moms who give their 4-year-old pacifiers, are they conservative or push-overs? (They're pacifists! HA!!) For moms who have lower expectations of what their little ones can do are they holding their kids back or are they just waiting until the child is ready themselves to advance, thus making the transition easy? It takes a bit more effort to be progressive, and patience.

On the other hand, her child can sit quietly for two books while mine ran circle around the room after the first one.

Another cute thing Joshua says is, I'm thirfy." He means he's thirsty.

"You can't depend on the man who made the mess to clean it up."
-- Richard Nixon, 1952

So true.

I spoke with my dad today after a couple of phone calls, one from Nel and one from his case worker. He's at the Longmont United Hospital. I still don't know what he did exactly to get in there other than being brought in by cops. I had the chance to ask him directly but I chicken out. Instead I told him how his grandsons are doing, talked about our cold snap, asked him how he'll find a job again, asked if he was taken care of. But I couldn't seem to drag the biggest question out of my mouth. And I'm not entirely sure why. I've had a stressful and strained relationship with my father for a very long time. It evolved into some deeper manifestation as I gained wisdom and perspective over the years. Hurt turned into anger. Disappointment turned into sadness. After all the drama, after all the worry, after all the stress about his well being, we spoke for a total of 4:24. That's it.

I offered to go to Colorado to help him gather his things from Nel's and help him get situated. He declined this offer. He did promise to call me when he's out. And he better.

My dad called his cell phone which Nel has (but didn't get the call because she left it at home when she ran an errand) from a psychiatric ward. He didn't tell her where he is (Boulder, Denver, Pueblo?), how he go there, or why he's there. He just told her not to worry about his Jeep, which is still impounded, and that he's ok and will be held for two weeks. Nel said he sounded really good on the message she got. I assume that's because he's sober and well fed. Probably rested too. She's going to try to figure out what number he called from- that may help us narrow in on where he's at.

I have lots of new questions now. But at least I'm not worried about his immediate well being.



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