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Posts Tagged ‘Elizabeth Rose’

Sue the Dinosaur at St. Louis Science Center – Destination Review

Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex

Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex

Olivia came home from preschool a few weeks ago asking if we could go see the dinosaur at the Science Center. “Sure” I said somewhat surprised that she had any interest in the life-sized animatronics display which she has skirted two dozen times in the past; however I had mistakenly assumed the permanent crustaceous period display is what she was referring too. Evidently a boy in her class had been talking up Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex on special exhibit and this information received via preschool playground chatter was a first too my knowledge about Sue traveling from Chicago’s Field Museum to our Science Center. I had to check online to verify the fact and sure enough I am at the stage in my life in which my five year old enlightens me to the most current social attractions around town.

This week’s daddy day, my mom (Bubie) accompanied Olivia, Hailey, Elizabeth and me to see Sue. Surprisingly, there was a bunch to do for preschool age kiddos at this special traveling exhibit. The main attraction, Sue the T-Rex, huge with teeth the size of railroad spikes, “Scary, but not really, ‘cause its exstink,” Olivia recanted later, was dominantly displayed front and center. Then there were a bunch of activities to hold the little princesses interest. An archaeological dig where 4” paint brushes were handy for discovering prehistoric bones covered in rubber mulch. A sifting station where real petrified bone fragments had been re-cast in stone, the goal was to scrape away the plastered stones with toothbrushes to expose the ancient bones. There were several craft stations for creating dino helmets, dino hatchlings, dino necklaces, and dino art. Also a smart beat the clock game, the objective was to puzzle together bone shaped pieces magnetized to a vertical T-Rex and if the light-bar timer terminated before the puzzle was complete the game demagnetized resulting in all the pieces falling off. There were a couple I-Spy through the eyes of a dinosaur mini exhibits. And a few hands on hydraulic mechanically operated simulators illuminating how the strong jaws, the heavy tail and the mini arms would have worked on a T-Rex.

Family with Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex

Family with Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex

The exhibit kept my kiddos actively immersed for over an hour, one bummer thou, Elizabeth was bored and cranky not much for her to do and confined to her stroller for that length of time. Besides her slightly agitated demeanor, it was a great visit. How do I know? Within ten minutes of getting home, Hailey was asking me when we were going back to see Sue the Dinosaur at the Science Center.

Screams of Passion

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 02/03/08

Elizabeth Rose is three weeks old and has colic. She cries, she fusses and she fidgets. She has the quiver lip, a gaping mouth howl and an ear splitting screech.  Her body stiffens, her legs thrash, and her arms riffle. She is having a fit in my lap right now. Three to four hours of screaming a day which is about half of her waking hours keeps Kim and I rabid, barking at each other over trivial stuff.

On the flip side, Elizabeth Rose is the sweetest, cuddliest, cooiest, already saying “da” iest, little bundle of amazement. She makes heart-warming smiles and has the cutest most perfect spiral of life belly button. She is observant, intensely she focuses on the multi textured brightly colored C-shaped link together toy things that I rattle in front of her. Today while in her hand-me-down portable swing, she clutched and pulled down those same linky-chains that Olivia had draped around the top of the swing.

Kim and I have different styles to deal with the crying bouts. Kim gingerly scoops-up Elizabeth Rose tenderly swinging, swaying, lightly bouncing, digging a path throughout the house while shush, shush, shushing her. Kim will change Elizabeth Rose’s position, pat her, rub her, sing to her, and hum to her. Kim exhausts every effort for hours at a time attempting to sooth Elizabeth Rose.

My approach is more of a cave-man style. When Elizabeth Rose’s high-pitched noises start to emanate I will grab her and check her basic needs. Sniff first then look in the diaper and take action if necessary. I’ll ask Kim when the last time she was fed and take care of that if need be. I’ll try the Boppy Sling and occasionally that will suffice. I’ll carry her around the house football style. But I can only take fifteen to twenty minutes before I give in and lay her in her crib and let her cry herself to sleep or until an hour or so passes and Kim will eventually pick her up and run through all of her bag of tricks.

Kim and I are cagey colic veterans. Hailey, once known as Hailey Wailiey, had colic invetro. Yes, I know that’s not possible, but that’s what I tell everyone. It did seem like from the moment Hailey was born she started crying and didn’t stop until she was six months old. From six months until two years of age Hailey was super sensitive and a read-every-parental-guidance-self-help-book-from-the-library challenge. She still has irritability issues, for instance the stitching on her socks must be lined up just right, if not she will get upset, yell at anyone within earshot, peel the sock or socks off, refuse assistance and is irate until she gets the socks on just the way she likes. If I attempt to help, I must quickly dodge a flying shoe or shoes. I have a saying that I have been drilling into her head for a long time to counter her irrational sock-hops, “Hailey, Sweetie, there are lots of little bumps in life. You need to get used to those little bumps.” I have come to realize that control is her motivation for the majority of her out-busts at this point in her life.

Elizabeth Rose cry’s hard, but her colic pales in comparison to Hailey’s six month long scream-feast. In fact, Kim was so shell-shocked by Hailey’s everlasting emotional storm, it took me over two years to convince Kim that it would be impossible to bear two children with colic. There goes my credibility.

Old Hat

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 01/16/08 

A month ago, Kim and I were cleaning out our bedroom closet, packing up the non-essentials getting ready for the move to our new house. During the closet clean-sweep I found an old favorite Blues (Hockey Team) hat. Fashioned in the ball cap variety with fading team colors of blue, red and gold, the billed still curved tightly with greasy finger prints all over it. The old hat had been stuffed into a corner and forgotten. I wore that hat daily throughout my college years and even up until Kim and I bought the house that we were now getting ready to sell. I put the old beat up hat on. I figured that it would slide right on without any adjustments and fit perfectly, but I was wrong. It was tight, chaffy and felt unbroken, kinda like new, when I first tried it on so many years ago. Kim asked me if I need to keep the bruised hat. If not, then to get rid of it, but instead I stashed it deep within the box we were packing, un-wanting to give it up and hoping one day it may fit again.
Under Contract
Speaking of our move, we have another contract and this time around we agreed on a price. So now we are waiting for the buyer’s financial commitment and awaiting the outcome (the bad news) from the building inspector. If all goes smoothly we will be handing over our keys to new occupants in five weeks. Olivia and Hailey mention the move every day now “Are we moving to Bubie’s today?” It will be good for them, more room to play, quiet cul-de-sac and a big back yard.
A day? A Week!
It has been one week since the birth of Elizabeth Rose but it feels like one long day since I have yet to sleep for more than three hours at a stretch. I’m on paternity leave and wishing it could be permanent although by next week I think I will be ready to get back to work. There is only so much laundry, vacuuming, dishes, and clean-up I can do before pleading domestic insanity. Today was Elizabeth Rose’s one week check-up and I took her to see the pediatrician. My baby is doing great. Her hips look good, (something breech babies have issues with), she has topped her birth weight by .1 of an ounce and besides frequent wet-burps during feedings she appears to be in spectacular health.
Shopping With Daddy
After the doctor put the seal of approval on Elizabeth Rose, we had a little excursion to Babies R Us for her first shopping trip. She can’t even talk yet and she cleaned me out. A cute purple on purple polka-dot zip-up sleeper, the girl has to have some new clothes. A couple pink hoody-towels, the hand-me-down towels are scratchy and frayed. A girly colors pack of face cloths, the hand-me-downs are grotesquely stained and have lost their fluffiness. Three new 9oz Vent Aire plastic bottles and a pack of old-school Gerber nipples, she collapses the nipples that come with the Vent Aire bottles and yes I know where she should have the nipple in her mouth. A new Boppy sling, our old sling was once willed to my sister Rachel, been through countless infants and its original color no longer recognizable, not to mention that it is back-wrenchingly uncomfortable. And a manly, well as manly as you can get for a diaper-bag, Columbian brand diaper-back-pack, my old pack has had it, the zippers unfunctionally tattered, the stretchy mesh on either side no longer able to hold its contents and a shredded gaping hole in the center divider. A ten minute showing of Elizabeth Rose’s new goodies ensued upon our return home and then Kim asked, “Did you get the lollypops you promised Olivia and Hailey [from doctor’s office]?” No, I forgot to grab a couple free lollies for my two big girls and spent a fortune on Elizabeth Rose, I thought I was being a good dad, but I failed.
Old Hat Feels New
Much like my old grungy Blues hat, I figured Elizabeth Rose would automatically fit, I wouldn’t have to make any adjustments and I could keep parenting, business as usual. I have forgotten many little things since the last go around. It took a week to get my diaper changing technique down and I’m rusty slow still getting peed on. Once a master, I forgot how to swaddle, I can’t seem to figure out my old method and in the mean time, rolling her up like a burrito. Her first bath which Olivia and Hailey eagerly helped with, I forgot to uncork the infant tub while rinsing off Elizabeth Rose nearly submerging her. Every child comes with a whole new set of challenges as well as the same old routine demands. They create a completely different dynamic in the family and unlike my old Blues hat Elizabeth Rose can’t be tucked away for future considerations. I have to get comfortable with my beautiful delicate infant and figure out how to make her fit. But it won’t take long, it is old hat.

Welcome Elizabeth Rose

Originally posted on BabyCenter.com 1/12/08 

Number Three is here; well I suppose I can call her by her given name now that she has one, Elizabeth Rose. Eli, or Lizzie, or Beth for short, whatever suits her best, we will see. She is beautiful, a round face, dimple in her chin, inch long muddy brown hair, one ounce shy of seven pounds, nineteen and a half slender inches. She is already competing with her siblings and wanted to make sure that her delivery was the most memorable.

Thursday night I was up until 2:30 am. Wired from an earlier Hockey game I couldn’t sleep and needed to get a ton of website stuff completed so I stayed up hacking away. When I silently slinked into bed Kim woke up to go to the bathroom and shouted at me for staying up way too late. She couldn’t fall back asleep, flipped on the TV and within a half hour she was breathing hard, grunting, groaning and having consistent contractions. At 4:30 she came out of the bathroom and said “I’m Bleeding!” Instantly, wide awake again,  I jumped out of bed and started getting everything ready to go; her bag, the camera, insurance cards, IDs, laptop, jackets and warmed up the car. She paged her doctor. He called back within ten minutes and said to get going to the hospital. My Mom was on stand-by to come over and watch Olivia and Hailey, she lives a half mile from us and twenty minutes after I called her, she leisurely showed up with a full pot of coffee in her hands, “We waited for coffee to brew!” Impatiently I shouted. Then as we were pulling out of the driveway I see my mom through the kitchen window waving her arms to get my attention. I stopped, then waited another precious minute to see what was so important, “Your lights!” she shouted from the garage.

“Like I wouldn’t have figured that out!” I screamed at her. Even when my mother is doing me a favor I get irritated with her. It is so unfair to her, but I can’t help it. I slammed the van back into reverse and careened down the driveway sideswiping the trash can on my way. I just left it in the street.

We arrived at the hospital right around 5am. The attending nurse in the Woman’s Evaluation Unit performed an exam, said that Kim was dilated to three, was going to page her doctor and issued orders for Kim to get into a Labor and Delivery room. What the nurse failed to realize was that the baby was bottom down breech. Kim labored for a few hours and around 7:45am Kim’s doctor came in to do a “quick check” She was four or five, but he failed to notice the breech. Kim received a much needed epidural as soon as her doctor left. A couple of hours sped by until Kim’s contractions were a minute apart and she was feeling a lot of pressure. At 10:30 her water popped and loads of meconium thick as engine sludge started leaking out with all the fluids, the bed pad looked like the Le Brea Tar Pit. Kim paged the nurse and she came in to clean-up and do another exam. The nurse said Kim was dilated to ten but she needed to do a quick ultra sound because she thought Kim was breech and wanted to double check. It was then that the nurse realized Elizabeth was breech and from then on, all hell broke loose.  Within an hour, the anesthesiologist, several nurses, a couple techs and an infant care specialist were scrambling to get Kim to the operating room. Kim was understandably upset, crying and extremely scared. She didn’t anticipate the c-section at all. Elizabeth came out bottom first (yes, I looked), folded like a taco, her feet scratching the back of her head. She gave one good last kick on her way out, spraying blood all over the doctor.

Both Elizabeth and Kim made it ok.  I am so happy they are healthy, proud to be a daddy again and just ephing exhausted.


A Child’s Disappointment

A whale in the ocean - Hailey 08Stay at home dad this past Tuesday with Olivia, Hailey and Elizabeth Rose lesson learned:
Setting up the tone, “Daddy Days Are Here Again” to the song
“Happy Days Are Here Again.”  Olivia has a superb new addition to her morning routine, journaling. From the kitchen table she sketches in a spiral bound Strawberry Shortcake branded notebook, supplying me with a brief dictation of the journal entry, currently a narrative mermaid epic, I hastily inscribe a sentence or two. She enjoys creating pictures and appreciates the short bit of time we spend discussing the drawings on a mature level that Hailey either understands and is uninterested or she doesn’t yet comprehend the abstraction. Hailey’s Care Bear note book occasionally gets used and she will scrawl prolific ‘scribble scrabble’ a dub from her big sister. The scribble scrabble is fresh and expressive. I write copy pertaining to Hailey’s Star, or Snakes, or Fish, or Whales and once I received no expletive, instead artistic silence. Olivia's Mermaid

During a breakfast of bagels and cream cheese we discussed the dreary rainy morning. I suggested we go to our community center to make use of the dues we pay and visit the indoor pool. Hailey jumped on the idea and Olivia half heartedly agreed. Free swim wasn’t until noon, so after cleaning up from meal number one of the day, Elizabeth Rose ended up in her crib for nap number one of the day, then it was game time. Hungry Hungry Hippos, Fishing Around, Little (or Littlest) Pet Shop, Hi Ho Cherry O’, Melisa and Doug’s Magnetic Dress Up Princess, honestly, I opted-out on that last one, preparing three backpacks for the pool instead.

At noon the clouds had blown over and the spring sun worked to burn off the dampness. I was feeding Elizabeth Rose bottle number two of the day and Olivia and Hailey were finishing up meal number three of the day. (They snacked on granola shortly after breakfast).  Anticipating our departure for the pool, they were bouncing all over the place, so I sent them to their room to prepare for swimming. Elizabeth Rose had me temporarily immobilized which meant I had to verbally remind them that if they wanted to go to the pool they needed to, “put on swimsuits and get dressed. Socks and Crocks.” Fifteen minutes later, Elizabeth Rose belched out a deep baritone that a horn three times her size would not be able to register. All the little ducky’s in a row and we were out the door.

Twenty minutes later, Olivia and Hailey are disrobing in the locker room.
Me: “Hailey? Did you forget to put your swimsuit on?” She had stripped down to her Hello Kitty’s.
Hailey: Silent.
Me: “Olivia?” She had one arm out of her jacket. “Did you put your swim suit on?”
Olivia: “Ohhh… Daaadeee…”
Hailey: “Daddy! You got my swimsuit?!”
Me: “No Hailey. I don’t”
Hailey: “You put them in my bag!? [backpack]”
Olivia: “Ohhh…Daaadeee!”
Both Olivia and Hailey: “You packed the bag!” I usually stuff my green gym bag with all our swim gear, this time I chose to force them to be a bit more responsible and self sufficient, relying on their back packs. Truthfully, I needed one more hand and one less encumbrance while shuffling Elizabeth Rose around.

Hailey’s distress could be heard throughout the lock room. So close to the pool, the chlorine vapors wafted in, to mix with her cries. I reasoned her out of the emotional furry relatively swiftly by telling her that I knew she wanted to go swimming and that I understood her dissatisfaction. I was on the verge of promising that we could swiftly retrieve their suits and return faster than superman spinning the earth backwards. But I didn’t
Hailey: “We coming back Daddy?”
Me: “No Hailey. We will miss swim.” Hailey did not like my answer and started breaking down again.
Me: “We can do something else” I wasn’t sure what. Pause.
Olivia: “The park?”
Me: “Yes! good idea Sweetie” I had a hunch she may have wanted this. She made a reference to the park during meal number one.
Hailey: “I want to go swimming!”
Me: “Hailey. We can’t do a thing hanging around in this locker room.” That reasoned with her just enough.
Olivia: “C’mon Hailey, we can go to the park. Daddy said.” One of Olivia strengths is in helping her own cause. I was eager to ally and the timing was brilliant.
Me: “What park Hailey?”
Hailey: “I want to go swimming!”
Me: “Well Honey, we have to get to the car before we can do anything, please get dressed, we will talk about it on the way to the car.”
It took Hailey a few minutes to collect herself; Olivia, Elizabeth and I were patient. We slowly made our way out of the building, a preschooler’s walk of shame, across the parking lot to my vehicle and in that time Hailey had agreed with the change in plans.

The park consumed the remainder of the afternoon. Elizabeth Rose napped (number three if you count the ten minute car ride to the park), tucked in the Bjorn. Hailey forgot about swimming as soon as her feet hit the spongy play surface running wild filling her body with fresh spring air. Olivia made friends with a couple of kids in the sand pit, coordinating a dinosaur bone excavation. Obviously those are merely the highlights. They played hard for a good three hours.

Disappointments are tough to sort through especially when under fire. What if I had caved to Hailey’s demands by bending to the will of my children? Would I have been a hero, (retrieving the forgotten swimsuits), rescuing them from misfortune? Or would I be enabling irresponsibility? Explaining to Kim the missed swim opportunity situation at the dinner table that night both Olivia and Hailey (meal number five) said they forgot to put their suits on.