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Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Fever

...And no, I don't mean rabid excitement over everyone's favorite holiday!

We spent Christmas Eve and Day with my parents and brother in Huntsville, per tradition.  This year was a bit different for several reasons:  We were all trying to save money and buck materialism, so gifts weren't as big as usual; we're all trying to eat healthier (and still recovering from prepping our giant Thanksgiving meal), so the food was pretty basic; and--oh yeah!--this year we had a baby to enjoy Christmas with!

But baby Charles' body didn't know it was supposed to feel good for such a joyful occasion, and so Christmas Eve he woke up with only his second fever ever.  His first fever was a couple of weeks ago, and had he not been too warm, I never would have known he was ill.  This time was a bit different--he obviously didn't feel well at all, and he was pretty pitiful for the rest of the day.

Both fevers seemed to be related to constipation and teething, and the Christmas fever added some congestion to the mix.  Both were under 48 hours, and both were relieved when he finally did have a good diaper-full.

I didn't run for a fever-reducing medication at the first sign of a temperature, though I monitored it fairly closely.  We've learned that fevers are a symptom, not a disease and that you should treat the baby, not the symptom.  That means that 1) fevers have a purpose and are a vital part of our body's immune response, so suppressing fever is actually suppressing the immune system, and that 2) since in both cases Charles was handling the fever just fine--no screaming, no extreme lethargy, no glazed eyes or bulging fontanel--we should let it run its course while trying to keep him as comfortable as possible and supporting his little body's efforts to heal itself.

I'm still learning how to do that well, but these are the measures we took to help him:

  • We wore him a lot while he was feeling icky, which both comforted him and helped his body regulate its temperature and immune response.
  • Since he still nurses for over half his food, we went back to a "liquid only" diet of breast-milk and sips of water to allow his body to focus its energies on healing rather than digesting food (and since constipation was also a problem, he didn't need to be packing any more solid food in there!).
  • We pulled out our new Essential Oils and boosted his immune system with Thieves, comforted him with Lavender, and helped manage his fever with Peppermint.  We applied the oils (diluted in coconut oil) to the soles of his feet, the back of his neck, and behind his ears, and we also diffused the same blend into the air.
  • We tried to keep the atmosphere calm and relaxing--soft lights, no extra noise, and little stimulation.
  • Since constipation seemed to be the main known issue, we tried to help him have a BM by massaging his little tummy with Peppermint oil and encouraging the intake of liquids.

That's about it!  Both times he's recovered well and seemingly quickly--and by Christmas morning, though not 100%, he felt well enough to enjoy opening his presents!  Hopefully we'll post pictures of that fun time soon.

How do you help your child when he/she has a fever?

This is his "I really don't feel good, and this silly hat isn't helping" face

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Almost walking!

My 10.5 month old Charles is so close to walking, and I am so not ready.  The week of Thanksgiving when we were with my family, he really seemed to take off on some skills.  He's much more expressive and varied verbally, he learned to drink from a straw, he can munch on little rice-cakes, he began playing peek-a-boo spontaneously (moving something to cover his face or hiding behind a stationary object before popping out again), he figured out how to carefully propel himself along on my old wooden Radio Flyer toy, and he began walking all over the place using the "walker" my mom got him.  Since we've been home, he's also learned where his tongue is, and we have some giggles taking turns sticking our tongues out at one another.

Note the concentration ;)

We spent some time with my family watching old videos from when I was exactly Charles' age, and it was really neat to see the similarities and note the differences.  He is definitely my son, but he is also definitely his own little self.  I just love my little guy so much!

Mom of twins, you're my hero!

I went to my local baby-wearing group today ("The Magic City Slingers"--how's that for an awesome name!), and while I was listening to Susie, our "master baby-wearer," teach us about wrapping (hopefully photos of Charles and I in our borrowed Didymos will follow in a later post), I realized that a young mom sitting in the floor nearby had newborn TWINS wrapped up on her chest!  They were facing each other and sleeping soundly in their woven wrap, so I'd just assumed there was only one baby in there.  She also had a toddler with a "Big Brother" shirt snuggled up next to her.  She couldn't have been older than I am, yet there she was, mother of three, serenely snuggling her three little joys.

I kept an eye on her for the rest of the meet-up (trying not to seem too stalkerish), because I was so fascinated that even when both newborns started crying and wanting to nurse, she still kept her cool and simply responded to their needs.  When I had one baby that age, I was not nearly so cool about meeting his needs in public (or even at home).  I was more likely to burst into tears!  Watching her with her tiny loves was such a peaceful experience, and so encouraging to see.

I know that I only saw a slice of her life, that she probably has bad moments, or gets overwhelmed, or just cries right along with her babies--but for that hour, she was an inspiration.  So thank you, momma of twins + 1, for loving your babies and demonstrating joy and peace in motherhood to a bunch of moms who need it!  You rock!  If I see you there next month, I'll make sure to tell you so in person.  :)

This is not the mom from the group, but very similar to how her babies were wrapped!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Not a day, but a lifestyle.

Thanksgiving, that is.  

I saw that on a church sign today:  "Thanksgiving is not a day; it's a lifestyle."

How true, I thought.  But then, Is that my lifestyle?  Do I live a life of thanksgiving?

If I have to be honest, I know the answer is generally "no."  I'm a selfish, whiny, lazy person, and recently I've realized even more that I take some of the most wonderful blessings for granted:  my serving husband, my loving child, my accepting family, my warm house, my loyal friends, my cuddly kitty, my nutritious food.  How often do I thank God for these things?  I more often find myself wishing something about one of them were different.  How often do I thank my family and friends for loving me?  I more often remind them of their faults.  How often to I show gratitude to my husband for providing a place to live and good food to eat?  I more often look at other houses online or ask to go out to eat.

I want to change that.  I want to live a live of gratitude and joy and contentment--I want to be those things for my children's sake, for my husband's.  Change my heart, Lord--make it more like Thine.

I hope all of you had a fabulous holiday; I know we did.  We spent the week at my childhood home with my family, and it was a wonderful balance of time in the house and out of it, cooking and eating, resting and activity, family and friends.  We had a gluten-free Thanksgiving dinner, which was really quite delicious.  Mom and Trevvor both got pretty creative to make some fun gluten-free pumpkin treats for us throughout the week.  Being there with them all week made me realize how valuable it is to be near family, especially with a little one.  Praise God for placing me in a family that loves each other and sticks together and wants to be around one another even when we don't have to be!

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