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Week, Day, Whatever

We had people here. Then some other people. More people coming tomorrow, different people on Saturday, ditto next week, et cetera next weekend...

I asked Steve if he knows why we are so wildly popular and he suggested that our central location gives us a competitive edge; nestled as we are between North Dakota and Wisconsin, just a stone's throw from Iowa and virtually on the way to Winnipeg.  The better question would be why no one is sleeping at my house tonight. Actually, that is an excellent question: why is no one sleeping in my house tonight? Steve and I are adults and it is only eight-thirty so that makes sense but Caroline? Really? With the loud little squeaks every ten minutes? And Edward - although his aaaaaaaaaouououououououououaaaaaaaaaaa scales thrill me to my marrow and leave me convinced that at least one member of this family will not be completely tone-deaf (you want pure comedy? ask Steve and Patrick to perform a duet) - shut up and go to sleep, kid.

I'm not complaining, I add hastily. I will take awake but happy children over awake and screaming ones any night. It's just hard to relax when you don't know if the yelps are going to escalate. Recently Edward has been waking up at four'ish am (about three hours after his middle of the night gorge.) He doesn't cry he just burbles. And even though I swore I would not do this unless he was actually crying I go upstairs and feed him again, because by four in the morning I am so tired I just want to get it over with so I can go back to sleep. I know I should just wait to see if he will doze off on his own but I don't want to lie there waiting for it; especially when I know that Caroline will definitely wake up around five and she will assuredly be hungry. I think the problem with most sleep adjustment strategies is that they involve an iron self-control just at those times when one is at one's weakest. Sure it is all good and well to suggest offering an older baby a pat on the back or your warmest assurances of love and good times on the morrow,  but when someone tries to mug me I give them my wallet. You'll go back to sleep if I feed you? Done.

Of course, this is probably why Caroline and Edward are seven months old and I am up with them four or five times between 11 and 6.

Speaking of Edward, he's adorable. I read him Goodnight Moon today and he laughed so hard he got the hiccups. Personally, I have never found the book all that interesting, let alone hilarious, but Edward starting cracking up at the red balloon and by the time we got to the old lady whispering hush he was practically having convulsions. Every time I try to read to Caroline her gaze darts around like a squirrel and then she tries to stuff the book in her mouth. Sometimes it is hard to believe they are related.  Caroline zips all over the place with her labored-but-effective commando crawl so we have constructed a temporary holding facility from an old play yard while we figure out how we are going to provide adequate spaces for both them and Patrick's billion Legos. We call the new structure Baby Jail and the twinks spend time in there expressing their different personalities. Caroline buzzes around the perimeter playing with toys, rattling the gate and crawling over Edward. Edward either chews on a readily available toy or he does push-ups. Honest to god, push-ups; palms and toes.

See?

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Semper Fi, Edward.

He had a hard day yesterday (REDBOOK post here, I am not rewriting it - too draining.) The short version is that we learned that Edward aspirates when he drinks (and eats anything too runny, now that I think about it) which is why he frequently sounds like a lawn mower. The speech therapist gave me a sheet on how to thicken liquids for him and I tottered off to buy new Y-cut nipples and look into the relative merits of Rice Cereal (cheap, readily available) and Simply Thick (tasteless, handy little packets.)

Now that I have had time to calm down and think things over I have a few questions I wished I had asked either the speech pathologist or the radiologist. Things like: why is Edward breathing rather than swallowing? Will he outgrow it? We are supposed to return in ten to twelve weeks for a follow-up but I don't even know what we are looking for with that. Also, what do I do when he chokes even more on the sample packet of Simply Thick than he has ever done since I stopped forcing him to try to breastfeed?

--Oh. And speaking of breastfeeding. I understand that without a swallow study it was impossible to really know what was going on with Edward but FYI to the billion lactation consultants we saw over the course of two months: it wasn't his latch, his frenulum is fine, he doesn't have reflux, the nipple shield made things only marginally better, it wasn't thrush, I really did not need to perfect the football hold, the supplemental nursing system made things worse, tandem breastfeeding was never going to work, and I no longer believe that the reason he was fighting me was because *I* was stressed. *He* was stressed because he could not simultaneously eat and breathe. And it retrospect it was unfair of me to ask him to choose. I know this sounds sort of huffy and snarky but I swear I do not feel that way in the slightest. I wanted to breastfeed both babies and I sought help in order to do so. I received good support and helpful suggestions and in the end it turned out that none of it had anything to do with our particular situation. The only reason I am even mentioning this is because I want to put the following fact on record: I have two babies; one is breastfed, one is not. If someone wants to tell you that you gave up on breastfeeding because you did not try hard enough or want it enough or care enough because every baby can breastfeed I state with authority that they can shove that mawkish propaganda right up their collective asses.

OK, a little snarky. The swallow study was hard and I am still feeling fragile.

* A Patrick story from this evening:

A few months ago Patrick announced that he was afraid of the dark.

"No, really, I'm terrified," he said with absolutely no emotion whatsoever; and no matter how skeptically we expressed our doubts about this newly developed nyctophobia of his, he repeated this assertion. "I am completely afraid of the dark. Sooooooooo, I'm going to need to fall asleep with the lights on."

What he really wanted was to read himself to sleep every night and we knew it. Hell, it's what I do, but I am not six and I have a husband to turn off my light for me. For Patrick we first moved a night light into his room but when Patrick continued to complain we finally agreed to leave the closet light on all night.

Patrick goes to bed at eight but we do not go up to check on him (read: tell him to stop reading) until after nine. This is usually a multi-visit process but the past few nights I have been surprised to glance under his door when I went up and see only the glow of the closet light; indicating that he had turned off his reading light and gone to sleep already. I tip-toed back downstairs and thought that the transition back to school-year hours was going to be easier than I had feared.

Today Patrick and I were in his room cleaning up (books, actually) and I noticed that he has flipped his pillow from one end of his bed to the other.

"You changed your bed," I said.

"Yeah."

"I like it."

"Me too," he said. Then he confided, "It's a trick, you see. I figured out that on this side I can just keep reading using the closet light."

"A trick," I repeated.

"Yes!" He was proud.

"So you turn off your reading light but keep reading with the light from the closet?"

"Yes!"

"So no one can tell you are still reading?"

"Exactly."

"And who is it, exactly, you are tricking with this change around?"

"I'm tricking... oh. Oh no."

Yet again a master criminal is hoisted by his own arrogant need to explain how clever he is.

Finally, Edward recommends the superthick peas, Caroline has never seen him before in her life, the Baby Jail walls close around the growing boy loom behind and I think we need actual high chairs.

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Unless you have the Fisher-Price space savers and they work for bigger babies too? Or do you have a high chair you like? Caroline's newest affectation is to grab the spoon, feed herself and then throw the spoon on the floor. She needs... boundaries.

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