Bedtime Routine

  1. Potty and wash up: 10-20 minutes
  2. Bedtime story: 10-20 minutes
  3. Say good nights to everyone: varies depending on who has tackled whom to the ground
  4. Each parent ushers one child into their respective bedrooms: 10 seconds to 5 minutes
  5. Set the mood (lights off, sip of water, kid tucked in snugly): 2-10 minutes
  6. Maxon fast asleep: 1-10 minutes
  7. Cooper exits room for some ridiculous reason and needs some kind of tending to: every 90 seconds

Once steps 1-7 are completed, the routine is still not quite over yet. Obviously wired from his tiptoeing in and out of bed, he often needs to wind himself down. Armed with a butterfly flashlight, Cooper reads a few pages from his favorite books.

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Cooperfish

Cooper started swim lessons early this summer and he has been a total natural. Over a year ago we tried the baby-and-me type of swim classes where either Mike or I would be in the water holding him the whole time which he liked enough but he wasn’t interested in doing anything more than splashing. This summer, a switch must have flipped. He was all of a sudden obsessed with water: the pool, the hot tub, the bath tub. It was time to get him into real swim lessons!

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It’s funny how much confidence a pair of goggles can bring. Once he was introduced to them, we hardly ever saw him above water. On more than a few excursions to the pool, he would constantly duck under water just to check things out. He was holding his breath longer and longer underwater. He soon figured out how to propel himself, even if only for a couple of feet.

As lessons progressed through the summer and fall, I was amazed at seeing this little person have so much fun in the water and being capable of so much already. He is far from being independent but we can already tell he is taking after his swimmer daddy.

Maxon in Kindergarten

School started on August 24th and we are now two months in. He has been having a blast since Day 1 and he is still excited to get up and go everyday! It has been quite the adjustment, and to be honest, we are still trying to smooth out the new rhythm but it has all been positive. He has biked or walked most days to school, he is thrilled to pick what he has for lunch (usually either a peanut butter-and-jelly or ham-and-cheese sandwich), and looks forward to whatever classroom “jobs” he’s assigned for the week.

According to our parent-teacher conference (for real), Maxon is settling in very well in the classroom and is quite the teacher’s helper when other kids need help with reading. He’s made a lot of new friends and has requested playdates. And he’s already gone on a field trip to a farm out in eastern Boulder County, which marks the first time Maxon has been somewhere that neither Mike nor I have been. I love that he is building and filling his own little part of the world!

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Whistler

It was inevitable. Everything had gone relatively smoothly up until we set foot on the plane. We were on our way to Whistler to cheer Mike on at Ironman Canada. We had left the house on time, didn’t have to rush to unload the suitcases and car seats at the RTD station and parking was easy. Some things were out of our hands though. The RTD driver was very slow and methodical while loading luggage into the storage area (or perhaps it was resentment) so right off the bat we were running 15 minutes behind schedule. We had to cross the entire terminal to get to our airline’s counter to check our luggage in. Still, we made it with minutes to spare and no real problems arose. Until we made it to our seats on the plane.

Cooper already had one of his coughs in progress. He had a fever a couple of days before and anytime this kid gets sick, a cough ensues and lasts the next 5-7 days. Expecting this chain of events to occur during our travel out of the country, we started the usual nebulizer treatment right away and brought enough medication to last throughout our trip. As we got settled into our seats, the kids demanded their morning snack. Just as the cabin doors were getting ready to close for take-off, Cooper started in on a coughing fit. A pretty bad one. So bad, in fact, he caught the attention of the flight attendants (and everyone else on board, I assume) as he began to gag and cough out his food. Out came the air sickness bag. Out came the huge plastic cover they put on seats when a bad mess has occurred. Concerned flight attendants decided to call for the Customer Service Representative where they assessed our situation and deemed us as too risky to fly. We were asked to deplane and told we would not be able to fly together until we returned with a note from a doctor giving Cooper the all-clear.

While waiting for the paramedic, Mike and I tried to determine our next course of action. Which overbooked flight should we attempt to get on? Should Mike go on without us? What if Cooper actually required a hospital stay? What if the kids and I did not go at all? None of these questions had good answers. The biggest hurdle was that we were not flying anywhere near Whistler. Our flight was to Seattle (originally arriving nice and early) and then we were going to drive the 4+ hours up to Whistler. Separating onto different flights would actually create more hassle.

The airport paramedic finally arrived and called off the firefighters (!) once he could see we were not requiring their emergency services. I’m fairly certain NO one wants to see a team of firefighters burst through a set of authorized personnel-only doors at an airport but it’s even more alarming when you know they were called because of you. This is where my memory starts to get fuzzy. I’m not entirely sure what the paramedic’s role was in this whole scenario but ultimately, he served as a strong proponent of having an ambulance take us to Children’s Hospital in case there was a more serious situation we were not aware of yet. In all fairness, Cooper had stopped his coughing fit but he still had not bounced back and looked a little peaked so there was still some concern for his health in our since-it’s-Cooper experienced eyes. Since we did not drive our own car to the airport and our car seats were in the belly of a plane that had long departed towards Seattle, we all hitched a ride in the ambulance.

I do have to say that in the event you should ever require ambulatory service from the airport, be prepared to receive admittance through all of the authorized personnel-only doors. If there was a ever a high point of the day, this was it!

I’ll fast forward through the rest of the day and just give the highlights. Cooper was checked out, his oxygen levels were good, and the doctors rolled their eyes at everyone from the airline personnel to the airport paramedic but thankfully took us seriously enough to give Cooper the next level of treatment, an oral steroid, to take with us to Canada. As we were to find out, it would take completing that entire steroid treatment regimen until he got noticeably better. We would have been on pins and needles the entire time we were out of the country so perhaps the universe was telling us something.

Free to fly!

Free to fly!

With doctor’s note in hand, we took a taxi back to the airport later that afternoon and caught an evening flight to Seattle. We resigned to stay in Seattle that night instead of trying to push through but it was still midnight by the time we got to the hotel. We had a restless night’s sleep in the tenth hotel that I called that had the only vacancy in town and we started anew the next morning.

At the end of a terrible, no-good, very bad travel day

At the end of a terrible, no-good, very bad travel day

The rest of the trip was mostly without drama and turned out to be a pretty amazing trip. We were able to catch up with some old Boulder friends in Vancouver after the race although we did not nearly have as much time together as we thought. This was such a unique journey in so many different ways but I think we’ll keep our feet on the ground for the rest of the year!

One Arm Strong

Brought this artwork from last month home after finding out his arm was broken. Ominous.

Brought last month’s artwork home after finding out his arm was broken. Ominous.

HOW IT HAPPENED

So there we were. A boring typical Friday night at home. We had already finished dinner and doing the countdown before bedtime and the kids were running around like banshees. On what was to be the final lap through the dining room, we hear a thump from the doorway to the playroom and immediate crying. No strangers to this sequence of events, Mike and I gave it a few seconds and then proceeded through the usual spiel, “Uh oh. What happened? What got bonked?” Maxon emerged from the playroom crying, giving the recap through sobs and hitches. Nothing sounded out of the ordinary and when we inspected his elbow and didn’t see any cuts or scrapes, we figured he at least needed some ice since he didn’t seem to immediately spring back up to play again. He calmed down shortly afterwards and was ready to go to bed.

The next morning, I asked him about his arm and he said it still hurt but was better than the night before. The area right below his elbow was definitely swollen but not bruised and that was about it. We continued to give him ibuprofen for the swelling and iced it whenever he was sitting for a while. We went to the playground and Cooper’s swim lesson that morning, although he didn’t do very much and most certainly didn’t use his arm. I asked him again if his arm really was OK because if it wasn’t, we would have to go see a doctor. Maybe that was the wrong approach but we went about the rest of our day with zero complaints from Maxon.

The arm didn’t look any different on Sunday morning but Maxon said it was feeling a little better. We continued with the ice and ibuprofen, hit up another playground, and spent the rest of the day with a friend and her daughter. He still tried to swing the bat, catch and throw the ball, all with his left arm. He ran around, but was a little slower. Still no complaints from Maxon, but Mike and I started to get concerned. He never seemed to forget about not using his right arm and that swelling just wasn’t going anywhere. We decided to give it one more night’s sleep and if it didn’t look any better on Monday, we were calling the doctor.

THE FOLLOWING DAYS

Arm was still swollen the next day. Mike spoke with a nurse at our pediatrician’s office and before he could even get the whole story out, she tells him without a doubt that he should be seen by Urgent Care, and in fact, go straight to the Urgent Care department at the closest branch of Children’s Hospital. Right about that second, we felt like the most foolish parents ever. Of COURSE he should be seen by a doctor. We should have gotten the clue at least by Saturday morning. What the heck were we thinking?

Maxon and I arrived at Children’s Hospital as soon as we could and were checked in quickly. I had never had occasion to be at any Children’s Hospital before and I am still quite impressed with just how perfect it is for children. Colorful and bright waiting areas with very patient staff and relatively short wait times. We saw a doctor a few minutes later and he didn’t hesitate to send us over to get x-rays, where they confirmed he had an olecranon fracture, a fracture at the head of the ulna. The doctor seemed genuinely surprised that he wasn’t in more pain and that he was going about his kid-ness with no complaints. He was splinted and issued a sling with instructions to call the orthopedics department for a follow-up in the next few days. We headed home shortly afterwards, with a quick stop for a milkshake for Maxon, partially paid for by mommy guilt.

I called the next day to set up a follow-up appointment at orthopedics and was relieved to hear that not only could we come in the very next day but that he could be seen by a doctor from Children’s right here in Boulder. As soon as we got in the room at the ortho’s office, I could tell that the doctor was worried about something else. Several more x-rays later and a second opinion from the head of trauma surgery at Children’s, the doctor informed me that not only was his ulna broken, but the radius, the other lower arm bone, was dislocated. Before any bone-setting could be done, the radius had to be forced back in place and that could only be done in surgery. At that point, there were no decisions I had to make as he had already secured a spot in the trauma surgery agenda for Thursday.

Since he was scheduled for surgery and going under general anesthesia by 1pm, the typical no-eating rule was enforced starting at 5am. We made sure he had his favorite dinner that night and let him snack all the way up until bedtime. We explained the no eating and drinking rule and all that was going to happen the next day and he accepted it in his usual Maxon matter-of-fact fashion. He woke up the next day and was “treated” to apple juice and Gatorade for breakfast and he was ready to roll.

THE BIG DAY

We arrived at Children’s as scheduled at 11:30am, two hours before surgery and were quickly assigned a pre-operation room. And that’s where things came to a halt. It was a good hour before a nurse came in to see us and that’s when we found out that his surgery got bumped and he wouldn’t be taken in until 3pm. But since it was already about 1pm at this point, he still couldn’t have anything to drink. Again, Maxon was a complete rock star. No complaints of being hungry or thirsty. No word of being bored or scared. Heck, I wanted to cry a little at how thirsty I was but I did not dare complain about my own discomfort, or even worse, drink or eat anything in his presence. He spent all his time waiting working on his math workbook and word searches. All with his left hand, mind you. I finally convinced him to take a break to watch TV and possibly even nap, which of course is when all the doctors started rotating through to get all the paperwork signed and go through what was going to happen during surgery.

And then it was time. According to the surgeon, once the radius was back in place, and assuming no other problems found, they were going to place pins to set his ulna and then put him in a cast, of which Maxon could choose any color he wanted. Surgery should take less than an hour, most of which would be making sure he was completely under anesthesia. I accompanied Maxon to the operating room and got him settled on the bed. I saw my first glimpse of fear and anxiety on his brave little face but the nurses quickly picked up the energy and started chatting away with him as a distraction. As they gave him laughing gas to relax him and put him to sleep, the nurse tried this little joke on him:

“Why did the skeleton not want to go to the scary movie? Because he had no guts!”

Maxon didn’t quite get the joke, but he was well on his way to sleep during the punchline and it was my cue to leave the operating room. It’s the second time I saw my child go under, and while a bit easier this time having a little experience under my belt, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t need a couple of minutes to compose myself before I went out into the general waiting room.

Forty minutes later, the surgeon came out into the waiting room to tell me everything was done and it all went very smoothly. I was able to see him once he started to wake and they didn’t there was any bad effects from the anesthesia. I appreciated that everything in Children’s Hospital seemed to be children-sized because I think it would have been heartbreaking to see his little-ness in an adult bed but there he was, my big brave boy recovering like a champ. He was extremely groggy and reluctant to stay awake, which is just so unusual for him! He seemed comfortable enough, although not entirely sure where he was. He took a couple of hours to sleep off the remaining anesthesia but once it started to leave his system, he was back to our lively, happy Maxon.

We settled back at home after an hour-long drive with Maxon eating almost the entire time. We were armed with typical over-the-counter pain medication but also had a prescription for a stronger painkiller if Maxon was having a hard time. Not surprisingly, Maxon didn’t need it and once the weekend passed, he didn’t even need Tylenol. He was back to running and jumping the next day, much to our dismay. Seriously, couldn’t he stop for like a minute?

THESE DAYS

Maxon goes back for a follow-up on July 6th and I’m hoping that we can bid adieu to the pins and cast that day. In the meantime, we have gotten into a rhythm of the new normal. He can wear pretty much any of his shirts, although there is a specific order in which his arms and head enter or exit said shirt. He takes showers just as often, but we now wrap his casted arm in a plastic bag plus a washcloth wrapped around it to catch any errant drops. Utensils and his drink are placed on the left side of his plate. He swings his bat with his one good arm. He writes and colors with his left hand.

This is how you heal gracefully

This is how you heal gracefully

And he tells jokes. Like the one about the skeleton that didn’t want to go to the scary movie. He tried that one the day after his surgery, completely unprompted by me. Actually, he muddled the question, couldn’t remember the punchline, and to this day, still asks me what “guts” are.

Maxon, my baby. It’s what you are made of.

May Photo Highlight

T-Ball

(Insert usual apologies for lack of blog posts)

This spring, we decided to try Maxon’s hand at T-ball. We weren’t sure how it was going to be received since we were coming off of a hot season of college basketball and, at the time, there was little interest in anything else. Mike and I tried to boost it up by getting completely decked out in gear and equipment and watching all the early-season baseball games on TV and soon enough we were seeing real interest growing.

We missed the first two games of the season because of our April vacation and then the next game got rained out (a pattern to be repeated throughout most of the season) so by the time the next game rolled around, Maxon was on point. While his batting was a little tentative, he was all in for going for the ball. To be fair, along with half of his team. A grounder would dribble towards first base and wouldn’t you know everyone from first, second, and third base would come running for that ball. Of course, the other half were busy playing with dirt or spinning in circles. But clearly, Maxon was the most attentive player with the most effort because at the end of his very first T-ball game, he got the game ball.

Here we are, almost two months later, and it’s all baseball all the time. Batting and throwing practice in the backyard, before and after a broken arm (yep, that’ll be another post), and almost daily games on TV plus replays in live-action in the living room. He knows almost all the Colorado Rockies by name and has a game schedule he references often to remind us when to set up a DVR recording. He has already told me that baseball is WAY better than basketball and football.