Sunday, June 29, 2014

The Spaz

Avey's had a funny game for the last few months now. She calls it, "Turning into a Spaz," and goes something like this: She starts giggling and laughing hysterically at everything she does, which usually includes making tooting noises and pretending to have conversations about many bodily functions. For example, as I've been working to get them out of the house (and, incidentally, their mother's hair) for an hour or so each day, we often escape to the mall, as it is one of the few places that are free, air conditioned, and fun. Avey's favorite thing to do is to find one of the photo booths and "turn into a spaz" inside it, pretending that she is taking a shower in it, but keeps getting walked in on. Carver doesn't really seem to follow the game, but thinks all of the giggling and running about is hilarious. As long as they are not at each others' throats, I suppose we should count ourselves lucky. 
Carver's had a few funny games I want to document. I recently noted that he plays a game where he shoots a family member with his finger, "Pkew!" Along with that game, and sometimes when he whacks us with his foam sword, he expects a good reaction. After we feign agony at his merciless wave of destruction, he smiles and says, "It's okay Dad. You'll be fine." and immediately continues to raze the remainder of the home (at least in his mind). On the one hand, I am a little concerned about the violent streak, but on the other hand, it seems pretty clear that he does not want his aggression to cause any lasting damage. 
For at least 6 months or so, Carver has had a bit of a compulsive need when he lays down to sleep at night. He says, "Dad, I want to hold something." Then begins a hunt for something that he can hold - the more random, the better. He's held Kira's leather case for her old bottle of pepper spray. He's held a little plastic cup that goes with cough medicine. He's held a little rolling pin from Avey's toy kitchen. What's funny to me is that he doesn't even really play with whatever he holds - he just holds it. He grips the little item, lays his head down on his pillow, and slowly drifts off to sleep. Granted, for a while he was cuddling up with a very small stuffed teddy bear key chain, so that's almost normal. The last few weeks have him spooning with Avey's kitchen toys, though, so we are slightly alarmed.

Hakan had another couple of great nights this week, and a few horrible days of fussing. We are pleased to say that, overall, the little guy is getting better. We're sure excited to see what funny things he comes up with over the next several years.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Carbohydrates

With a nutrition-conscious mother like Kira, our children are bound to learn a thing or two about food. Carver, for example, had a lesson earlier this week that was hard to swallow. The kids were eating one of their very favorite meals of macaroni and cheese (thanks to Dad), and Kira was mentioning that she did not think it necessary for them to finish all of the noodles, as they are only carbohydrates. She referred to them as a "carb," as many people do. Avey, ever the curious one, inquired as to what a carb is, to which Kira replied that it is a "bread thing." 
Carver, to whom we sometimes refer as "Carv" for short, took great offense at this name-calling. "No! I am not a bread thing!" he responded. We all chuckled at his misunderstanding, and tried to explain again. "No, Carver, we are talking about a carb - not carv." This explanation was clearly unacceptable, as Carver expressed with his frown and furrowed brow. He explained his frustration slower this time, each word accented and separated from the next, "No! I! AM! NOT! A! BREAD! THING!"
What can one do at that point but acknowledge one's mistake, apologize, and change the subject? 

That boy has been particularly entertaining lately. One of his most favorite games of late is to shout "Fire!" and point his fingers at someone and make the sound effect "Pkew!" as if to shoot some sort of imagined projectile. Apparently the game is to see who can come up with the most elaborate and exaggerated death scene.

Avey finished up her Summer Violin Camp, and now we are worried that she'll be bored out of her mind for the rest of the break. Hakan had two excellent nights this week, and a couple of terrible ones. At least he keeps us on our toes. He is growing each day, and we can see even more of a person in his gaze with every passing hour. In no time he'll be shooting his older brother right back with a "Pkew!"

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Happy Father's Day! (Tribute by Kira)

Happy Father's Day! Today I am filled with gratitude for my husband, father, and grandfather. My grandma gave me the history of the very first Hakan, who is this new baby's third great-grandfather, and I have a new appreciation and gratitude to him for his sacrifices for his family and beliefs.

I have fond memories of fun and laughter with Grandpa Rex Kofford, and I am grateful and blessed that he lived close by, giving me many memories of him while growing up. He is a great example and an important part of my life.


I appreciate my father, who taught me most importantly how to work, and in my younger childhood memories I remember his games with us, which makes me smile. I have deep respect and appreciation for my dad's daily struggles and efforts to provide shelter and clothing for his large family. He is a good example of hard work, determination, and humor. I love him and respect him.


Last, but never least, is my dear husband. My appreciation for him has deepened with a new baby joining our family. I say often that he is the best "Mr. Mom" I know of. He does many of the traditional "mom chores" better than I do! He has pulled his weight and more taking care of everything else while I take care of Hakan. My love for him deepens also as we are partners in bringing this new baby to the earth. He is so helpful and supportive when I am in labor, my perfect labor coach!
It feels odd to be married nine years, and I do not feel that old! But as I look through those nine years, I see the innocent, excited, new love we started with at our wedding, and how that love has deepened and solidified with time, trials, pain, struggle, and learning to stand fast to each other with commitment through those things. While I don't invite struggle and pain, I would not trade what it has taught me and brought me in my marriage at this point.
Thank you, Eli, for being my friend, my help mate, my love, and the incredible, awesome, best father to our children.
With love, Kira

Memory

This week was a bit more of a challenge than usual, as Kira's mother headed back home on Wednesday. Reducing the number of adults in the home made things complicated, especially with some of the other things that happened. 
video
Friday morning at about 3:00, Carver awoke crying as if in pain. I went in to check on him, only to find him still very sleepy and babbling nonsense. I have him a drink of water and he quickly passed out again. When he got up for the day around 5:30, he stepped out of his bed only to wince in pain when putting his weight on his left foot. I wondered if perhaps he had slept on it in such a way that it had fallen asleep, but it soon became clear that there was more going on. I had to carry him everywhere he wanted to go for the next hour or so. 
I figured that he must have twisted his ankle while he was sleeping; sometimes he likes to stick his feet in between the mattress and the wall. In any case, he did not seem to be improving. It would have been funny if he wasn't in so much pain. He would be sitting on the couch, reading or playing something, and he would hop down on the floor, apparently forgetting how much his foot hurt when putting weight on it.

Even when we were at the hospital, waiting to get x-rays of his foot and leg, he would forget and try to run around the waiting room's smooth, open floor. He'd stand, wince, and look at me, "Oh, it hurts!" I tried to calmly explain to him, "Yes, Carver. That's why we're here!"
It turned out to be no big deal; he was stomping around like normal later in the afternoon. Thank goodness it was not a repeat of the last time we took him into orthopedics.

In other news, Hakan has been looking less like some kind of alien and more like a person. His eyes are clearing up nicely and he's getting more alert and interactive. He's also completely unpredictable at night. A few nights this week he slept superbly in between feedings, but last night he was up most of the night, apparently having trouble with gas or something. We are excited for that stage to end.

Father's Day comes with good timing this year, as I've gotten extra time with my offspring lately. As much work as it is to keep them from going all Lord-of-the-Flies on each other, they are a joy to have around. Avey made me a Father's Day card this morning. On the inside, it reads, "I love you father! with all my h[e]art! I wish your de[a]th wo[u]ld never start!"

I might have focused on the fun things we do together, but drawing attention to my mortality is one way to do it! It's nice to know I am loved and wanted.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Survival

It's been another busy week, as you may imagine. Luckily, Kira's mother arrived earlier this week to offer her capable helping hands. At the same time, Hakan has had more good nights than bad nights this week, so the household is overall managing very well. He usually goes anywhere from 3 to 5 hours in between feedings at night, and has been good about sleeping in between as well (my sister suggested today that maybe we should have named him "Samuel" because he wakes up Eli several times a night [1 Samuel 3:4-9]). When he's awake, he likes to check out his surroundings and fill his diaper. He tends to also have the hiccoughs fairly often. Here is a video of a particularly violent case: 
video
Kira and I were watching a hockey movie earlier in the week, and when the team plays Sweden, the announcer names one of the Swedish players, whose name happens to be Hakan. He pronounced it ho-kahn. That also explains why Kira's relative by the same name was often referred to as Hogan when in the U.S. At the risk of insulting all Swedes, we will continue to pronounce our son's name as "hay-kan," but if he ever moves to Sweden some day we will have to prepare him for the shock of his life. 
The kids have been getting more used to their new sibling. Avey is learning about proper holding and soothing techniques. She discovered a day or so ago that she can use her clean finger as a substitute pacifier, and that she can make it a few minutes before her finger gets wrinkly and hurts.
Carver has not yet attempted to murder his new brother, so we figure they are getting along just fine. Actually, he is very kind and gentle with Hakan, but I suppose anyone would seem disinterested in the little guy when compared to Avey - she dotes on him all day every day, and shows no sign of stopping.
To complicate this week for us, Avey decided that she would finish Kindergarten. Naturally, we could not just pick her up from a pleasant last day of school and be done with it - we had to have a ceremony. Although I applaud the school for having the Kindergarten program at 8:00 a.m. in order to try and stay ahead of our record-breaking heat, that also meant that half of the audience was in direct sunlight because the source of shade was useless with the sun's angle. I, for one, found it rather silly to hold a "graduation" ceremony, complete with cap and gown and phony diplomas for kindergartners, but Avey was excited and was at the top of her class, so I suppose this celebration won't reward her for doing nothing. 

After the pomp and circumstance, I took Avey and Carver to a nearby fun park where the school was having an informal party. If it hadn't been in the 100s, I probably would have enjoyed it more, but at least the kids had some fun, and it gave Kira a slightly less noisy home for a few hours. 
video
We are looking forward to the days when we have a yard and the temperatures are more tolerable, so that we can just herd the kiddos outside and let them have at it.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

No Rest for the Weary

The reader will recall from Tuesday's early post that our third child joined us early this week. That probably qualifies as the biggest news of the last 7 days, but the reader may judge. 

As I noted, labor lasted about 17 hours, but contractions were sporadic for the first 15 or so, making for a relatively smooth day (I acknowledge, however, that I was not the one in labor). We both napped, had decent meals, and prepared mentally as much as possible. 

Hakan has been very calm, and sleeps well... during the day, that is. Each night since he joined our club, he spends most of our prime sleeping time wailing like a banshee. He has had us up, desperately trying to ease his discomfort in every way we can imagine. I suspect that he gets gassy, because he tries to fall asleep, but then it is as if he is overcome with stabbing pains until he can eventually relieve the pressure, and then he will pass out for longer periods of time. Strange that it doesn't happen during the day, though. 
Avey is absolutely thrilled to be a "double big sister." Her first thought in the morning is about holding Hakan, and as soon as she's home from school, she washes her hands so that she can admire him in her arms. I am sure she is excited to have another little minion to mold. We'll see how excited she is when he can crawl into her room and rearrange all of her things.
Carver seems relatively unaffected so far. He likes his little brother, and enjoys climbing on the little chair we have for the little guy, but does not pay a great deal of attention to him. When he does, it is all positive; He'll comment on how cute he is, or how he is a big brother now, but we have yet to determine the deeper influence on Carver's psyche that his little brother has.
We are thrilled to have a brand new person to love, cherish, and introduce to the universe. We just wish that we had more hands and needed less sleep to do it. We had appointments every day since he was born (with the exception of Saturday), either at the birthing center or with his pediatrician, and sometimes both, so we have not had a lot of time to settle into any kind of routine at home.

I proposed my dissertation on Wednesday, which was awkward timing, but it was the only time my committee members could all meet. They loved the idea, and many of them commented on how well it was written. With only minor concerns and suggestions, they have approved it, so I will be working on getting funding and starting data collection as early as I can.

On top of it all, Avey is still in school, and has many end-of-year activities to which we need to contribute or that we need to attend. Saturday afternoon she had a dance performance with her classmates. They had learned four ballroom dances, and showed them off to the parents. Kira ventured out while I had some father-sons time.

The next week will be eventful also, as Kira's mother will be here to lend two helping hands, Avey will finish up the school year, and hopefully Hakan will learn the difference between night and day.