Lent has begun

Another week has come and gone. I find myself sitting at my computer twitching. I’ll get back to that point in a minute.

It’s been a rough week in our home. My wife threw out her back, my daughter got a massive cold and I became Dr. Dad. Went to work a whole 3 days this week.

I guess I feel like life is moving so quickly lately and I am really struggling to keep up. The stress of having a child with special needs really does weigh on me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying anything to down play anyone else’s situation, I’m just reflecting on my own.

Someone said to a friend of mine a couple weeks ago (which made it back to me), and I’m paraphrasing… When I come by with my daughter it’s a lot of work for them because of how much cleaning they feel they need to do. I’m not sure why that has stuck with me and weighed on me so heavy, but it has. I want my daughter to grow up like a normal kid. I want her to be able to call up a friend and go to their place or go out and play and not worry that she is going to touch something that is going to send her into anaphylaxis shock.

Now, a cold… I laughed this morning as I described her cough and a friend said I sounded like a walrus. hahaha… That’s my little girl. If she hasn’t been throwing up, it’s been snot and mucus and tears and a cough that sounds like she’s been smoking for 60 years. In today’s day and age I can’t believe there is nothing you can do for tiny people but just ride it out.

As I said earlier, I find myself sitting in front of my computer twitching. As a catholic starting into the Lenten season I find myself looking for something to “Give up”. It’s quite simple really, I’ve always been taught that we are supposed to give up something that hurts, something hard, as a form of penance. This year, I’ve decided to give up Facebook. I know, I know… Facebook? If you know me, you know that I love social media. I love following my friends from around the world and seeing what my friends locally are doing too. I really didn’t think it would affect me as much as it does. I realize now that I spend an ornate amount of time online using using Facebook. My wife pointed it out at dinner the other night. She says “You are sitting there twitching and fidgeting”. Now, to try and find a new outlet for my energy.

I really enjoy blogging and I wish I did it more. My mind is always racing and I think that’s why I actually have trouble doing it. If I’m sitting alone, in the quiet, like I am right now, it really comes naturally, but the minute there is something happening around me my focus really does wander easily.

There is actually so much more that could be said and I realize that I haven’t blogged in a long time so, let’s get back into it slowly.

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What a week… Last evening topped it all off with a second visit to the emergency room in 5 days.

Last Sunday was mother’s day. The day that started out like any other day. We started our day with cooking breakfast for Grandmamma and celebrating her as a mom/grandma, came home, had a rest and then proceeded to Nana’s house to celebrate a whole gaggle of days all wrapped into one.

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We weren’t in my mother’s home for more then 30 minutes when we noticed Eve was eating something. Her cousin, who they are teaching to share, had gone over to her and offered her a cracker. Of course Eve grabbed it and dummied it down. She started to cough and we realized she was eating something but didn’t know what. Everyone at that point was fairly nonchalant about the whole thing until boom, puke everywhere.

We quickly cleaned her up and I swept the remaining cracker out of her mouth with my finger. Then the hives started; I ran her to the sink and tossed her head under the tap hoping to wash the entire cheese cracker out of her mouth. It was too late, the reaction had started and Sue was in my ear and kept saying, “Give her the EpiPen”. I was getting frustrated with the entire situation and opt’d NOT to give it to her but to rush to the QCH ER. As I was flying to the ER her poor little face was swelling quickly. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t second-guessing my decision. We got the ER and the staff very quickly took us in and monitored Eve. One of the first things the doctor said was “You should have given her the EpiPen”, that was like throwing gas on a fire. As I sat and stewed and tried to calm down watching my little girl in pain I wasn’t sure what I was more angry with, the situation or myself. Unfortunately I focused my anger in the wrong direction and Sue got the brunt of it.

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This brings us to the past 24 hours. Friday was a long day; I had been at work from 1:30am to 6am and then from 11am to 4pm and not had much if any sleep in between. When I got home I took the baby and we went to Nana’s house for dinner.

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The past week she had been showing signs of getting a cold but hey, what kid doesn’t have a cold when they are playing with other kids. Tiny humans are walking germ factories. As the evening went on my mom, sister and I were noticing that Eve was starting to wheeze. At 7:30pm I plunked her in the truck and we make our way home.

As we were driving home Eve was acting strange and she started to cry. I pulled over at one point because she really started to scream and it looked as though she couldn’t catch her breath. I loosened her belt and checked to see if I had caught her skin on the car seat but she just kept screaming.

When we got home Sue took her and tried to put her to bed, the entire time her breathing becoming more and more shallow. By 9pm I was content to let her cry herself to sleep but Sue wanted to take her to the ER.

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When we got to CHEO they took her O2 stats and told me to sit in the waiting room and took Eve and Sue right away, I guess the stats where low.

Here’s a fun fact, there are 3 levels of concern at CHEO. The 1st is when we show up and they deem you well enough to sit and wait, the 2nd is you see a doctor within 15 minutes (our situation) and the 3rd is immediate admittance. Eve was extreme enough that she was taken right back.

Once my name was called and I filled out all the paper work they took me back to the room where they were. Eve was melting down because they put a steroid mask on her face and she didn’t like it. In her defence, it’s a mask that well… smokes (not really) and makes a lot of noise. I figure it would be terrifying for a tiny human.

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The doctor came in and told us that she was going to have 3 of these masks plus a liquid that would help open up her airway and lungs. After the 3rd mask was administered they examined her and determined that she wasn’t reacting well enough and told us that she was going to have another, and possibly another and then maybe admitted.

It was now about 2am, I was running on about 4 hours sleep and they turned down the lighting. I sat on the gurney as Sue rocked Eve in a recliner chair and I had a meltdown. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing and all I could think of is that I was a bad father. 2 ER visits in a week, both times I decided the wrong course of action. I decided NOT to give her the EpiPen and tonight, I was just going to let her cry herself to sleep.

It’s very hard to express my feelings on this whole thing. I’m dad, I’m supposed to be the Rock, the protector, and here I am making decisions that obviously go against that. I’m still processing my way though the past 5 days, and my brain is saying “Calm down, its ok” but my heart and gut are saying “What if? What if?”

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Doing my best to make Eve comfotable

So, after 7 hours at CHEO we had our way home, crawled into bed and went to sleep. The sleep was short lived. 4 ½ hours later Eve was up and not real sure if she was ready for the day. She is definitely off her game today and I hope over the next day or so she will bounce back into her normal routine.

We’ve got a couple drugs for her and puffers. We are taking the puffer slowly because I think last night traumatized her.

The adventure continues…

Daddy time

The past 17 months have been a time of learning, and growing for me. I’ve always had a pretty solid outlook on how to treat girls/woman, but when you are raising one of your own I’ve found that everything I know has been amplified.

You want your little girl to grow up and know she is loved. You want her to know that she is worth being dotted on, and yes… she is a princess and should be treated as such. As I watch her grow and develop I am constantly surprised at how smart she is, how strong and determined she is and how much of a sense of humour she has. She makes me laugh on a daily basis and all she has to do is give me a look.

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I’ve spoken with others who have children the same age as Eve and I find it interesting when it comes to the dynamic of mom and dad. I would have to say, 75% of the time if mommy is around, daddy takes second fiddle. This past weekend that changed.

Saturday morning we decided to let mommy sleep in and Eve and I started our day by making our typical BIG breakfast, which many of you know is a staple for me on Saturday mornings.

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By 9:45 we were all done, the kitchen was cleaned and we were ready to start our day. Mommy woke up and tried to jump into the mix but Eve only wanted daddy. I welled up and took it for all it was worth.

We tooted off to the community centre and registered for the local evenings happening.

The other cool thing that’s happening is the walking. We walk all the time. She made it almost the entire way from our house to the community centre. Granted it’s only 240m away, but that’s pretty far for little legs.

Once we were finished and got back to the house, mommy tried to get some lovin’ and once again was met with resistance and all Eve wanted was daddy. I looked my wife and said “I’m sorry dear, I’m taking this as long as I can get it”

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We jumped into the truck and headed over to Home Depot. Now,  I’m positive that I’m not the only parent who does this, but we walked through the store and I explained what all the tools where for, and which tools daddy owns and which tools daddy wants. I don’t know, maybe I’m hoping that subliminally she will take this information back and tell mommy 🙂

We finished up and headed home. It was time for some lunch and a nap. One of my favorite times spent with Eve is putting her down for her naps, or just to bed. We have a position, a routine, and she knows when daddy starts acting a certain way that its lights out. Sometimes she’s receptive and others… well, not so much. I love holding her and watching her drift off.

The adventure continues…

 

Kids and Allergies. So much to know

Growing up I always thought I was going to have a big family. I watched friends and family raise their kids and I found myself saying “I would never do that” or “That’s the way I want to raise my kids”. Then, seeing young people with allergies my thoughts were “I’m not going to be “That Guy” “

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Well, my life hasn’t really gone the way that 20 year old Doug thought it was going to go. That all being said, I am blessed to have an amazing, strong wife and an equally amazing little girl.

Having a child with allergies is a real challenge. I have become “that guy” that so many years ago I said I didn’t want to be, not that I had a choice. I now have to read every label before food enters my home. I need to mindful of her surroundings at all times. Having a dairy allergy had changed and continues to change my life on a daily basis.

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Yesterday, during lunch Eve had a reaction to something in her food. Food that she has eaten before and that she has never reacted to. She was eating humus, vegetable thins and broccoli soup. We were FaceTiming over lunch and she was really enjoying lunch. As she continued to eat she was becoming uncomfortable. Sue and I both agreed that her teeth were bothering her, so in goes the Advil. As we were wrapping up our conversation and Sue started to wipe off her face she noticed that hives were starting appear and over the next 30 minutes her cheeks, lips and face started to swell.

At this point my lunch hour was over and I was back to work but Sue continued to deal with Eve. I didn’t get to see the FULL extent of the reaction but it was enough to warrant a call to Telehealth who referred us to CHEO.

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By the time I had closed out my day, rushed home and got to CHEO Eve was only suffering from a slightly swollen lower lip. They checked her out, top to bottom and asked that we stay for precautionary reasons. The nurses checked on us twice and after 3 hours we saw the doctor.

The doctor and the nurses all agreed that this was a situation that warranted using the EpiPen that we have been prescribed and that would have been followed up by a 9-1-1 call. Being that everywhere the food touched became swollen it was only logical that her tongue was swelling as well (which would have explained the drooling, which we thought was teething). We received some clearer instruction on how and when to use the EpiPen and we were discharged.

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The entire afternoon was exhausting. It was an eye opener to me though. I have been selfish. I love milk, and I love cheese, and I have a couple items in the house that are “Daddy’s” and I like to think that I do a good job of keeping them away from Eve. I know that this reaction had nothing to do with the few items I have in the house, but my thoughts are… What if they had?? Time to get rid of the last couple things.

The old joke continues… I wish kids came with manuals. We are praying hard that she grows out of this allergy, but it’s not looking good right now. There is no worst feeling in the world then seeing your child in pain and not being able to do anything about it.

The adventure continues…

Mind Blown! She’s so smart

I haven’t blogged in a while but tonight I had my mind blown.

I got home at my regular time from work and a very happy little girl and my wife met me at the front door. I love walking in the door hearing “Daddy!! Daddy!!” It makes my day.

Soon after getting home Eve and I decided that we needed to take a trip to Canadian Tire. She walked almost the entire way there, the entire time we were in the store and made it half way home. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and no, it’s not that far, but for a 17 month old, it was pretty impressive.

It really lights up your experience when you are walking around with a tiny human who is squealing with glee or singing Ba Ba black sheep the entire time. People smile, you smile and the world seems like such a great place.

Now, this is when the fun started. We got home and started the bbq. Eve was hanging out with Sue and I was sitting on the back steps waiting for the bbq to heat up, playing on my ipad. Next thing I hear is… dada, dada, dada and Eve is trying to find me. I open the door and she gives me the biggest smile. When I tried to close the door she got very upset.

I looked her in the eyes and said, “You can’t come outside unless you have you coat and hat on”. Eve turned around and ran over the deacon bench and proceeded to put on her hat and grab her coat.

MIND BLOWN!!! My tiny human understood!

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I don’t really know what I was expecting but I was just in awe that she did that. I was in awe that she understood, and I guess that she wanted to hang out with me. I’m actually a little speechless about the whole experience.

Eve is growing up so fast and is learning so much. Watching her develop is one of the coolest experiences I think I’ve ever had. Everything is new, everything is fresh and everything is exciting.

I can’t wait to see what she does next…

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They grow up too fast

Can it possibly be?? Can my baby girl be 16 months old?? I have no idea where the time is going. Some days I feel like the time is standing still but when I look at the development of my child I know it isn’t true.

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It’s such an exciting time for the McColemanClan as we watch Eve develop and learn how to walk, talk and navigate the world. She is a late bloomer in a lot of areas but wow she is blooming now.

As she prepares to cut 6 new teeth all at once, decide that it’s time to walk and continually keeps mommy and daddy laughing life moves on. This kid has the greatest sense of humour. There isn’t a day go by that she isn’t giving you this sideways glance as she does something silly and looks for a reaction.

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I used to have so much fun blogging and documenting our adventures. I’m not sure why I stopped other then the fact that I got lazy. There are so many memories and thoughts going through my mind. Thoughts like, how I love that every morning we try and FaceTime together from my office, or when I come home and I see her banging on the window yelling “Dadda!! Dadda!! Dadda!!”.

The Adventure  and smiles continue…

Babies are funny creatures

I’ve enjoyed the first month of my daughter’s life. I’ve enjoyed watching her grow, smile, eat, sleep and even scream.

I’m fascinated with how God has created us. We are all so unique and babies are so innocent and special.

I don’t really have much to say today other then to share my experience of changing diapers. Haha! Funny enough, I don’t have an issue with diaper duty. Today marks a first for me though. We have been waking Eve up every 2 hours in order to try and correct her sleep patterns. When we wake her we’ve also been changing her because of a small diaper rash. Can you tell where the hilarity is going…?

I’ve got her on the change table and I’m ready to go. As I start taking things off I saw something I’d never seem, poop up the front of a diaper. Usually you get it straight up the back and I’m not sure how she did it but… it was there. So I got her all cleaned up and she was cooing away, the powder had been applied along with the Penaten and just then, quiet. She looked at me very serious and it happened. BOOM she pooped everywhere. HAHAHA! I started to laugh, I couldn’t believe it. So I cleaned her all up took off the sleeper which now was soiled. As I get everything reapplied, I get the new diaper ready and again, quiet. Just then the legs go straight and BOOM she pees all over me. I was full on belly laughing at this point. “You little brat” was all I could say while laughing.

We spent the next couple hours cuddled up on the couch. I think that’s what I am going to miss most about going back to work. Being with someone all day every day for 6 weeks and then not is kind of scary, for me at least.

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She is my little angel

Getting through the first month

There are so many things you need to know when you become a parent. A lot of things you learn on the fly because no one can teach you everything.

Having a newborn in our house has really changed my focus on life. I am realizing more and more everyday that my life is no longer my own. I’ve lived for almost 40 years doing what I wanted to do, eating when I wanted to eat, and sleeping when I wanted to sleep. Well, that’s all changed now. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change it for anything. The fact that I wake up and see this little face looking back at me every day melts every fiber of my being.

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On Sunday morning I had another one of those “oops” moments. Eve was very restless and I was trying hard to calm her down. I had changed her, I was rocking her, and then I decided to feed her. I knew she wasn’t hungry but I fed her anyways because I didn’t know what else to do.

Our doctor told me during one of our initial visits that you can never over feed a baby who is breastfeeding. The baby is self regulate. So, as I fed Eve the 1st of two bottles she didn’t calm down. I burped her and rocked her and she was just crying and crying. As she calmed and took the 2nd bottle I thought I was doing well. After the bottle she wouldn’t burp so I laid her beside me on the couch and played with her. I don’t think 5 minutes went by before she threw up. She didn’t throw up just a little bit, she threw what I’m sure was almost the whole 2 bottles worth.

I grabbed her quickly, tossed her on her side then put her against me and patted her back. It shook me right up. As I shifted her down into the cradle position she looked up at me and smiled so big. I burst into tears. For the next 15 minutes all I could do is talk to her and tell her I was sorry.

I don’t pretend to know what all men think about having children. My father left when I was 11 and I didn’t really have that example in my life to look back on, but I know I want to be the best father I can be. I know I’m not perfect and I know I’m going to make mistakes, but I want to be the best I can be and this little girl challenges me to be that.

As she grows and develops starts to recognize me and the things around her I sit back in awe of this little person. I thank God every day for this privilege of being her dad, and I pray every day that I can be the best example of the man she needs me to be.

Black Friday

So my attempt at being Doogie Howser and journaling every night hasn’t been easy. Let me say that again, it hasn’t happened at all.
Eve is 20 days old today and every day seems to be an adventure all onto it’s own. She is healthy and growing well. It’s been really neat watching a little person grow. She is still very tiny and petit and you almost feel like she is a porcelain doll.
I always thought of myself as really prepared and everyday I feel more and more like I have no idea what I’m doing. I’m used to flying in, being as “out there” as I can be, attempting to win the kids over and then leaving and going home. It’s a whole new ball game when you can’t leave 🙂

As I mentioned Eve is doing well. We had our last appointment until she is 2 months old with the pediatrician on Monday and he is very happy with where she is at in her development. I on the other hand was looking for some reassuring words.

On Sunday we took Eve to the Santa Clause parade. Yes, yes, yes, I realize she wouldn’t see or remember any of it but it was a beautiful, mild evening and we wanted to go for a walk. Little did I know it had been a while since I changed her bum. As a rule of thumb cloth diapers (which we had started to transition towards) need to be changed about every 2 hours and disposables 3 to 4 hours. Well I made a booboo; as we walked to the parade route she was crying and we figured she would calm down as we walked. After watching about 30 minutes of the parade we started to head back home. Something was wrong and we didn’t know what. By the time we got home she had been crying (off and on) for almost 90 minutes. As we went to change her I found the cause of the crying. Her little bum was very raw and I had left the diaper on too long. I felt terrible. All of a sudden I felt very ill equipped to deal with a baby. This leads me back to Dr. Bialik’s words “Don’t worry, you’re doing great, everyone goes through this”. He is very good with the kids and the frantic new parents.

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It’s been a pretty low-key week.
On Tuesday friends of ours brought us dinner from SupperWorks. We are so blessed with the friends and family we have. After a short visit we went over to Nana’s house. Nana just needed some cuddles so again we went for a short visit.
On Wednesday we took our first out of town trip. Sue needed to go to Queens and so while we were there got to visit with friends. We were given some beautiful gifts, which we will treasure forever.
All these adventures lead us to today, Black Friday. All day Thursday Leon’s had advertisements for a Sofa for $177. We struggled with it because we are in need of a new one but didn’t really have the money. The couch we have right now is easily 15 years old and has been through many houses, roommates, spills, etc.…
I took the plunge, I got up at 4am, arrived at Leon’s at 4:20am and there wasn’t a soul there. It wasn’t until 6am that someone other than myself showed up. We got in line and by 6:30am the line was half way down the building. By 7am when the doors open there must have been 100 people in line. All that to say, I was #1 and I got my new sofa. I can’t wait until next Wednesday when they deliver it.

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Now I am exhausted and running on coffee, blogging when I should be napping and loving every minute of it.

Friday November 14th 2014 – Meeting more of the family

During this whole experience we have kept one constant… One visit a day. As Sue and I deal with, and adapt to being new parents we found that having one visit a day is pretty much all we can handle. As we become more comfortable with our new responsibilities that will change, but during the first few weeks this has helped keep us sane.

Today was a fun day. I found my tripod and camera and Eve and I had a photo shoot. I love my IPhone and IPad but nothing can compare to a true camera and the resolution you get from them. I had fun trying to make her laugh and draw out her expressions.

After I got finished with the photos I thought about all the adventures I was having and the feelings and experiences and I thought to myself, I think it’s time to fire back up the blog. I have so much to share and so much to learn and well… Maybe something I learn could help someone else down the road. Now I feel like a Doogie Howser and every day am writing down how the day went. Most will be pretty bland and uneventful but for me they are a constant adventure.

We were blessed yet again to have my brother and his wife come over and meet the baby and cook us dinner. They are vegetarians and to be honest am always really shocked how much I love the food they cook, even if there is no meat involved. The made us fajitas, brought sparkling wine and the most divine chocolate cheesecake I think I’ve ever had.

I am truly blessed to have amazing family and friends!