Despite the stress and little sorrows of the last couple weeks, Spring Break thus far has turned out to be relatively awesome. Matt took a couple surprise days off work to prevent me from losing my mind help out with all six kiddos home all day long, the weather was unbelievably warm and beautiful (seriously, it's hard to be depressed when it's pushing 85 degrees outside), Cade's behavior seemed to mellow out and Emerson had five full, glorious days of eating three meals a day and sleeping through each night. My little sister came to visit on Saturday, and though we didn't get to the spa or a movie or even out of the house without children in tow, it is always nice to have your sister around when you're feeling less than blissful. It's also imperative to seize the opportunity to have another human handle the camera while you finally get around to sitting everyone down on the front steps for a photo.
The last time we did this was May of 2008, as we were required to include a family photo with our letter of inquiry sent to Belgrade. Funny how adding just two more little people makes us suddenly look like we're auditioning for a TLC show (I always liked plain ol' "Stairsteps" for the show name, but maybe something like "Crazy 8s" or "Supernanny Rejects" would be more fitting?) Can you hear the sappy voice-over?
My beautiful little sis.
I am not sure what inspiration gripped our little Emerson last week but she was eating a huge bowl of oatmeal mixed with a pureed fruit and some heavy cream for breakfasts, Graduates pasta meals and homemade mac 'n' cheese more fattening than I can even guess for lunch and dinner. She still wasn't drinking much but she was closing in on 1000 calories each day and she was joining us at the dinner table, no screaming or hair pulling or finger talking (when she's stressed about food, she does this weird thing where she looks at her finger close-up, eyes crossing, as if she was hoping it might be able to help her) and it was so... nice. She even had a little bit of strawberry shortcake - crumbs and all - one night for dessert (and LIKED it!) and I could see the recipes tripping over themselves in my head for a birthday cake She Might Actually Eat this August. The amount of stress it lifted from me and the entire atmosphere of our household was tangible. She was playful, happy, with us. I was relaxed, positive, patient. Emerson was eating and suddenly all a lot more was Right with the world.
We have learned though with this little girl, that just when you think you're finally turning a corner, that Things are Getting Better, you are actually traveling in a big circle and there just are no corners to be turned. Saturday night she refused dinner. Sunday she refused breakfast and some of lunch and ended up with around 400 calories. And why hello, here we are again. She saw the gastro on Thursday; he sent us to the lab to draw blood to check for Celiac and we're awaiting those results before he scopes her. I really think a lot of her eating issues are related to how sick she is - she and Dawson have had a constant cold for over four weeks now and this weekend it got worse. I'm not sure I'd be up to eating much if I had junk pouring out of one of my ears, either. So although her regression is totally understandable, it sucks and it means she can't really grow, can't really progress, can't turn any corners, as long as she can get sick. Short of putting her in a bubble, I'm not sure there's any good solution. We just keep going 'round. I hate seeing these two kiddos sick for so long - the entire winter has been such a fog of sickness, I can even forget that Dawson spent Thanksgiving in the hospital with pneumonia. If Down syndrome were in human form right now, I think I'd have to go all gangsta momma on it. Enough already!
The weather was undeniably Perfect on Easter Sunday and although we are not religious by any means, we were happy to celebrate the deep-breathing, sky-gazing, dirt-digging newness of Spring. I was hoping the kids would sleep in a bit so I could get some gorgeous pictures, but alas, they don't really give a hoot about the low-light performance of my camera, now do they? I think they turned out pretty gorgeous anyways though, and the colors flared up as the morning wore on. It was a day spent living between the sunporch and the backyard, and it was pretty perfect, even for Supernanny Rejects like us.
Gooey cinnamon rolls from the can, blooming tulips, coloring eggs you take turns hiding in the yard until you think another minute out of the fridge will surely spoil them, baskets full of silly trinkets and the only chocolate I and my Pittsburgh guy cherish above all others, and a pink liner with "Emerson" printed on it that I bought when I had just found out I was pregnant with Dawson and I was beyond certain it would be our second girl. I bought that damn liner 3 years ago this month and I finally, finally, finally got to use it. It's crazy how our lives can race off in a direction we never could have imagined - this week at least, I'm kinda liking that craziness.