Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Encouragement... it's a good thing!

If you had told me, five years ago, I would be married with two beautiful children today I would of said "uh... yah right!"

But, here I am... happily married to my beautiful wife and we were lucky to have two amazing children. Mauldin just suprises me everyday! I sit on the couch and just watch him walk around, singing his version of ABC/1.2.3.... and it makes me wonder what we did to make him so perfect.
Then there is our pretty princess, Elle. She is just so happy! I have NEVER seen a little kid, a baby no-less, smile as much as she does. The amount of happiness she emits is intoxicating and you cannot help but grin from ear to ear when you see her.

Just the other day, as I was about to head up the stairs my wife let out a gasp!

"Are you okay?" I said quickly. I was standing, one foot on the beige carpet on our stairs as I had one hand tightly grasped the gray graco baby gate that was installed to keep Mauldin from falling up or should I say down that stairs.

"Yes," my wife, Laura replied. "Did you see? Good job, Mauldin!"

I look down and expect to see my son scribing his name on a pad of paper or from the sound of the gasp he may of cured cancer... I wasn't sure. I saw him sitting in the floor with a toy he got from his cousin Everett. The toy is a Red and Blue circular toy that has a yellow handle and different shaped blocks... I guess you could call it a "Shape sorter." He sat on our kitchen floor with four or five of the yellow shapes all around him.

"Watch what your son can do..." Laura said. "Go on Mauldin, put them back!"

Our son loves to put things in their place... if he has a sippy cup it must go in it's cup holder... and if it is on the floor, it must be right side up. He makes sure all the doors are closed because heaven forbid one be open. This is true about the fridge as well... you open it, he MUST close it!

Like she said, I stood there and looked at my little boy work out placing all the blocks into their place. I glaced from Mauldin to Laura to see her face beaming with immense pride.

"But, babe..." I started. "I've seen him do that before, he's been doin' that for a while!"

I headed over to my little boy and patted him on the back. "That's great, Mauldin." I interjected.

"What?" she said with a hint of shock in her voice. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"I didn't think it was a big deal." I calmly replied. "He's been doing puzzles for a while too... I just figured you knew!"

"NO!" she said while she clapped in Mauldin's direction showing her approval. "That's so amazing, Eric! That's really advanced."

"Yay!!! Yay, Mauldin!" I joined in on the clapping.

Mauldin looked up at both of us and starting clapping too! Well, that is all I needed to hear. As soon as anyone says something positive about your offspring... you just beam with pride, excitment... you know, all those good emotions.

I immediatley looked over at our little girl as she swayed back and forth in her exersaucer screaming in what seemed to be excitment for her big brother, although it could of been need for attention! I kinda felt bad we had put all that clapping and excitment into her brother so I felt the need to give Elle some encouragement and attention too! She had a paci in one hand and was grabbing onto a crunchy-sounding flower with the other. I crouched down and gave her a big grin. She responded with a high-pitch sound that could probably call some dolphins if we lived close enough to the ocean. At times we call her our little grasshopper... because of this commerical. It's really sweet actually because she always screams with a huge smile. As I went to stand up I felt something brush my side... it was Mauldin! He ran over and gave his sister a big hug... I guess he didn't want her to be left out either.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pride and applejuice

Kids are curious and funny , little creatures. Well, very little ones… ones that can’t really verbalize what they want and so when they are upset all you get is a whine, cry or all out temper tantrum. In our case we have two children that do this, but they just do it on different levels.

Our daughter is a little easier to read. Up until three or four months old babies usually need either of a handful of things… either it is their diaper needs to be changed, they are hungry, sleepy or perhaps they have a tint of gas or the hiccups. These are baby basics and easily subdued.

You would think it would be the other way around, but as they get older they have more issues! Maybe it is because I offer him juice and because I didn't magically have the juice ready, at the time I asked him if he wanted it... he FREAKS out! I'm working on my choice of words now... Also, we may have the wrong TV show or movie and he wants to watch Super Why rather than Mickey Mouse Club House? It is amazing, he will pick the same movie to watch - everytime if we give him a choice... 9 times out of 10 it will be the Incredibles! Although, there are times he picks up Avatar or X-men: United, but when we take it away.

"No Mauldin," we say... "this is not a Mauldin or Elle movie, this is a movie just for mommy and daddy." He doesn't like that answer and will begin to throw all the movies from the cabinet on the floor as his revenge for not getting to view the film of his choice.

Mauldin's temper is the same everytime... it usually begins with a short whine or whimper and is followed with throwing his juice cup or toy (in this case movie) on the floor.

“Mauldin,” I look at him, “that wasn’t nice, now was it?” He looks at me with his big, 16-month, blue eyes, sometimes with tears running down his face, and just lets out a large exhale. This symbolizes a non-verbal “done.” Like, I’m done with this conversation. Now, granted 90% of the time our little man is a perfect gentleman. He follows the rules we set for him… he puts away his toys and relatively never gets into “trouble.”

“What’s wrong?” I ask him, not expecting an answer because his total vocabulary consists of probably six words: juice, up, down, zap, daddy and done.

“Da!” he says with much zeal, as if he had forgotten he was crying! He then puts two fingers to his mouth and begins flipping them on his lips which give me the clue that he now has something else on his mind and is ready to play again. Whatever was bothering him is now over and he has now moved on. Taking that toy away was so two minutes ago dad… I’m sure that is what he is thinking.

My son has many levels… the more in-depth and harder to control tantrums usually begin with laying in the floor and banging his head against whatever hard surface he is near… the floor, a cabinet, chair, his bed railings, etc… which creates more crying… It’s a vicious cycle.

We usually just have to pick him up and take him out of the situation or he will lay on the floor and just… well lay there. This past Monday morning he had woke up in a foul mood and so after getting his diaper changed (on the floor of our bedroom) and his clothes half on, ready to take him to daycare, he cried through the whole process… I gave up with his lack of cooperation and so I decided okay, I’ll just leave him be and he will discover I’m not paying attention to his fit… and calm down… Well, calm down yes, but our son is a prideful little man. Fast forward, five minutes later, and well, I come back to peek in on him from the bathroom and there he was, still… same place, hasn’t moved from the hardwood floor… one green sock on with the other laying on the floor next to him, I could see the hint of the alligator stitching from where I stood, he did have a shirt on, but his shorts were lying next to the alligator sock. The child just laid there, one finger in his mouth and eyes fixed on Special Agent OSO.

No one can break my child’s pride.

Now, where does he get this from? This is still an unanswered question.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Two perfect little people

In the midst of a week full work week it is amazing how I found time to sit down and rest, rest and not worry about bills, kids, or even work. I just took the time to listen to the waves crashing around me… the warm waves in the distance, I can smell the salty, Caribbean sea air and feel the warming sensation of the sun on my over-worked and tired body. I rub my toes together to knock the sand off. I feel a breeze on my face and peek one eye open to feel the cool shade from the palm tree above. The beads of sweat running down my sun-kissed, tan chest as I lounge in a white, beach chair just close enough to the sand that I can run my fingers gingerly through the rough, granule mixture of soft, white sand. I lay comfortable, calm, serene in this Corona-like state.


I hear my name being called. Is a waiter walking by, dipping his head down to whisper to me, not to stir me from my zen?


What service, what a life I have… it’s like a dream. I groggily turn my head over to the right and open my mouth to make my order for a fruity, Caribbean drink. I open my eyes and before I can order my drink the shadowed figure above looks stunningly familiar.

“Eric, hand her over,” my wife, Laura, says. “I need to swaddle your daughter.”

I look down and realize it was all a grand dream. I was, in-fact, home on my comfy couch lying with my daughter, Elle, secure in our Baby Bjorn, on my chest. It had been such a taxing and hard week and it was only Thursday! I forgot I had laid down after chasing my little boy around and before I knew it I was out like the light in our bathroom. Side note: Our bathroom light has been out for about two weeks and I keep putting it off from changing it, I swear to my wife that “this weekend, after I mow, I will change it. I look down at my little girl, snoring lazily with one of her little hands up by her face and the other dropped, idly by my side. I look to my right and see my son sitting down on the floor and trying to place two plastic blocks together. It seemed as if he was getting really frustrated because the yellow and green block wouldn’t connect so the anger in him rose and he threw it on the floor behind him. He then had his attention taken away when he struck up a conversation with his six dwarves. A mixture of “daa’s” and “doo’s” go back and forth from he and the dwarves. We are unsure of the whereabouts of “Happy” the dwarf.

It is amazing to see how much our son, Mauldin, has progressed in just sixteen months. I lay there with a six-week old baby on me and see my other child running around, playing and trying to put toys together. It boggles my mind that my child learns! I mean it is amazing to me!

“Bring me your football Mauldin!” I say enthusiastically! He looks as me with his glittering blue eyes and turns to find his ball. I know how elementary some things can be, but to me, “the dad,” I just feel as if my child is a genius!

I cannot believe my wife and I are parents of two children! I would say “how did this happen?” But, that would be kind of stupid, but in all fairness it staggers me to wake up and know I am responsible for two little people! Two perfect little people…

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Welcome Home, Elle!

Our little princess decided to make her debut on June 22, 2010 at 4:51am.

Stats: 6lbs 7 oz / 19 1/2 inches long

Her big brother was so excited to meet her!

We were really excited to bring her home.

Welcome home!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

A plague on all our house

Most people spent their Memorial Day weekend lounging around, frolicking at the beach or spending quailty time with their loved ones... Well, I certainly got some quality time, but quality was over shadowed by the immense plague that has surrounded the Skates household since last week.

Our little boy loves to play with his friends and unfortunatley his little friends like to share and that includes germs.

He has been so sick, he would just take turns lying on us napping... that is whenever he got comfortable and sometimes this takes a little bit of kicking and sometimes in the area that may cause us to not give him anymore siblings.

Now granted kids get sick, right? You know this... I know this. I am well aware. But, our son ended up with a ear infection...

"but how can this be?" I questioned the doctor at the Urgent Care facility. "We just got tubes put in his ears... shouldn't that keep him from getting ear infections?"

"Generally, yes" the doctor followed. "However, there are the instances where he can still get them."

Well, how-de-do, I had no idea, someone failed to give us that tip of information... we were told if he were to get one ... we would know from the gunk coming from his ears... In this case, however, no gunk. We had no idea what was causing our 14 month old son to have a fever of 102.

So, let me set the scene for you... the most inopportune time for our little boy to get sick... he does...

Fast forward to Saturday... we started the morning, 9 am, at the "urget care," (I referred to earlier)... our little boy had been up all night, coughing and hacking and squirming... we had no idea what to do besides administer motrin and tylenol! So, we knew we have to call the "urget care" and get there as soon as they opened their doors. After sitting in the waiting room, where our little boy ran from chair to chair and banging his head against doors we were called back... after seeing the doctor we paid the "urgert care" co-pay and was sent on with no Rx, but with a wealth of information...

"Call us, if his temp goes any higher," the doctor told us has he exited the room! Thanks doc!

Late Saturday afternoon, about 4pm, my wife and I discovered a lot of funk in my sons left eye, so we tried to find the eye drops from the last time he had pink eye... as soon as I hit the last kitchen stair and rounded the corner to the den I heard and a loud noise and scream from my wife. I immediatley turned around to find my wife sprawled on the stairs, with our son still in her arms. Please note, women nine months pregnant should not be taking the express option when taking stairs... I ran to her and in my frantic mindset all I could do was go from my son to my wife, who do I help first??? I felt such a sense of urgency and panic I looked for blood, I looked for signs of broken limbs... I...

"Take him!" Take him!" my wife exclaimed in sheer agony. I wasn't sure what to do!!! How was I to pick who was more important... I can't take that kind of pressure!!!!!!!!!!!!
Her arm was pretty badly bruised and considering I could already see the blue she had to of hit it pretty hard.

I grabbed our little boy who was whailing at the top of his lungs... his eyes were full of tears, his face red and snot oozing from his nose.
"Ohhh, ohh you're okay little man!!" I said as I bounced him up and down all the while looking at my wife lying on the stairs.. it seemed hours had gone by but only seconds. I saw the drops we were searching for on our brown, linoleum kitchen floor. It was a very, small, clear bottle with blue writing on it.

Laura slowly started to get up, "stop! Wait babe," I said "let me help you!"

I put our son, Mauldin, down and let him stand on his own, also to check to make sure his leg was okay. He took one tiny step toward my direction. I could tell then he hadn't broken his leg. He did have what seemed like a red carpet burn on his knee cap.

"I think his leg fell behind mine on the way down," Laura gasped. "Check him to make sure he is okay."

Mauldin stood there in his t-shirt and diaper, still sniffing, but the crying fit seemed to have subsided, except when I lost eye contact with him the crying continued, but this time at an even higher level. He was fine, but the fall and seeing his mommy lying on the floor I'm sure scared him a little.
"He is okay, sweetheart..." I reassured her. "Are you okay?"

I reached over to help my wife stand up from the stairs and noticed pieces of our baby gate all over the kitchen floor...
"Wow," I said "I wonder where that piece goes!?" I tried to insert some humor into the seemingly stressful situation.
My inital thought when Laura fell was, of course, her and my little boy's well-being, but then I also worried about Elle. Our little girl is still inside her mom's belly... and if she was asleep that was quite a wake-up call for her!
"Call the doctor's right now and see what they want us to do" I suggested to Laura as I held Mauldin in my arms. He continued to sniff and wimper all the while tugging on my shirt collar.

"Okay, hand me the phone." Laura said.

"I will call your mom to see if she can come stay with him." I replied.

One thing I didn't know was that Laura's mom and dad had been in South Carolina to visit Laura's sister, Amy and our nephew, Drew...
"We are in SC," replied a voice on the phone "what's going on?"
"Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa" Mauldin screamed into the phone. I tried to talk as loud as I could, but his deafening screams were muffling my dialouge into the phone. I finally got him quite by the art of distraction... I gave him a plastic chicken leg to hold from his little play kitchen... but as soon as I stood up to talk on the phone again he banged his forehead into the "play" kitchen sink... let the crying resume!

"Call us back when he has calmed down," My mother-in-law replied "I can't hear you!"

My parents were on their way back from a week in Myrtle Beach, SC, at this moment. But, I knew they were headed home... so I called and did not get a hold of my mom... so I called my sister... no answer... I then tried my dad and finally got a hold of them!
"Now, don't freak out..." I said preparing them. "Laura is not in labor, but she fell down the stairs." I went on to explain the siutation.
Well, obviously today was not ideal for us to go into labor, much less have any other type of emergency...

The nurse at the hosptial suggested we come in and have Laura monitored... My parents were in Augusta and were still a good three hours away and I knew we needed to get to the hosiptal before that. Laura was to be monitored for alteast four hours!

My sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Jenn and Paul, live just down the street, conveient for us when we are in a jam, but on this day our niece Annagrace was sick too and we didn't want our two kids sharing more germs and getting sicker than they already were. Who else? My brain was fried, I couldn't seem to focus on the task at hand... my mind was going from my wife to my son to my unborn daughter... what were we going to do? We certainly couldn't take him to triage with us with him being as sick as he was! I called our friends Amanda and Mike, a fairly newly wed couple, who I trust with my life and just hoped they were nearby and available.
"We are on the otherside of town," Amanda said. "It might be a little while before we can get there."
I was so frustrated... what were we going to do?!
"I have an idea," Laura said. "Let me call and see if Tori and Jeremy can watch him."

Tori and Jeremy are Laura's cousins, they live in our subdivision, so it would be so easy to take him there. But, could they watch Mauldin for the amount of time until our parents could arrive, that was the question! Thankfully, Tori said they could and I rushed to get all of his stuff together to head over there...

I wish I could tell you something more exciting happened, like it sent Laura into labor and we had Elle here already, but nothing like that happened at all... We did end up at the hospital, in the triage unit, for a little over four hours and mom and baby were just fine... well, Laura did end up with some major bruising, but luckily she fell on her toosh and so it softened the blow for our little girl.
To put insult to injury, whatever Mauldin had... he has now passed onto me and my wife. So, Mauldin I love you, but let daddy give you a lesson that sometimes sharing is a bad thing.

Lets hope for less eventful weekends from now on!!!