One year ago, we were just getting out of the hospital, due to another PICU stay because of another mystery infection caused by low blood counts. We were waiting, impatiently, for a surgeon to plan time to root around in The Boy's abdomen, hunting for second relapse tumor. We were angry, frustrated, and exhausted. I had been in Pittsburgh for nearly two weeks and been at the hospital for that entire time, more or less.
There isn't an aspect of our lives that isn't better at this point. The Boy is in remission and out of treatment, and he's growing and learning and wonderful. He's talking very well, despite chemo-related hearing loss, and his intelligence and sense of humor is disproportionate for his age. Younger Bro is growing nicely and developing normally, even if he's far too canny and perceptive and creative for a kid his age.
This is the third year that I haven't really had much of a Christmas at home: no decorations, no tree, no carols at home. (I did listen to lots of Christmas music, but it was at work and in the car.) On the other hand, thanks to my brother coming in from California, we had a very nice Christmas with my entire family (save for one sister-in-law and their youngest child, who's dealing with some issues of his own). The boys got some very nice presents and had a great time.
Again, when I look at what we were facing a year ago, and when I look at our life right now... there's no comparison. It's astonishing. I honestly feel like a very different person, albeit one that has aged a hell of a lot more than one year. I'm still immature in many ways, but mostly in fun ones at this point. I'd still like a full-time job, but I'll take what I can get at this point.
I mean, look what I have: two beautiful, healthy sons; a gorgeous, vivacious, talented wife; a place to live and food to eat thanks to her family; my father's support and love; and new friends in my new home. I have a great temp job with really, really cool coworkers / supervisors, where I'm doing interesting stuff and learning to do more than that. And, I have lots of technology to keep me occupied.
Thank G-d for 2010. It was a crappy year, for the most part; but it helped us turn the corner. A miracle occurred with The Boy's surgery at the beginning; a second miracle helped us end his treatment. We've had steadily building good luck, hopefully cashing in on some of the bad karma we've burnt since 2008. I'll be glad to see it go, but I'm sure thankful for what it gave us.
May 2011 bring fewer hospital visits, fewer doctor's visits, fewer filial conflicts, more hugs and snuggles and songs and dancing and games and climbing and tackling Daddy.
Our December voyages started inauspiciously: The Boy developed a case of pinkeye (conjunctivitis) on Wednesday night, to go along with a nasty cold, which consisted of a sprinting nose, lots of snot, and coughing fits during sleep. He was gracious enough to share his pinkeye with his brother by Thursday morning. So, we scrapped our plans to teach lessons on the way out east for a more conservative “Pick Up Antibiotics and Head Out Anyway.” My brother’s in town from California, and I’m not going to miss seeing him, come heck or high water (or high levels of eye gunk, anyway).
(Side note: here’s where some of my games start to backfire more than a little bit. The Boy and I play a game called “Gonna get your boogers!”, which consists of Daddy making motions towards getting some hangers from The Boy’s nose. He squeals and wriggles and covers his nose, then tries to return the favor. Of course, when he’s tired and sick and really excreting large amounts of nose candy, the game turns less fun and more of a power struggle. Such is life.)
We got to Aunt M’s in Harrisburg, after first calling to explain the medical situation and getting a confirmation to still stay - although when we got there, we discovered that the rest of the house was less than thrilled about the young plague carriers. They were having somewhat immune-compromised guests the next day and were afraid of transferring their germs. We understand that, so we decided to just hop back in the car (after being provided with dinner of an amazing steak) and head up to Grandpa’s house, one day early. Lord knows we’ve been in the opposite side often enough; we’d never “force” ourselves on someone who doesn’t want our germs.
The 24th opened simply enough: two hungry, grumpy children and an extremely ill Mum. Sigh. Took the children to Shop Rite to pick up Christmas Dinner food. Younger Bro started to pitch a major fit by the end of the trip, considering how hungry he apparently was. A trip to Dunkin Donuts cured that quite nicely. We got home and played with the children for a couple of hours, letting Mum rest. The Boy napped with her for some time during the afternoon, while Younger Bro decided to forgo most of his nap.
At night, we went to dinner at a local watering hole, celebrating the birthday of Cousin J. It went surprisingly well, considering that I took the two children by myself. The Boy was the picture of politeness all night, staying in his seat all the way through dinner and playing and coloring nicely with Grandpa and Uncle P. Younger Bro was his normal self, and I kept him entertained with the patient help of Cousin J. After dinner, nobody was left in the back room of the restaurant besides one other family, with whom I had a 20-year friendship; so, I felt completely okay with allowing my children to run around the room and beat on each other. It was quite entertaining: Younger Bro would tackle The Boy, bring him down quite hard. They both thought that was funny. The Boy would then punch at Younger Bro, beating on his back. They both thought that was fall-down hilarious. Sigh. Boys = puppies, for the most part. Come see the violence inherent in the system.
Younger Bro eating birthday cake was epic. Full hands squishing cake and frosting - followed by a face bath in said cake. Epic Win, Younger Bro. Way to pwn that cake.
After dinner, we stopped by St. Peter’s to say hi to the choir and to the priests, all of whom had been amazingly helpful to us through the course of The Boy’s treatments. They were happy to see the boys, black eyes & pinkeyes and bruises and all. I was happy to see them, for sure, and I miss them greatly, particular Mr. K. and Judith, two of the nicest and most fun people ever.
We all opened some presents last night, then the boys went to bed more-or-less willingly. This morning, I woke up feeling peckish (nothing an overabundance of anti-histamine medication can’t handle), but The Wife was functional and the kids were happy. The Wife and The Boy visited Alan Rubin’s congregation to great acclaim, and we had a nice, boring, slow Christmas day.
Do you know what the Jews call Christmas this year? Saturday.
I have a post about the difference between where we were a year ago and where we are today, but it’s still percolating and coalescing inside. More later, maybe.
So, The Boy got his hearing aids today. It went remarkably easily: he knows how to behave in a doctor's office (surprise, surprise), and he's pretty adaptable when it comes to new medical things that we do to him. He accepted the hearing aids quickly and easily, all things considered. He flipped out a bit when we got home from the hospital (where the audiologist's office was), but that was 99% being overtired from a nap.
(He's got pinkeye - I think - and a cold, lucky him. And, on the eve of our trip. We're supposed to be leaving tomorrow morning for Harrisburg & New Jersey. Not anymore. Now, we're headed to the doctor's office, then to CVS for medication, THEN hitting the road. Assuming, of course, we can get an appointment tomorrow - or just a nurse to phone in a prescription.)
When he woke from his nap, Mum was gone to teach her lessons. So, I had two grumpy children with me, and The Boy didn't want his hearing aids in. But, he didn't rip them out; he just complained about them. The complaints were more about his need for sleep and less about the hearing aids in specific. We went to the comic book store and to Starbucks, then we picked up a pizza, which The Boy didn't eat but Younger Bro and I enjoyed. He's still got his hearing aids in, about three hours later; I'm going to take them out for the night in another half hour or so. He's had enough for today.
Aunt J, who's had hearing aids for years and years and years, suggested that he only wear them for a few hours per day, and longer and longer as time goes on. We're okay with that. I'd rather him slowly grow accustomed to them than to try to get him to go cold turkey.
Okay. There's a little bear that needs some attention. Talk more later.
So, I tried to update my iPhone last night when I got home from work, only to discover a strange email address heading up my account: email@example.com. Long story short, someone hacked my iTunes account, changed the email address and password, and bought $250 of bad rap music and ringtones. Frustrating, because it wasn't even good music.
90 minutes on the telephone fixes the email problem, only to leave another issue: the email account wasn't "verified" and wouldn't verify. So, it was another 45 minutes on the telephone to get my account verified, only to find another computer "authorized" to use my stuff besides my computer. Sigh. Problem NOT solved.
So, let's work through this. Changed email passwords for my major and minor accounts, including a new backup system for my passwords. Over two hours of time, a lost credit card report, a police report, and an email to Apple to get the problem rectified.
MUCH better use of time rather than playing with the boys, resting, and that sort of thing. And, a whole bunch of new passwords to memorize and change in my various machines.
At least it was an easy night for me. The Boy went with Mum to see the Nutcracker, leaving me at home with a tired Younger Bro. Now, I'm watching the season finale of Burn Notice while trying to get my thoughts in order.
Tomorrow: IEP meeting for The Boy, followed by the fittings for his hearing aids. Let's see how this works.
Last night, The Boy was playing on our bed, throwing pillows around and jumping all over the place. He threw himself at a pillow, overshot his mark, and took a faceful of headboard. He split his nose open and wound up giving himself a nice shiner:
I have to say, this was almost a pleasure with which to deal. Compared to three major surgeries and several minor ones, with many port access attempts and finger sticks and chemos and others. I mean, this still sucked big time, but it wasn't the worst thing in 2010.
It's an interesting thing, raising boys. My boys tend to jump into situations face-first, which leads to many bumps, bruises, and scrapes. This is not unusual in the male portion of the species, and some frequent injury history runs in my family. The Boy's namesake, for instance, had a large portion of the family's stitches applied by doctors.
Interesting twist: if The Boy was school age, would you let him go to school, knowing that teachers are required to report any potential abuse to CYF? The thought of anyone abusing The Boy is horrifying, and the concept of parental abuse is ludicrous. However, all it takes is one irritated teacher to make a call, and certain things become annoying.
Tonight, Grandpa and I went to see Tron Legacy in 3D, followed by dinner at Steak & Shake. It was a fascinating movie, and I'm glad that we went, but it kind of defies conventional categories.
The number one thing about the movie, in my opinion, is its timelessness. The pace is not the typical action-movie fast pace. It's actually kind of slow, in terms of how events unfold. The plot is extremely conventional: the dad disappears early in the hero's life, the hero enters into the world to meet the villain, then is rescued by his dad's team, etc., etc., etc. There really isn't much doubt about how the end of the movie turns out. Despite these things, the movie flows past and around the audience, and suddenly two hours plus has past without notice.
The number two thing is the effects: incredible and interesting and entertaining and beautiful and engaging special effects. The 3D in the movie was used to incredible artistic expression; it was an expressive element that enhanced the experience and brought the Tron world into a more real place. Some movies' 3D effects are incredible and important, such as Avatar. Some movies are 3D and shouldn't be 3D (I'm thinking of you, Shrek Forever). This movie was in the same category as Avatar in terms of the effects, although the opposite in terms of world: instead of creating life in a natural environment, the world was an artificial, modernist, computer world with "programs" instead of people.
The number three thing is the primary conflict, between Jeff Bridges and Young Jeff Bridges. The effects, which had Young Jeff Bridges as the antagonist, were amazing. I'm astonished at how the computers made the Young Jeff Bridges so lifelike and adaptive! I enjoyed it thoroughly.
So, this whole movie was an interesting mix: not a great plot, decent but not extraordinary acting, slow pace, amazing effects, chemistry between the protagonist and antagonist, and an interesting timelessness. I need to think about this some more, maybe watch it another time or two as things start to crystallize in my mind about this movie. I recommend this movie highly. It's not necessarily for children; I don't think that it's for my young kids, but I think it would be great for a 10-11 year old who loves science fiction. Maybe a younger kid, too, because light cycles and disc battles are really cool. Definitely recommended for the geeks like me.
Last night, The Wife and I had an interesting clash of parenting styles. Here's the situation: Younger Bro wasn't feeling particularly well, so he was sleeping very lightly and very poorly. It was 10:35PM (both boys having taken very late naps), and The Boy had finished his bedtime procedures, albeit amended somewhat because of the hour and our own state of exhaustion.
The strikes against us: Younger Bro's normally light sleeping was lighter than usual; we didn't read The Boy his stories and go through all of the normal steps; The Boy was overtired and overstimulated; he hadn't slept in his own bed for a couple of nights; The Wife, not I, took The Boy into his room for bed; and we, the parents, were exhausted and frustrated.
So, The Boy flipped out, as one would predict. The tantrum woke up his brother, and we had two frantically screaming children. At this point, my tendency would be to snuggle one or both boys in bed with us until they calmed down; we might move them or we might not.
The Wife, instead, decided that last night would be The Last Straw. The Boy was going to sleep In His Own Bed, come hell or high water. She got very, very firm with him - much more firm than I've ever gotten, bordering on raising her voice, overriding his screaming and crying. Younger Bro wound up sleeping a chunk in the other bedroom in the boys' playpen.
My general feeling about this one is that firmness at 10:30PM while exhausted is not the right call. The boys are quite young, and they just don't understand why the adult is angry with them. The Boy wants to snuggle with his loving parents (particularly Daddy), and Younger Bro wants to be soothed and consoled because of his illness. They're still young enough to see us as their primary caretakers and friends. We should be enjoying that for as long as we're able to enjoy it.
Of course, this doesn't fix the problem of getting The Boy to start to listen to us, and start to take some more independence for himself (potty issues, his own bed, et al). One can make a believable slippery slope showing the descent into teenage thuggage (is that a word?) from the lack of boundaries set at a young enough age.
Long story short, when The Wife started to bear down, I ran and hid. It wasn't the right time for push-over Musical Daddy to run to crying boys and soothe them. Within about ten minutes, both boys were asleep in the proper places and The Wife was in bed, herself, having handled things much more efficiently and smoothly than I could have - and did - handle them.
So, did we do the right thing, wading in with the figurative bat to get discipline and order restored? What would you do in that situation?
The coda was: within an hour, The Boy was in bed with us. At around 2AM, Younger Bro woke up and spent a couple of hours on Grandma's lap downstairs, watching Barney ad nauseum until returning to sleep around 4AM.
It's 10pm, do you know where your children are? Mine are still awake. The little one was put back in bed for the third time, and the big one is watching Winnie the Pooh, an eminently soothing movie in a vain attempt to calm him down for sleep.
For the past couple of nights, the boys have been on west coast time - about three hours off kilter in fall asleep time, and about an hour off wakeup time. The naps have been crazy 3-5:30pm naps, which don't help.
So, The Wife is asleep temporarily (isn't all sleep, save one, temporary?) next to The Boy and me, and I'm typing on my phone over his head. I was preparing a nice dissertation about The Boy's preschool time, drawing nigh, but that ain't happening now.
The boys went to the science center today and had a great time. The Wife noted that the boys play together quite nicely at this stage of their development. They still need careful attention, but they don't need parental hovering. There are occasional bouts of Mortal Kombat (The Boy's Scorpion to Younger Bro's Guile) that need a referee, but for the most part, they do fairly well.
Younger Bro has developed a nice reading habit. He chooses a book and brings it over to the designated reader, allowing them to pick him up for the book. If he likes it, he generally wants it at least 3 times consecutively. His favorites are "Pat the Bunny," a "Where's Baby?" lift the flaps book, and a Sesame Street book that has pictures to search.
One year ago today, I made my final, official move into Pittsburgh. The Wife and the boys had moved in three weeks prior; during that time, I went back to finish my school's winter concert, catch the flu, repaint and repair the house, and put our affairs into order. We also discovered the "spots" on The Boy's kidneys and lungs which turned out to be scar tissue later on, thank G-d. I did all of that, more or less successfully. Tuesday morning, December 15, I packed the rest of our life into a van, attached our car to the back of the van (thanks, Musical Grandpa and Cousin P!), and drove to Pittsburgh. I arrived late at night, retrieved The Boy from his Grandma (where he had taken to sleeping because of his issues), and went to bed.
Two days later, we made a trip to the emergency room which resulted in an intensive care stay for The Boy and the rest of the family. This started a horrendous, horrendous time period, which had, at one point, me in the hospital for 20 days and home for 16.
At the time, I was a beaten, destroyed man. I had nothing. I lost my job; my church job and life; my chorus (and my dad's chorus); my house; my friends; and everything else that I knew. "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder" didn't even begin to cover it. I'm fairly sure that I had entirely lost my ability to interact normally with people, responding much like a whipped dog responds: tail between the legs alternating with vicious, unpredictable biting and growling.
Pittsburgh has been a miracle for us. Children's Hospital was a revelation, and they were actually prepared to meet the challenges of my family and my son' illness, unlike St. Barnabas and the Valerie Fund, who had neither the competence nor the desire nor the work ethic to meet our needs. Four months later, The Boy was out of treatment; he went from five prescription medicine in constantly juggling dosages to one medication with one dosage, among other things.
I've been slowly and surely healing throughout this time. I believe that I'm a different person than I was on that dark, dark day, 365 days ago, that I fled New Jersey. My relationship with my wife is stronger than it ever has been, and she truly has been the rock upon which I've leaned. My relationship with my sons has grown and blossomed through this time. Professionally, I'm still lagging far behind; it really wasn't until April or May that we were in any condition to do anything about hunting for a job, and I'm positive that I wouldn't have hired us through the summer months.
I've had a lot of hard growing up to do. I'm a lot more sensitive and more responsive to my family's needs and the needs of the people around me. I'm a lot more capable of dealing with work stress than ever before - how bad can it possibly get at any job, considering the hellish, unprofessional, vindictive behavior of the people in Westfield? I'm more capable of putting my family's needs ahead of my own, truly, than ever before. Lots of people pay lip service to that; but, I think being able to drop everything and move 400 miles away for better medical care kind of proves it.
It's been a very difficult, very trying, very challenging year, filled with highs and lows that were steeper than others. But, we're through one year, with many more to go. We have some interesting things happening in the next couple of weeks that I can't wait to share with you: a trip to New Jersey for the holidays, seeing lots of friends, some surprise visits to places, that sort of thing.
And, it's 10:26PM, and The Boy is still awake. Sigh.
The Boy, over the past week, has shown a wonderful fondness for connect the dots puzzles. Grandma has found great pictures that use numbers up to 25 and other pictures using the alphabet instead of numbers. It's pretty cool. His lines aren't really straight - he's only 3! - but he does get from number to number easily enough. Sometimes the lines even hit the dots. The pictures are reasonably recognizable.
In an interesting shift, The Wife has been playing video games - Wii and a Barney game on the Mac - with the boys. That's an interesting shift because I'm the video gamer in the family, by a long shot. Most of my gaming has wound up being on iPhone instead of on my PS3 or Wii, but that's because I still spend an overwhelming majority of my time either snuggled with The Boy (thus using the phone) or waiting for students / start of work / lunch to be over at work. My gaming time, during the week, is still somewhat under an hour, even with the phone.
I've found myself doing a lot more reading over the past week, and I'm happy about that. The boys see me reading lots of different things, and I like that behavior modeling. I powered through Stephanie Meyer's "Twilight" series and enjoyed it - kind of surprising, considering I'm a Buffy & Angel fan and am a little queasy about vampires that don't burst into flames in the sunlight. It was a little too much teen romance fantasy, but I could deal with that and get to the meaty mythology underneath. Vampires that choose not to eat humans... I have no problem with that, as Spike and Angel are two of my favorites.
I've also got a backlog of magazines to read. It's probably three months' worth. I get Sporting News, ESPN the Magazine, Muscle & Fitness, the Instrumentalist, Parents Magazine (not a big fan), Maxim (not a big fan anymore), and have been a Playboy subscriber for nearly 20 years. The magazines were awesome for hospital stays - read the magazine, throw it away and don't carry it home. Since we haven't spent a week at the Hotel Children's in a long time, I haven't been reading my magazines regularly. It's nice to get a chance to read.
Oops. I'm being attacked by a little man. Gotta go.
The last week or so, The Boy has decided to throw a major s&&tfit about random things. Usually, it's triggered by the potty; he throws a near sterotypical temper tantrum. I'm talking about a television-style tantrum: stomping feet, flailing arms and hands, eyes squeezed shut and crying, snot running down his face, screaming at the top of his lungs "I NOT go potty! I don't like the potty! I don't need go potty! I NOT!"
Nothing better to have the heart of your heart screaming in your ear, hitting at you, and preparing to poop his pants at the same time. It's just great.
The things that have caused tantrums this week: potty (#1 on the hit parade this week), putting on clothes (pants in particular), going upstairs or downstairs from where he is currently playing, bedtime, going out for lunch / breakfast, going to the store or other errands, going to a party to be with friends, and playing with new toys. In short, pretty much anything.
What causes tantrums? I've been lead to believe that the tantrums are caused by The Boy trying to exert control over his surroundings and the people around him. I get that. The one for whom I feel the worst is my wife; I'm just not around during the day, so I only get them for the last couple of hours of wakefulness. This means that it's easy for me to smile, get down on a knee, and hug through the tears and tantrum. It's a lot easier for me NOT to get mad at this behavior, because it doesn't necessarily impact the plans for the rest of my day. It still sucks, but The Boy (in particular) will frequently calm down when he gets a Daddy hug and nice, calm, soft Daddy talking and questions.
My wife said, last week, "You're so gentle with him all the time! I wish I could do that." My response: It's easy. Just be out of the house until 4:30PM every day. When you're working all day, it's easy to be patient and kind, because you've been dealing with work issues all day. A bad day with kids is still usually more fun than a good day at work. Then again, a bad day with kids isn't that bad - we've been through bad days (bad count days, bad PICU stays, bad chemo reactions, bad surgeries), and angry, tantruming children doesn't even make the top 20.
I wish I knew what the secret is, to avoid the tantrum entirely. I know that it's in presentation and timing; getting him to get excited about a trip or an activity is directly related to the timing and the manner of presentation. Two nights ago, The Boy tantrumed about brushing his teeth. I took his toothbrush, put toothpaste on it, and walked away, pretending to brush my teeth. He got very irate, saying, "No, Daddy! That's for The Boy!" He took the toothbrush from me and brushed his teeth happily. That doesn't always work, but - for one shining, glorious moment - I convinced him to avoid the full monty tantrum and do what was required.
Today, we went on a mini-shopping trip with Younger Bro that included lunch at Eat 'N' Park. The Boy didn't come with us, because he threw enough of a tantrum that he had to stay home with no television, computer, or easel. smh. We missed him, and we need to show him that his actions have consequences. The only thing is, I hope we don't teach him that he can stay home at will...
Yesterday, The Wife was subbing while I worked, leaving the boys with Grandma all day. When I got home from work (The Wife was teaching lessons), Grandma gave me the boys and $20 and said, "I'm exhausted. Take them out to dinner."
They are very busy, you know? Lots of energy and enthusiasm...
So, I threw the boys in the car and took them to the comic book store and Starbucks for chocolate milk. They were very good. After, we went to Eat'n'Park for dinner. That worked out nicely.
Put them in their chairs and go to the salad bar to load a plate or two with fruit and goodies. The waitress came, and we gave our whole order. Then, they were eating happily for the entire time.
At the end, I threw YB on my back. Turned around, and The Boy was gone. The other patrons pointed me to him; he was wandering towered a set of potted plants. Sigh.
Went home, bath, younger one in bed. Stories for older one, then Mum got home and took over, as I taught a lesson via webcam.
Yesterday, Younger Bro went down the stairs crawling backwards for the first time.
The Boy had three whole accident-free days, then had 2 pee accidents yesterday.
YB is now doing the "It's... the CLAW!" in his own way. It's insanely cute.
The Boy should have his hearing aids by the time we head west to Jersey for the holidays.
I auditioned to direct a women's barbershop chorus last night and did very well. Might be a long term paid gig - not enough money to be life changing, but might pay for my month's gasoline. And be fun.
YB can identify every Sesame Street character in pictures. Pretty darn amazing. He also can "flip backwards" out of your arms if you hold his hands.
It's interesting, watching and listening to my children as their thought processes grow and develop. The phrases that they pick up, the inflections and moods that they show and mimic, are fascinating and compelling to watch. Most parents know this, of course, but lots of things become instant mysteries as to their origins.
The Boy has started to say, "We keep you safe!" to The Wife and me at odd times. I think he knows the basics of what it means: the parental units are available for safety and comfort and security. Good. The context, however, is interesting. When we play a game that he doesn't feel like playing, like "Gonna get you!", he'll yell, "No, Daddy! You NOT get The Boy! We keep you safe!"
I have no idea where he got that from. I don't recall that in any television show, movie, or book that we consume. Maybe from something he watches with Grandma, on Bookflix? Not sure.
It's interesting, because I've never really considered that to be a "normal" usage of that phrase. My guess is that he's telling us, "Please don't play that game with me. I don't need playful Daddy right now; I need safe, secure, comfortable, snuggle Daddy right now." Children don't come with manuals, however, and it's hard to tell.
Your thoughts? What does your kid say that confuses you like that?
Younger Bro's talking is coming along quite nicely. He already knows the names of the Sesame Street characters: Elmo, Big Bird, Grover, Burt, Ernie, Cookie, Oscar, et al. He says one-syllable, consonant-shortened versions of their names. Really quite adorable, and frighteningly intelligent. That's a smart kid right there.
Last night, Younger Bro decided to start yawning and rubbing his eyes around 6:30. He had a nice bath, watched some Goodnight Moon with Grandma, came to me for stories and two songs, and was put in bed around 7:20. You know the rest.
9PM, finally fell asleep. Some crying, some playing with Daddy, and finally a bottle of juice and more Goodnight Moon with noted baby tranquilizer Daddy. Sigh.
The Boy did his stories and The Boy movies (watching recorded stuff on iPhone) and fell asleep in our bed. I never move him, being terrified of waking the little one for a couple more hours of hysterics. The little one, as far as I know, slept through the night with only one interruption (maybe) for the first time in a week or two.
This really illustrates two things. First, the difference in the boys' demeanors does make a difference in how much they can be soothed. Second, how much their differences impact us as parents.
First point: because The Boy is such a snuggler, he is usually easily soothed. Hugs and kisses will fix most issues. YB, on the other hand, will not take soothing because of his relative aversion to being snuggled. He's gotten better, recently, but he is an independent person that does not want anybody's interference with his desires and needs. When he's upset, there is no real way to calm him down! You just have to ride the storm, let him do his thing, and hope that he feels better quickly. When he's teething, like now, we thank Tylenol for his help and hope it's over quickly.
Second, because he's so independent, we don't feel averse to letting him cry it out. With The Boy, from birth, whenever he cried, we soothed him almost immediately. True, much of that was because of his treatment: when your kid is on blood pressure meds like he was, you don't let him cry for long - particularly when he had the tendency to cry til he puked, as a younger child. YB hasn't been on any significant medical treatment and won't allow himself to be soothed, so when he's exhausted and screaming, we're inclined to let him work through it on his own.
Funny thing? There's no guilt there, like there still is about the few times we let The Boy cry it out. I don't know if we've become inured as parents or are just bad people, but it doesn't affect us in the same way. We know the difference in YB's crying when he's tired versus when he's really, really angry and needs attention, and we don't let him cry the latter.
Our kids are very, very different, as we knew (intellectually) they would be. It's just surprising how much different.