The Parade of Cousins Continues!

N.’s brother K. and K.’s wife M. came to visit for the weekend while K. was doing promotional appearances for his new book. Their daughter C. and son D. are a lot of fun to have around. It was fun to introduce them to E.

Note E.’s very hip Sub Pop onesie, a Christmas gift from K. and M. E.’s rocking it with a long-sleeved thermal underneath. He’s the Littlest Hipster!

E.’s First Fever

Yesterday I noticed the E. didn’t seem like his normal cheerful self and in the early evening he started to feel pretty warm. I took his temperature and it was 101 and some degrees, and so N. and I took made an appointment with our pediatrician’s after hours clinc. There his temperature was a little over 102, and because he’s so little still they wanted to run some urine and possibly blood tests to find out why.

Here’s the part I’m really ashamed of: when they were going to insert the catheter, they wanted me to sit by him and hold his arms and try and keep him calm. And I just lost it and started crying. I just felt so bad that E. was feeling so awful. He had been whimpering almost constantly for a couple of hours and it was obvious that he was miserable. And the whole catheter thing was freaking me out. E.’s so little! So N. held him. It was pretty bad because E. had just wet his diaper and so they had to stick the catheter way up there to get any pee at all. Of course E. totally freaked out. I still feel bad that I wimped out. I should have been there for him.

After they looked at his urine, they wanted to look at his blood so they sent us over to the hospital to get it drawn. It was now after 9pm and the outpatient lab was closed, so we had to wait in the emergency room for someone to draw it there. We were there for almost an hour before someone could be spared to do it. This time I did better though. I was collected enough to hold him down as they put the little tourniquet on his tiny arm and drew the blood. Argh! The whole thing was so sad.

So after that and around 10pm we were back over the clinic. They close at 10 but were waiting to get E.’s blood results and for us. It turned out that the type of red blood cells that the body releases from bone marrow when it’s fighting an infection were elevated. After talking with the doctor it was decided to give E. a one-time shot of antibiotics. So I had to hold him down again for that. Good times!

We got home a little after 10:30pm. I massaged E.’s thigh where he got his shot (he screamed bloody murder, of course) and gave him some baby Tylenol like the doctor said to and put him to bed. He fussed for a little while and then feel asleep, exhausted. He woke up screaming around 4am this morning and I jumped out of bed in a panic and ran across the hallway to his room, running smack into the door in the process. (I’m so unused to him screaming that it really kind of freaks me out.) But he’s now sleeping in his swing.

*sigh* I am so wiped out! We have a follow up appointment for E. this afternoon. Hopefully we’ll find out that the antibiotic has helped.

Anyway, here are some of E. with his cousins Big E. and Little E. who were visiting this weekend. It was really fun to see them and N.’s sister G. and her husband.

G., who is pregnant, had a craving for chajangmyun (Korean black bean paste noodles) and radish kimchi. Both sounded good to me and so we made some noodles and got out the kimchi. As G. and I were eating, Little E. declared that she wanted some noodles. So G. gave her a taste. And Little E. declared that she wanted more noodles! She ended up eating almost a third of the bowl. I think G. was torn was between annoyance at having to share so many of her noodles and pride that her daughter was eating Korean food; the pride definitely won out. Little E. also wanted to try the kimchi, but that didn’t go over as well!

E.’s First Funeral

I wish I had known my grandmother better.

For as long as I could remember, she lived in California near the rest of my dad’s siblings, while our family lived in the midwest and later the northwest. She came to visit sometimes while I was growing up, but listening to my cousins speak at the funeral about her delicious home cooking, attendance at their sporting events, and even the sting of her famous left hand, I was left with a feeling of having missed out getting to know this great woman better. The service was really nice; when family and friends spoke about their favorite memories of her there was a strong spirit of love and peace in the room.

After the funeral, we got into our cars and formed a procession to drive to the cemetery. The experience of being escorted by police through L.A. traffic and speeding through red lights and stop signs was surreal. Is it just me, or do you hardly see funeral processions any more? It seemed like a lot of other drivers didn’t understand what was going on – at one point a car cut in front of us on the freeway and stayed there for at least a couple of miles.

My grandmother was infamous among the family for her lead foot and the gleeful way in which she would weave in and out among the L.A. traffic, and at the graveside service several people remarked how much she would have enjoyed the police escort.

She’s buried at Rose Hill cemetery, which people said was one of the largest in the country. It’s a lovely place, with rolling tree-covered hills rising about the city.

The graveside service was sweet and short. We said our last goodbyes to the woman who had left us with memories of her sense of humor, kindness, and southern drawl and spunk. E. sleep in his car seat through the whole thing.

After the service, we headed back to my Aunt V.’s house for a reception and to catch up with the rest of my family. Then after a couple of hours, it was time for my sister, E., and me to leave for the airport.

The flight home was a minor disaster. It was a late flight, leaving the airport at 9:30pm and was only half full, so the attendants let me bring E. on board in his car seat. I had hoped that he would sleep in his car seat during the flight, but no such luck. After I feed him during takeoff, he spit up almost everything all over my shirt. After that he calmed down a bit and my sister (who is SO my hero after this trip) held him so I could take a nap. Then, he pooped and it exploded out of his diaper, soaking through his clothes. I checked out the airplane bathroom, but there was no place to change him. Since the plane was only half full, there were a lot of empty rows. So I place his changing mat on one of them and started to change him.

Now, the plane was pretty cold and when I took off his clothes E. started screaming. I knew why he was crying and so I was hurrying to put his new clothes on so he would stop. I felt really badly that he was crying so loudly, and so I was really trying to get him dressed as fast as possible. During all of this, I hear from behind me, “I have NEVER heard a child scream so loudly!” and then a man leans over the seat backs and thrusts his paperback novel in E.’s face and starts waving it around. E. is so startled that for a second he stops but then he continues on. “See, you have to visually stimulate them to get them to be quiet.” the guy condescends to inform me. I am quietly seething with rage but and too tired and to angry to say anything.

After that, E. quickly falls asleep and stays that way through descent and landing. My sister and I stay in our seats to let the other passengers get off the place first. I apologize to the people sitting around us and they are all very lovely and gracious about it and say they understand what it’s like. Except for Visual Stimulation guy, who purposefully hangs back and waits so he can inform us again that he has NEVER heard a child cry so loudly and that don’t you know, you have to visually stimulate them to calm them down.

WHO DOES THAT? I could not believe his gall. At that point I was so exhausted I just wanted to get home and I was too shocked to say anything in return. I am always too shocked when people are really rude to be collected enough to say something in return. *Sigh.*

Anyway, except for the plane ride home and our rental car being run into by a car full of teenagers in a bad part of town (too long of a story to tell), the trip was really good. I’m glad I went. It was a chance to appreciate my grandmother’s life and to become closer to other members of my family that I don’t get to see very often. And I think that’s all you can ask for from a funeral.

Back Home

Well, we’re back! Poor E. He was a trooper and is still pretty wiped out from the trip…and so am I. And on top of everything else, I’m really under the gun today working on a big quarterly report for work. I have some thoughts about my grandmother and the trip rattling around in my head, but I’ll have to save them for another time.

E. with my sister and mom going to the graveside service.

Sad News

Yesterday my grandmother passed away.

The funeral’s in California next Wednesday, so E. and I are going to fly there with my sister on Tuesday night and come back late Wednesday night. It wasn’t totally unexpected, but it’s still sad. I feel badly for my dad; it was his mom. I am now officially without any grandparents. Fortunately, N.’s Grandpa is still around!

Now, does anyone have any tips for flying with a 11-week old? I want to go to the funeral but am incredibly nervous about flying with E. being so young. My sister will there to help, but I am freaked out at the idea of him screaming during the entire flight and not being able to help him. But I guess the only things you can really do are give him a little Tylenol and feed him during take-off and landing, right?

How big is E?

Last night N. and I went up up to his parents’ house to have dinner with them, N.’s sister Miranda and her husband and baby, and N.’s Grandpa who has been visiting this past week. Miranda’s baby boy L. is 4-months old and so he’s twice as old as E. right now. Anyway, the babies both had checkups the day before and Miranda and I were comparing notes. I knew E. was big for his age, but it really hit me when we found out that E. is a pound heavier than L. and is also the same height as him.

We put them side by side to compare, but even then E. still looks a little smaller to me. Maybe it’s because his head is a little smaller? Anyway, I hope E. takes a break from growing so quickly because he’s already pretty heavy to lug around in his car seat. I guess I need to start lifting weights!

E.’s First Christmas

E. with me.

N. helping E. open a present. Note the Maddox-style mohawk. I’m so sad that his hair is rubbing off!

E. enjoying his stocking loot.

E. with his cousin L. (N.’s sister’s son), who is exactly 2 months older than him.
E. with his other cousins that live near by, my sister’s sons. Note the peace sign; he can’t restrain himself. It’s hardwired into his Korean genes.