An account of the Swope family's travels through life and Earle's observations following a series of unforeseen events. Earle (Dad) experienced a near death experience and subsequent PTSD in 2008. In 2013 their 3rd child Gabriel was born with HLHS (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome) which means no left ventricle and 3 open heart surgeries. In spite of or because of, we realize how blessed and rich are our lives and how wonderful this human experience.
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Prior to spring break Powell attended the Washington Grade School Kindergarten orientation. He was quite creative in his description of the alphabet. This is a smart little guy, he can tell you the name of every transformer or decepticon and what they turn into and who they are allied with and if they have ever changed that alliance. When describing this stuff he uses terms like "alliance" and "affiliation" but when confronted with the letter "D" he responds rapidly; b, r, 6, 8? Hopefully we'll have some success over the summer convincing him the alphabet is almost as important as the transformers or all the superhero's and villains (he also knows well).
Traveling with Gabriel during chow time is an adventure and fortunately I still have my adventuring stuff, a prussig and carabineer came in quite handy.
Powell introducing Gabriel
to some mild crude humor.
Shortly after returning home, the clothes dryer we had nursed along for the last year finally went the way of the vacuum (the day we returned) and died. The mathematics of the laundry situation elude me. Somehow an 8 lb. baby doubles the quantity of laundry normally produced by 4 people (I'm sure part of it is his use of a force multiplier; he waits to vomit until he's held, that way he gets himself, the burpee and Dad).
A couple days after the dryer deserted us the washing machine tried to follow suit and cracked its holdy thing that keeps the door shut and water off the floor. Isabella said, "Dad there's water all over the laundry room floor."
Dad yelled, "Which of you...? What did you two do now....? What the?" and realized the washing machine had almost successfully framed his children.
A little epoxy nursed the disloyal beast along until the replacement part arrived a week later.
Beth was having a particularly rough night so I drew a bath, with refreshments (the cheese in the martini is a tribute to my Great Uncle Merritt.
I love being home in my own private Idaho; but come on guys, do you have to reissue the exact same plate every few years whether it's needed or not? Which I think would always be in the "not" category unless there are some folks out there that routinely misplace their license plates?
I love Beth's sticker humor.
Then the ants invaded, of course.
They went marching two by two and ten by ten and none of us sang "Hurrah." I did try a home remedy (found on the net so is that a computer home remedy, home computer remedy, internet ant cure?) Cleaned and mopped everything with diluted vinegar and dusted the cracks with baby powder. It works. Each day there were fewer ants until after 4 or 5 they had moved on.
We had made it home in time for me to play in the annual Guns-N-Hoses Hockey game, our annual fundraiser for the Fire and Police Memorials. No skating in the last year left Earle very tired but I was able to skate on the same line with buddies Scott and Alberto.
Earle and and buddy Rob Christensen
The Cops won it this year but I think we're still up one game on them.
Beth and Isabella found another form of stress relief with a Mommy/Daughter pedicure.
Gabriel's first immersion bath was met with some displeasure.
He warmed to the concept a wee bit.
...and Mom swooped in at the perfect time to be the rescuing heroine, saving the lad from the horrible fate of bath night.
The kids prepped for Easter, filling candied eggs with the treats they would be searching for and devouring.
Gabriel has joined in with the rest of the clan and makes great sport of messing with his Father. "Come on Dad, find the egg. You're getting warmer... just turn around..."
Isabella (also not at the Powell level of bath enjoyment) consoles her little brother and I believe conspires with him against their parents, I know they're doing something. I'm not sure if children grow into their name or somehow get named appropriately. But I'm thinking that naming your children after a queen and an archangel might not have been the best idea. I mean you're going to have to deal with some serious ego and attitude and entitlement; we're simply mortal peasants in their eyes.... pffft!
Now time to color the eggs...
waiting is probably not Powell's forte'
coloring many eggs
Gabriel not really getting the egg thing, zygotes and mitosis,
but crayons, glitter and vinegar colors?
and chasing after the elusive eggs
a high rate of sped allows the kids to outpace the retreating orbs.
Gabriel doesn't sleep well and is fussy a lot! Beth says he's a good baby. He hasn't stabbed or beaten anyone and rarely uses profanity so maybe he is good. I think Powell was a good baby, he slept and ate well and was cheery when awake and giggled when he farted, that's a good baby. Gabriel is tough.
We know much of the reason is because he oxygenates at 78-82% and the human body is designed to burn oxygen (fuel) at 95-100%. It's running your car on E-85 if its not designed to do so; it'll sound like crap and run poorly, so then you start dumping in additives to compensate until you can get it back to the mechanic to get fixed for real. This is Gabriel's star cluster of additives he gets each day so he'll run less crappy and less poorly, not well just not bad. Some days are better than others, but the nights are never good. This would be ok if sleep wasn't Beth's form of problem solving and stress relief. I on the other hand have spent a lifetime in careers that focus on sleep deprivation and have learned that when sleep deprived and exhausted you focus on the mission and GO! You might not go nicely or tactfully or kindly but that doesn't matter, mission accomplishment matters. There is no time to cry or whine in the middle of a firefight, on patrol or at an emergency scene and if anybody else is doing so, well a Marine Sergeant or Fire Department Captain's job is to "nip that shit in the bud right now!" So I have and it is not a good thing when the mission is the baby and the perceived "whiner" is the baby's tired, loving, caring Mother. Not a good path to follow, just thought I'd throw that "pearl of wisdom" out there to any other Dads. So we got caught in this perpetuating death spiral of tension and anger. Somehow we broke free of this cycle of vicissitude, probably one of the advantages of being an older parent. The ability to realize when you're being an ass to your mate (because you've done it a lot) and have just enough wisdom to stop it.
Crazy having a little baby at all, let alone one like this guy, but we are lucky to have him and are stumbling along.
Angelic when sleeping, and OMG... downright aristocratic when awake. This kid believes he is of regal blood! If Prince Charles could master this look people would think he actually deserved the throne and wasn't a....
Can't leave Gabriel on a negative note. While driving Isabella to school this morning I read a bumper sticker "Life is not about avoiding the storms, it's about learning to dance in the rain." So I think we need a Hurricane Party!