A glimpse into our family – the good, the bad, and, of course, the funny

Max’s Grand Entrance – Part 4 May 7, 2012

Filed under: family,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 5:20 am
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When I came out of anesthesia, I didn’t know if Max was alive, and I was alone.  I vaguely remember waking up and a nurse coming to talk to me, but I blocked her out.  All I wanted was for Ronnie to come in and tell me what was going on.

They told us they were going to have to send Max to Mission, a larger nearby hospital equipped with a neonatal ICU.  They let me see him before they took him away.

I’ll never forget looking at my baby in the incubator they rolled in to my room.  It was so painful to see such a small baby writhing and contorting, discolored, as he struggled for breath.  It was so unnatural.  And he was hooked up to so many medical contraptions that I didn’t understand.  I couldn’t even touch him.  I looked at him in my post-anesthesia state, and then they rolled him away.  My baby.

They put me on another ambulance so I could recover in the same hospital as Max.

Those were the loneliest moments of my life.  I was in a half-conscious state, physically and emotionally exhausted from the day’s events.  Max was who knew where doing who knew what.  Ronnie was following the ambulance.  And Kendra was with family.  I just wanted the four of us to be together like we were supposed to be.

It turns out, Max had ingested and inhaled meconium during delivery.  It gave him pneumonia and an overall treacherous start to his fragile little life.  He was in the NICU for ten days before we finally got to take our precious baby home.

The important thing is that Max was in every single way a perfectly happy, healthy, strong baby when we finally got to bring him home.  But, it was a long, hard process to adjust to having him home.

I feel bad even admitting this, but at first I was absolutely scared.  I would put him in his bassinet and just stare at him.  I was afraid that somehow I would hurt him or he would stop breathing or I would do something wrong.  It was a gradual process for me to recover from the emotional trauma of his birth, and I think it was complicated by the fact that I couldn’t hold him for the first precious few days of his life.

But we made it!  Max is our little buddy, and I thank God for letting us have him.

See what I mean about him being a lot of trouble from day one? And I absolutely wouldn’t trade him or any of his trouble for anything in this world!



The Satellite Repair Incident April 28, 2012

Filed under: children,family,humor,Max,parenting — mandyholbert @ 8:26 am
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Last time I called our satellite TV provider about a problem with our service, I was on the phone for well over an hour.  So this time, I tried online chatting.  It still took over an hour, but at least my ear wasn’t burning.

I went through all the troubleshooting that the representative could walk me through before she finally determined I needed a service call.  Arg!  Of course I hadn’t signed up for a service plan, so the call would cost $95 unless I signed up for the plan for $6 a month.

So that’s how I ended up being awoken before 8:00 on a Saturday morning to a technician at my door.

He was very pleasant as he figured out what was causing our loss of signal.  He fiddled around in the house for a little while and then went outside to check on the dish.

When he came back in, he was a little amused.

“Have you all had any strong winds lately?” he asked.

“Yes,” we answered.

“I can attribute your loss of service to a couple of things.  First, it looks like the wind may have slightly moved your dish causing the signal not to be as strong as it should be.  But, mainly, your dish has been hit pretty hard with a lot of mud pies.  It’s caked on there pretty thick.”

We all looked at Max.

“Well, they weren’t mud pies, they were mud balls,” he clarified.

Wow.  Thanks, Max.

At least the whole family is up and dressed early on a Saturday and I now have a great service protection plan in case of future bad weather…or Max’s shenanigans.


Max’s Grand Entrance – Part One April 19, 2012

Filed under: children,family,Max,parenting,Uncategorized — mandyholbert @ 8:43 pm
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Max has been a lot of trouble since the day I found out I was pregnant with him.  By a lot of trouble, I mean the constant mischief, messes, and all around mayhem he somehow causes.  I am lighthearted about his naughty tendencies because I cherish everything about him so much.  I was too close to not having him in my life.  I may be too easy on him, but truth is that he has a heart of gold – he never misbehaves to hurt anyone.  He is a comedian, an inventor, a craftsman, an explorer, a friend, and our miracle.

Ronnie and I decided to have a little brother or sister for Kendra when she was two years old.  Thankfully, we were confident in our decision because in no time I began having the symptoms that I suspected resulted from pregnancy.  I took four at-home pregnancy tests (at Ronnie’s insistence), and when they came back positive every time, I scheduled a doctor’s appointment.

I went to the appointment alone at our family care provider.  I saw a doctor I had never met before.  I’ll never forget him.  He was foreign and spoke with a thick accent that I pegged as Russian.  He didn’t smile.  When my pregnancy test confirmed that I was indeed expecting, he insisted on an ultrasound.

I went along with his suggestion, though I was a little disappointed that I had talked Ronnie out of going to the appointment with me.  Max was only a tiny dot on the ultrasound monitor, but he was still our baby, and this was the first look at him.

The doctor made several incomprehensible grunts and mumbles during the ultrasound and then scooted me off to a patient room to wait.  I didn’t even know what I was waiting for.

When the doctor came in, it struck me as odd that he brought a female nurse with him.  I was getting a little confused.  All I had wanted was confirmation that I was indeed pregnant so we could figure out the due date and begin planning for a new addition to our family.  When I saw the doctor come in with a nurse, I began really wishing I had Ronnie with me.

The doctor got right to business.  No small talk.  No beating around the bush.  No softening the rough edges of the bad news.  “What you have is a blighted ovum.  You will miscarry this pregnancy.  You will experience a very heavy period which will not be a period at all – it will be a miscarriage.”

I nodded.

He looked so perturbed.  I’ll never forget that.  Then in his thick Russian accent, he said to me, “Do you understand what I am telling you?”

What did he want me to do, cry?  The nurse looked at me with such sympathy.  I looked from the doctor to the nurse and back to the doctor.  I missed my husband.  I was going to lose my baby.  My precious little baby who I didn’t even know was a boy or a girl.  My voice shook, but I would not give the doctor the satisfaction of tears.

“God is in control.”

He sighed.  Maybe we talked a little more after that, but I don’t remember.  All I remember is the need to get out of that office as fast as possible to get to my husband.  I got to my car and convulsed in tears.  I called Ronnie and cried in fear and anger.  All I wanted was for him to hold me and tell me that everything was going to be okay.

And that was just the very beginning of what would be a pregnancy and delivery that were full of “trouble” because that’s what Max has been since the day I first laid eyes on him on that monitor – a lot of trouble.

My precious little bundle of trouble.


A Portrait of Max (as a two-year-old) February 28, 2012

Filed under: humor,parenting — mandyholbert @ 6:34 am
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Mothering a two-year-old boy can be hazardous to your health – at least it is for me sometimes. Let’s see, I’m sitting here right now with a sore nose (it only bled a little bit).

My son is a wild child. A lot of people say that about their boys, but mine is king of the wild children. Don’t get me wrong, though; my son does not need medication; he is not hyperactive; he is not even hyper. He is full of life, always up for adventure, and already a risk taker. He is an explorer, a prankster, and sometimes a menace. But he has a heart of gold.

He usually does naughty things, but not terribly bad things. Just mischief. Rather innocent, really, and usually quite funny. Imagine my horror Friday night when I arrived at my mom’s house after a long week of work only to find my son in real trouble. He had taken a marker and drawn, purposefully, on each chair of the kitchen table. This wasn’t mere scribbles. He decorated the chairs with dark green ink.

]I could hear my mom’s pseudo-scolding, so I ran in the kitchen to find Max looking at her feigning innocence. I swooped in and swept him away to the bedroom, where I carried out the parental duty of spanking (which was not really what I had planned for my Friday night).

Later, during dinner, Max came running to me crying that Kendra had hit him in the eye. Kendra followed right behind promising it was an accident. I asked Max if it was indeed an accident and he said yes, though he would not stop his overly-dramatic wails of pain.

Sometimes, I try different (okay, stupid) parenting methods. For some reason, I was thinking in my head that if I told Max to hit Kendra in the eye, he would not want to do it since it was an accident that he got hit. So, (it had been a long week, in my pathetic defense), I told Max to hit Kendra in the eye.

The boy didn’t hesitate. He slugged Kendra square in the eye.

Well, on the bright side, Max didn’t cry any more.

The look on Kendra’s face made me wish an Acme anvil would fall from the sky and squash me, taking me through the floors of the house, the layers of the earth, until I finally burned away in the magma-filled center. Oh, it was bad.

I ran after her and begged for forgiveness. Then I begged her to slug me in the eye. Ridiculous, I know. And, of course, this child would never dream of hurting someone like that (note to self: Kendra and Max are, indeed, different). I hugged her and kissed her and cuddled her and promised her I would never do something so stupid again, and she forgave me.

Oh, Max is always full of surprises.

Like I said before, he really does have a heart of gold. He apologized to Kendra. And this morning, when he lunged at me with all his weight and head-butted me squarely in the nose, he immediately said he was sorry and told me he would make it all better. He planted a tender, sweet little kiss on my nose, and cuddled up beside me and went to sleep.

He may be mischievous, and sometimes challenging, but I wouldn’t change my son for anything in the world.