A day of ups and downs

QiuQiu's day started out pretty well...a little light reading (in French), some time playing with her calculator (I swear - I'm not pushing this on her. Math was always my worst subject)... Do you sense a "but" coming?
(First, I have to thank Heather again for this toy, which has provided QQ with hours of happy occupation. It has a different sound or texture in each of its feet, along with things such as buttons, straps and Velcro to keep little fingers busy. Wonderful! Her dad isn't too fond of spiders, but this one is a friend in our home!)

By mid-morning, she was napping in her car seat en route to this place in South Denver. No alarm bells so far, since no one has been anything but nice to her in her previous visits. And if anyone enjoys a few new people to admire her, it's QQ. Plus, they have these cool pens with the flowers on top (with which she can draw all over mommy and daddy), and some foamy disinfectant with which to wash her hands at the end of the visit. QQ really enjoys washing her hands. I think because of our fist two weeks struggling with giardia, during which I washed my hands pretty much every time I handled her. I was trying to get rid of the bug - not get it back! I was always holding her when I did wash my hands, because I didn't put her down much in those early days. I would prop her between my chest and the rim of the sink, with her legs hanging down into the sink bowl. After a bit, I would notice her trying to insert her hands between mine under the stream of water. So I started including her in the ritual. She also likes to get her feet in on the action...which is fine, except when she's wearing socks.

Anyway, to make a long story short...it was vaccination day. Four needles in her chubby little thighs. She could not have been more shocked. Daddy was kind enough to "take the bullet", and hold her while she was probed, poked and generally violated. And he wonders why I cooked him dinner tonight ;)
She cried indignantly during the whole procedure, but was instantly mollified when we walked out of the exam room. ...That is, until she woke in the midst of her nap this afternoon, feeling the hangover from four major immunizations. Do you remember how sick her daddy was after our China shots? Yah. That bad.

I have never, NEVER heard QQ cry the way she cried this afternoon. At first, listening on the monitor as I did a little housecleaning, I could hardly believe my ears. It didn't even sound like her. I have mentioned that she's a happy child, bold and easygoing, that she is rarely really, truly upset. Of course, I'm going on my gut instinct here. I'm a new mom, and I'm just learning to read her "signs". But I knew as soon as I heard that cry this afternoon that I was right in thinking I'd never yet heard her truly upset.

This cry was something new and different. It shuddered and broke and ghasped for air and restarted itself seconds later. It stuttered and shook through her tiny body. When I burst into her room, her face was stretched wide and shiny, mottled red and white with the sheer power of her sobs. She had red polka dots over her eyebrows, and at first I panicked, thinking "allergic reaction"! But no, her forehead was cool, and there were no blotches anywhere else on her body.

It was awful. I was much too busy rocking and holding and stroking her to take any pictures, so you're just going to have to imagine it. But it was truly heart-rending.
Even on the 24-hour journey back from China, sick with a rabid sinus infection and a rollicking case of giardia, being (as far as she knew) abducted by a couple of sallow, big-nosed strangers, she never once cried this hard.

I could not comfort her. She would take a bottle of juice (spiked with Tylenol) and chug it, while her face briefly returned to its normal color, and her wracking sobs slowed to shuddering breaths. But as soon as she put down the bottle, her mouth would stretch wide, her face would mottle again, and she would dissolve into wide, gaping sobs.

What ended the misery? Not her mommy's best efforts. No. What brought her back to reality was the arrival of Mommy's friend Jennie, in a very stylish dress (QQ is a fan of fashion) and her two happy kiddos. Jennie's son Ben lifted his little sister so she could see into QQ's play pen, and the sobs instantly stopped. Within minutes, QQ was on her feet and back to her usual, smiling self. Nothing like a little peer action to get QQ back on her best behavior. She was thrilled to be admired, thrilled to share tubes of ointment and bandaids with two-year-old Ellie (who I think is QQ's new hero) and to receive smiles and encouragement from Ben, who, I hate to say it, might be her new crush. Ben already has a couple of prospective girlfriends at his new school, so I fear for QQ's tender heart, but the whole experience did her no end of good, and she was happy and grinning throughout the visit.

Yeah, I'm still using that new iPhoto antiquing filter. It reminds me of our family photos from the early '70s. So, here we are with our visitors outside the house on a beautiful fall afternoon. All smiling and posed for a picture.
(Incidentally, for all you lounge ladies, not only is Ellie talking a blue streak, but she's also the tallest, most long-legged two-year-old I've ever seen. This kid's gonna be a basketball player. Or...who am I kidding. I'm six feet tall, and I can't dunk a basketball to save my life. Maybe Ellie will be a violinist, or a neurosurgeon, or a muralist. Who knows. She's amazing. Bright and quick and agile.)

And then Ben decided to do a stunt and jump from the top step to the bottom. Action shot! This did nothing but encourage Flynn QQ in her nascent infatuation.

Ben also has the distinction of being the first one to climb onto Lucky Luciano the Lion. I give him a lot of props for that. I have been longing for some time to see a child climb onto Lucky's cool, marbled flanks. Does my heart good... and Lucky's as well .

Two more things: The whole reason that Jennie and her lovely kiddos came over this afternoon was to give QQ their old walking toy so that she can complete her avid transition from all-fours to upright. This is huge, since QQ's greatest pleasure these days involves learning to balance on her two feet. The pediatrician told us today that QQ is hyper-flexible - her joints moving in every direction with the greatest of ease. This is nice (I only wish I had half her flexibility) except that, the doctor told us, it makes it very difficult for her to learn to stand and walk. He told us that children with this sort of extreme flexibility tend to walk later, since it's more difficult for them to lock their limbs and find an upright stance. This makes me even more proud of the fact that she is trying so hard to become both upright and mobile, just six weeks after leaving her crib.

And second, I need to thank Trena for the beautiful outfit that Flynn QiuQiu is wearing in these last photos. So beautiful in so many ways, and so perfect for our daughter. The Indian elephant is the capper. I love, love, love it!


Vivian M said...

Your description of her anguish is heart breaking, yet in a way, I think it's a good thing. I must have read something to that effect in one of my attachment parenting books, but maybe it's just my gut instinct. You are doing wonderfully, and Flynn is a very special little girl.

Stefanie said...

Oh, shots are the WORST! So glad to see Flynn enjoying her day afterward, blessed distraction!!
Can't wait to see your future acrobat wielding her new push toy :)

Krista ~ Bits and pieces said...

Your daughter is so precious! What an amazing blessing she must be. This post was so beautifully written - thank you for sharing!

Have a wonderful weekend,


Mamacita said...

Oh, that made me so sad for your girl. I've heard Sugarlips cry like that an it brings to mind the phrase "primal wound". I'm so glad that you know how to deal with these things....you holding and loving and rocking her is the exact right medicine, even if it doesn't make her stop, the love bandage is still there. The distraction is always nice too, but sometimes I think they just need to let it all out. Can I just say that you two are some beautiful women with your adorable children? And I love the new haircuts that you both are sportin'! Is it my imagination or is Ellie the tallest two year old ever?

Carrie said...

what a great mom you are you instincts are coming along well-hey I am Mom four the last almost 9 years and I am still learning myself- I think you never stop. Funny thing MJ loves my calculator also plays with it for like an hour at a time I had to buy a new one so she could have her own she was hiding it on me!

Chrissie Larkin said...

Holland had her shots on Wednesday! It doens't matter how many kids you have each time you just want to cry! S took the bullet for me too! Thank goodness!

Stacie said...

Poor Flynn... i can just hear those cries... you described a very familiar sound and sight of our own immunizations... zoey had a 105 degree temp the night after her first immunizations... their were no cries that night- just a very sick little girl. I think it is a good sign she was crying- i am sure her poor little legs were so sore and i am sure she was PISSED OFF. I hate immunization time but blood draws are even worse.

p.s. z has that same blue and green tshirt- i love it.

Yoli said...

I am so sorry she was so uncomfortable. Poor little kid, shots are never easy. Sally always gets a slight fever afterwards. Very nice photo of Jen and her family, seems you guys had a great time. Beautiful children all the way around.

Heather said...

I'm glad you all love the spider! My favorite foot is the one (maybe the ballet slipper) that plays an unexpected little song when squeezed just right.

I'm sorry for QQ's bad day. Shots are never fun, but I can see why cute little Ben and adorable Ellie pulled her out of the funk!

Maia said...

Oh dear! Poor sweetie!

Tami said...

Oh Maia, your post completely brought back memories of the first time Ani got her shots. I remember the shot "hangover" and frantically calling the doctor to find out how much Tylenol I could give her. I was literally scared. Flynn's tough one, though, that's for sure.