The problem has been Bryn's health. Last Friday and Saturday, she was very hot to the touch, basically radiating heat, but did not register any fever when I took her temperature with her handy ear thermometer (thanks Derek). What was odd, though, is that while she usually loves having her temperature taken (we have been known to actually hide the thermometer from her to avoid the endless cycle of repeatedly taking the temperatures of her, ourselves, her stuffed animals, etc.), she cried hysterically every time I did this at the end of last week. Hmm... On Sunday, she slept until 11:00, which is a full 2 1/2 hours later than usual. When she finally woke up, she just laid there. No talking, playing, sitting up, nothing. Just laid there staring. We managed to get her up and took her to church, where she fussed and sat on my lap in the nursery for the entire service. Then home again, where she promptly went down for a 2 1/2 hour nap--again, longer than usual. The afternoon was spent with her thrashing on the floor and screaming hysterically. Now, I have seen some tantrums out of Bryn and know what they sound like, and this was not one. She was crying in pain and eventually started batting Ben and I away any time we tried to get near her. We called the help desk for our doctor's office, described her symptoms to the nurse, and were told to go to the ER.
We held out for about 2 hours after that before the screaming was making us so frustrated and anxious that we finally gave in. At the local pediatric ER, we were seen by several very nice nurses, who listened carefully to us and then brought her toys to placate her. Then we were seen by two different doctors. The first looked in her ears and said she was fine. The second looked in her ears and said that one had a little bit of fluid in it but there was no infection. They then questioned us on a litany of other items and concluded that because Bryn had not pooped that day, we should do an x-ray of her stomach to see if she was constipated. This is where I lost all faith in the ER doctors. For one, they felt her stomach and said it was nice and soft, which would not indicate constipation. For two, she'd had a huge poop the day before (sorry if this is too much information for the public domain). For three, even though she hadn't pooped that day, she also hadn't eaten much of anything, given her incessant sleeping and then screaming. For four, I spent the vast majority of my vacation in Michigan with a constipated child, and this is not what the screams sound like. And for five, come on, if she's constipated, I'll go home and give her some prunes, I don't need an x-ray! So we packed up our screaming, thrashing child and went home.
In the morning, we took her to Dr. Z, where it took about two seconds to look in her ears and confirm that, yes, she has an infection in both ears. So, needless to say (Mrs. Applen), we are rather ticked that we spent all that time and money on the ER when they did absolutely nothing for us. Dr. Z prescribed some meds, which we promptly picked up at the pharmacy, and Bryn has been improving ever since. She sucks her antibiotic down greedily (sometimes it worries me how much our daughter likes to take medicine), and she refers to the eardrops as "bubbles." She has still been very fussy and very cuddly and very needy, thus keeping me from getting much done, but I believe we're on the road to recovery.
As for my new project, that story is much shorter. I'm still engaged in a heroic effort to get our house decorated / unpacked / "done" before the new baby comes. A big part of this involves moving Bryn into her "big girl" room, thus leaving the nursery usable for the baby. Since the main features of this room are a toddler bed with princess sheets (thanks Jennie) and a $10 Walmart folding table to match, and I am categorigally opposed to painting the walls pink, I got the bright idea to paint princesses on the walls instead. Not princesses all decked out in their finery, mind you, as that is what is printed all over the bed and the table, but princesses pre-royalty in regular clothes and with their friends.
Let it be said that I possess neither the interior design savvy of Caroline (see Everyday Elegance Design link in the sidebar) or the artistic prowess of Jen (see Jen Jordan Murals link in the sidebar), but I do develop grandiose dreams and then seek cheap ways to see them through. So I looked up coloring book images of Belle and Cinderella on the internet, and Ben borrowed a projector from work. We hooked it up to the laptop, projected the pictures onto the walls, and spent Saturday night (woo-hoo) tracing the images onto the walls. The wall by her closet door features Belle reading to Cogsworth, Lumiere, Mrs. Potts, Chip, and whatever the dog / footstool is called. The wall by the door into her room has Cinderella trying on the glass slipper surrounded by Jaq (that's how the internet tells me it's spelled?), Gus-Gus, the faithful dog Bruno, and many birds. I have spent every spare minute this week (which have mostly occurred while fussy Bryn has been asleep) starting to paint in these images. If I do say so myself, they are looking shockingly good for projects created by someone with no artistic talent whatsoever. Ben says I should keep up posting photos of my progress with this project, so here's my starting attempts:
This is Cogsworth, the first image I painted, along with the pencil outlines of the rest of the project (sorry, it's pretty faint).
Here's my completed Cogsworth.
And here's how it looked when I went to bed last night: Cogsworth and the chair Belle is sitting in. With the chair done, you can get a better feel for what the rest of the picture holds.
Today I painted Lumiere and am hoping to do one of the other characters tonight after Bryn goes to bed. Pretty cute, huh?