Off Balance

From Cell Photos 2010

I will do my best to keep the tone of this post from getting negative.

I will do my best to keep the tone of this post from getting negative.

I will do my…

You get the point.  This post is titled “Off Balance” because that’s the way we all feel around here. I’ve been on a night shift working from seven pm to seven am. It’s the same nice Panama schedule from before (two days on, two days off, three on, two off, two on, three off, etc. – I only work 50% of the days in a two week period). The only problem is, even on my “days” off, I still have to keep the same night-life schedule. I do not like the night-life, and it is not family friendly. I’m beginning to feel like a guest in my own home. This night shift won’t last forever, and when it’s over we’ll all feel better.

On a lighter note, let’s dive into some Haddad family news!

Some of you may remember that Rochelle got a Fitbit for her birthday last month. She has really been enjoying it, and it does a good job helping her track how much physical activity she gets and how well she’s sleeping. Her only complaint is that it isn’t an implant – there have been times that she’s gone out and done a lot of walking (like when she went with a friend and Sophie to an Air Show) but left the Fitbit at home. While she can go in to the online application and manually log the activity (guessing as best she can at how much and how intense the activity was), the Fitbit’s automatic tracking of your movements is much more reliable and easier.

So, she really likes all of the information that it makes available to her automatically. Apart from occasionally forgetting to put it on, she hasn’t had too many problems with it falling off. She hasn’t done any serious jogging outdoors with it on, so that sort of activity might be more likely to cause it to fall off. Knowing how much she detests jogging, I doubt we’ll ever know.

Hum… There really isn’t much else to report in the general notes, so let’s get into those sections.

Books We are Reading


I have made laughable progress in the Philosophy book that I am “reading.” Most of my reading time has been poured into catching up with my growing stack of magazines. The rest of my time has been spent on less productive entertainment endeavors. Basically, after midnight, I lose all motivation to do anything productive. I really want to sleep. No matter how much sleep I get during the day, it just feels wrong to be awake all night. Reading can often make me want to sleep even more. So, I just haven’t gotten much reading done.


Rochelle recently enjoyed Hunger Games and Water for Elephants (she warns it had some adult themes). She is currently reading Morning Glory. It is also after seven in the morning and I want to post this before I go to sleep. So if you want details or her opinions on any of those books, post your questions in the comments and we’ll get back to you.

How the Kids Are


Stock Photo (not recent) From Cell Phone Photos

Yesterday (1) I went to my friends (2) house to have a brownie sundae. I watched Matthew and Clay’s brother play a video game. Then Austin said it was time to eat a brownie sundae. Then everyone jumped up and eat (2). Then we left. (3)

  1. Yesterday, meaning Friday evening. Thus this was written on Saturday, for those of you who can’t do day math. 😉
  2. As you can see, I didn’t bother editing this. I will go over the mistakes with Micah later, probably when I wake up Sunday evening.
  3. Micah’s update is short this month for several reasons, most related to the basic fact that life is out of balance for us at the moment. He will likely be writing more about the past month, and you can look for that to be posted sometime between monthly posts, if not along with next month’s post.


From Cell Photos 2010

Sophie is probably the most exciting of all of us. Most recently, she is being weened from her pacifier. Rochelle and I had both expressed a desire last year to take the pacifier away when she turned two, but just a couple months prior to her second birthday she had brain surgery, and her comforting pacifier became more important than ever. We didn’t want to rip it away in her time of need, so we held off.

Shortly after her surgery, though, we did begin restricting the pacifier’s use to nights and nap-time only. This worked well, and she quickly ceased asking for it during the day. So, with my three-day weekend falling on this weekend, and since my night-time schedule requires me to be awake all night anyhow, we decided this would be a good weekend to take away the pacifier for good.

Friday morning when I got home from working the previous night, we took Sophie and her pacifier to the kitchen trashcan. We explained what was going to happen and why, then we had her help us cut the pacifier to render it unusable (she called it “yucky” afterward). After she inspected the two pieces, we had her throw them away in the trash. Then we took the whole trash bag out of the can and she helped me walk it out to the dumpster. We had her say her final goodbyes, and that was the end.

I went to bed, and Rochelle kept the kids busy enough that Sophie didn’t even get a nap in (so she didn’t get to see how well she would nap without it). Due to her excessive exhaustion, Sophie slept through the night without a hitch. When we first tucked her into bed she did ask for the pacifier, but we reminded her that it was gone. She recited, “yucky,” and, “trash.” Then she turned onto her side and went to sleep.

Rochelle and I were shocked and amazed. Maybe we didn’t need to have waited for me to have a three-day weekend at home after all.

Then, Saturday night came. Nap time came late enough in the day that she fell asleep on her own, never even asking for the pacifier. At night when we tucked her in, she asked for it again. Once more I said it was all gone. She said, “go get it.” I said, “it’s in the trash, remember?” She said, “yucky.” I said, “that’s right. You’re a big girl now and you don’t need it so we threw it away.”

She went to bed right away after that. Another amazing night? No. Around midnight she began screaming and crying. Our air conditioner runs so loud that I didn’t hear Sophie until the screaming got really intense. By that time Rochelle was already out of bed trying to comfort the little girl. I relieved her of duty and tried to calm the hysterical princess myself.

“What do you want?” I asked.


“It’s gone, remember?”

Her screaming intensified. I decided to avoid that subject, but she continually brought it up.

Eventually, I got her to lie down on my chest (like she did when she was a little baby). She protested loudly at first, but eventually calmed down and got comfortable. We talked about what she might want to do the next day. Coloring on the sidewalk with chalk is fun. Singing songs can be fun. What songs would you want to sing? ABC song. Popcorn song. Twinkle Little Star song. Our conversation went on for a little longer. I also deliberately avoided talking about anything on the television, because somehow she is smart enough to know that I’m awake anyway, and if I deemed it necessary, I could take her down to watch a show until she fell asleep. I didn’t want to set that precedent though since it would not be an option for Rochelle when I am at work. Eventually Sophie said, “I’m sleepy. Sleep in bed?” After tucking her back in she quietly asked, “Pacifier?”

I ignored the inquiry, asking her instead about her plans for the morning again. We talked a little more. Eventually she told me “good night.” She asked for several kisses, gave me some kisses on my scruffy cheeks, and I left quietly. Our stairs creak horribly. You can’t sneak up or down them unless you’re floating. I did my best.

An hour later she cried out. I called softly up the stairs, “Go to sleep, Sophie.” She did, I guess. It’s now just after one in the morning. No longer am I amazed. This is what I expected the first night, and after that impossibly perfect night, I began to suspect that the second night might be the hardest. I was right. I’m also beginning to wonder if skipping the nap for a while might make night time sleep easier on everyone. I’ll bring that up with Rochelle in the morning. I’m hoping that Sunday night will go better, because Monday night I work. I hope we haven’t opened a can of worms with this. If Monday night is still hard, Rochelle will be on her own until Wednesday night.

In other Sophie news, we finally got some great video of her singing. It’s almost three minutes of super-cuteness.

Also, and I’ll try to get video of it for next month, Sophie is starting to whistle fairly well.

Within the next couple of months we will be taking her in for her six month post-operative MRI. We are somewhat nervous about this one. Not because of anything we’ve observed in Sophie, but because most of the surgery related inflammation should be largely gone, and if they see anything unusual it will be a tumor. We are confident that she has been healthy and normal, so we are 70% confident that she will be clean. There is so much that we do not know though, and we are constantly praying for the best. We also are aware of and grateful for all of your prayers.

Until Later

I just haven’t had a lot of time to make notes of what is going on, so most of this is straight from memory and I’m afraid I’ve left out some good stuff that has escaped me.

As always, we appreciate your readership and love.



Filed under Milestones, Normal Life, Sophie PMA

4 responses to “Off Balance

  1. Gwen

    Brian- Keith will hopefully be done with his night shift next week!!! 🙂 He is ready to have a normal schedule and actually see the kids during the week. Hang in there, time will go fast!

    Rochelle- The Hunger Games series is great!! The third book is being released in August and I can’t wait. I started a new series by Scott Westerfeld. The first book is called “Uglies”. If you liked Hunger Games I am sure you would like this series! There are 4 books total.

    Micah- We haven’t gotten the nerf game yet, but it is on my amazon list. My kids really like Mario Smash Brothers Brawl and Animal Crossing.

    Sophie- Now that the pacifier is gone you can work more on your singing and whistling! Maybe you can teach me how when we meet?!

    (Sophie is in our prayers! I hope that the followup doesn’t show any tumor and that she will still like Doctors.)

  2. Autumn

    Good luck with getting rid of the pacifier! My niece went through that where they threw it away and she woke up wanting it. Although, she screamed so bad (or they didn’t have as much patience as you) that my bro-in-law literally drove 35 minutes to the nearest Walmart at 3 a.m. to get a new one. : ) Luckily, Charlie never learned how to use one! I don’ t know if it was because I couldn’t breastfeed him or what, but he could never keep one in.

    I’m sorry about your schedule. That’s hard on everyone, so I hope it goes by fast.

    I thought about reading “Water for Elephants” but I too was worried about the “adult content.” : ) I’ve heard a lot about the “Hunger Games.” I know lots of people like it but lots of people liked “Twilight” too and I hated that book. But I trust Rochelle’s opinion on books more than most people. : )

    • Rochelle

      Gwen- I have read the first two of the “Uglies”. They were pretty good. I don’t think I liked them as much as I liked the first Hunger Games Book though. I remember you recommending that series to me a while back. I’m glad I finally read the first one and I am now looking forward to reading the rest of them.

      Autumn-My mother in-law was the person to suggest the Water For Elephant book to me. I trusted her opinion that it might not be for some, but she was sure that I could appreciate it for the whole of the story.
      I really did not like the Twilight series at all either. They were some of the worst books that I have read, and I hardly ever dislike a book I read. I’m glad that I read them anyway. The whole world (at least women) seem to LOVE them. I appreciate you trusting my opinion on books. Thanks.

  3. Sounds like you guys are doing well, other than the night shifts. Kevin has had large chunks of time doing night shifts and it is awful for everyone. Hope it ends soon :).

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