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Boulder, Colorado

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Crazy town mama-bear style

Z is feeling better.  We seem to have kicked the pneumonia, and we’ve got a (newly) opinionated (let’s just say LO wants what he wants), happy little guy on our hands again.  Wait, he was happy through most of the pneumonia.  So how do I know he’s feeling better, you say?  It’s because he’s wheezing less.

Wheezing less.  Shouldn’t the wheeze be gone by now??  That’s what I thought.
But alas, for a few days, I’ve been hearing the whisper of a high-pitched wheeze at the end of some of his breaths.  The thing is, most of the time I find myself asking, “is that a wheeze?”  Z answered my question on Sunday night when I put him to bed.  Yep, definitely a wheeze.  But I was alone with him in the quiet dark of his nursery.  Yes, I assured myself.  I’ve got to call the doc. in the morning.  That was definitely a wheeze.  Wasn't it?

When I called on Monday morning, the doc. had us in that afternoon.  He couldn’t hear anything.  But, he recommended a follow up x-ray for Z just in case he had aspirated something.  Like, inhaled an object.  We discussed the pros and cons of exposing Z to radiation (again) via the x-ray.  The doc. thought that he should have the x-ray because the fluid in his lungs during the pneumonia was so specific to his lower right lung.  He said chances are, there’s nothing there, but if it were his own kid, he’d want to be one hundred percent sure.

Here’s the problem.  I’m the only one who hears the wheeze.  D said that he’s questioned the wheeze a few times himself, but he can’t be sure about what he’s hearing.  So, D is (hesitantly) supportive of the decision to get the second set of x-rays, especially given the doc.’s recommendation, but I am bearing the weight of this decision heavily.

I feel crazy for worrying about this elusive wheeze (I swear it’s there!!), and I know I need to mama-bear-it-up and protect my own.  But at the same time, what if I am just a worry-wart-crazy-person and I’m unnecessarily exposing my helpless infant child to high doses of radiation??

Is this what they call mom-guilt?  It sucks.

So, we went and got the second x-ray.  I alluded to wanting to take a picture of Z in the strange contraption, but, clearly, the tech. thought I was joking.  What kind of mother would actually snap a picture while her baby is sobbing in the x-ray thingamabob?  If you read the initial entry about the weird baby-x-ray torture machine, Zeke didn’t take to it so well this time.  So, only because of the technician’s “haha”-sideways-glance-to-colleague response to my “I really should get a picture of this”, did I not take the picture.  I did take a pic. of the contraption itself, though.  The green plastic in the middle is literally a saddle.  Poor little muffin.   And his crazy mom.

P.S. Regarding the picture of Zeke: I never used to think pictures or videos of (or actual for that matter) babies with chunks of food on their faces was cute until I had my own.  And now, I only think chunks of food on his face are cute.  Not the chunks, so much, but his face with the chunks.  So, I forgive you if the above picture repulses you.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I put earplugs in and left my husband out in the cold

This isn't really a new post...it's the story of the night I locked D out of the house, and went to bed with earplugs, baby sleeping soundly in the next room.  Suspect, I know.  Just thought it should have its own post, as it was kinda muddled with another post for a while.

The hubbers and I were at our wits end.  LO was still waking several times a night needing to be soothed, and our level of exhaustion was on the brink of unbearable.  I don’t say that lightly, we were really, really haggard.  Oh, on a side note, the reflux/gas question- solved.  It all stemmed back to the breastfeeding issues.  After trying everything, consulting lactation specialists, etc., the bottle, and supplementation with formula came to the rescue.  Our doc. Figured it out.  DUH.  LO was hungry and couldn’t get his latch right to get enough food, which made him cry, which made him gassy.  Poor LO.  Anyhow, that’s a horse of a different color, a story for another time.  We’ve got a right chunker on our hands again who eats mainly from the bottle and is happy as a clam most of the time.

Back to Operation: LO For God’s Sake Sleep.  So there we were, haggard as hell (excuse my language), and willing to try anything to get everyone some more sleep at night.  LO was in the habit of waking frequently for food, but now that he was taking HUGE bottles, one at bedtime, and one at midnight, those wakings in-between had to go.  And after much deliberation, we decided that a little bit of crying, or “graduated extinction” as my extensive research coins the phrase, was in order.  We would take shifts, one for the first half of the night, one for the second half of the night, soothing in increments of 5, 10, and 15 minutes, in an effort to help LO learn how to self-soothe and fall back asleep on his own.  The parent not on duty would wear ear-plugs to maximize sleep for his/her half of the night. 

There was one minor glitch, but it didn’t seem like that big of a deal.  DH had promised Bella-the-dog that he would take her to play fetch, and he insisted he make good on his word.  We were also low on diapers and some other small groceries.  At 8:00pm the hubbers got Bella ready and said he’d be gone for an hour tops.  We agreed that it was okay for me to get ready for bed and go ahead and put the ear plugs in as LO rarely roused in the early evening hours, and if he did, I’d be certain to hear him if he cried hard enough.   Nice, I know.  That way DH wouldn’t have to wake me when he got back to put the plugs in.  Good deal.

I remember distinctly walking by the front door and flipping the deadbolt.  It made perfect sense with both hubby and dog gone and baby and me alone in the apartment.  Except DH took the set of keys without the front door key on it.  I was dead tired and dead asleep and the ear-plugs were in. 

Apparently, when the hubbers came back, arms full of groceries, and found the door locked, he began by knocking on the door quietly.  And then loudly.  And then he rang the doorbell.  And then he called my cell phone and the house phone.  At one point I guess he was trying to get some continuous noise going; he could hear the phone ringing in our apartment through the door, so he’d let the phone ring, and then ring the door bell.  House phone.  Door bell.  House phone.  Door bell.  Loud knocking.  House phone.  Loud knocking.  Door bell.  Neighbors came out of their homes and asked if everything was alright.  He went downstairs to our friend who dog-sits for us- did she hold onto the key we gave her??  Nope.  Alas, none of it was to any avail as baby and I were sleepy soundly in our respective beds.  He went to the other side of the apartment building and actually tried chucking rocks at the window!.

LO finally woke up at some point crying. It was his cry that woke me up.  When I noticed that DH hadn’t returned from his outing and it was 11:00, I checked my cell phone only to find a dozen missed calls from him, a few texts, and one very irritated voicemail.  Why would I lock the door??  And then go to bed with earplugs.  How could I?

I called him on his cell phone and he came back as he’d been wandering the neighborhood with the dog for the last hour contemplating breaking into his office to sleep.  Did I mention that it was 30 degrees outside?  Pretty stinkin’ cold for a California night, and my guy is known for under-dressing in cold weather.  When he got home and I opened the door for him, his hands were freezing, the groceries were sprawled on our welcome mat, and the look on his face was….well, let’s just say he was not a happy camper.  I think the first thing he said to me was something to the effect of how he forgives me (insert wink face here).  A better wife might’ve let him off the hook for that comment, but I don’t think I did.

Ahh.  Just another day in the life.

Until next time, wishing you and yours a happy new year and a blessing that you’ve taken something valuable from last year into this new one.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

My child is a genius

He can lift all of the little pop-up pages in the “Where’s Spot?” book all by himself.  D reads it to him and patiently waits while Z figures out how to clumsily open the pop-ups.

“No, that’s not Spot, that’s a lion under the stairs!”

So what if he also rips the pages as he’s lifting the pop-up doohickeys.  A small price to pay for this child’s sheer genius, I’m telling you.

One thing he can’t do, hold his own bottle.   Developmentally, he should be totally ready for this task.  I even bought a special little holder (16 dollars!!) that you put on the outside of the bottle.  But, nope.

In fact, the other day, I set him in his high chair and put the bottle with the holder in front of him on the tray and went across the room. Sure, he reached for the bottle, picked it up, and put it in his mouth.  He just couldn’t figure out how to tilt the bottle to get the milk out.  Eventually he got frustrated.  Then he cried.  I laughed.

Also, Zeke ate his first cracker today.  Graham cracker, that is.  All by himself.  Genius.  See the picture below.

No moral of the story today.  Just the day-to-day of mom-ing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Totally morbid reflections of a relatively normal mom

Zeke caught a cold about a week ago (*ahem, I’m not naming names, but see my last blog entry).  I noticed that he was wheezing on Friday, so we took him to the doctor. By Sunday, Z’s breathing was strained and rapid, though his spirits were remarkably high.  I almost had a heart attack just listening to the little guy breathe in and out, raspy, high pitched noises accompanying each exhale.  On Sunday night, the hubs conveniently left for California.  Not his fault, just really crappy timing.  I’d been in touch with the doctor that day, and we had an appointment first thing Monday morning.

When I put Zeke to bed that night, I was literally afraid he’d stop breathing in his sleep.  I’m not exaggerating my level of maternal fear, although my brain knew that it was highly likely he was going to be okay, as the doctor hadn’t recommended a trip to the E.R.  I decided to leave Zeke’s door open after strongly considering sleeping on the floor in his room next to his crib.  He woke up crying twice, and both times, I leapt out of bed almost instantaneously.  I held my crying wheezing baby in my arms until he finally relaxed and fell asleep, his head on my shoulder, snot dripping onto my pajamas, the hissing sound of his breathing steady (enough).

On Monday morning, we were back at the doctor’s office.  We were sent to the hospital for x-rays of Zeke’s chest and a test for the virus called RSV.  I never imagined how they might x-ray a baby’s chest, but the process was almost ludicrous.  Zeke had to perch on this very strange contraption with his arms squashed up by his ears.  Fortunately, a fellow blogger that I found using a google images search took a picture of her baby in the contraption.  Check it out : http://raisingbabybee.blogspot.com/2008/06/chest-x-ray.html

The x-ray technicians were amazed at how calm-happy, really, Zeke was for most of the process, his arms squished up awkwardly by his ears, unable to move.  Not to worry, he’s not completely docile, he finally got fussy during the second of two x-rays.

After completing the bizarre experience that was the chest x-ray, Zeke got to have a test for RSV.  YAY!  One thing Zeke is NOT keen on is having his nose messed with, as I imagine most babies aren’t.  The nice people in the lab sucked the snot out of Zeke’s adorable, unsuspecting little nostrils.  He protested, but briefly.  Of course, when we snot-suck him at home, you’d think we are literally murdering the little guy the way he screams.

By mid-day we’d received the phone call that Zeke tested positive for RSV, and that there was fluid in his lower right lung.  Zeke and I went to the pharmacy and filled his prescription for amoxicillin. 

It’s strange.  Even though Zeke is the essence of life and joy, he reminds me that life is so impermanent.  It’s not to say that I was actually worried for Zeke’s life with the pneumonia.  But I am terrified in general that something bad will happen to him.  It’s his very being, his very existence that somehow bespeaks my own sense of mortality.  It’s the intensity, the vastness of the love I feel for this tiny person…the reality that his life is as significant and insignificant as any other.  He is not immune.

Yesterday, a local radio station did a fundraiser for the Children’s Hospital of Denver.  I tuned in to hear one mom’s story of her baby who underwent multiple stints at Children’s Hospital.  His name was Able.  Able struggled with a disease that caused internal bleeding.  This mother stood at the side of her baby’s hospital bed, gently stroking his head while he bled from his nose, a result of just one of the sights of bleeding in his body.  She told him that it was okay, he could go if that’s what he needed. 

I have to catch my breath as I hear Able’s mom in my head.  No mother should ever have to endure that kind of hell, and yet it happens all the time.  The truth is, when I hear her story, I am at once profoundly sad for her, but uneasy with the knowledge that it could just as easily been us.  Despite the odds, Able survived. 

Here’s the thing, though.  This fear that I have about my own child is totally useless.  I don’t think it helps me parent him better.  If anything, it gets in our way.  It hinders my ability to be an “in-the-moment” parent.

Strangely, as I was writing this I stumbled on an article written by Katie Granju on Babble.com (an awesome website for parents, by the by).  She had this to say, “I now understand at a cellular level in a way I never did before that so much of what happens to the people I love — even my own babies — is utterly beyond my control.”


Friday, February 10, 2012

May the Lord strike me down

Let me just preface this entry with the fact that I deserve to rot in hell for the thoughts I’ve had this afternoon.  (I do hope you’ll overlook all of the offensive invocations of God in this blog entry.) My neighbor, a fellow mom watching her child full time (I’m looking for phrases to replace “stay-at-home-mom”), invited me over to her house for a play-date on a snowy Tuesday morning.  There were four other moms and their toddlers ranging in ages from 15 months to about 24 months.  Needless to say, the house was a little nutty.

First of all, said lovely neighbor’s kid (she really is nice and may the lord strike me down for writing all of this) had a productive, hacking cough.  Awesome.  The hostess was nice enough to put out all kinds of kid-friendly snacks for the toddlers and moms.  One such snack was a bowl of popcorn into which the hands of the hacking toddler went, repeatedly.  My favorite part of the snacking experience was when hacking toddler felt she wanted to eat her popcorn with a spoon.  Spoon to mouth, spoon to community bowl.  Spoon to mouth, spoon to community bowl.  Delicious.  Suffice it to say that I did not indulge in the offerings, and thank goodness Z is still too little.

The real kicker was the discussion of sleep.  At least 3 of the 5 moms had regular night-wakers.  I’d like to remind you that these babies were AT LEAST 8 months older than our little guy.  I don’t even think I can put into words the horror I felt at the prospect of losing out on sleep for yet another year!  One of the moms with a 20 month old said she literally hadn’t had a good night’s sleep in 3 years.  With her pregnancy she was up in the night throwing up, and then everyone knows what the first 6 months are like, but her first six months extended into the first two years.  Call me smug, but I HAVE to believe that there is something these parents are either doing or not doing with regard to sleep to be living in such misery.  Again, God strike me down now.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned so far about parenting it is, “judge ye not” until you walk a mile in so-and-so’s shoes.  And yet here I am, doing it.

I’m not at all saying that these mamas deserve the sleeplessness that they’re getting, but I’m saying that there are methodologies out there to help your child sleep that actually work, right???  Please tell me I’m right about this.  Another one of the moms told me that they’d tried sleep training 5 times with their LO but to no avail.  Define tried.  Seriously, I am terrified.  I know that there are many, many worse possible scenarios with regard to babies, but sleeping affects quality of life so directly.  Affects, effects- it does both!

Clearly, I’ve worked myself into a proper tizzy, and I’ve made these Mom’s respective sleep problems all about me.

I forgot to mention that we’ve been SO lucky of late with sleep and Z.  (I know I’m jinxing it right now.)  After hitting the wall, I scoured the internet, read several books, and we found a method that resonated with me and D.  And so, we did some difficult but so far (knock on wood) well worth-it sleep training, and Z has been sleeping through the night.  After experiencing life with adequate amounts of sleep for the last 2 weeks (woohoo!) I cannot imagine going back.  Sure, I understand that Z will have some needs in the middle of the night as he moves through his childhood.  Awesome- that’s what I signed up for.  But, and I do have a big butt (that one never gets old and it’s so true!), endless exhaustion just makes life feel really difficult.

So, to turn it back around, I am wishing the moms and dads who have lost 3+ years worth of sleep some respite in the very near future.   And I am *praying* (invoking G again here, sorry) that D and I do not find ourselves in that boat a few years down the road.  I am also recognizing that there are worse boats.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ain't nothin' wrong with a little poop. But a lot of poop might mean somethin' is wrong...

Nothing like a little norovirus or rotovirus, or whatever the hell it was, to get those last pesky little prego- pounds gone. 

I’ll spare you the gory details, but the hubbers and I have decided that our LO is either super tough, or he didn’t get hit as hard with this nasty stomach flu as we did.  He was sick on Sunday.  Of course we knew something was awry as he doesn’t usually upchuck entire bottles worth of food, but he didn’t seem to be in terrible spirits.  When the second bottle of the day came pouring out of all orifices, nose included (I had to give you some gory details), we called Z’s doc. to see if we needed to take any special precautions.

Wait, who am I kidding?  I called the doc. after throw-up episode number 1, he just didn’t get my message until late in the day due to cell phone malfunction.  Harumph. Suspect.

Anyhow, we went about our Sunday as planned, and Z seemed to be holding up just fine, playing and smiling as usual.  By Monday, he was pretty much back to his usual self, keeping food down and having solid poops.  Yes, I said poop.  It’s amazing how much attention you pay to your baby’s poo.   Or, it could be that the hubs and I might have a heightened fascination with the stuff as we find ourselves carefully examining the contents of LO’s diapers on a fairly regular basis.  Said contents then evoke several minutes worth of discussion.  Ahhh, the sweet romance of it all.

In contrast to my son’s ever-so-pleasant reaction to the nasties, I thought death might be a welcome relief from the violent nausea, puke, and dry heaves I was experiencing.  OMG- I just can’t stay away from the gory details, and besides, I love all of the euphemisms for the word vomit.  I was literally writhing on the bathroom floor, and when D got home, I did not hesitate to share my misery.

Thank GOD I suddenly got sick when our sitter was here- I was actually supposed to go to the gym.  Although I never would have had her over when I thought a virus was in the house, she was here anyway, and it would’ve been very interesting writhing on the bathroom floor, praying to the porcelain gods, while taking care of baby.  As the hubs had a later onset of the illness, he was able to come home from work early and relieve our sitter, put LO to bed, run to the store and by some pepto-bismol (which he preemptively took), and toss an extra quilt on the bed for me as I was suffering from hot/cold shivers.  All the while, (in case you forgot), I’m dry heaving and moaning loudly. 

If my baby son felt anything like I did, I cannot believe we didn’t hear more about it.  This experience has seriously made me question my pain tolerance.  I did, after all, plan a natural birth, and upon arriving at the hospital scream like a banchee for an epidural.  Perhaps that’s neither here nor there, but still.

Hubs got sick, too, though his symptoms weren’t quite as intense.  He didn’t throw up, but his other end wasn’t too happy.  I bet he’ll love that I just shared intimate details about his “other end” on a public website. To make it fair, neither of my ends were doin’ too well on Monday.

Again, we were both thanking our lucky stars that Z slept all the way through the night on Monday.

There is no real moral to this story other than the fact that I think we seriously lucked out in the temperament department with our child.  *I’m saying a silent prayer that I don’t eat my words some day.   We can also count our lucky stars that while the illness was violent, it was very short lived, and here we all are, happy and healthy once more.

Wash your hands lots this season!  There.  That’s the moral.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monday, January 2, 2012

A little more breast and some other misadventures

I’ve neglected my blog long enough that I don’t even know where to begin.  Do I tell the story about the night I locked my husband and dog out of our apartment and went to bed with ear-plugs, baby sleeping soundly in the next room?  Do I talk about our first class (woot, woot!) plane ride to Hawaii with the guy in the seat next to me immediately and loudly complaining about the terrible, awful prospect of having to endure the flight alongside our fussy baby?  Or, do I talk about my breasts again and the fact that while I find breastfeeding in public beautiful and natural, pumping is actually another story, and very strange to constantly have suction cups strapped to my breasts, my nipples being relentlessly tugged to oblivion, all the while my father-in-law happily reading a book in the chair next to me? 

Suffice it to say that it’s been an adventuresome few weeks that have included a move- thank God we had an army of able-bodied friends and relatives to help us-, and a “vacation” of sorts.  As much as we love our wee little one and would miss him dreadfully if he were not here, the hubs and I decided that we’re not sure what it means to vacation when you take the bulk of the work with you J.  That said, I have little room to complain as we’ve had the in-laws here to help out.  When I say here to help out, I mean right here, as in: right. Here.  In the same hotel room.  Okay, I exaggerate.  We’re separated by a door between the pull-out couch in the living room that they’ve so graciously slept on for a week and the bedroom.  I say this with a slight edge of complaint in my voice as it has been tight quarters, but in truth, I always get used to the rhythm of tight quarters with the in-laws after a few days, and I’ve never met two people who are more willing to bend over backwards to help out and make their kids/kids-in-law comfortable.  Really.  So, it’s been comical with my breasts out three times a day on the pump, the little one in and out of naps, trying to squeeze in some fun and coordinate schedules, but in all we’re sinking into the vacay thing nicely.

It’s taken us a while to relinquish control of the caretaking responsibilities (yes, we are the typical hyper-anal first time parents you might imagine) and let the in-laws step in.  But, alas, as we’ve let go more and more, we’ve found ourselves a couple of times wondering aloud, “child, what child?”  Ahhhhhhhh….a few sighs of relief.  I could get used to this whole ‘it takes a village thing’.  Don’t’ get me wrong, I would do anything for my little guy, it’s just nice to have a built-in daily break.