Thursday, July 17, 2008

You're Just Not Pregnant Enough

Despite my exhaustion, grumpiness, lack of patience and general unease, I am apparently not pregnant enough.

Yesterday morning I went in for my monthly doctor appointment to check on the baby. My husband and I walked together half way. The man walks really fast and I hadn't drank much water. By the time we parted at Dupont Circle I was feeling slightly faint and buzzy. I slowed my pace down for the rest of the walk and started drinking water. By the time I got to the last major intersection, I was really looking forward to sitting down in an air conditioned office.

I was waiting for the light to change when a heavy set woman in a wheel chair asked if I could help her cross the street. Of course I could help her! You quickly realize how short those intersection lights are when you're pushing an adult with a broken leg in a wheel chair! We made it across with zero seconds to spare when she asked me if I was going down the block. Indeed, I was, and I pushed her the rest of the way to the GW Medical Faculty Associates Building. I guess I didn't look faint and pregnant when she asked me for help...but she was worse off then I was. I also got to feel like I'd done my good deed for the day.

Fast forward about 50 minutes. I'm sent to get some blood work done at the clinic in the basement. I enter the clinic and the room is packed. I sign in right after a noticeably pregnant woman. Immediately someone gets up and gives her a seat. I lean against the wall hoping the line will start moving (at this point people weren't even going in or out which seemed rather suspicious). About ten minutes later another pregnant woman signs in. Immediately someone gets up and gives her a seat.

I'll admit they were both doing a glucose screening (they were each drinking a bottle of orange sugar like goo) which usually occurs between 24 and 28 weeks of pregnancy. I am only 17 weeks and 2 days. I just look like I ate a lot for breakfast and swigged some Bud to wash it down. So I held the wall up for about half an hour before I was called in. I'm glad I didn't pass out as I am not the best with the whole blood thing, especially after standing in an over air conditioned basement waiting room with bad lighting.

I shouldn't complain that I'm not pregnant enough because before I know it, I'm going to be way too pregnant. If my memory serves me correctly, carrying around a nine pound, six and a half ounce baby wasn't a picnic either.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

That's Entertainment

My husband worked late last night, so I must admit we were watching the Baby Einstein videos by 5:00 pm. When the DVD ended I flipped over to regular TV (which I never do). I went to On Demand. And I discovered the coolest thing: there's a kids section! Who knew!

I flipped through the many options and I found a "Bilingual Baby" section. We chose the "French 1" video and it was awesome! The babe loved it, I loved it, what else do you need? We watched it twice, and then watched "Italian 1".

In the world of more adult oriented entertainment, my husband and I have been watching Tina Fey's "30 Rock" on DVD at night. It is too funny. If you're looking for something new to watch, give it a shot. It is a lovely short escape from reality and makes us both laugh out loud (which is rare). Nothing wrong with a little parental escapism I say.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

So Much to Say


I don't know where to start! So much has happened in the past few weeks and I haven't had the time to share it with you.

I guess I'll just start with the big news: I'm expecting my second child this coming December 21st (great timing, right?). My blogging has been rather abysmal because of my racing mind, lack of energy, and general freaked outness. We are thrilled and scared and can't really believe it. I didn't realize my body would be able to do this whole human creation thing again, but by the looks of my protruding belly, it is! So, that's our biggest story. It will sure make this blog a tad more interesting with tales of balancing a toddler and a newborn. But maybe I'll be too tired to even remember I have a blog.

In other exciting news, the babe sings along to the ABC song pretty darn well now, and yesterday she counted from one to six on her own...no prompting...two separate times! She did it again today standing in front of the window counting cars. I guess she really isn't a babe if she's counting cars, right?

Oh, and how can I forget. Potty training. We have invested in a potty for her room and a potty for the downstairs bathroom. I am taking a very slow motion, no pressure approach to the whole thing. But I figured seeing the potty would help her understand the concept. I have sat her down quite a few times over the past couple months, but no success. One day, while she was sitting on the potty and I was sitting on the potty (teaching by example, of course) she stood up and ran off to the kitchen. I was not fast enough and she was back in the bathroom before I could do anything. I realized she was wet and cleaned her up. She was wet because she had gotten up off the potty, walked to the kitchen, and peed on the carpet. Not quite grasping the concept of peeing in the potty, I suppose.

Fast forward to last Saturday. My dear friend from NYC was visiting and we were playing with the babe in her room. At one point the babe stood by her potty and started pulling at her pants. "Do you want to go potty?" I asked. She nodded her head, so off came the pants and diaper. To both our surprise, she sat down and went pee right in front of us. Needless to say, I was in total shock. I can't really explain the feeling of seeing your little baby pee in a potty for the first time. It was simply, remarkable. On Sunday we had a repeat performance, and yesterday, she even peed in the downstairs potty (which is much wider and practically swallows her in). We'll see how much training we can get done by December 21st!

And last but not least, a week and a half ago we did a one night family road trip to the Big Apple. It was the babe's first time to New York City, and it was so cool to be with her in my old town. We spent the majority of our time in Central Park (see pic above) and it was a very special 21 hour trip. She even learnt how to say "apple" on the drive back (she had previously just said "app").

My Mother in Law is now in town visiting and the husband and I have very early dinner reservations (5:30 pm so we can put the babe to bed) to re-attempt celebrating our three year anniversary. We went out last night and had to go to four restaurants before we could get a table (it was a tad disappointing). We're going to my favorite sushi place, Sushi Taro, even though I can't eat raw fish. I can't really explain why I want to go there so badly, I just do.

So, three years of marriage, one toddler, and one baby on the way. Who woulda thought, eh? Oh, and happy belated Canada Day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

My Daughter is a Junkie

I don't know how it happened, but the babe has become a Baby Einstein movie addict. It only took a week. We realized we had four DVDs hidden away and pulled them out the weekend before last. The babe automatically thought it was the best thing since sliced bread.

Every morning she'll come downstairs and stand by the TV/DVD player and say "moooie". I must admit that I usually give in. It's really early (by my standards) and I don't want to do anything other than get my breakfast and a cup of tea.

My husband and I have decided we'll let her watch up to three a day (plus her sign language DVD, if necessary). So far I have managed to do one in the morning, one in the very late afternoon (when I'm making dinner), and the "sign and sing" DVD while my husband and I are trying to eat dinner undisturbed.

I'm not counting on these DVDs to make my child brilliant. But I understand her need for some entertainment in life. And if this floats her boat, I'm not going to lose sleep over it. At least I'm not one of the parents who hits the "repeat play" option on the menu bar (although I understand how easy it would be to go down that slippery path).

Friday, June 20, 2008

Bye Bye Bottles

They say you should have your child weaned off bottles by the time they're 18 months. The babe hit the one and a half year mark on June 7th and she was still loving her bottles. Every time I tried to introduce milk in a sippy cup, she'd take a sip, look at me like I had rocks in my head, and make the sign for milk while saying "miil" with a questioning look on her face. I wasn't too worried about it as I didn't think it was the end of the world to still be using bottles.

This past Wednesday, a full moon, I decided it was time to give it another shot. I poured her morning milk into a purple sippy cup and handed it to her. She actually drank it. For the late morning milk, I tried again, and she drank it! I have not given her a bottle since Tuesday night, and it feels pretty darn good.

This afternoon, while she had a nice long nap, I packed away her Born Free bottles and put them in the closet. We're really growing up now!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Brush Your Teeth

Brushing the babe's teeth has always been a painful experience for us both. She fights me, bites down on her tooth brush, squeals, fidgets and generally acts impossible. I had recently resigned myself to just letting her jam the tooth brush in her mouth and chew on it. I was feeling guilty that I wasn't being a good mother and was letting her teeth rot. I made myself feel better by focusing on the fact that they were her baby teeth and were going to fall out anyway.

The other night I had a break through. In the past we had tried to show her how to brush her teeth by brushing at the same time. She seemed to find it amusing. The real break through came when I gave her the tooth brush and let her "brush" my teeth while I brushed hers. And you know what? It worked!

I just have to get used to having her jam the tooth brush around my mouth. I now understand why she never cooperated with me as it is very awkward having another person navigate your mouth with a tooth brush. But I am happy to let her brush my teeth if it makes me feel like I'm doing my job as a responsible Mom (and her teeth are getting clean, of course).

Here's to brushing teeth.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Seven Days and Seven Nights

I have been holding my breath for seven days and seven nights. I haven't been able to write for fear I would jinx our experiment.

About a month ago a friend from NYC called me to ask for advice on how she could get her eight month old son to sleep more. She and her husband were getting close to their wits end. She (like I) had done all the reading about the different "methods" of sleep training, and she (like I) was very uncomfortable with the highly recommended "cry it out" or Ferber method. She told me she had read all of my posts on sleep training and she was wondering what had happened as there was no end to the story.

I told her there unfortunately was no end and that I had stopped writing about it as I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed that we hadn't found a solution, that the babe was still ending up in our bed half way through the night on most nights, and that I was so exhausted that I didn't think I could take it any more.

Approximately three weeks ago I hit my limit...again. Luckily it came right before a trip to Canada. I convinced my husband that it was time to tackle the dreaded "sleep training" we had done so much to avoid. As you may recall, we are both big wimps and couldn't handle the thought of the babe crying for hours on end. But when you hit the limit, you hit the limit. So, we agreed that upon my return on June 1st (when the babe would be discombobulated anyway), we would officially start sleep training. We were prepared for the worst.

I have been holding my breath all week because the whole process has gone so smoothly my husband and I are in complete shock. The babe has now officially slept through seven nights in a row (this has never happened). We have been putting her in her crib awake for naps and night time sleep, and telling her we love her, and walking out the door. The first night (which actually happened at my folks place in Ottawa) involved about 30 minutes of crying, the second night she was so exhausted from traveling there were just a few whimpers, the third night she let out only a few short cries, and by the fourth night she was saying "bye" to us as we put her in the crib.

I haven't slept this much since September/October 2006. It has been amazing and I can't believe how blessed we are. I'm not sure if she was ready and we had the timing exactly right, or if she liked that my husband cleaned up and rearranged her room so it's less of an office/guest room/toddler's room and more of a room just the babe.

Whatever it is, we are so thrilled. It has saved me so much time at night not having to sit and watch her fall asleep in the dark before I transfer her to the crib. It has made me a less angry and resentful Mother and wife. It has saved my sanity not having to get up in the middle of the night to get her settled in our bed. And it has been so nice to be in a king size bed without a toddler kicking me in the head.

I'm not saying all sleep training attempts will be like this, I'm just saying it's worth a shot. There is only so long you can sacrifice your sleep, and in the long run, biting the bullet is what's best for every member of your family. Lesson learned. It only took a year and a half!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

First Day

I got in my Mom's car at about 7:45 this morning to drive to my documentary course in Gatineau, Quebec. I was tired (up with the babe at 5:30 am) and as I mentioned yesterday, nervous. I turned on the CD player unsure of what I'd find (as I mentioned, it's my Mom's car). "Brown Sugar" by the Rolling Stones came blasting out as I hit the road. Sticky Fingers ended up being the perfect sound track for my morning commute.

So, I wanted to report on a few things:
  • it appears as though my brain is still working and I am still able to interact with adults regarding non-child related matters
  • I am having no trouble being away from the babe during working hours (yippee)
  • the babe is apparently enjoying hanging with her Grandparents. She did a few trips to the park, a two hour nap, and some gardening in the back yard. She asked for me a few times, but nothing serious (I would have actually been offended if she hadn't asked for me). Not bad for her first full day away from Mom and Dad.
  • to follow up on the babe's speaking progress, she can now say her name (although she misses the "r"). If you ask her what her name is, she will announce it to you proudly. It's very cute.
Anyway, today was an exciting first. We'll see how tomorrow goes.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"I'm Me"

Much excitement in our life to report on. On Saturday we had an amazingly ideal flying experience from Washington to Montreal. The flight was on time, it was a beautiful day, the flight attendant was a sweet heart and no one was seated next to us. You can't ask for more, and I send my thanks to Air Canada.

We spent Saturday through Monday with my Mother in Law and had an awesome visit that included many of my favorite things (Montreal bagels, cafe mocha, and home made saag paneer, but not all at the same time). The babe and my Mother in Law (who she calls "Dadi Ma") get along famously and it was a real joy to watch them together. Despite the sore throat I woke up with on Sunday morning, it was awesome to be out in the burbs chasing after the babe in the outdoors (such a nice change from our urban living situation in DC).

Yesterday we drove to Ottawa with my Dad who was kind enough to make the morning trek from Ottawa to Montreal to pick us up in the good 'oll mini van. We had a very exciting "first" yesterday afternoon when the babe shared her first sentence with us. "I'm me." Profound words for a one and a half year old! I'm pretty jazzed about the development and am noticing new words spilling out of her at a much faster rate these days. For instance, instead of saying "waa" for water yesterday, she actually said "water" (after my Mom prompted her, but it still counts).

Now, to the real reason we are in Canada (other than seeing our loving family, of course). I signed myself up for a documentary workshop, Interventionist and Participatory Media, which is being offered by the Canadian Screen Training Center Summer Institute (even though it's freakin' cold here). I am seriously nervous about the whole thing as I have been on the Mommy brain track for a long time now and I'm not sure if I remember how to relate to other adults in a professional way, nor if I have the ability to intelligently participate in the course. I just need to remember who I used to be and hopefully I'll get some guts by tomorrow morning. It's my first three days away from the babe and it had to happen sooner or later. I'm ready to do my own thing for a bit, but am not so sure she's at the same place. Thank God she's got a loving Grandpa and Grandma to watch over her.

Wish us both luck!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Some Days Are Better Than Others

Yesterday was one of those days I wished I was single and childless.

Maybe that's an exaggeration. I wished I could travel back in time to my more care free days and just be alone and independent of the needs of anyone else.

My little family had a Sunday filled with one negative thing after the other.

First example: a very full diaper leaking all over our clean sheets, and sinking through to our very lovely Tempur-Pedic mattress. Daddy was on clean up duty and he did an amazingly thorough job (which involved a lot of laundry).

Second example: the babe intentionally hit the side of my head in a fit of frustration and knocked out my snazzy cubic zirconia earring. We then had to search endlessly to find it as we feared the babe may swallow it and puncture something vital. I have decided to buy smaller earrings with very secure backings to avoid any similar drama in the future.

I'll spare you details on the other examples of negativity.

These events kind of built on each other and tumbled down on us until we were sunk under the pressure.

By the end of the day, my husband and I were really wishing we either had a back yard we could throw the babe in so she could play while we sat on our duffs reading, or lived by our parents so we could drop her off and enjoy some quiet time away from her toddler antics.

Despite all the annoyances, as I sat and watched my husband read to the babe before bed, my heart got all mushy and warm. If I were alone and independent of their needs, I would never understand that cozy and yummy feeling I got listening to my little family read I Know a Rhino.

Fast forward to this morning. I was already flustered with the babe by 9:30 am, and wasn't sure how we were going to make it through the day (that warm mushy feeling I just mentioned was long gone). As I was over due to have blood taken, I decided to bite the bullet and get it over with. I got us all dressed and headed down to the clinic.

I am not a person who is good with needles and have been known to pass out having blood taken. I also wasn't thrilled about doing it with the babe in tow, but figured I had to be a grown up about it. To keep her in good spirits I gave her a hand full of raisins (she loves them). As I am a big wimp, I held her other hand to give me strength as the blood was drawn. She listened to me ramble on trying to distract myself and she didn't break eye contact or start whining. I think she was very cool about the whole experience and I was glad to have my little hand holding buddy with me after all.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day Update

I forgot to mention the selflessness and sacrifice that motherhood takes. I'm sure I can just keep adding to this list every day. You certainly don't know what you're in for until you're in it, that's for sure. The babe is already standing on her Adirondack chair seeking my attention, so I'll leave it at that for now.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Another Mother's Day

Another year has gone by. My second Mother's Day as a mother. And I'm only beginning to appreciate how much love, devotion, patience, and creativity motherhood really takes. I'm also only beginning to understand how much my own Mother gave to me. What simultaneously scares and excites me is the thought of the many years ahead of love, devotion, patience and creativity. This is hopefully only the beginning and I hope I have it in me.

For Mother's Day 2008 I slept in until 8:00 am (Saturday was my official sleep in day and I slept until 10:30 am), read the babe a whole lot of stories, made cinnamon muffins, opened my awesome card and present (which I'll admit that I chose and bought), made and ate some delicious chocolate chip and blueberry pancakes, put the babe to sleep for her mid-day nap, and then took off to the movies all by myself. I wanted to do something indulgent, and as I have only seen one movie in a theater in the past year and a half (Charlie Wilson's War), I though I deserved some alone time in a dark room with strangers. I chose a predictable romantic comedy with pretty people and nice places, and enjoyed every minute of it.

Mother's Day will be different every year and I think my expectations of it will continue to change. For now, I'm content my husband is upstairs putting the babe to sleep for the night, and I got to check in and say Happy Mother's Day to all of you.

I'd also like to share that it's been about a year since I started my blog, with a Mother's Day post quite different from this one. After re-reading what I wrote a year ago, I can say that today was another special Mother's Day, and much less stressful than my first.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Can I Please Write Something Now?

All week I think about all the things I want to write about. But the babe hates me being on the computer. She's extremely jealous when I pay attention to something other than her. As I spend all day with her, this can be difficult. When she's upset at me, she'll yell and start misbehaving (pulling on the plants, standing on her hot pink Adirondack chair, pinching me, throwing her toys, etc.). Being on the computer for a part of the day is a basic right, and I'm at a loss on how to handle her jealousy.

This behaviour can also happen if I try to read something, clean something, cook something. You get the picture.

I can not pay attention to her 24/7 and I am starting to wish she was in some kind of part time organized care where she would realize that we sometimes have to entertain ourselves in this world. So on Tuesday we headed over to the Jewish Community Center preschool and put her on the wait list. They only take kids at two, and she'll only be two in December, so the best I can hope for is January 2009. It's a popular place to send your kids in this 'hood, so I'm not sure how good our chances are. But after a year and a half of avoiding child care wait lists, we're officially in the game.

I also ordered The Happiest Toddler on the Block by Harvey Karp and Toddler 411 by Denise Fields and Dr. Ari Brown. I really liked The Happiest Baby on the Block and Baby 411, so hopefully these will live up to my expectations. I want to learn how to communicate with the babe in a more efficient way as I must admit I can be pretty immature in my dealings with her. I have been known to say "Fine, see if I care" a few times a week.

It's funny how much research you do on pregnancy and babies with your first child. But it just seems like there's no time to do any research when you have a toddler. Any tips or advice on dealing with a little love bug/psycho would be appreciated.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

This Past Week

Last week I was at the Rite Aide to buy some overnight diapers for the babe. A homeless man sitting outside the front door jumped up to help me with maneuvering the stroller through the entrance. He was very kind.

While I was in the store I thought about giving him some change on my way out. I normally don't give money to people on the street as we're more of the registered charity kind of people. But he had been very thoughtful so I grabbed some coins from my wallet as I prepared to leave the store. When I made it through the door, he was sitting outside talking on a cell phone. I put the change back in my pocket and just smiled as I walked by.

I appreciated the help with the stroller, but I just can't justify giving money to someone on a cell phone. Is that wrong?

On another matter, my landlady came by this week with some work guys to check out our CAC system. She was sweet enough to bring an orange beanie baby for the babe named "Dearest." The babe seemed pretty impressed with the gift. After the landlady left, I went to the bathroom, with the door open, as usual. As I was washing my hands, the babe snuck in behind me and dumped Dearest in the toilet. I'm not sure what to do with Dearest now. It says surface wash only, so I guess the babe can just play with a toilet water toy. It had been flushed, so it can't be that bad.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

BPA Bottles/Meal Related Items Pulled From Shelves

This may be old news to some of you, but I had to write about it anyway (apparently stuff still happens when I'm at the beach and disconnected from the world). Toys R' Us has recently announced it will be pulling all baby bottles and meal related items containing the harmful BPA from their shelves in 2008. And Wal-Mart in Canada has already started the process of removing these items from their shelves as well.

My home and native land, Canada, recently became the first country to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles (Go Canada!). Hopefully the US government (and others) will make a similar move soon.

Another company making the move to BPA free products is Nalgene, which is good new for us adults (at least those of us who became addicted to their water bottles over the years).

Check out this site to see what baby bottles are currently BPA free.

A lot of us moms are pretty disturbed we've been feeding our babies harmful chemicals with their milk. But in the grand scheme of things, we can't beat ourselves up over everything. There's enough to feel guilty about already! At least we're moving in the right direction.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

We're Back


Apparently all I had to do to make the sun shine in Cape Hatteras last week was write about it not shinning. As I logged off my Dad's very slow lap top last Wednesday, the sun came out and stayed out for the rest of our trip. We made our way over to the ocean and continued to do so every day until we left. It ended up being a sweet beach vacation with excellent company. I was only on the computer that one time, which was a nice break from the world.

The babe and I road tripped back in the sun on Saturday. We hit the road at 9:06 am and pulled into out parking spot in DC at about 4:10 pm. That included one stop at a shoe store in Nags Head (where I bought an awesome pair of Teva sandals for $30 off), one stop for lunch (Taco Bell for Mommy and grapes, bananas, milk and arrow root cookies for the babe), and lots of traffic outside the DC area. There was only one hour of screaming the whole trip which occured after we left our lunch break outside Richmond, VA. Crying fits make my kid sleep apparently, so it worked out for everyone. I'll take that any day over the insane weather I had driven through the week prior.

We're still adjusting to being back home. Just the two of us during the day is pretty lonely compared to what we got used to. Vacations have to end at some point I guess. Now I have to plan the next beach vacation. Because the babe loves the sand and collecting shells (as seen above)...and I just can't deny her those simple pleasures!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Beach

I made a lot of promises to the babe last week as we played in the dirty sand box at one of our local graffiti covered parks. I told her all about the beautiful beach she'd be visiting in a few days. I told her about the silky sand she could make castles with. I promised it would blow her mind.

On Sunday morning, I packed the babe (and a ridiculous amount of supplies) in the car and drove for close to 6 hours (in the rain). I passed flipped over cars and drove through some pretty serious weather. Luckily we picked up my outlet shopping Mom about half way along and she was able to entertain the babe until we pulled up to the beach house. I had to peel my fingers of the steering wheel and take a deep breath when we arrived.

We are now at the beach in Rodanthe, North Carolina with my parents, aunt and uncle and their friends from Toronto. This was meant to be the babe's first beach vacation. A week in the sand and sun. But it looks like I brought the crappy weather from DC down to NC. It has been raining since we got here (except for a pocket of blue sky here and there). I have taken the babe to the beach in front of the house once. She got to play with her new plastic toys for about half an hour before we had to run in when more rain started to come down on us.

Tomorrow is supposed to be beautiful and we plan on spending the day at the beach. We are staying on the "sound" and are a 10 minute walk from the ocean. I can't wait for the babe to see it. For that matter, I can't wait to see it myself.

Despite all the bad weather, it has been amazing to have 6 grandparents around to help entertain the babe. She loves the attention (and poker chips apparently) and I don't know how she'll ever survive being at home alone with me again. Hopefully the weather won't follow me back to DC.

Actually, as I look out the window, I see some blue sky and a little sun struggling to come out. Fingers crossed it will stay for more than a minute.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Show

Another first last night. I went to a concert. At night. Without my child. It was awesome. My friend Kim, of Creating Ms. Perfect fame, and I headed over to the Birchmere to see Kathleen Edwards (another Ottawa native). I had not been to a show since October 2006 (Emmylou Harris, also at the Birchmere), and it was so cool to be in a room full of adults listening to some rockin good tunes. If I were a rock star, I'd like to be like Ms. Edwards.

My loving husband was on babysitting duty. It didn't go so well for him. The babe asked for mama for ten minutes straight when they got home (verbally and by signing "mother"). She proceeded to be a pain in the bottom, not eat her food, and not settle down to sleep until an hour of much drama and tears had passed. It sounds as if she took me going to a concert much worse than me going to New York City for an evening. Strange but true.

I will admit I didn't miss the babe last night. There were no tears shed when I did the hand off at my husband's office at 5:45 pm. I can easily handle evening escapades at this point. Now I have to make sure I actually make them happen every once in a while!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Curtains

I read in the Modern Girls Guide to Motherhood (by Jane Buckingham) that you should purchase curtains that do not block out the sun for your nursery. I trusted this advice and bought some boring, non-baby oriented, cream coloured curtains (I am not a decorator). I think the logic behind the theory is that it helps your child understand the difference between daytime and night time sleeping.

So far, this advice has not turned out so great for me. I have a black fleece blanket hanging over half the window (in front of the babe's crib). Very stylish. The other half is bright 24/7 as there are some pretty darn powerful street lights in front of our place. Hopefully she enjoys the orange glow. In terms of daytime sleeping, she's got to be pretty tired to fall asleep easily in there.

I think that we had it right when we chose dark navy curtains for our bedroom. Maybe that's why she likes it in there so much more than in her own room.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

New York, New York





It's one helluva town.

I finally did it. After an almost two year absence, I got on the train and headed up to see my dear friends in NYC. It was my first night away since the babe's birth (actually, since my last business trip in September 2006). It was also the babe's first night alone with her Papa. And you know what, after all the fretting on both sides, we all managed to come out the other end OK (notice the notes I left taped to the cupboard door).

I spent last week getting very excited and nervous about leaving. My husband was just anxious and nervous (no excitement). We didn't know how the babe would react to not seeing me for so long, or to having her father give her a bath and put her to bed. We all get in habits, I suppose. And we all have expectations about how things will be. Well the babe amazed us both by dealing with the separation just fine, thank you very much.

I fought back tears as I left and only started feeling happy about my departure when the train pulled out of Union Station. I had Van Morison's "Into the Mystic" cued up on the Ipod (I didn't remember how to use it as it had been so long) and off we went. I had a brilliant time from my 2 pm arrival at Penn Station to the close of a marvelous dinner at midnight. Then I started to want to head home for some snuggles. But those ten hours were bliss. My activities included lunch (and Junior's Cheesecake) with my sweet friend and hostess in Bryant Park (first photo), walking up Madison Avenue (a picture of Rockefeller Center above), walking through Central Park (heaven), fancy wine (thanks, A), and an amazing dinner at Cafe de Bruxelles in the West Village with seven of my best NYC buds. I have to say it, I love New York.

Sunday morning brought the longest train ride home ever. I was in the front door by 2:30 pm (there was no casual brunching in NYC). After rushing from Union Station, I was amazed to see that both my husband and the babe seemed fine...in fact, they seemed happy! The babe wasn't even mad at me. That first hug was so yummy and I can't explain how happy I was to have her back in my arms.

It was an important step for all of us. Now we know it's possible. Mommy can leave and the world won't fall apart. Daddy can take care of the babe for extended periods of time. And the babe can be with Daddy for overnighters (she was up for a few hours in the middle of the night, but that can happen any day).

I won't let so much time pass before I visit my favorite city and wonderful friends again.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Down Low

I was shopping at Target the other day and had the coolest experience. I was in the elevator with the babe when another woman jumped in at the last second. She recognized me and asked if we knew each other from the pool last summer. Indeed, we had had a great chat one sunny afternoon about the complexities and challenges of motherhood. She was pregnant at the time, and I remember giving her a bit of the down low on having your first baby.

After briefly chatting about her son (who is 9 months old already!) and the babe, she did something I wasn't expecting. She thanked me! She said I was the only person who had told her how badly motherhood "kicks you in the butt." It was obviously a conversation she remembered, and I was so pleased to hear I had helped her out a bit.

There are so many things people don't tell you about motherhood, and I'm glad I was able to shed a little bit of light on the experience for another woman. Hopefully this blog does that for some other folks as well.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Strong Women and Mothers


My husband and I are watching the HBO miniseries John Adams. Neither of us know much about US history and we're finding it both entertaining and informative. What's getting me is how amazing John Adam's (second President of the U.S.) wife Abigail (1744-1818) is. She is a strong, intelligent and loving woman who supports her husband's work in revolutionary times. She bears five children in the space of ten years while also tending to the family farm (and I think I have no time!).

I was telling my husband last night that I could not have survived that. He reminded me that it was different times and I would have done what needed to be done. I just can't imagine raising children alone under those circumstances (her husband was off building a country a good chunk of the time). At one point, with John off at the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Abigail decides to expose herself and her children to the pox virus in an attempt to save themselves from future infection. It is gruesome, and one of her children becomes extremely ill as a result. Again, I said to my husband that there would be no way I could hold the babe down as she was cut and the pussy pox virus was rubbed into the wound. My husband replied that I would do what's in the best interest of our daughter.

I wonder how much of the times in which we live affects the person and parent we ultimately become? I like to think I would be stronger than I currently am if need be!

Abigail's advocacy for women's rights and dedication and support of her husband's work were remarkable. At a time when women weren't in any position of power, Abigail Adams played an important role in shaping what would become the United States of America. I also love that their union was of both the heart and the mind.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Kids With Food Allergies

I just saw this video on You Tube and it made me sad. I really hope the babe out grows her food allergies...

The official food allergy list currently includes:
  • peanuts
  • eggs
  • dairy
  • soy (even though our allergist said it was OK to continue giving her soy milk and tofu dogs as she doesn't seem to be showing any reaction. How weird is that??)
  • I've added on tomatoes as the babe gets super itchy and a little kooky when she eats them (but she sadly seems to love them all the same)
  • She has also been told to avoid all seafood (for now) and sesame

We're working on avocados this week. So far so good. Grapes were our most recent successful addition. As our approved list continues to grow, I'm sure this will all get easier. I just continue to try and balance caution with some semblance of a level head. It's just scary stuff .

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Graduation Day

The babe graduated from her Kindermusik "Sign and Sing" class this week. Her first graduation! I am such a proud Mommy. She even shook the instructor's hand as she was presented with her diploma. I am definitely going to have to frame the dorky diploma now.

The sign language class has been an all around wonderful experience. The babe has loved being with other kids, running around the big mirror covered room, and of course, learning ASL signs. She is able to communicate so much more effectively now. Some very helpful signs she has begun to use and understand include "milk", "more", "eat", "bed", "papa", "hot", "what", "where", "thank you", "ball", and "all done". Some not as helpful signs she has mastered include "telephone", "bear", "spider", and "monkey."

When I tell people we've been doing this class, they suggest it may delay the babe's verbal communication. The research indicates otherwise. From my own experience, I have to say that it's really helped the babe communicate with us. In addition to signing, she's also saying "mama", "papa", "hi", "bye", and we became comfortable with "home" yesterday. She's also coming along with the alphabet (we burn out by "F" though).

As sad as we are that the class is over, we're going to continue signing and will look forward to some more structured activities when the spring session starts.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Seven Places

I can't find Easter Cream Eggs ANYWHERE. After my yoga class yesterday, I went to three places looking for them. On our afternoon walk, I went to another four. They are nowhere to be found.

I called my Mom and asked her to bring me some when she comes to DC next month.

We are off to Mommy and Toddler workout class in the burbs this morning, so I may pop into a few more stores.

It was just not a real Easter without my cream eggs.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

The Drugs and Chocolates

I thought things were going to settle down on Friday. We'd been to the doctor, picked up the antibiotics for the newly diagnosed ear infection, and settled in for some cozy recovery time. When nap time came around, we got all snugly in bed, and the babe drank about half her bottle. She then leaned into me and threw up all over my chest. Then she did it again. And a third time for good measure. I had really thought we were done with all this!

I cleaned us both up, changed the bed sheets (which I had to do anyway), and got her off to sleep. I called the pediatrician (AGAIN), and finished my book (a thoroughly enjoyable and easy read--Remember Me?) while I waited for a call back. They obviously weren't too concerned as it took a few hours before the phone rang. Apparently vomiting, nausea and diarrhea are side effects of the new drug the babe is taking. The doc said it's a great drug, but vomiting can be a part of the experience. I suppose I would have known that if I'd read the "possible side effects" section of the patient counseling form provided by my friendly pharmacist.

But I figure it's better to be safe than sorry, especially when your kid has had eye surgery, high fevers, and is already on a few drugs. So, if you're giving your kid Amoxicillin and Clavulanate, be warned, things could get messy.

I'm really looking forward to the day when the babe doesn't have to be taking any medications at all. I really think she could use a break, and as much as all these things are "helping" her, I really don't want her to be on antibiotics all the time. Because a day may come when these drugs may not be so "helpful" anymore.

Happy Easter by the way! Hope you enjoy the day and eat lots of chocolates. I'm rather bummed the babe is allergic to dairy. Hopefully she'll have outgrown this problem by next Easter and we can have a full on egg hunt. In the meantime, I'm going to have to sneak in some Easter Cream Eggs for Mommy and Daddy.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Bad Mommy Blogger - She's OK!


I do apologize for not doing an update about this week's eye surgery. It's been rather wacky times since the 18th.

The night before the surgery was intense. I felt like I was preparing for a very big trip (what to pack? what will happen?). I slept poorly and woke early. We packed the babe up and off we went to Gaithersburg, MD (Children's Hospital Outpatient Center). Man oh man it seemed far away.

Everyone we dealt with at the hospital was wonderful and efficient (I was shocked). Everything was clean and organized and reassuring (ah, the suburbs). Believe it or not, we got there at 8:00 am and were in the car to head home by 9:45 am. Not too shabby.

After being asked a lot of questions by a nurse and then a doctor and then an anaesthesiologist, we all got dressed up in our gowns and smocks and headed into the OR. I held the babe as they put on the gas mask to knock her out. She flipped and it took 3 of us to hold my screaming child down. Her face went red with intense anger and confusion. Then she was gone (but still making some gagging sounds). They took her from me and lay her on the table. That's when my husband and I were ushered out. That's when I lost it and started crying. I had to go to the ladies room to regain my composure.

We were with her again within 25 minutes in the recovery room. The doc said that indeed the passage had been obstructed. He heard the "snap, crackle, pop" as he irrigated the passageway. Nice. She came to and was extremely disoriented and even angrier than before. Eventually she calmed down after drinking some watered down formula. We got her dressed and packed her in the car again.

She threw up three times in the car. Poor bub. I highly recommend leather seats if you're buying a car and thinking of having children!

We celebrated with bacon cheeseburgers and fries (which I quickly regretted). After fasting, the babe had a serious hunger. She feasted on cheerios and fruit. After lunch, our little patient slept three hours and things were looking up. Bed time was a bit of a nightmare, but that was to be expected.

She came down with a fever on the 19th and was up a few hours in the middle of the night. She then had another high fever yesterday morning, and proceeded to throw up (which was not good as I was also watching my good friend's lovely daughter for the morning). So off to the pediatrician we went yesterday afternoon. They think she has an ear infection so now she has to have two doses a day of antibiotics, fours doses a day of eye drops, two doses a day of special nose spray, and Tylenol to control the fevers.

Everyone says this kind of thing is harder on the parents than it is on the children. I feel a bit older now. But as exhausted as I am, I also feel a bit stronger. As my wise cousin just wrote me, "Kids seem get over these small traumas generally much better than the parents do. I guess your head is full of what could of happened and hers is only what did happen."

So, needless to say, I haven't had time to turn on the computer. That makes me a bad mommy blogger. But thanks for checking in and for all the support. Let the healing begin!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day


This will be the first St.Patrick's Day in many many years (possibly since I was legally able to drink) that I have not enjoyed a Guinness (or three) in a pub. Instead, I have made a Shepard's pie and my husband and I will enjoy our Guinness (from a can) in the comfort of our own home. I suppose we are really grown ups now (plus, the people in pubs today are not really Irish and they tend to be a little too messy).

I'm also not in the most festive mood as the babe's eye surgery is tomorrow at 9:05 am EST. Please feel free to send along the good vibrations! I'm doing OK, but wish I hadn't watched Dennis Quaid on 60 Minutes last night. He was talking about how his twin babies almost died because of a medical error in dosing (they gave the adult version of the prescribed blood thinner). Good thing we'll be at a Children's Hospital. According to Dennis, there are approximately 100,000 deaths per year in the U.S. due to medical error. He's now on a mission to draw attention to the issue (thank goodness). Although I'll be doing my best not to focus on that tomorrow morning.

Thanks to everyone for all the support leading up to the surgery. It's good to feel all the love!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Birth Industry

If you haven't seen the Business of Being Born, I recommend you do. I'm already a fan of documentaries, so I wasn't surprised by how much I enjoyed it. What surprised me was my reaction. It scared the living daylights out of me. I knew that Cesarean section rates are on the rise in the US. And I knew that hospitals like to speed up the birth process for efficiency sake. But I never thought about how birth has become big "business" in the United States. Looking back at my birth experience (which was not pretty), the film made a lot of sense to me (although I don't quite think I'm ready for a home birth).

In 2006, the national Cesarean rate in the US was 31.1% ( a 46% increase since 1996). How scary is that? The World Health Organization estimates the rate of cesarean sections between 10% and 15% of all births in developed countries. Why such a huge discrepancy? Childbirth Connection has put together some of the top reasons for the increase in C section rates in the US.

The film also looks at the use of midwives in the United States (and compares our low levels of use to other developed countries high levels). I'd like to get into this here, but the babe needs breakfast and is getting cranky.

For immediate info on midwives, check out the Midwives Alliance of North America. For more general info, the Business of Being Born has set up a helpful "Links and Additional Information" page.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Serious Progress

The babe has been dealing with on again, off again diaper rash. We were at the pediatrician's office yesterday for her 15 month appointment and she mentioned the babe was also dealing with some yeast infection mixed in with the diaper rash. YUCK!

So we have a new antifungal cream to rub on. The pharmacist stressed how important it is to try and keep her dry and watch for cues that she's doing her business (he also recommended we try Boudreaux's Butt Paste, which we are doing). I have picked up a few things by watching her over the past year, but I'm not an expert on catching all wet or soiled diapers. When the babe goes for a poo, I generally smell it and will ask her if she did a "stinky poo poo" while waving my hand in the air (making the internationally accepted stinky sign). She nods and off we go to deal with it.

This morning, the babe walked over to me waving her hand in the stinky poo poo motion. I asked her if she did a stinky poo poo and she nodded her head "yes". Upstairs we went, and by George, she had done a stinky poo poo. How cool is it that she notified me of her business? This is serious communication and excellent progress in the struggle to keep her diaper dry.

On another note, the babe is FINALLY 20 pounds. It took a while, but we made it. The car seat can now officially be forward facing.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bye Bye Shower Doors


I'm not sure if I've complained about our nasty glass shower doors. They've given me many a headache over the past year. There's just no easy way to give a baby a bath when there's glass doors in your face. They can only be moved out of the way so much.

Removing the frame and doors was going to be too expensive. I couldn't think of any other options...until I spoke with a good friend in Ottawa. He suggested we pop the doors out of the frame and put up a pressure mounted shower rod. Our landlords approved of the idea and came over last weekend to remove the doors themselves. Not only did they remove the doors, but they took them with them (which was a relief as I wasn't sure where I was going to store them)!

Bathing the babe has been much more pleasant now that we have access to the whole length of the tub. We still have the metal frame and track to contend with, but that's nothing compared to the previous situation. As the babe gets bigger and more squirmy, I'm so happy to have more space to work with. This bathroom is nothing to write home about, but it looks a zillion times better than it did.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Television and Plastics

I'm not sure whether I should be impressed or scared. As I was quickly brushing my teeth/getting ready for sign and sing class this morning, the babe managed to turn on the TV in our bedroom (pre-baby we used to watch the BBC at night before reading and going to sleep--ahhhh, weren't those just the calm and quiet days). She then managed to turn the channel to Sesame Street and, realizing she was happy with what she saw, stopped flipping (Elmo's World had her hooked). The babe was so impressed with herself when I came into the room. It's her 15 month birthday today, so I suppose it's appropriate she can channel surf (despite the fact she doesn't get to watch TV other than NHL hockey with her father and her sign and sing DVD with me).

After class we drove over to Babies R Us (a place I generally like to try and avoid) to pick up a few things. Most of what I bought turned out to be plastic. I am being cautious with plastics as they're not saying good things about them these days, especially in relation to children. For some interesting reading, check out A Mom's Blog which has some quality plastics information. Another good blog to check out for safe plastic product recommendations is Z Recommends.

Everything we bought today was within the acceptable realm. There are 7 kinds of plastics and they say you should avoid numbers 3, 6, and 7. Your best bets with plastics (for food and beverage) are 1, 2, 4, and 5. For the grown ups, keep in mind that plastic water bottles are generally made out of the harmful plastics. I've switched to drinking out of a refillable SIGG container. It's safer and cheaper.

Television and plastics...evil parts of our modern world. Although I'll admit that I bought the Sesame Street "Beginning Together" DVD with Spanish track today as a little treat...after all, the babe and I both need to learn Spanish, and why not start with Elmo and Big Bird?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Not a Morning Person

The babe has been on an early morning kick of late. It's driving me crazy as I am seriously not an early morning person. I am telling myself it is just a phase.

As I stumbled downstairs this morning (she was up at 5:45 am), I came across a Wall Street Journal article my husband had left out for me (Can a Night Owl become a Morning Lark?). It was certainly interesting reading, and made me feel like perhaps I should somehow embrace getting up with the birds.

What do you do when your children get up at the crack of dawn? Advice is welcome!

The Hair Cut

My Grandmother used to cut my hair when I was a kid. There's many photos of me with uneven bangs, funky clothes and funny teeth (that part wasn't her fault). She probably thought she was doing a good job with my hair, and what does it matter at that age anyway.

Fast forward to yesterday morning. The babe is in her high chair and I'm trying to cut her bangs. The scissors on the Swiss army knife aren't cutting fast enough so I have to grab the real scissors. It was scary as the babe was squirming around and swatting at me. Apparently she's not such a fan of having her bangs trimmed.

It didn't turn out so bad (better than the first time when the crookedness was noticeable). I'm grateful she usually has curly hair as it hides the many imperfections. And hey, she can see now, which is pretty cool!

Grooming is a tough job and I understand why adults pay someone else to do it for them. But it may be a while before she's in a professionals chair. If you have any hair cutting advice or know of any good scissors for children's hair, I'd be very pleased to hear from you!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Our Blogger Photo


You may notice I updated our photo last week. The shot was taken by my Dad (thanks, Dad) outside their place in Ottawa a couple of weeks ago. As you can see from the photo above, it's still winter there. Check out the snow banks (yes, that's a house behind the snow bank)! I figured it was time to update the shot as the last one from the Cherry Blossom Festival was almost a year old. Where is the time going?

New Shoes


It must be a right of passage: buying your first pair of shoes (that aren't slippers or Robeez). Last Thursday my friend and I packed up our little ones and headed to the outlet mall. It was my first time taking the babe on the 45 minute trek to Potomac Mills (which is a right of passage in and of itself).

What was even more exciting was having her feet measured at Stride Rite by a "professional" and choosing a pair of size 5 shoes for the babe to wear now (see above), a pair of 5 1/2 sandals for the summer and a pair of 6 shoes for the fall (they were super reduced to $11.50!). I'm thinking one pair per season will have to do as this whole foot growth thing is going to be tough to deal with. I picked the shoes based on sale price and not colour (the fall shoes are brown). On Saturday she had on a red top with a pair of blue shoes with pink flowers. Beautiful.

Our pediatrician recommended Stride Rite. I must say that I'm thrilled they have an outlet store as there's no way I'd feel comfortable paying the prices they have in their regular stores. I know toddler foot growth/support is important, but why should the babe's shoes be as expensive as my shoes? OK, I'm exaggerating a little.

Although I'll be keeping the babe in gripped socks and Robeez as much as possible, I'm now comfortable for her to walk on pavement and gravel, etc. After all, doesn't everyone deserve real shoes to walk on pavement with?

Friday, February 29, 2008

Not a Baby Any More

In my head, I know the babe is not a babe any more. She's a toddler. This became obvious today when we attended a make up sign language/music class in Arlington (we've missed two classes and I want to make sure we get our money's worth!).

The class was for children up to 18 months old. The babe was one of only 2 toddlers in the room (the rest were babies sitting calmly in their Mother's laps). My daughter and her new buddy were into everything, wouldn't sit down, and were generally in everyone's business. They were super cute, but I could see how other Moms may not think it's "cute" that my daughter is trying to "share" (take) their child's drum.

It was amusing to watch her, but challenging to try and balance discipline with learning in a group environment. When I was pregnant I had a lot of time to read about being pregnant and the first few months of a child's life. I haven't had a chance to read about this "stage" and I'm not really sure what I should be doing with a 15 month old.

Group activities expose your child to other kids (which is great for the 'stay at home with Mom' kinda kids), but they also expose you to other parents. And it's tough to parent in front of other parents. There's always the concern that they may be better at it than you. Or they may be more up tight than you and be secretly judging you. Who knows. Perhaps I am worrying more than I need to. Kids will be kids (until your kid gets pushed over by another kid, which just happened in the class held before our Wednesday session).

Despite these little issues, I'm pretty thrilled we signed up for a few activities. It's nice to have an official place to be other than a doctor's appointment!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Isn't She A Bit Young For An Eating Disorder?

Unbelievable. The babe has a fascination with sticking her hand in her mouth and gagging. It is as if she is attempting to be bulimic. Not funny. I have always firmly told her to stop and that she is going to hurt herself. Yesterday she took it to a new level. She was sitting in her high chair finishing up her lunch. I had gone over to the dishwasher when I heard her making the all too familiar gagging sounds. Then I heard something different. It was the sound of the babe throwing up her lunch.

It seems rather bizarre behavior for a 15 month old child. She has certainly never seen anyone sticking their hand down their throat, so I'm not sure where she picked it up. Friends have suggested she's probably just experimenting with her body or teething. Although I don't know any other kids who exhibit this kind of behavior, surfing the web has made me feel like the babe isn't the only strange bird out there (thanks, BabyCenter). We have her 15 month doctor appointment in a few weeks and I'll be asking about this.

Hopefully she learnt her lesson yesterday. Gaging yourself can have yucky and uncomfortable consequences.

If you know anything about this strange behavior, feel free to post a comment!

Monday, February 25, 2008

When Sparks Fly

I think the babe could have started a fire by rubbing her pajama legs together last week. I'm not sure if her Carter's one piece pajamas are a fire hazard, but it certainly seemed that way while we were visiting our families in Canada.

No kidding. While I would be completing the last steps of getting the babe ready for bed (in the dark for a more calming effect, of course), I would notice little sparks when she moved her legs around. That can't be a good thing.

Not only was she fighting a cold and cough, but I was having serious itchy scratchy problems due to the dryness. I guess the babe's pajamas felt the same way. Canada can be a very dry place in the winter, so I started using a humidifier my Dad had bought us at Christmas (thanks, Dad!). The humidifier worked wonders. The sparks stopped flying and I stopped itching. But I'm really wondering why I was seeing sparks in the first place. It just doesn't seem safe to be putting your child into clothes that pose a fire risk.

I was a tad nervous about using our "warm mist" humidifier as I had read that "cool mist" was the best option for young children. After further research, it would appear as though the only reason they recommend cool mist is to prevent children from burning themselves on the warm mist models. As the babe is still trapped in a crib at night, there is no need to worry. The added bonus of the warm mist humidifier is that it kills more bacteria as it boils the water. You just have to make sure you clean the thing out regularly.

We're back home below the Mason-Dixon line now. I've got our cool mist humidifier running and I'm hoping I don't see any more sparks flying.

PS- I'm also happy to announce that spell check is working again!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Old and the New

Wednesday was our big flying day. We were off to Canada for another Montreal/Ottawa adventure. We got to the airport too early and left too late. In those four hours the babe and I had to entertain ourselves in a number of ways. The most popular activity was running aimlessley into fellow travellers.

Ronald Reagan National Airport is a small, clean and modern airport. It has good light and decent baby changing facilities. It is also an airport I used to frequent on business travel. Being there in jeans with a baby was quite different than in a suit with my laptop.

After trying to feed the babe for the millionth time (she is currently on a food strike), I gave up so she could burn off some energy. As she was doing a walk/run/stumble down one of the main corridors (with me following close behind), she almost collided with the Co-Chairman of the board of my former employer.

I wasn't surprised when he didn't recognize me. In fact, I wasn't even surprised that he didn't notice us at all. The babe is pretty short, and business travellers are pretty tall. It was just odd for my old life to almost collide with my new life. I guess it was only a matter of time.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Really Early Morning Sky


I'm not a morning person, so when the babe woke up at 6:00 am, I was not a happy camper. After trying to ignore her for a while, I gave up and we trudged downstairs. Grumpy doesn't exactly explain how I was feeling. Sick (I'm fighting a cold), tired and really grumpy is a start.

About half an hour after getting up, light began to fill the sky. But this was no ordinary light. This was something special. After the colors shifted, the winds picked up dramatically and it began raining. The universe was doing its thing. I'm grateful my Mommy duties ensured I was awake to appreciate it all.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Sacred Nap


The babe is on a one nap a day schedule. Only problem is, there doesn't seem to be much of a schedule these days. As we have been going to so many appointments and have two classes a week, it's been very hard to be consistent with the timing of the precious nap. I have sat in the car in parking lots and in our parking spot for a few hours this week trying to ensure the babe gets her daytime zzzs (I'm all caught up on my Time magazine reading).

I'll admit I wasn't in the mood to sit in the car yesterday afternoon while she slept. So I made sure she was all cozy, locked the door and went into the kitchen to clean up and make myself some quick lunch. Our parking spot is right outside the kitchen and we have a few big windows and a glass door so I can see her constantly. I'll admit it is a little sketchy. But she clocked an hour and a half and I was happy I wasn't stuck in the drivers seat with out of date magazines as my only form of entertainment.

We had nothing on the agenda today so the babe was able to nap at home. Only problem was that she wasn't willing to fall asleep. So after a few attempts of trying to get her to nod off, I gave up and did the "hold the screaming child down" method. Not sure if anyone else does this one? It's not pretty, but it sure is effective. After about seven minutes she was so exhausted from crying and fighting me that she conked out (I am, after all, much bigger and stronger). I'm not a fan of this method...but sometimes it's necessary. Especially for a kid who can't be left in her crib awake (I tried this a month ago and she cried for an hour straight before I broke down and gave in).

I've attached a photo of the crib as it looked before she was born. Little did I know how hard it would be to get her in it for nice chunks of time.

I'll have to work on setting a "usual" time (at home) and sticking to it. Sleep is a dangerous thing to mess with.

PS-I am still having spell check issues...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

We are the Weird Nut Family

Just as I was getting used to the idea that the babe has to have eye surgery (booked for March 18th), the pediatrician called to inform me that the babe is now allergic to eggs and soy as well as peanuts and dairy. She recommended I see an allergist (again) to discuss the results. So I made an appointment with a new allergist as I wasn't particularly impressed with the old one. Yesterday we packed up the car and trecked out to Wheaton, MD to the Institute for Asthma and Allergy.

I have to admit I feel much better after my hour-long appointment with Dr. Athena Economides. She made me feel as though this wasn't as big a deal as it had become in my head. I now have an action plan and feel better prepared for an allergic reaction. I know when to give the babe what, and when I need to call 911.

I was also stressing about what kind of milk-type product I could give the babe (no dairy and no soy?). The doc advised that I stop feeding the babe the pricey hypoallergenic Alimentum formula we had been using since speaking to the pediatrician. THANK GOODNESS (it was too expensive, too smelly and the babe didn't like it)! So, as strange as it may sound, she told me we can continue to give the babe soy milk, soy formula (stage 2 Go and Grow), and tofu, as we had been doing up until last week. She said that if the babe wasn't showing any kind of reaction from these soy-based products, that we are fine to continue use.

The doc assured me that the babe has a pretty good chance of outgrowing her food allergies in the next few years. Apparently, she also has a 20% chance of outgrowing her peanut allergy (which is news to me as I had thought peanuts were a permanent allergy).

So, until the babe has outgrown these pesky little allergies, we are to strictly avoid peanuts, tree nuts, seasame, eggs, and all dairy. No problem, right? I've contacted The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) and have received a bunch of litterature from them. I ordered tags with info on the babe, her allergies and what to do if she has an attack (I've attached them to our diaper bags). I also ordered a fancy red bag with "medicine kit" written on the front to hold her epipen and liquid Benedryl (I keep it in my purse at all times). Now I just have to get creative in what I feed her while trying to not become a paranoid Mom. It's going to be challenging to avoid all products labeled something along the lines of: made in a facility that may process nuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, etc.

It is easier for me to control things and to not freak out as I am with her all the time. But when the day comes for her to go into some sort of organized care/school with other children, I fear we will be tested in whole new ways. Until then, I'll be grateful she's not allergic to more than she already is. But it's going to be a long time before she's eating samples at Costco.

PS-I still have not worked out what is up with the spell checking feature, so again, apologies for any errors. How annoying.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Diaper Rash Blues

The babe has some serious diaper rash. When her diaper is dirty, she's in pain. I've never seen it this bad. Yikes.

This morning she had a dirty diaper (of the number two variety), so I rinsed out some wipes in luke warm water and cleaned her up. I'd read that letting the babe's tush air dry is really helpful (only for the adventurous parent, of course). I thought I was up for it. So I snaped the babe's onesie back up and we headed downstairs. It took only five minutes before I had a fresh circle of pee on my kitchen carpet. Guess I learnt my lesson.

Please feel free to share your diaper rash remedies with me!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

On Our Own

I'm trying to stay positive. My husband just left on a 3 day/2 night job training adventure. It will be the longest the babe and I have been left alone together. All this would be manageable if I wasn't recovering from a yucky bout of the stomach flu. I spent Tuesday night running to the bathroom and remembering why I really dislike throwing up. That combined with the constant headache, exhaustion and feeling like I was run over by a truck, made for a long day yesterday. It was tough to be a Mommy when all I wanted was my own Mommy.

I'm not sure where this flu came from. The babe threw up three times on Sunday morning, fell back asleep and woke up fine. We weren't sure what to make of it.

On Tuesday we headed over to a clinic so the babe could have her blood drawn. We were overdue for the standard 12 month measuring of the babe's blood lead level for lead poisoning and to measure hemoglobin to screen for anemia. We threw in some food allergy testing for good measure. Three vials of blood later, and a lot of screaming, we were on our way. I am wondering if one of the folks in the waiting room was sick and passed it along to me, or if the babe had a minor stomach flu and passed it along to me? Who knows.

I am trying to think of the next few days as quality girl time. We'll try and make it fun, and I will get back on my feet. Sometimes I really wonder if we're doing the right thing by living in a city with no family or support network, but for now, it is what it is. On that convoluted note, we are going to go and have some soy milk mixed with formula and cheerios.

PS-Spell check doesn't appear to be working and my brain is too tired to find errors. My apologies.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Say it Ain't So

I wasn't expecting to hear it, so it took me by surprise when the opthamologist at the Children's Hospital told me the babe needs eye surgery. The babe has had about seven or eight eye infections in her right eye. Strangely enough, she had a blocked tear duct in her left eye for five months after her birth. It wasn't pretty, but it did eventually go away. I never connected that she could also have a blocked duct in her right eye, and therefore hadn't realized there may be a need for surgical intervention.

We had waited a few months for this appointment. It took a few hours and involved about 4 doctor and resident type people poking around the babe's eyes. She was OK at the beginning but started melting down when they checked her out after administering dilating eye drops. When we finally saw the opthamologist we had booked the appointment with, the babe was in no mood. He had a quick look around, poked at the corner of her eye (liquid streamed out), and told me she had a blocked duct and would need surgery to clear it out. It's called "probing." Sounds like fun, right? I'd be OK with this, expect it requires the babe being put under anesthesia. I'm not such a fan of that. The thought of her lying on an operating table knocked out with people poking around her eyes with a wire is not a comforting one.

Healthvisitors.com provides the following information: "This procedure is a very delicate one and is carried out under anesthetic. The child is usually allowed home the same day. It is a relatively simple and quick procedure. A small smooth wire probe is passed through the tear duct and into the nose. The surgeon confirms an open tear drainage system at the end of this procedure. There are no incisions or scarring from this operation. There is no significant post-operative discomfort."

I suppose it's not the end of the world, but it took the wind out of my sails on Friday night. As my Mom reassured me, at least we know what the problem is and can have it addressed. The doctor said it's best to get this kind of procedure done before a child's second birthday as the success rate plummets afterwards. In six to eight weeks, we'll make another trip to the hospital and have this business taken care of. Until then, I'll be grateful it's nothing worse.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Good Tunes

My friend just passed this link along. If you're looking for some very fun children's music, check out NPR's Best CDs of 2007: The Year in Music for Kids. You can listen to one song per album which gives you a nice taste of what you can expect if you were to purchase the whole thing. There are some great melodies and hilarious lyrics. You have to hand it to these people! Good songs about poop are hard to find.

I Love the Waterpic

Why didn't we do this before? On Tuesday, I went on a big Costco trip and finally invested in a new fancy shower head. The babe hates having her hair washed and our rinse with 2 bucket system was making things much worse than they needed to be. She would literally scream as if we were torturing her. In fact, she'd recently started flailing around at such a dangerous level I thought she was going to knock herself out on the side of the tub. We don't want that.

So, even though the landlords may not be happy that we've ditched their water saving shower head, we purchased a lovely Waterpic shower head that has a nice long cord that we can bring down to the babe's level to rinse her with. It even has six different settings which is awesome fun. The mist setting seems to sit well with her.

Last night we had the inaugural hair washing experience. We were not sure what to expect, but I tell ya, it was a pretty good time (comparatively speaking) for all involved. The babe did not lose her marbles and I didn't start freaking out that we were going to end up in ER with a head concussion. There was fussing and some unhappiness, but I think it was mostly just confusion over the new shower head spraying her down.

The added bonus is that my husband and I are in complete and utter love with our new showering experience. It will now be impossible to have a "quick" shower because it's way too much fun standing under the beautiful spray. As the shower is pretty much my only alone time, I'm glad we've committed to a better washing experience.

I also think things will be looking up with the babe's hair cleanliness. I will not dread hair washing night and the babe will be more pleasant for the overall bathing experience. Well worth $44.00!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Close to Home

I'd like to blame it on Mommy brain...but I think I have to blame it on being plain old careless. I can honestly say I was well rested (the babe had just gotten some vaccine shots a few days earlier which had temporarily improved her sleeping abilities). I was returning home from picking up some stuff at my friend's place. It was about 5:50 pm. The alley was dark and I was perhaps going a tad too fast as I cruised into our parking spot. The babe was in the car with me and I should have been more careful. Hindsight is 20/20.

Mommy friends help out their Mommy friends. My bud had picked up some chicken and salmon for me at Costco earlier in the week. I was planning on picking it up on Thursday, but we had a snowy, icy, slushy day (rare here in DC). I decided it was a bit dicey and that I couldn't trust other drivers (after all, I'm Canadian and know how to handle winter conditions, right?). On Friday, I headed over to her place in the late afternoon. When offered the choice of a Guinness or a coffee, I chose coffee as I don't drink if I'll be driving (being a responsible Mommy and all).

Most accidents happen close to home. I understand why. I was practically in my spot when I pulled in too close to my neighbor's car. It was too late when I realized what was happening. The damage was done. In a panic I checked the cars out. I called my husband with tears streaming down my face and then made my way down the alley to notify my neighbor. He was great about it all. When my husband got home, he was also great about it all. I was the one who was not great about it all.

I beat myself up all weekend (and made my neighbor chocolate chip cookies). I have to be grateful no one was hurt. But feeling like an idiot and wishing you hadn't made such a dumb and expensive mistake is hard to swallow.

Today, I drove (carefully) to the suburbs and got an estimate on the damage to our car. The Honda guy quoted me a bit over $2,200. When he walked me to my car, he told me I could just buy some cleaner/scratch treatment and some spot paint and we'd be good to go. Perhaps he couldn't say that out loud in front of the other shop/sales folks? Whatever the reason, our cosmetic issues and small crack and dent are not as big a deal as I feared all weekend.

I am finally feeling OK. I spent an hour scrubbing the scratches off as the babe slept peacefully in her car seat this afternoon. My thumb is about to fall off and my wrist is not happy, but I gotta tell ya, the car looks almost as good as new. I've got my fingers crossed that we won't be hit hard by the neighbor's car repair bill (scratched bumper and cracked light), but I have to believe it'll be manageable. We'll find out in a few weeks when he returns from a road trip he already had planned.

So, I will not blame Mommy brain. I will take responsibility for my actions. And man oh man will I be extra careful parking in the back alley.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

What We're Reading

The babe generally likes to eat books, but she'll sometimes let me actually read them to her. It's very cute. She picks them up and walks them over to me. I'll start reading one and she'll go get the next one before I'm on the third page of the first one. There are the rare times I can get through a whole book.

These are some of our favorites right now:
  • My Little People Busy Town by Fisher Price
  • Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
  • Hush Little Baby (the folk song) with pictures by Marla Frazee (I get to sing this one)
  • Clifford's Noisy Day by Norman Bridwell
  • Farm Animals written by Louise Sladen and illustrated by Luana Rinaldo (very fun book)
  • The Eensy-Weensy Spider by Mary Ann Hoberman & Nadine Bernard Westcott (I always thought it was the "itsy bitsy spider"...but whatever)
  • Olivia Counts by Ian Falconer
  • Let's Count on the Farm (Lift and Look) by Fisher Price

Eventually she'll stop chewing on and swallowing the books, but for now, we have to be careful with her reading/eating material.

Monday, January 14, 2008

It's 2008. Time to Get Out of the House

I've been feeling anxious about not having enough to do with the babe. The only reasons we leave the house are to shop, go to the doctor, meet up with people, or to randomly walk around DC. That's not enough. After much thought (mostly over the Holidays), I admitted to myself that it was time to get involved in some organized activities. I'm always a little hesitant about joining things as there's never a guarantee I'll like the activity or the people I'm doing it with. But in the babe's best interest, I had to do something.

My mission of the day was to track some activity down and register. I quickly realized that there are many more toddler programs in the suburbs (not a big surprise there, I guess). After some research, I signed up for two classes in Arlington (Virginia) that sound like a good match:

1. Mom and Toddler Workout, which is apparently a child-friendly workout for Moms that includes everything from step, to yoga and free weights. I don't know how I'll do all that while keeping an eye on the babe, but I'm willing to try.

2. Kindermusik Sign and Sing, which will teach us 130 new signs for the babe to communicate with. Music is somehow incorporated into the learning process. If this class helps the babe communicate, that will certainly be worth the price of admission. I have a friend in Canada who teaches baby sign language. She's encouraged me to find a class and I'm relieved I've finally gotten it together enough to sign up for one. This course uses American Sign Language (ASL) which, according to my friend, is very important.

This will give us two activities a week which will give us ample time for plain old socializing, shopping, cleaning and chilling out in the play zone. I am hoping it's a good balance, because after all, isn't that what all Moms are after?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Perfect Storm

It's fever and infection week at our house. The babe woke up with a temperature of 103.5 this morning. The doctor's office wasn't open yet so I called the ER number I got the other night (see my last post). They said they weren't busy and we could bring her in. He didn't sound as if it was absolutely necessary for us to rush. We decided to wait an hour until the pediatrician's office opened.

We gave the babe some Tylenol and after 45 minutes her temperature was down to 101.8. That's improvement. I got through to the doctor's office and they said we should come in at 11:30 am. Excellent.

The office was filled with sick kids and some sick parents (hopefully we didn't pick up anything new). Eventually we were the only ones left in the waiting room (it was lunch time), and the babe decided it was time to walk around, play, and explore. That's a good sign, I thought to myself. She hasn't been so active or cheery of late. Nor has she been eating, drinking or sleeping much for that matter.

After yet another check up, the babe was diagnosed with:
  • ear infection
  • eye infection
  • upper respiratory infection

I was aware of two out of the three things so I wasn't shocked. We also have the additional issue of teething. The babe has 3 teeth coming in right now. As my husband said, it's the perfect storm.

We've got her on eye ointment (three times a day), antibiotics (every 12 hours) and Tylenol (every four to six hours). Hopefully things will settle down and we can all feel better. It's been one helluva week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Our Night in the ER

The thermometer read 104.2 when we took the babe's temperature last night at 1:20 am. That's definitely a fever I thought to myself in a panicked way. My husband and I agreed we needed to do something. Fast.

Knowing the pediatrician's answering service may not be as quick as we wanted, we called the Blue Cross Blue Shield (our health insurance company) 24 hour nurse line. Within a minute we were talking to a calm and collected nurse who walked us though a series of questions. Her advice was to get the babe to a doctor within the next few hours.

Adrenalin mixed with fear is a funny thing. I had been sleeping for 2 hours and was able to kick into high gear when I realized we had a problem. My husband and I got dressed, gathered what we thought were necessities (you never know how long you'll be at an ER), and packed the babe into the car. Off to the Children's Hospital we went.

I'll spare you the play by play, but the 3 hour trip involved vomiting, screaming, lots of temperature taking, ear checking, heart checking, a catheter to extract urine to run a urinary tract infection (UTI) test, some more screaming and wailing, and a very hot, sweaty and exhausted little girl. They saw us immediately and kept the show moving right along. The longest part was waiting for the UTI results (negative), which took about an hour (we sat in a hallway as there was a woman talking to a police officer in the small and badly lit waiting room). We were so relieved when the doctor told us the babe had an upper respiratory infection. She'd just need plenty of rest and fluids. We can handle that.

We drove through the deserted streets of DC grateful we were able to go home. The babe was asleep by 5:30 am, and her parents were asleep soon after. We're now having a slow exhausted day (it's after 3:00 pm and the babe and I are both still in pajamas). The babe is tired, snotty and has another eye infection. She's definitely off the social circuit for a while.

I've been so bad at writing and have been feeling quite guilty. I can't even claim I have a blog if I don't write in it! I'll try harder to keep the updates coming as I have a number of stories from our Christmas holidays I can share. There's also the whole peanut and dairy allergy diagnosis we just confirmed last week.

Happy New Year everyone. A votre sante.