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. 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.