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?