Parents Non-parents just don’t understand

Thursday, July 31, 2008

There are many things about parenthood that I just couldn’t possibly understand or appreciate before I had a child of my own, including things like how much I would enjoy nursing and how much it’s possible to love one tiny person in spite of having to deal with all of the monumental challenges along the way.

Another one of those things is how life often revolves around the kid’s routine and how you’ll often do anything in your power to avoid messing up that routine. I remember before our wedding three years ago, we planned a dinner for our families to meet the night before the wedding. I did plan it early — for 5 p.m. — on purpose because my sister had a 6-month-old daughter and my soon-to-be brother-in-law and sister-in-law had a 19-month-old daughter, so I was a little put off when my sister said, “Okay, we’ll come, but [niece] goes to bed at 6:30 p.m., so we’ll have to leave early.”  I certainly didn’t get it at the time, but there’s a need to keep things as routine as possible for kids because they thrive on that routine, and the consequences for veering from that routine aren’t pleasant.

We do try to stay flexible about some things, but for the most part, Baby B has a routine that works well for her and helps minimize tantrums caused by tiredness or boredom. However, we’ll make exceptions for certain special occasions (which is why I think it upset me that I felt my sister was being so rigid). For example, last week when we went out to the pizza/arcade place for dinner after swim lessons, Baby B wasn’t in bed until 10 p.m. (she’s usually in bed by 8 or 8:30 p.m.). Of course, if she’d started getting grumpy earlier, we would have left and come home before then, but we just watched her closely and saw she was still having a good time, so we let her stay. Another example is when we were in Boston, I’m pretty sure the earliest she got down for a nap was 3 p.m. — way later than normal. I think our general style of parenting is to have a basic plan in mind, but we really pay attention to Baby B’s cues and make further decisions based on that.

What we have to plan around most is naps. I kind of hate that I have to plan our weekends according to when she’s going to nap, but it’s a fact of life right now, and one that I’m sure I didn’t understand before I had a kid. She takes one nap a day, typically starting around 1 or 2 p.m. and lasting for about 2 or 3 hours.

What that means is that we typically can’t leave the house around, say, noon to run errands and expect it to go well since there’s no guarantee she will nap in the stroller while we were out. So, for things that like, we either have to plan to get out early in the day, or head out after her nap. We understand that and we’re okay with that, but I’m sure it can get a little annoying when we try to do things with other people who don’t really understand the importance. (And really, why would they get it? I certainly can’t expect them to know that.)

But, what it comes down to is doing what is best for Baby B and for our family, and we always keep that in mind. If it means she can hold off on her nap until 3 p.m., then great. If it means that we have to leave the children’s museum early to get her home, then so be it. We’ll do what it takes for a happy child.


Wordless Wednesday: Time machine activated

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

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She quacks me up!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The latest obsession in our household? Ducks! Or “duh!” as Baby B emphatically says. She has several books that center on ducks (including Make Way for Ducklings and This Way, Ruby!), and she loves pointing them out on the pages, and she has a rubber duck that she loves to play with in the bath.

A couple days ago, she was in my bathroom with me and pulled back the shower curtain. Immediately her eyes went to the top of my shower, where I have a rubber duck sitting on the ledge above the shower tiles. She pointed and quickly said, “Duh!” I was impressed. I said, “Wow, I can’t believe you found that duck,” as she’d never seen it before (her baths are done in our other bathroom), so it’s not like she knew to look for it.

On Friday night, we went to a pizza place/arcade to celebrate finishing swim classes. We walked through the prize redemption area on the way to the midway, and right at her level in the glass case were a bunch of tiny rubber ducks, probably a fifth the size of standard one. She kept pointing and saying, “Duh! Duh! Duh!” We proceeded to the Skee-Ball area to earn enough points (50) to receive a duck. She’s obsessed with this thing, carrying it with her everywhere.

I can understand a lot of what she says when I have some context to go by. So if I point to a picture of a duck and she says, “Duh!” then I know she’s saying the word, but if I don’t have the context, then it’s harder to figure out what she is saying. Yesterday morning I’d finished getting her dressed and I was finishing getting ready so we could leave for the doctor’s appointment. Baby B went over to our dining room table, which had a small pile of her stuff plus all the stuff that I had to take with me that day. She kept pointing and saying, “Duh! Duh!” but somehow I didn’t get it at first. A light bulb went off as soon as I saw the newly acquired duck on top of a pile of kid books. Of course she wants the duck. How could I have thought it was anything else?

What a silly goose!

Happy sweet 18

Monday, July 28, 2008

I have an 18-month-old daughter.

Where in the world did she come from?

Eighteen months is another of those ages that seems so much older to me. The first was six months, the next was ten months, and now 18 months. My little baby went away and now this young girl hangs out with us instead. Don’t get me wrong — I love this age — but how did it sneak up on us like this?!

We had her 18-month well-baby checkup this morning, and I’m so excited to point out that we made it from our 15-month to 18-month checkups without a single sick visit in between!!!! After the sick troubles of last winter, that’s a huge accomplishment.

We had the first appointment of the day, so we were taken back fairly quickly to take care of things with the nurse. Baby B weighed 24 pounds and 13 ounces, putting her in the 50th to 75th percentile for weight. This is a big deal for two reasons: 1) because she’s typically hovered in the 15th to 25th percentile for weight, and 2) because she’s a very, very picky eater. I’m pretty sure the doctor didn’t believe me when I said she’s a picky eater after he saw how much she weighed. Her height came in at 31 1/2 inches (50th percentile), and her head circumference was 18 5/8 inches (75th percentile).

Unfortunately, Baby B did not like being weighed at all. I asked how much longer she has to use the table-top scale, and they said until she’s three years old (or until she exceeds the 30-pound upper limit of the scale)! That really surprised me; I thought maybe until she’s two, but three seemed a bit old. She’s already weighed on the standing scale at the ear doctor.

While waiting for the doctor, I had to fill out a form with seven or eight questions related to her developmental milestones, things like, “Does she feed herself?” (yes) and “Can she say more than four to ten words?” (way more). There’s always one question that either takes me aback or I just never thought that would be a developmental question, and today was no exception. Today’s question was: “Does she take off her own shoes?” Good thing we bought her a pair of sandals, which she does take off by herself. Other than that, we just have her walking shoes, which she can’t get off because they fit to the ankle and they’re double-knotted. Wouldn’t want them to think my kid was behind developmentally just because her parents bought her shoes that they want to stay on her feet! 😉

Her tubes are still in and look good, and he thinks they’ll likely stay in at least through the early fall and possibly into the first part of winter.

After the exam, she got one shot (the DTaP), and she’ll have one more booster of the HepA shot at 2 years, then we’re good on shots (except for flu shots each year) until she turns 4. We’re almost near the end! She did okay with the shot; I think she disliked lying down on the table more than she disliked the shot.

Next well-baby visit comes at 2 years old. I think six months is a long span to go without any interim sick visits, but we’ll hope for the best!

Pee is for potty

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I refrained from being one of those people who e-mailed friends and family about this milestone, but I’m going to post here that Baby B used the potty for the first time last night before her bath. She’s been much more eager to sit down on there lately, and she’ll do it naked without a second thought. So before each bath, we ask her if she wants to go potty, and that’s what I did last night, too. Obviously it wasn’t a deliberate, intentional act this time, as she was playing with a toy and just happened to pee while she was sitting there, but you’ve got to start somewhere.

I’m tickled

Saturday, July 26, 2008

A lot of moms who do not return to work say they couldn’t bear the idea of missing any of their baby’s “firsts.” I’ve been back at work since Baby B was three months old, and I can say we’ve never missed a major milestone — those have always come at home. Sure, we’ve missed some smaller things along the way, but I quickly learned that I love when she shows me her new skill for the first time; I get so giddy and I’m so proud of her for showing me what she’s been working on. No, I’m not the first to see some things like that, but I get so, well, tickled when I get a demonstration of something new.

A couple days ago, I went to pick up Baby B at daycare so we could go to swim lessons. When I walked in the room, the teacher, Baby B, and three other toddlers were in the corner reading Are You Ticklish?, a book that has animals with different textures that you’re supposed to tickle. The teacher would ask, “Can you tickle the zebra?” and all four kids would take their turn to tickle. It was so funny to watch because Baby B was the most eager one, standing closest to the book and so excited to get her turn to tickle. This was a new thing for me to see; we tickle Baby B all the time, but we’ve never seen her do the tickling herself.

A couple other parents arrived, so storytime broke up and Baby B grabbed the book and brought it to me to sit down and read some more. Even though we needed to get to class, I could see how much she wanted to read, so I plopped down with her and helped her tickle the elephant and lion. Every time she did it when I said, “Can you tickle the animal?” I was so incredibly proud of her. No, I wasn’t there to see her do that for the first time, but my first time seeing it was priceless. A Major Meltdown ensued when I had to make her put down the book so we could leave; she liked the book that much.

Later that night, we were doing our bedtime story, and I asked Baby B if she could go tickle Daddy. She romped right over to him, put her hands on his chest, and wriggled her fingers in a tickle motion. He proceeded to ask if she could go tickle me, and at once she made a beeline for me and did the same thing. As an additional test, I wanted to see if she recognized her own name, so I said, “Can you tickle Baby B?” (well, I used her real name). She thought for a few seconds, then reached down and tickled her own tummy with a big grin.

I’m quite tickled by this new skill.

Bald as a baby

Friday, July 25, 2008

As I’ve mentioned recently, Baby B has been obsessed with babies for the last week or so. A couple nights ago, we were flipping through a mailing we got from our city’s Division of Parks and Recreation about their fall and winter activities. She was holding it, flipping through and studying each page carefully before turning to the next one. She pointed to a picture and said, “Baby!” and sure enough it was a picture of a young kid (not quite a baby, but the kid still looked young) dressed in a Halloween costume. She went through it once again and pointed to something else and said, “Baby!” Now, I’d already read this thing myself, and I was pretty sure there weren’t any other pictures of babies or kids in there. But she insisted: “Baby!”

I looked over at what she was pointing to and had to laugh out loud. She’d found a picture of one of the Parks and Recreation executives — and he was bald, so that’s why she thought he was a baby!! I absolutely love moments like this where I get to see her thought process and how she groups like items into categories. It made sense to her: bald = baby. Makes sense to me, too.

WHEEEEEE are family

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Even though we don’t get much outside support from our families as we raise Baby B, I think we’ve got a pretty good thing going within our little family of three. Both The Husband and I are fun, relaxed, hands-on parents. We know when things need to be more serious, but for the most part we take the approach that even things like diaper changes and baths don’t have to be a chore. And you’re just as likely to find The Husband doing the diaper changes as me. More often than not, though, we make it a complete team effort and both get in on the action — and not just because we’re both required to fight our squirmy alligator during diaper changes but because we enjoy those moments with our daughter. Will I miss changing diapers? Hell no. Will I miss diaper changes? Absolutely.

When we go out to restaurants, I find it interesting to look around and see how just many families are pretty much scowling and sitting silently as they go about eating their food, completely removed from the other members of their family sitting at the table. It’s usually more than I care to count. Are they really that unhappy? Do they just feel obligated to be there? Would they rather be anywhere else but there? Are they tired of learning about each other and interacting in a meaningful way and would rather eat in silence? Do they just not like each other? Maybe I’m way off base, but I like to think that we don’t display that complete lack of enthusiasm in our family when we’re out together.

We try to have a blast, no matter what we do. We take silly pictures with statues and other things of note when we’re tourists visiting other cities. We play “Baby B Swims Like a Dolphin” when we’re at swim class. We play “nigh-nigh” when we’re getting Baby B dressed. We actually look like we enjoy each other’s company when we’re dining out. We point out and explain stuff about the animals at the zoo (as opposed to yelling at her for any number of minor offenses like so many of the other parents were doing with their kids there).

I just read a statistic that said 25% of fathers spend an hour or less with their children each day. I believe it said that 40% of fathers spend two hours or less with their children each day. When I see numbers like that, it makes me feel very fortunate that we have so many good times as a family — together.

So we might not get much support from families of origin, but when Baby B excitedly yells out, “WHEEEEEEE!” as we put her on the swing or help her jump into the pool, I can’t help but think that she’s on to something. We really are a “we,” and we make the most of our time together as a family.

Wordless Wednesday: The baby mullet ponytail

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

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I confess…

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

*I kind of hate the book Goodnight, Moon, and I don’t really see why it’s a classic.

*I’m not really sure I understand why some toddlers have pacifiers during the day.

*We don’t brush Baby B’s teeth in the morning. Just at night.

*I feel like a jerk whenever someone asks me if Baby B watches (insert name of any kids’ TV show) and I say she doesn’t watch any of them. It’s not that we’re like, “TV is evil!” or anything, but she just won’t sit still and watch TV, and we’re okay with that. We find plenty of other things to do, but I hate it when others make me feel like I’m cheating her out of something.

*I bring Baby B’s booster seat into the living room on weekday mornings so I can watch the news while she eats.

*I have no guilt about trying to trick Baby B into certain things. For example, she seems to like to eat things off my plate more than she likes to eat things off her own plate. So I’ll put something of hers on my plate, and pretend it’s mine, so that she’ll automatically want to eat it.

*I get annoyed with regular radio and yearn for my XM Kids songs when I’m in my (non-XM) car.

You are an obsession. You’re my obsession

Monday, July 21, 2008

In addition to being obsessed with babies lately, Baby B has been obsessed with some of the following things:

*The scrunchie that I wear when I go running. She likes to pull it out of my hair and tries to put it in her own hair (unsuccessfully, of course). She then holds it up for me to put in her hair. I sit down, cross-legged, and ask her if she wants to sit down in my lap so I can put it in. She eagerly romps over and sits still so I can pull her hair back. Of course, she has very little hair on the sides and on top, so there’s not much to put up, but she likes it all the same. Sometimes she’ll take it out immediately and ask me to put it in again, while other times she’ll keep it in for 20 or 30 minutes, touching it periodically to make sure it’s still there.

*Shoes. She’s constantly wanting to put them on herself. And take them off herself. (Even if we just put them on her.) She wants to take our shoes off. She wants to put our shoes back on. She wants to walk around in our shoes. She wants to walk around with just one of her shoes on and the other foot shoeless. She wants to retrieve them from a storage drawer in her closet.

*Balls. She points and says “ball” about anything that even remotely looks round or ball-like. Light bulbs, for example.

*Ceiling fans. I remember she was mesmerized by ceiling fans when she was a newborn, and now that obsession has returned with her pointing out every single ceiling fan within a five-mile radius.

*The Dog. Some mornings, “dog-doh” is the FIRST word out of her mouth, even though he’s outside using the bathroom and she can’t see him. Nice to know who ranks first, huh? 🙂 They’re absolutely inseparable, obsessed with each other.

Momma’s little baby loves babies

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Baby B’s latest obsession is with all things baby. I swear she could spend all day sitting on my lap and going through pictures of different babies. Every time I ask her what she’s looking at, she says “bayyy-bee” slowly but confidently. We were out a lot this weekend, and she enjoyed pointing out all the babies around her. (Of course, they don’t have to be babies in the technical sense for her to call it a baby. Pretty much any kid under about 5 is a baby to her.) There’s something just so sweet about her interest in babies. Of course it naturally causes me to think about how she’d be with a younger sibling, but I think it goes beyond that. I’ve known for a while that she’s not a baby herself, but it’s almost like she’s finally recognizing that fact too.

We are family. Supposedly.

Friday, July 18, 2008

I really try not to complain too much about people in real life here, as you never know when they may stumble upon your blog and figure out you’re talking about them. But what I’m going to say here is a simple fact, and it cannot be disputed.

Baby B is nearly 18 months old, yet a fairly significant portion of our small family has not met Baby B, and I can’t help but be at least a little disappointed. The Husband’s mom has not met her. My only sister has not met her. The Husband’s only brother has not met her (despite the fact that we gave them 5 months’ notice on our visit to New England for this past New Year’s Eve, The Husband’s brother goofed and apparently misunderstood when we’d be there, so he requested the wrong days off work and was unable to make the trip to Connecticut from Maine to see us while we were there).

Yes, The Husband’s mom lives 2,500 miles away, but this is her granddaughter. (I guess it’s not as exciting when it’s the second grandchild, as she made a trip to visit the first when she was 3 months old. And saw that granddaughter at both BIL’s wedding and our wedding. Though in fairness, she hasn’t seen our niece since our wedding. Three years ago this week.)

Yes, my sister lives 800 miles away, but this is her only niece.

Yes, The Husband’s brother lives 1,000 miles away, but we even made an effort to go up there to visit specifically so they could meet her, but he couldn’t figure out his work schedule enough to actually get to see us.

I try to give them all the benefit of the doubt; I know they all live far away, and it’s expensive these days to travel, either by car or by air. Perhaps even they’d prefer to use their vacation time to go more interesting places. I do get that. But it’s disappointing all the same.

Especially when you take into account the fact that my parents do live in town — about 20 to 25 minutes away from us — and we rarely see them. My mom used to complain all the time when my sister had her daughter that she was so sad that her granddaughter lived so far away and that she’d give anything to have her here in town so she could watch her grow up, blah blah blah. But now that she has a granddaughter who lives in town? We see them maybe once a month, if that, and that’s only because we have to go over and visit them. I absolutely hate doing that most of the time because they’re smokers, and I don’t particularly want Baby B (or us) around that, plus everything we take over there ends up smelling like smoke for days (hello, Febreeze!). But it’s the only way they’ll actually see our daughter, so we do it from time to time. (And I say “see” on purpose, because apparently they’re now scared of kids and hardly interact with her. My dad has literally never held her, even when she was smaller and easy to hold.)

We’re really good about taking lots of pictures to post on another website for our family and friends who don’t have a chance to see Baby B. We also take plenty of videos that we post for them. It’s just hard when I feel like we’re the ones making all the effort to share Baby B’s life with all of them, and we hardly get anything in return. They are no better than strangers to Baby B, and how can that not make me sad, especially when I hear tales of grandparents who volunteer to babysit (it would have to be a life-and-death emergency before my parents would babysit — and before I’d even consider asking) and stories of going to family holiday gatherings and virtually losing track of the baby because so many people are wanting to hold it.

When I hear stories like that, it’s very hard for me to relate, and I suddenly feel so alone in raising Baby B. And that’s not even getting into the fact that most of The Husband’s friends, who are notoriously un-baby-friendly, pretty much have ignored the fact that we have a child now and not only haven’t met her but barely acknowledge her existence.

The good thing (hey, I usually try to find a positive spin on things) is that the disappointment in those around us has really helped me appreciate the support we do get. It might not come from a great number of sources, but the quality is there, and that’s what matters most, I suppose.


Thursday, July 17, 2008

We change most of Baby B’s diapers on the end of our bed, and she loves to take this time — both before, during, and after the diaper change — to play on our bed. (Side note: I used to think it was gross/weird when people said they change diapers on their bed, but it’s really not that big of a deal. We just add extra protection if there’s a particularly gruesome diaper.)

Her latest favorite game is to escape up to the pillows, sneak her legs under the covers, and lie down with her head on the pillows, proclaiming, “Nigh-nigh!” to all. She really seems to get the humor in the game — that she’s saying goodnight when it’s not really time to go to bed. Whenever she says it, she has a smirking smile on her face, as though she knows she’s in on the joke. I can’t wait to see all the other jokes she comes up with in the coming months!

Wordless Wednesday: Our waterbug

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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Just keep swimmin’, just keep swimmin’

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yesterday was Baby B’s first swim class (it runs every weekday evening this week and next week), and it went just okay. It’s supposed to consist of little lessons in skills (kicking, laying back in the water, etc.) as well as games and songs to make it all fun.

Well, from the conversation between two pool workers that I overheard, it appears as though someone made a mistake and they didn’t realize that the class was the Level 1 (Parent and Baby) class, so they had NOTHING age-appropriate prepared. That would have been fine, but the instructor never really took charge of the class — she never addressed the entire class, never told us we were starting (we just happened to be in the right place), never welcomed us, never introduced herself. We had to find out her name by asking her ourselves. She never admitted that she had nothing prepared and instead casually went from child to child doing different skills like kicking and blowing bubbles in the water.

I didn’t want a lot of structure to the class, as the kids are all 3 or under, but some kind of structure would have been nice. Maybe introducing ourselves would have been good. (The class has just 6 or 7 kids in it, so this wouldn’t have been difficult.) The instructor told The Husband that she’ll have to prepare some songs for today, so we’ll see if she comes through. I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt for last night, but I hope she steps it up tonight. When I saw her working with some older kids before our class started, she really did seem to be doing a good job with them, so she definitely has potential.

Even if this class turns out to be a dud, I figure that we’re at least getting our money’s worth because the class cost is less than what it would cost for all three of us to go to the pool ten times (which is the number of classes we have). Every bit of exposure to the water that she can get is good, so at least this is giving us the opportunity.

Wheeeeere the toys are

Monday, July 14, 2008

One of my main goals as a parent is to avoid making it look like Toys R Us vomited all over our house. I’ve seen other parents’ houses where you can barely find the adult furniture because the parents (or friends/family members) couldn’t resist buying all of the brightly colored, noise-making toys ever put on the market, and that’s not the state I want my house to be in, even if the latest toy craze claims to increase my kid’s IQ by 30 points.

My goal was a fairly easy one when she was an infant; we had a few bigger things like the activity mat and exersaucer, and everything else went into the 17-gallon plastic storage container that serves as our toy box. But as Baby B gets bigger, so do the toys typically appropriate for her age, so that creates a problem and creates even more of a challenge when it comes to keeping things in check.

I think we’ve done a good job in keeping our big-toy purchases to a minimum. The only big things that are in our living room are her My First Anywhere Chair and her play kitchen. She also has a table where she can color or do other activities, but that folds up flat and stores behind our entertainment center each night, so it’s pretty unobtrusive. Pretty much everything else — with a few minor exceptions — fits into that storage bin.

I think we’ve seen enough times that normal, everyday objects can be just as good as store-bought toys for her, and I do think it’s important that she becomes familiar with these household objects. Because of that, she’s allowed to play with most things around our house (with supervision) as long as it’s not dangerous (and those items should be put away anyway, so that’s not really an issue).

Baby B does have some toys that run on batteries and make noise, and perhaps it’s because we’re fairly choosy with her toys, but so far she hasn’t had any toys that have driven me crazy. Sure, a little tune will get stuck in my head for the evening every once in a while, but I haven’t had a moment where I wanted to take the batteries out and throw them out the window.

Interestingly, I’d never seen her go super-crazy over a single toy. She has plenty of toys that she enjoys playing with, but for the most part, she could take it or leave it; she’d never really grown an attachment to any one in particular. Until this weekend, when we bought the Graco doll stroller and the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Puppy at the consignment store. We found the puppy first, and she insisted on carrying it around. A little while later, I found the doll stroller and we decided to get it, and we put the puppy in the stroller for her. She proceeded to push him around the store the entire rest of the time we were in there. But, oh, you should have heard the territorial squawking noises she made when we tried to give it to the cashier to ring up!

She is hilarious when playing with both toys at home. She puts him in the stroller. All over the house. And if you try to take him out of the stroller, she gets all momma bird on us and protests and tries to shoo us away. Without us even suggesting it, she’ll “feed” him with a spoon that she dips into an empty snack cup, and she’ll offer him water from her cup. (She’s done both of these things with other dolls, but just after we suggested it.) It looks like this fella is here to stay.

Picture perfect

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It’s nearly impossible to get good shots of Baby B these days because she’s on the go all the time, and she’s becoming even more of a daredevil (can we say jumping off the bed?), so I need to have my reflexes available for going after her, which is harder to do with a camera in hand. But, I take what pictures I can and still manage to get many that we like.

So, as requested, here are a few more pics of Baby B:

You’d look unamused, too, if you were sitting by this fella:
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Making sure the puppy is in just the right spot in the stroller. Because that’s WHERE he BELONGS (as Baby B quickly and vocally reminds us if we try to take him out of the stroller):
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And carting him around the house:
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Something about this picture just draws me in. Perhaps is the sheer happiness on her face as she looks over at her dad. I love this girl so much:
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Tooth be told

Saturday, July 12, 2008

So. The “teething” thing may be solved. When I went to pick up Baby B yesterday, the teacher informed me that there was a confirmed case of hand-foot-mouth disease in the classroom — the symptoms of which are often indistinguishable from teething, according to the teacher, whose own daughter was diagnosed with it a couple months ago.

Here is what the Dr. Sears website says about this illness:

Hand, foot and mouth disease (coxsackie virus) – this is by far the most common cause of mouth sores. It usually affects children ages 6 months to 3 years. Symptoms include:

High fever – often up to five days.
Severe fussiness – this is often the worst part of the illness.
Severe mouth pain or sore throat
Copious drooling
Refusal to eat or even drink
Rash – small, red or white spots may, but not always, appear on the hands or feet (thus the name of the illness). A red, lacy rash can also appear anywhere on the body.

So let’s see. High fever? Not so much. No fever at all, in fact, though we were giving her Motrin for pain, so perhaps that masked any fever. Severe fussiness? Most definitely. Severe mouth pain or sore throat? Very likely. Copious drooling? We couldn’t keep up with it, and her shirts were soaked. Refusal to eat or even drink? Indeed. Rash? Well, we didn’t make the association beforehand, but this was probably true too. She’d had a bit of rash on her butt that I thought was from her runny diapers, which usually give her a diaper rash. This looked a little different than normal, but I’ve seen several different incarnations of diaper rash, so I honestly didn’t think twice about it. On Thursday night, I noticed two flat red spots on the bottom of each sole, but again I didn’t think much of it. If it’d been 10 or 15 spots, I would have been more alarmed. But two on each foot — and faint at that — didn’t set off any alarms. Also that night, The Husband noticed a single whitish-reddish almost blister-looking spot on each of her heels, but they were right where her shoes could have rubbed them raw, so that’s what I thought they were, especially since her walking shoes were getting tight and she needed to go up to the next size soon.

So yeah, pretty much everything fits except for the fever part. Sources indicate that mouth sores are often the cause of throat soreness in this illness, and it’s often how it is diagnosed. I doubt this is something we could have seen ourselves even if we’d known to look just because Baby B won’t let us in her mouth, but it’s something the doctor would have noticed if they’d been present. You know, if we’d taken her to the doctor, which I didn’t because I fell for the ol’ “it’s teething” bit.

I’m not really kicking myself too badly, though, and am looking at it as a learning experience in case it happens again. It’s not like the doctor could have done anything anyway since it’s a virus and untreatable. Of course, we would have then known to keep her home from daycare if she’d had an official diagnosis, so hopefully this won’t be passed to her again because she passed it along to another kid. I’d rather not deal with a week like this again.

The good news is that she’s pretty much back to normal now. They said she had a better day on Friday at daycare, and she felt well enough on Friday night to go to the local fair that’s held near our house. (She had a great time, and we can’t wait to take her back when she’s big enough to ride things. Even not riding things, we had fun walking around and sharing an elephant ear!) Today she’s pretty much normal, and we’ve done a ton today already: a visit to the public library; a trip to the local farmers’ market; we bought new walking shoes (they look huge!); a stop at the consignment shop, where we found this for 5 bucks (she loved the one she played with at Serenity‘s house) and picked up a little doll stroller, both of which she’s now obsessed with); followed by a nice lunch out.

Quite the busy morning, and just a few days ago I know we wouldn’t have been able to do any of those activities, let alone all of them. (Needless to say, she zonked out for her nap!) Her diapers are back to normal, her runny nose is gone, and the drooling is pretty much nonexistent. But most of all, the fussiness is gone and my sweet, funny, silly girl is BACK!

And my original notion holds true: Whenever odd behavior is blamed on teething, I suspect that’s rarely the case.

Jump! For my lo-ove!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Amid all the inconsolable grumpiness this week, I’m neglected to share that Baby B has figured out how to jump on both feet! She started doing it a couple days ago, deeply bending her knees and trying to launch herself upward against gravity in a quick burst of motion. Most of her efforts come up empty, but every seven or eight attempts, she’ll be successful, and it seems to amuse her as much as it does us!


Also, a big thank you to those of you who wrote to say that your child is showing some of the same signs that Baby B is. It doesn’t really fix things, but it’s nice to know when you’re not alone. Our daycare teacher said that Baby B isn’t the only one in her class going through it right now. That does help to know it.

Last night she still wasn’t quite herself, but we were able to enjoy our visit with good (just good? no, great!) friends who came over last night. She cried just once during the night last night — again in her sleep — and was still a fountain of drool when she woke up, but her general disposition was much better. I still dosed her up with some Motrin and teething drops before daycare this morning, but hopefully we’ve seen the worst of it and we’ll have an enjoyable weekend.

Who else could use a drink?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yesterday I was told that Baby B did better at daycare, but that she still just wasn’t quite herself. The same was true for when we had her at home last night. She wasn’t quite as inconsolable as she was on Tuesday night, but my happy-go-lucky toddler sure wasn’t present. She’s still having runny diapers, a runny nose (not quite as bad and still clear, at least), and her drooling rivals our bathroom faucet. Turned all the way up.

Now we have a new layer to this teething issue: pain when she eats and drinks. I’m pretty sure she ate literally less than three bites of food at dinner last night because each time she would attempt to put something in her mouth and chew, she’d spit it out and cry out in pain (she has a cry that’s definitely a pain cry). Breakfast is usually our easiest meal of the day — she gets yogurt mixed with pureed fruit and a small handful of cereal pieces on the side. She loves this meal and always finishes it. Not this morning. Let’s just say that the curtains are in the washer right now because her strawberry yogurt ended up on them.

Even more mysterious is the sippy cup. Once she really got the hang of using the sippy cup around 7 months or so, she’s never looked back. Starting last night, though, she’d reach out for the cup, try to suck on it, instantly drop it, and scream out in pain. This was repeated multiple times. “That’s weird,” The Husband and I said to each other with furrowed brows. Our best theory is that whatever teething pain she is having is making it painful for her to eat and suck on the sippy cup. We tried letting her have the cup without the lid and just drink from the side. We practice this often, so she can do it well, and this presented no problem for her, supporting the theory that it’s the sucking that’s causing her pain. Same deal this morning; she cried out in pain if she tried to use the lid, but if she drank from the side, she was fine.

The problem is that she’s not yet ready to drink from the side of a cup all the time. While she’s great at drinking without spilling that much on herself (that’s really improved in the last few weeks), she still is rough when handling the cup, so out splashes her milk or water. Also, we tried letting her drink from the side of the cup during dinner last night, but that quickly turned into a science experiment, with her dipping her food in the water, pulling it out, putting the food in her mouth, spitting it out, then drinking the water. It grossed me out, and we can’t give her even more reasons to not eat her food since she’s so picky as it is.

If this is teething, I really want it to pass soon. We’re treating with Motrin and teething drops, but I’m not 100% convinced it’s working. I just feel so bad for her that I really don’t know what to do to help. She cried in her sleep for much of last night, and woke up hoarse this morning because of it.

The other thing I wonder about is: What if it’s not teething, and I’m missing something more serious because I’m in a teething mindset and looking for those types of symptoms? I truly can’t think of what else it might be, as ALL signs are pointing to teeth, but what if? Baby B is so much better at communicating than she was even just months ago, but I wish there were a way she could tell me exactly what the problem is so I could know what to do — or just be more confident that it’s something we just have to wait out.

Wordless Wednesday: No, really, Mom, you can’t see me!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

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Tooth and consequences

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Tonight was one of those rare nights where I really questioned our sanity for having a child. Oh, it was awful. Let me back up. I was called by daycare at 3:30 p.m. yesterday and had to pick up Baby B because she’d had two pretty bad diarrhea diapers. At first I thought it was just because she’d had an abundance of corn over the weekend (hey, it’s one of the few things she’ll eat). She and I went home, and she was pretty fussy for the couple of hours until The Husband got home, and I started to wonder if she was teething because she also had a clear runny nose, and when she got her one-year molars, she had fussiness, diarrhea, and a clear runny nose. I kind of dismissed it, though, because I hate blaming things on teething. It seems that whenever there’s an unexplained symptom or behavior, teething is the first thing always blamed, and I’d guess that in a lot of cases, that’s not really true.

She lasted the day at daycare today, but when I went to pick her up, they said she’d had some runny diapers and her nose was quite runny, she’d been fussy and crying for 20 minutes before I got there (very unlike her), and they had a bib on her because she was drooling like a fountain. Seriously, the kid does not drool anymore, and this was quite excessive. I then thought back to last night, when she woke up several times during the night crying in her sleep, which is very unusual for her. Put all that together, and I really, really suspect she might be getting her canines, or her molars might be pushing through even more (all four of the first molars have surfaced, but a couple of them aren’t fully out). In any case, something is making her quite miserable, and apparently we’re not doing things right to make it better.

Tonight was miserable. Literally from the time we got home at 5:30 p.m. until about 20 minutes before she went to bed at 8 p.m., she was fussy, crying, and inconsolable. She didn’t want her sippy cup if offered, but she threw a fit if we didn’t give it to her anyway. She didn’t want to play with blocks, but she threw a fit when I tried to put them up. You get the point. It took nearly two hours to get any kind of laugh out of her, which is sooo not the norm; usually she gives those quite freely. Finally she had a little bit of fun during our storytime before bed, but it took quite an effort on our parts. I was exhausted by the time she finally went to bed, and even then it took her at least half an hour to get to sleep, which again is not the norm; usually she’s asleep within a few minutes of us leaving the room, or she’s at least quietly playing.

Please, oh, please let this be better tomorrow. I usually look forward to coming home from work and spending time with Baby B, and I’m usually sad when it’s time for her to go to bed, but earlier tonight I found that her bedtime couldn’t come soon enough. I don’t like having thoughts like that. 😦

Hidden treasures

Monday, July 7, 2008

Some days I might find a baby shoe in the drawer with my workout clothes. Or a sippy cup on the pantry floor. Or a snack plate in the cabinet of the coffee table. Or a ball in the cabinet with the pots and pans.

Meet my daughter, whose specialty is not in finding but in placing buried treasure!

You never know what you’ll find where these days!

Good help isn’t cheap

Saturday, July 5, 2008

So one good thing about Baby B being so independent now is that I have a little helper at my side. Even though sometimes this makes tasks take twice as long, I don’t really mind because I know we’re teaching her some good lessons about everyday things when she helps us. Some of her favorites include:

*Carrying her snack plate back to the kitchen after she has a snack at her activity table in the living room. She used to put the plate on the floor, but she can now put it on the counter for us. She prefers to be the one to take the plate back and protests if we try to do it. Hey, we’re not ones to argue with that!

*She knows where we keep her dirty laundry (in the Pack N Play in our bedroom), so we just hand her clothes to her and she takes off to put them in there. She really seems to love this task.

*During our evening walks, Baby B is in the stroller and we also have The Dog with us. Often she likes to “hold” the leash, which involves me letting her hold the handle of the leash while also holding onto the leash tightly myself. That way she thinks she’s walking him, but she’s not responsible if the 80-pound dog takes off after a bird or bunny rabbit.

*She knows how to take out the laundry from the dryer and put it in the laundry basket. Then she’ll hand me each piece of clothing so I can fold it.

*She also knows how to take the dishes — at least the ones on the bottom rack — out of the dishwasher. She’ll eagerly hand me each plate, bowl, or piece of silverware before going to get another one.

*She loves to carry her daycare diaper bag to the car when we leave each evening. In fact, she doesn’t like it much if I insist on carrying it, so she almost always is in charge of it nowadays. I don’t think we pass a single person on our way to the car who doesn’t comment on what a good helper she is!

Shadowy figures

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A couple days ago, we had such nice weather that it would’ve been a crime to not go to a local park, so that’s just what we did after work. Baby B’s favorite part of the evening was watching through the fence at the people swimming and diving. (We keep trying to go to the pool, but every time we plan it, the weather does not cooperate.)

Her least favorite part, however, was noticing her own shadow for the first time. She was walking with the sun directly behind her, so her shadow was long and dark right in front of her, right where she was walking. She noticed it pretty quickly and didn’t care much for her new friend. She kept trying to back away, but of course her shadow kept up. She wasn’t freaking out or anything, but you could tell she’d rather be a million other places; eventually we had to pick her up until we got to a shady — and less shadow-friendly — place in the park.

Thankfully she seemed a little more accepting of her ever-present shadow for the rest of the evening, but it really made me think about all those things that we take for granted as adults but they’re new to kids. I see things like this come up all the time, and frankly it’s one of the best things about having a child; you really see the world in a whole new light. Shadow and all.

Wordless Wednesday: Can we please get every food on the cob for this picky eater?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

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