Friday, May 29, 2009
Rhymes with SHUSH
Me, May 6: It can't be thrush.
Me, May 9: It's not thrush.
Me, May 15: No, it's not thrush.
Me, May 20: It's definitely not thrush.
Me: May 24: At least it's not thrush.
Me, May 28: It looks nothing at all like thrush.
Dr, May 29: It's thrush.
The Fresh Air Fund
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
What's Cookin, Good Lookin?
Anyway, I made two pans of these but neither one is for me. One is for a potluck on Sunday and one is for a friend who just lost a family member and thus needs a pan of goodies (and a lasagne I had in my freezer). These things will be finding their way to her doorstep tomorrow.
I also made some roasted sweet potatoes, to give Gwen an alternative to the frozen Green Giant vegetables we've been foisting on her lately. I found a great recipe that called for dipping the potato wedges first in beaten egg, then in a mixture of spices (bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese). But it didn't quite work out as planned. Does this ever happen to anyone else? The first third of the pan gets covered in spices nice and evenly, then the second third is kind of lumpy and uneven, and then the last third doesn't get any spices at all because by this time the spices are just sticking together with the egg in silly little clumps and ignoring the potatoes altogether. I'm sure they will still taste good, because hey, they are still sweet potatoes, but there must be a better method of achieveing this. Any master chefs out there want to fill me in?
Monday, May 25, 2009
Camping - I Don't Get It
Nevertheless, there's a lot of hype around camping, and so I have been trying my best to figure out what the appeal is. Because as it says in the title, I don't get it. Here's what I've figured out so far.
1. Theory: Camping is a good chance to get out in nature. Agreed! If you live in a city and the only green you see is bordering your office building's entryways, then camping is a great chance to see some lovely foliage. My objection: I don't feel a lack of green in my life. I live in a medium-sized city right on the coast, and I see lots of nature, not to mention the ocean, every single day. I am not aching for fresh air.
2. Theory: You can go swimming! Again, if you live somewhere far away from lakes, oceans, and rivers, and need to drive for a few hours to find some, camping nearby might be a good idea. My objection: I can go swimming in a lake, an ocean, or a river, anytime I want. But I don't, because I'm afraid of sharks. Shut up.
3. Theory: You can sit around outside all day! I have this lovely green place with comfy lawn chairs and a picnic table where I can do just that, and it could not possibly be more close to hand. I call it my yard.
4. Theory: Camping is a fun opportunity to get a little drunk with your friends, because no one has to drive home. I don't drink, so I really can't see the appeal of this one.
5. Theory: You can get away from it all! Most of my "all" I am pretty fond of. That's why I keep it nearby.
Mostly, to me, camping just seems like a lot of work: packing up everything you need (shelter, food, drink, entertainment, furniture), driving in a cramped car to your campsite, unpacking everything and setting it all up, then spending two days and nights scratching in the dirt, fighting off insects, and listening to the drunken yahoos in the site next to you. Then you pack up everything again - except now everything is wet and/or dirty and/or smelly - and head home, sunburnt and exhausted. And THEN you spend another two days cleaning and scrubbing everything down. And people find this relaxing?
(It's just occurred to me that the pioneers of yore would probably think that our custom of going out and "roughing it" for a few days, when we don't have to, is utterly ridiculous and possibly a sign of mental illness.)
I really do want to understand camping. If you enjoy camping, please tell me why. What am I missing?
Gwen still went to daycare today, though. Red-letter day: I'm sick at home and don't have a baby to look after. Whoa.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Dear Gwen: Month Thirteen
Here is the list of words you do know and use with varying regularity:
In addition to the aforementioned habit of throwing your food on the floor, you also enjoy sticking your fingers down your throat to gag yourself - over and over and over. I have no idea why, maybe you're practicing to be bulimic. You do this so often that your dad and I both pretty much tune out the sound, and usually don't even react when we hear a choking sound from you. This, as I have explained to you countless times, has the ability to bite you in the ass if you don't cut it out. Between this and the food-flinging, two very charming behaviours, family dinners are not that pleasant. Your dad and I are both really looking forward to the day when we can teach you some manners.
This month, you discovered my drawer full of food storage containers. This has caused you a lot of delight, as cheap tupperware knock-offs are apparently far more entertaining than a living room full of actual Fisher Price. (I actually could have predicted that, but you can't tell grandparents anything.) You are in this drawer every single day, taking things out and strewing them about the floor. I don't mind so much, because despite my best intentions I am not very good at keeping that drawer organized, and now I can blame the chaos on you instead of admitting that sometimes I'm too lazy to rearrange all the small containers so I can fit the big one in underneath. There are some benefits to parenting, you know.
You seem to really enjoy music these days, and will sometimes dance and groove to the beat. Your favourite song seems to be "Head and Shoulders" and you have started to thump yourself on the chest with great enthusiasm whenever you hear a song that slightly resembles it. We think this is your attempt to do the actions. At Christmas time, your Gramma Karen and Grandpa Keith bought you a stacker toy that plays rock and roll music, and for the past five months you have had an intense fear and also an intense fascination with this toy. You would pull it off the shelf, bring it to your dad or me and place it about a foot away, then sit down in our lap and wait for us to press the button. The music startled you so much that you didn't want to press it yourself, but I guess you wanted to face your fear, because you wanted to do this over and over again. It seems you have now conquered your fear, and we're all very impressed. It's not every day you meet a toddler with an interest in self-improvement.
I should mention that you are kind of a crazy kid (which is clearly not our fault, it's totally normal to teach your kids the Jaws theme). By that I mean that we sort of suspect you might be an adrenaline junkie later in life. The best way to get you to giggle uncontrollably in fits of pure joy is to grab you by the ankles and swing you around upside down. Your dad does this at least a couple of times a week, and I wouldn't even be able to watch if it weren't for the incredible joy on your face when he does it. I'm pretty sure that next year when you catch on to what all the playground equipment is for, it's going to blow your tiny mind. And just wait till you're six and I take you to an amusement park!
A mystery has been solved this month. Ever since you were about five months old, you have occasionally, intentionally bonked your face into the floor in our kitchen or living room. We always thought this was pretty weird, especially when you were teething and you would sometimes actually hurt your gums by doing this. A couple of weeks ago, I suddenly had a flash of insight: you are kissing the baby in the reflection of the laminate flooring. Aha! And also, aww! You do make some sense after all.
To contrast with that adorable story, let me tell you about the tantrums. At least once a day, you allow us a glimpse into our future, the future where you are two years old and fully vocal and ready to voice your displeasure at any opportunity. Any time we take away something you want to play with, or we don't feed you as quickly as you'd like, you Lose Your Mind. Complete with throwing your head back to wail your complaints to the ceiling. I hasten to state that I am not complaining about this, as my parents would confirm that I Had It Coming. But it bears mention in your newsletter.
Overall, you've become much less a baby and much more a little girl, which has been incredible to watch. And we know the best is still to come.
Friday, May 22, 2009
Another Parenting Milestone Reached ...
Last night around 10:30pm, I looked at the video monitor and saw a large dark spot next to Gwen's head. She was tossing and turning and trying to get comfortable, which is pretty normal. "Hmm," I thought. "It almost looks like she's thrown up in the crib, and doesn't want to put her head down in it!" For some reason, I didn't actually take this thought seriously. One year in, and I'm still such a newbie at this.
About an hour later as we were heading to bed (we were up late waiting for news from Sheila), I showed Chris the spot I was talking about on the monitor. He agreed that it totally looked like vomit, and that I should go check it out. I stealthily opened the door and was immediately hit with a Bad, Bad Smell. I returned to our bedroom and told Chris that we definitely had a vomit situation on our hands. But what to do? Gwen was, for the moment, sleeping. Should we wake her up in order to clean her and her bed? Or wait until she woke up on her own? It seemed unfair to disturb her. Fortunately (or not), our quandary was settled quickly as she began to whimper.
I picked Gwen up and brought her into my darkened room, thinking she might settle down and snuggle in while Chris cleaned up her crib. But the extent of regurgitation was much, much worse than we'd originally thought. Gwen was absolutely soaked, and her hair was full of vomit, and she smelled like she'd taken a bath in stomach acid. Which is more or less what had happened, because I with the awesome mothering skills let her lay in that puddle of puke for an HOUR. Failmom!
I stripped off her pajamas while Chris changed the crib sheets and opened the window to air out the room. He reported that everything she had eaten since 4pm that day was now spattered across her bed. It soon became obvious that she needed a bath, so at midnight - with a guest sleeping downstairs, no less - we ran the tub. (Poor Kat picked a hell of a night to sleep over, but apparently she didn't hear a thing.) I bathed Gwen while Chris got a bottle - we reasoned she'd be pretty hungry, now that her tummy was absolutely empty. She had a bit of dry heaving in the tub before getting out.
She wasn't running a temp, and in fact seemed a little cold and shivery, so we bundled her up in jammies and a couple of blankets and she cuddled on my lap while she drank the bottle and we discussed calling the Nurse Line. It was almost sweet; she was semi-swaddled, it was just like old times. Then she vomited the milk she'd just drank all over herself, me, the blankets, and her clean jammies.
Think about how horrible an experience throwing up is, and then picture how horrible it is for a child who has no idea what is happening to her. When Gwen threw up in my lap, she looked terrified. In between gags, she looked at me as if to say, "Why aren't you FIXING this?" I felt awful. All I could do was hold her and comfort her and tell her I was there, then clean her up and start settling her down all over again. Immediately after vomiting, she tucked her head into my chest with her face turned downwards, and that was the first time I felt really scared. That is not my Gwen. There was fear in that posture, and shame, and weariness, and that is not who she is. She was trying to hide from her pain and seek physical comfort, and that just DOES NOT happen. She held so still. "We're calling the Nurse Line," I said.
We called at about 12:45 am and got lots of good advice and sympathy. It makes such a difference to talk to someone who is not only a nurse, but a parent as well: we got advice like, "Maybe one parent should go to bed so you can spell each other off through the night," and "Make sure whatever she's wearing doesn't have to come off over her head, because that will be unpleasant if it gets covered in vomit." We also got all the info about signs of dehydration, how to keep her comfortable, and when to seek medical attention (answer: not yet).
The bottom line was: if she went an hour without vomiting, we could offer 1 oz of clear liquids every 20 minutes. Only once she went 6 hours without vomiting could we offer food, and even then it should be the BRAT diet. (We are very, very familiar with the BRAT diet thanks to our experience with the Norovirus last April.)
It had been about half an hour since she threw up, so we decided to stay up another half hour and see if we could get some water into her. Before that half hour was up, she had another case of the dry heaves. The area around her mouth and eyes went horribly gray. It was nearly 2am, we were all exhausted - including poor Gwen - and I decided we should just let her get some sleep instead of staying up another hour to give her a drink. I tucked her back into bed, and she was asleep almost immediately.
This morning she seems just a bit off: her walking isn't as controlled as it normally is, which could be due to having less food and liquid in her system. She had a wet diaper this morning and another one before her nap. We've been giving her fruit juice cut with water at about a 1:4 ratio, breaking my cardinal rule of No Juice Evar. It's been almost 12 hours since she last threw up.
Another thing no one ever thinks to mention about parenting: at some point, you will have to spoonfeed a child who has had nausea and vomiting in the past 24 hours. And this is horrible, because the child cannot and will not tell you "I don't want to eat right now, my tummy's upset." So with every bite you wonder if you are making your child feel better or worse. It's like a game of Vomit Roulette.
I'm glad this happened on a night before my day off. I had all kinds of exciting plans for us today, including a return to Strong Start (it's been about six weeks since we last attended) and a walk with some friends (it's a stunningly gorgeous day outside), not to mention the THREE birthday parties we were invited to over the weekend. But since I have no idea what's made her sick - whether it was just something she ate, or if she has a virus - I can't very well take her out and have her share the germs. So, home we shall stay. Like I said I'm just glad I have the opportunity to be home with her.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Little Miss Independent
Well, Gwen is now almost thirteen months old and I'd say she's pretty darn independent. In general, the only time she fusses and squawks at us is when we're in the kitchen, as she seems to suspect that any kitchen-related activity means that we are Eating Delicious Food And Not Sharing It With Her, which is of course a deadly sin in Gwen's book. For the most part, she plays well on her own and doesn't seem to expect us to entertain her, though she does prefer that we're in the room with her while she plays (so she can keep an eye out for that Delicious Food and make sure it is Appropriately Shared).
The downside to her independence is that she is not a very loving child. For the first few days, picking her up from daycare meant gigantic grins and enthusiastic hugs. These days, she's still happy to see us and happy to come home, but she doesn't see the need for a big cuddle to reinforce that. She very rarely gives hugs at all, and while I'm trying to teach her to give kisses, what she usually does is lean towards me on cue, allowing me to kiss her, and then immediately lean away, anxious to get back to her busy life. Upon being asked for a kiss, she look and acts exactly like a sixteen-year-old would.
I just finished reading Dooce's book It Sucked And Then I Cried (which was, by the way, a dynamite read) and one of the many parts that brought tears to my eyes was in her descriptions of the newborn phase. Now, when Gwen was a newborn, I remember being absolutely dumbfounded at a misty-eyed grandmother who told me that the 3am feedings were her favourite part of the day, and that she missed that closeness once that phase was over. I never felt that way. Night wakings were to be endured, not enjoyed, and if once in a while I savoured the secret smiles Gwen seemed to save just for me - she smiled at 3am long before she smiled "publically" in the daytime - there were dozens of other nights I inwardly groaned when I heard her cry, eagerly anticipating the time when she would sleep through the night.
But now, looking back, I get it. I won't say the newborn phase was my favourite - there were way more negatives than positives, in my opinion - but at last, I get the appeal. There was something powerful, almost magical, about the connection Gwen and I had at the time. The way that I could soothe her crying with just my physical presence. The way she curved her body around mine as I fed her. The way I stroked her impossibly soft hair as she fell asleep, and the humbling act of trust implicit in that moment. I read the book, and I reflected on those moments, and I hungered for my daughter's touch. Craved it. And that afternoon, like all afternoons, she was too busy for kisses and cuddles, because there was playing to be done.
Yes, my daughter is independent. And as a personality trait, it will serve her well, and I'm proud of her. But oh, I hope like mad that when she gets a little older she will get a little more cuddly. I have all this love for her, a gigantic, devouring love that demands to be expressed physically, and I have nowhere to put it. I dream of lazy mornings when she climbs out of her own bed and joins us in ours. I long for afternoons cuddling on the couch watching television and evenings with her in my lap and a book in her lap, discussing exactly why Prince Ronald is a bum. It's a good thing I have two friends currently expecting and a host of others who will be "trying" in the next year or so. At least I can get my snuggles from someone's baby, even if it's not my own!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Infant Cereal & Iron: in case you were curious
I went to a site I trust, wholesomebabyfood.com, which is a non-commercial site packed full of information on all aspects of baby (and toddler) feeding. Sure enough, I found a whole page dedicated to the issue of iron and infant cereal. Unfortunately, it seems you need a degree in biology and nutrition to understand what the HELL they are talking about.
The conclusion I reached is that Gwen can definitely get 100% of her daily iron intake through other food sources. But I would have to measure all those sources, and then compare them to a list to see how much iron she was getting, and make sure she was eating ALL the food I gave her, and also ensure that she got foods containing Vitamin C at the same time, because that would help with her iron absorption, so again, I'd have to look at a list of food to see which ones had Vitamin C, and then combine those with the iron-rich foods.
OR I could spend 5 minutes twice a day shovelling mushy infant cereal into her cryhole.
Looks like Heinz is going to keep making money off us for a few months yet.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Happy Mother's Day!
Friday, May 8, 2009
Random Thoughts for Friday
Another question: If you sent someone an email saying you'd like to order two [somethings] and then asking them for the cost, and the person emailed you back and said "The [somethings] will be $35," would you assume that you owed the person $35 for the pair, or $35 each? I assumed the former. I am now $35 broker than I really want to be.
Actually, no joke, I am colossally broke right now. The math works like this: I had to pay upfront for daycare (which is standard), so I wrote a cheque on April 27 for 4 days' worth and another cheque on May 1st for 11 days' worth. Today, I got my first paycheque from VIHA, for four days' worth of work. Now, I have a decent-paying job, but four days of my pay does NOT cover 15 days of daycare. Anyway, once I actually get a full paycheque on May 22nd, there will be a lot more breathing room, but at the moment ... no. No movie theatre for me this weekend, I guess.
(Note for family reading this: When I say I am colossally broke, it means I have no money left for fun stuff after paying all my bills. I still have enough to pay all my bills, because I'm anal like that. So don't panic, the collections agencies aren't knocking down my door or anything.)
I've had a very successful day off. This morning I took Gwen out in the stroller and went to the Seawall for a long (one-hour) walk. We stopped at the playground for a while on the way back. The playground at the SeaWall is freakin' awesome! I've never really checked it out before because hey, playgrounds aren't that interesting when your kid can't walk. Even now, she can't totally take advantage of the awesomeness, but I can just bet in a year or two she will be crazy about that place. After the playground we met up with some other mom friends at the coffee shop for some snacks and socializing. I fed Gwen her lunch, which I'd brought from home, and then we bid our friends farewell and went home for a bottle and a nap.
While Gwen napped, I goofed around on the Internet, washed a bunch of dishes, ran the dishwasher, hung aforementioned cloth diapers out to dry (after stripping them last night), planned tonight's dinner, and cleaned the bathrooms. The only thing I'd planned to do today that hasn't yet happened is grocery shopping. I love going with Gwen first thing in the morning when the store is fairly empty. Not sure I'm keen on doing it on Friday afternoon at quittin' time - might have to try tomorrow morning instead.
I've been back at my job for two full weeks now and still don't know how I feel about it. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that our department moved to a new office this past Monday, so the first week of work was all about packing for the move, and the second week of work was all about moving and unpacking and getting settled in. The various movers and assemblers and technical contractors and so on were in and out all week long, doing various bits of things, and the long and the short of it was that I didn't have a desk or a working computer until one hour before I left work yesterday. That's four days of putzing around not doing my job, and one hour to set up my desk before leaving for a three-day weekend. I feel like next week will be my first real week of work.
I can tell you that I miss Gwen, and I feel like I'm really distant from her. Chris is the one who gets up with her in the mornings (I'm usually already up, dressed, and eating breakfast by the time they come downstairs) and takes her to daycare, and about half of the time he picks her up, too. She says "Dada" all the time. It seems she's learning not to rely on me, which makes me so sad. I tend to dive into things and spend all my physical and mental energies dealing with whatever that thing is. For the past year, it's been Gwen. For the past two weeks, it's been work. I need to figure out how to do both. This must be that 'balance' thing the media keeps talking about when referring to working moms. Balance has never come easily to me, but I will keep working on it.
The sun is now out and it's a gorgeous afternoon. I'm so glad it's the weekend. Pretty soon Chris will be finished work, and Gwen will wake up from her nap, and then we'll spend the weekend as a family. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend too!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
Mother's Day is coming!
I'm just hoping to improve on last year, and to that end I told Chris exactly what I wanted this year. One of my favourite bloggers has written a new book, It Sucked And Then I Cried: How I Had A Baby, A Breakdown, And A Much-Needed Margarita. I also asked for a gift certificate for Merry Maids to come and clean my house. I think I am getting one of those things. Probably the one that comes in an Amazon box.
I'm also toying with the idea of taking myself out to a movie this weekend. I find that's one thing I really miss, now that I'm a mom: the movie theatre experience. I love going out to the theater, stuffing myself with buttery popcorn and smuggled candy from the grocery store, spotting the typos in the pre-show advertising, waiting for the lights to dim. Watching all the previews, getting all excited about what's coming next. There was a time when I knew every single movie coming out. Now I look at the listings and don't recognize a single name. It doesn't help that we don't have cable, so I don't see the ads there either.
We have been to see exactly three movies since becoming parents: Wall-E, The Dark Knight, and Rock-n-Rolla. We used to hit the theater about once a month. Chris doesn't seem to miss it as much as I do, so I'm thinking instead of the rigamarole of getting his folks to babysit, maybe I'll just ditch him at home with Gwen and take myself out. Kind of exciting, really - I won't have to share my popcorn or negotiate what film to see.