Thursday, May 29, 2008

Lots of Communicating...

On a better note than my last post, Pumpkin has really stepped up his communication skills recently.  He has started using the sign language gesture for "more" and has started pointing to his mouth whenever I ask him if he is hungry and wants to eat.  He babbles a lot but only says three real words:  "mama", "gagi" (daddy), and "again" (which means again or "I want that" depending on the context).

He's starting to take several steps at a time on his own and has generally shown a great deal more interest in walking.  Our world will really change when that happens!

We took him to the zoo recently and he loved looking at the animals, especially a wolverine friend.  The wolverine was the most exciting and active animal we saw there.  The wolverine was splashing around in his water pool and seemed to take a great deal of interest in Pumpkin, who was riding on Daddy's back in the backpack carrier.  The wolverine climbed up the side of the cage and was intently staring at Pumpkin, much to Pumpkin's delight, who was giggling and babbling about it the entire time.  There a mini-zoo train which we all rode together.  Poor Pumpkin had a look of terror on his face as we started out, especially as we approached a short tunnel, so we were frantically trying to keep him excited and pointing out things to him.  He bepumpkin_5_17came calmer but never looked like he was particularly enjoying it, but then he started to cry and fuss when we had to get off of the train.

Well, I think I hear Pumpkin waking up from his nap so I had better go!

Yes, We're Still Alive...

Wow- it has been a long time since I have posted anything.  We've all been sick off and on, work has been crazy, we've had a lot of family visits/commitments and I just generally feel like things have been out of control so hence, my lack of blog posting. 

We attempted a trip over Memorial Day; unfortunately, we only made it about halfway through our 10 hour trip before turning around and coming home.  We had spent the night in a hotel and poor Pumpkin had a horrible sounding wet cough all night long.  We were in the middle of Kentucky and the only medical facility open within an hour's drive was the ER.  We took Pumpkin there where he was misdiagnosed with a single ear infection and bronchitis.  They gave him a nebulizer breathing treatment and ordered bloodwork and a throat culture.  Hours later we were still waiting for the lab techs to come and take his blood and do the throat culture.  Finally, they came; the first nurse missed his vein entirely.  She brought in another nurse who had three of us hold Pumpkin down.  She finally got the needle in but was unable to draw any blood.  They generally seemed at a loss as to how to go about taking a blood sample from a toddler.  At this point, I could not stand to have Pumpkin tortured any longer so I put a stop to any further attempts and told them we wanted to just go home to our normal pediatrician's office.  They gave Pumpkin a painful antibiotic shot in the buttocks and sent us with an antibiotic script.  Luckily, we did not fill that because when we took him to the pediatrician at home the next day, we discovered that he did NOT have bronchitis (only post-nasal drip) but did have a double ear infection.  The ER doctor in Kentucky had written the prescription for the wrong dosage as well as misdiagnosing the problems.  Very scary...

Pumpkin is doing much better, except for some sleep disturbances at night, but I believe I am now coming down with whatever started his problems off.  We are supposed to leave for a beach vacation in a week and a half so please keep your fingers crossed that we'll all stay well and enjoy that trip (our track record with traveling with Pumpkin has been very, very poor)!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Plague (Redux)

It appears that we will never have a week at the Pumpkin Patch where we are all healthy and well.  Last week, I had the flu for about 4 or 5 days and was pretty much out of commission for that time.  Now, poor Pumpkin has been sick for the last four days or so.  He, surprisingly, does not have the flu but does have another lower respiratory infection for which he is taking antibiotics.   He is finally fever-free and feeling better during the day but he is still having some rough nights due to post-nasal drip.  Last night, my husband slept with him in a recliner to help him stay in a more upright position.  My husband seems to have the same cold which must have started all of this for Pumpkin and my nose is now suspiciously stuffy so I may be getting it as well.  Will this cold/flu season never end??

On another note, in honor of Earth Day, we have started recycling efforts at the Pumpkin Patch as I had hoped to do.  I have located drop-off points in our county (since, unfortunately we do not have curbside pickup) and we have purchased plastic storage bins to hold the items at home.  Now, we just have to make sure that we actually periodically take the recyclables to the drop-off vs. letting them continue to stack up here and eventually overrun our house...

I will post more once we are all well and rested again...hopefully, that will be soon!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Death and Taxes

We finally completed our taxes last night.  It had been hanging over our heads for weeks as yet another unfinished task.  We're done and are actually receiving a good refund this year.  It's all thanks to our little tax deduction beautiful baby boy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Defending the Caveman

I read an article titled "Me Mommy, You Toddler" in Parents magazine about how to help derail your toddler's tantrums, which Pumpkin seems to be experiencing more and more these days.  The premise of the article was to think of your toddler as a primitive being and to try to relate to them on a very primitive, emotion-only level, while speaking a form of "toddlerese".  The article discusses how toddlers are working mainly from the right-brain, the emotional side; when they are completely worked up about something, they are so emotional that initially they can't really even hear what you are trying to tell them.  Basically, if your toddler throws a tantrum, the article suggests that you react with about one third of the child's emotional intensity but try to talk to them on a very basic level, such as: "Pumpkin is MAD, MAD, MAD.  Pumpkin doesn't want to have his diaper changed.  Pumpkin want play!" and to repeat it over and over again until what you're saying sinks into their consciousness and they calm down and you can talk to them in a more rational manner.  Or course, just calmly saying the words is not enough; you are supposed to say them with animated facial expressions as well as any necessary arm gestures for emphasis. Supposedly, the toddler will realize that you DO understand what he is feeling and he will therefore calm down.  We all just want to be understood, right?

Since Pumpkin always has a fit whenever we take him out of the bath and try to dry him off, I thought this would be a perfect time to practice my toddlerese skills.  So when Pumpkin started screaming in anger while my husband was drying him off, I leaned over Pumpkin and started saying things like "Pumpkin is mad, mad, mad"  "Pumpkin no want to get out of bath" "Pumpkin no want to get dried off", etc. Unfortunately, I realized that instead of simply breaking what I was saying into simple words and phrases for Pumpkin to comprehend, instead I was channeling Yoda for my performance.  Phrases such as "Pumpkin towel, no want" and then just random words were escaping my lips.  My husband looked at me as if I was crazy; however, I suppose the proof is in the pudding: Pumpkin stopped crying and started laughing at my performance.  Ok, so apparently he wasn't saying "Wow, she really gets me" so much as he was saying "Wow, that woman is crazy" but, hey, whatever works.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

National Autism Day

Today is National Autism Day.  I know that with all of the controversy surrounding vaccines, as well as the frighteningly high statistic that 1 in every 150 children is diagnosed with autism, this is a condition that every parent today worries about.

I remember thinking before Pumpkin's birth that autism would be one of the worst diagnoses we could be faced with; images of Rain Main was my point of reference for autism along with an article I had read about a family who sent their autistic son to live with another woman when they could no longer deal with the disruption to their family life as well as the dangerous situations in which he placed himself and others.

Luckily, now I think that most people realize that there is an entire spectrum of disorders that make up autism and that early intervention can help many of these children lead very normal and fulfilling lives.  I have a friend who has custody of a teenage brother with Asperger's Syndrome.  Although his conversational style is not what you would normally encounter, he is an engaging and personable young man with a love of football.

Luckily, Pumpkin seems to be right on schedule with his developmental milestones but I realize that if that ever changes, he would still be our loving, sweet boy and that we would tackle autism or any other condition head-on and optimistically as a family.  Today, let us all give our support and appreciation to the many families who are dealing with autism and the wonderful children who are learning to live in a different world than many of us experience.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Finding Safer Produce

Ever since Pumpkin started eating solids, we have been trying to eat organic foods as much as is possible, or as much as makes sense.  If the organic produce is available in our grocery store and it doesn't look like it is half-rotten, which unfortunately it often is at Kroger, I try to go organic.  We have a new grocery chain which opened up up a store nearby.  This store doesn't offer a huge amount of organic produce, but it does offer a lot of more locally grown produce and it also has a great store line of other organic products.  Hopefully, I'm not just wasting money but when I look at the ingredients on the organic line of products, I at least recognize the ingredients and do not need to pull out a Periodic Table to try to decipher what chemicals have been added.  Another benefit of the new store is that they have spurred Kroger to start prominently selling reusable grocery bags in our local store, which I have purchased, and I find them to be not only a greener solution but also much easier to use because they are sturdier and hold more than your traditional plastic bags.

If you are concerned about the pesticides in the produce you are buying, you may want to check out the Pesticide Produce Guide which lists which items are most likely to have large amounts of pesticides found in or on them.  I found a reference to it on a blog post on Green Mom Finds, which discusses the many eco-friendly and safer products that are becoming available. 

We're trying to live greener here at the Pumpkin Patch, though we have a long way to go.  We do not have curbside recycling in our community here, as we did in our previous city, so we have fallen off the recycling wagon.  However, we have purchased bins for recycling and we need to start soon since we want to set a good example for Pumpkin.  I'll post about it when we start so hopefully my guilt from letting you all know that we're not currently recycling will spur me to start now.