Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Plague

Pumpkin has brought a plague upon our house. Yes, despite all of us receiving flu shots, we have all been brought down by some kind of intestinal virus. Poor Pumpkin experienced projectile vomiting for the first time last Sunday. He was fine right beforehand, seemed surprised right afterwards, and then was happy and playful again after I cleaned him (and myself) up. He is normally very good at self-regulating his food intake but had eaten more than usual right beforehand. Also, he had just tried prunes for the first time so I at first assumed that was the reason for the vomiting (eating prunes would probably make me sick to my stomach as well). However, he then had diarrhea the rest of the week. Luckily, he seemed to feel fine throughout all of this. I was worried about dehydration and was able to get him to drink a bit of Pedialyte. I spoke to a nurse at our pediatrician’s office who recommended Culturelle (a probiotic, $19 on sale, ugh…) since Pumpkin was finishing up a round of antibiotics and also trying the BRATY diet The BRATY diet is supposed to be intestinally-friendly and consists of Bananas, Rice cereal, Applesauce, Toast (dry) and Yogurt. Since Pumpkin has not eaten toast nor yogurt yet, he was confined to a rather boring diet of just the first three items. His problems finally appear to be tapering off today. I think finishing the antibiotic yesterday helped to get him back on track.

My husband came home from work home sick Thursday with the bug and I woke up at 3 AM on Friday morning with it as well. My mother and nephew were also afflicted that day. Unfortunately, my husband had to fly out of town Friday morning for the weekend so I was taking care of Pumpkin while sick- not a fun experience, especially since Pumpkin decided to only nap for half an hour that afternoon. Luckily, that meant that he was in bed by 5 PM that night and I followed shortly afterwards at 5:30. Today, we are all much improved.

On a more fun note, Pumpkin pulled himself up into a standing position for the first time in his crib today!! Have to finish baby-proofing VERY soon…

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Overkill Already

I swore that this year, even though it is Pumpkin’s first Christmas, we would not go overboard. Since he’ll only be nine months when Christmas rolls around and will therefore, be much more interested in the wrapping paper than the actual presents, I wanted us to just buy a few presents for Pumpkin this year. Also, we will be traveling ten hours away by car for Christmas (yes, I know we are gluttons for punishment) and space will be at a premium in the back of the SUV. However, things have already started to spiral out of control. Each time I think we’re done shopping for Pumpkin, I see another cute toy or hear a friend talk about something that their baby loves and I feel the need to get one for Pumpkin as well. Our latest (and most expensive purchase to date) has been the Fisher-Price Laugh and Learn Learning Kitchen. Some of these toys have been recalled but the gentleman in the toy department in Walmart was kind enough to open the box for me while I was on the phone with him and double-check that it was not one of the recalled products. He then placed it on hold for me since they only had one left on the floor. Yes, I have actually even resorted to frantically buying the last available “hot” toy weeks before Christmas. I am determined, however, to make sure that Pumpkin does not learn to expect extravagant gifts or to always expect to have the hot toy of the season. We’ll see how that goes…

On a side note, I’m a sucker for holiday music so I recently purchased Barenaked Ladies: “Barenaked for the Holidays” because I love their collaboration with Sarah McLachlan on “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen / We Three Kings.” Sadly, the rest of the album was a big disappointment. I believe there may be one or two other decent songs on there but the rest make you almost wince with pain. So consider yourself warned…

Friday, December 7, 2007

Testing Toys for Chemicals

There is a great new website that just launched: A consortium of environmental and health organizations have tested various baby and child toys for toxic chemicals. The spectrum of toys selected for testing seems pretty extensive, but you can also nominate a toy for testing. Each toy is rated for the level of lead, cadmium, chlorine/PVC, arsenic and mercury present; the site also lists the actual measurements of each substance found. The site also notes if other chemicals were found during testing. There seem to be a few technical details that need to be worked out on the site. For example, it appeared to be down for a short period of time today plus I noted at least one discrepancy where the toxicity level (high, medium or low) noted for a particular toy on a listing page was different from the toxicity listed on the detail page for that toy. However, this seems to be an excellent reference point for parents concerned about the toys with which their children are playing. The testing does not screen out all potential dangers. It is stated on the site that:

“ is an initial screening of chemicals in toys for a handful of hazardous chemicals. There are a number of chemicals of concern that the XRF and cannot detect. For example, there has been much concern recently about bisphenol A, a component of polycarbonate plastic. The XRF is not able to detect bisphenol A, nor can it identify polycarbonate. In addition, the XRF cannot detect phthalates, a family of chemicals of concern, although we have used the presence of PVC plastic as a surrogate for the likely presence of phthalates.”

On a side note, I was happy to find that only one of Pumpkin’s toys was listed as having a medium rating (the Fisher-Price Portable Mobile: Ocean Wonders, which I suppose I will now toss out) and none of his toys earned a high rating. Of course, many of his toys were not tested but at least it is start. You can’t protect against everything but at least you can take action regarding the dangers of which you do know.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pumpkin’s Christmas Picture

We took Pumpkin’s photo for our Christmas card today- that was an experience. He was actually very cooperative yet we had issues getting our digital camera to focus correctly. Also, since the camera actually takes the shot several seconds after you click the shudder and then takes multiple seconds to reset, we kept missing the ideal smile shots. All in all, it’s a good photo, however.
We tried to get a picture of Pumpkin with the dog, but of course Ms. Beagle was not cooperating. We were using a dog biscuit as a bribe and she pretty much came through and bowled poor Pumpkin over in order to try to get to the treat. At best, she pretty much ignores Pumpkin; at her worst, she deliberately avoids him (hopefully this is will stay her worst treatment of Pumpkin). It’s rather sad since Pumpkin’s entire face lights up every time he sees Ms. Beagle. Ms. Beagle is sweet but is definitely a very selfish, food-motivated dog. If my husband and I were to suddenly die and Ms. Beagle was trapped in the house with our corpses, I predict within twelve hours she would be noshing on our bodies. You would NOT want to be trapped in an Andes plane crash site with Ms. Beagle…

Friday, November 30, 2007

Kind of Crawling…

Pumpkin has become pretty mobile these days but he’s not technically crawling. He scoots backwards for long distances and can move quite quickly, even though I believe his intent is to move forwards. He will end up stuck against a wall or a piece of furniture until I come to his rescue. He can turn in a 360 degree radius but he does not seem to be making any progress in learning how to move in a forward motion. At least he will stay on his hands and knees for a good period of time; quite an improvement for a child who always screamed as if we were torturing him on the rack every time we would try to give him “tummy time.”

With his new found mobility in mind, we have stepped up our efforts at baby-proofing. We have placed all of the major hazards up and out reach but we still need to install the cabinet latches in some areas and tie up loose electrical cords, etc.. There is a fine line between making your house safe for baby and starting to look at your house as if it was just a large death trap. I’m glad that they do not make giant baby sized hamster balls since knowing me, I’d probably be tempted to keep him in such a bubble.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Carnage and Near-Death Experience = Educational Fun

My mom recently bought a new book to add to my eight month old son’s library. He already has an extensive collection including the standards: Mother Goose, Winnie the Pooh, Dr. Seuss and some newer favorites: Sandra Boynton’s books, Bear Snores On, etc. However, now I guess my mom thought it was time to introduce some more dramatic stories to my son. She bought him a Pop-Up book, Ice Mountain. How can Horton with his egg compare to the spine-tingling drama of a car careening out of control on an icy road and becoming submerged in a pond?

Underwater rescue (note the driver still trapped in the car)…

Paramedics on the scene administering life saving care to the hypothermic driver?

Edge of your seat excitement with the added benefit of insuring your child will be terrified of driving long before he’s ready for his learner’s permit? Frazzled parents everywhere can now demand silence and good behavior on car trips with a reminder that a distracted driver could meet the same fate as those traveling ICE MOUNTAIN!!

How Early Can a F[...]tish Develop??

I think Pumpkin may have a foot f[...]tish. He’s obsessed with feet: bare feet, socked feet, whatever. All I have to do is wiggle my toes at him and he erupts into gales of giggles. Sometimes a simple tapping of the foot will suffice. Yesterday, I was sitting at the dining room table next to Pumpkin in his ExerSaucer and I noticed that he is leaning over the edge and peering excitedly down at my feet. Such expectation- what will she do now? Will she wiggle them? Will she, gasp, kick off her shoes? Who needs flashy musical baby toys when you have feet around??

I’ve also noticed that he may share my genetic predisposition to toe curling. Whenever I am sitting down, I find that I keep my toes curled underneath my feet. It used to freak out my husband when we first started dating since he said that it appeared that I had suffered some horrible ten toe amputation. One of my brothers also likes to keep his toes curled. Now I’ve noticed that Pumpkin also keeps his feet in this curled position. Nature or nurture??

[Edited because too many pervs were finding this post searching for f[...]tish info!]

Kid Nation

Ok, I have a shameful secret to admit. Yes, my husband and I watch Kid Nation. In general, we like to think we have decent taste in TV. We like history and nature documentaries, thought provoking shows such as Lost (ok, that has veered more towards the ridiculous and pointless, but it started out thought provoking and now we’re addicted), Jeopardy, etc. We shun most reality TV and soap-operary shenanigans (fine, I admit it, we do watch Grey’s Anatomy). The idea behind Kid Nation is somewhat horrifying: parents let their children (some as young as 8) leave to found a kid-only domain in an abandoned Old West town. The kids are divided into four districts which compete each week to obtain various class statuses (Upper Class, Merchant, Cooks and Laborers). I can’t believe that any parent would actually allow their child to participate in this but it does make for rather compelling TV. Some of the kids are typical, some are horrible, some are amazing. There is Taylor, the ten year old mini-pageant queen who has already decided that world should revolve around her and that she is above performing menial tasks like…well, actually she thinks she’s above doing any work at all. There is 9 year old Alex, who is brilliant, adorable and very self-possessed. There are some really sweet moments where kids are supporting each other and encouraging each other. Then there are other moments that are more reminiscent of Lord of the Flies or Children of the Corn. However, as horrified as I am about the idea of the show, I’m shamelessly addicted.

Day Care and MRSA

Since I work three days a week, Pumpkin is in day care part-time. Sadly, he seems to be there long enough each week to catch whatever the latest virus is that is going around. I would love to stay home with him full-time but my husband and I just do not think that we could swing it financially. On the one hand, the three days a week I spend in the office help to keep me connected to the adult world (and up-to-date skills-wise, of crucial importance in the IT world) but on the other hand, I hate that Pumpkin does not get the same personal attention in day care that I can give him at home and I really hate that he has been sick almost constantly since starting day care. Recently we were in the pediatrician’s office for our latest round of ear infections and I asked our doctor if I should be concerned about MRSA at day care. According to the media, MRSA is everywhere and is likely to kill you within days. Rationally, I know that it is not the epidemic that the news reports are making it out to be; however, the mother in me fears it is lurking on every unclean surface at my son’s day care facility. My pediatrician reassured me that, although it is something the medical community has been seeing for years, getting MRSA is not the automatic death sentence that the media is portraying it as being and that recent deaths from MRSA probably had other contributing factors. Apparently, a large percentage of the population already carries MRSA in their nasal passages (without any harm befalling them) so these massive sterilizing campaigns being conducted at schools when MRSA is found are just a waste of time. I was very relieved to hear that the SuperBug was not lurking on every surface ready to jump out and attack my innocent baby (though I am carrying an ointment of anti-biotic ointment in my diaper bag nonetheless!)

No More Excuses for Keeping the Baby Weight

Pumpkin has now made me lose my last excuse as to why I’m still clinging on to my remaining baby weight. For months I’ve been telling myself (and others) that I just do not have time to workout. No time at all between working three days a week and taking care of a baby who likes to have a constant entertainment source. However, now I know that I truly do not have an excuse since apparently I can exercise and entertain Pumpkin at the same time. We were playing on the floor together the other day when I decided to do some stomach crunches while I was on the floor anyway. Pumpkin started laughing hysterically as I did normal and reverse crunches next to him. Whether it was pure delight at the act itself or utter disbelief that Mama was actually doing some physical activity, Pumpkin acted as if it was the most entertaining event he had ever seen.