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…