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.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Motherhood, or How to Accessorize Your Outfit with Pee Stains

So you want to know the truth about motherhood?  You want to know about the nights when three hours sounds like a good amount of sleep?  The days where taking the time to shower feels like an accomplishment on par with climbing Mt. Everest?  The daily discussions about poop?  You want to hear about the day when you reach the conclusion that it is ok to leave the house with your son's pee on your shirt?  Ok, then here it is, the unvarnished truth.

You will come to learn that you really can function on practically no sleep for months at a time.  The toll may be harder for your husband to take; at one point in the early months of your son's life, your husband will wake you up by scooping his hands underneath your back as if he was going to pick you up.  When you ask him what he is doing, he will respond, "I'm going to burp you" as if burping his thirty-one year old wife in the middle of the night is the most natural act in the world.

If you experience nursing difficulties, you will feel as if it is your soul, not just your milk, that you are pumping out of your breasts every couple of hours.  You will feel like a failure because your son will not or cannot nurse from your breast.  You will feel like you are harming your child for life because you have to supplement with formula after replacing your breast pump motor three times in as many months and you are still not able to pump out enough milk to meet your son's demand.  You will have daily breastfeeding obsessive ramblings discussions with your husband to try to determine why you cannot make nursing work.  After six months, you will pack up the breast pump and finally realize that your son is thriving, even on formula, and that you are not a failure as a mom because you could not make it work.

You will obsess about every illness he experiences, every new study that comes out, every baby product you buy and every milestone he reaches.

If you choose to go back to work, even just on a part-time basis, your heart will break a little each day when you leave his life in someone else's hands for the day.

You will cheer his every accomplishment: his first smile, his first tooth, his first laugh, his first steps.  You will think that he is the most amazing being ever created.  You will be right about that.

You will love him with a love beyond anything you could ever imagine.  You will know in the deepest part of your soul that you would do anything to keep him safe from harm.

And the most important truth of all: you really would not want your life any other way.

Now go listen to some other moms (we all love to give our pearls of wisdom...)


I finally have the requisite spaghetti covered baby picture of Pumpkin.  pumpkin_spaghetti_1 I made some homemade meat sauce for him the other night and it was the first time he had long pasta noodles so of course he had it everywhere!  Even after his bath that night, he still had orange-stained cheeks.  It was so cute, it was worth the painstaking effort of cleaning up the high chair seat...

He's still only eating with his hands but as you can tell from this picture, he is at least starting to figure out what the spoon is actually supposed to do...


He has been in a much better mood this past week.  His seventh tooth cut through last night (with I think one to three additional teeth getting ready to follow) and he also seems to be past his latest cold.  I had been somewhat freaking out because he had been very irritable for several days following his vaccinations so of course, I had been worrying about whether or not he was going to have long-term effects from the shots.  Of course, who wouldn't be cranky after 4 shots, a cold and multiple teeth cutting through their gums??  I know I'm not the only mom who worries about these things, but sometimes I do wish that we didn't have quite so much information at our disposal.  Believe me, I can come up with quite enough things to worry about Pumpkin on my own without reading the latest and greatest scientific study!

Take Me to Vegas, Baby...

I was lucky to win not once, but twice through 5 Minutes for Mom's Ultimate Blog party giveaways.  I've been on a winning streak recently.  A couple of months ago, I won tickets to a jazz concert (the concert was rescheduled so I haven't actually attended it yet).  Prior to that, I believe the last time I had won something was in elementary school when I won a drawing from Hills department store.  I was able to take my pick of from that week's Top Ten records (yes, I mean the vinyl kind).  I picked Tina Turner's Private Dancer album.  Yes, I was hip.  It could have been much, much worse considering that my first concert was Milli Vanilli which I attended with my dad, just to make the occasion that much cooler.  To give my dad credit, he endured it without complaint (or at least without complaining too much...he did just recently reminisce about the ringing in his ears that he experienced for days after that concert).

Not only have I been winning more often these days, but I have also been winning much more desirable items as well.  First, from Karen Neuburger I won a very cute camisole and panty set.  KN_dayware The cotton is extremely soft and the cut is very cute, without feeling too skimpy.

I also won a gift certificate offered by The Downtown Boutique to use at Ambrosia Delights, a home-based business specializing in homemade jewelry and boutique clothing.  I chose a pretty crystal and bead bracelet...ambrosia

Thanks to Karen Neuburger and The Downtown Boutique/Ambrosia Delights!  Both vendors were very responsive and the shipping was quick and easy...

The way my luck has been running, I guess I'd better go out and buy a lottery ticket!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

One Year Check-Up

Pumpkin had his one year check-up yesterday.  He "passed" with flying colors.  I received a B+ since I have not fully weaned him off of the bottle yet and as of yesterday, I was still giving him formula instead of regular milk.  He is on whole milk now and seems to love the flavor of it.  We're down to two or three bottles a day, but this morning we cut out his morning bottle and went straight to a solid breakfast and boy, was Pumpkin ticked off about that!  He was frowning and making protest sounds and pouts throughout breakfast.

The stats:  21 lbs 10 oz in weight, 29 inches long and a head size of 18 1/4 inches (there is a reason I've been referring to him as Pumpkin!)  After starting out at 5 lbs 2 oz, he plumped up to a little butterball around 4 or 5 months but now he's just a lean, yet solid, kid.  As usual, Pumpkin became sullen and angry as soon as we headed back to the exam room and it took two of us to contain him long enough to get his temperature (which he willingly submits to at home).  Of course, I can't blame him since immediately after we were called back, he had his finger pricked for bloodwork for the first time and then got to finish with four shots.  Unfortunately, our normal and favorite nurse, was not there and while the nurse we had was nice, she was EXTREMELY slow in giving the shots.  She would take the cap off of one, give him the shot while slowly depressing the plunger, stick on a Band-Aid and repeat, repeat, repeat.  Our favorite nurse gets all of the shots prepped and ready, then sticks them in one after another so quickly that she's finished before Pumpkin and I even have a chance to react.

I was nervous about the MMR shot as well as the rest of his vaccines, especially after the recent federal government ruling, but our pediatrician, who has four kids of his own, strongly recommended keeping on schedule.  He feels that the rise in autism is due to some environmental factor and he wishes that more research was being done to test for those types of issues, instead of the vaccines. 

As with every other parenting issues nowadays, it seems that we're bombarded with not only a huge amount of information, but also a great deal of conflicting information, which causes so many of us to overanalyze and worry about almost every parenting decision we make.  Luckily, it seems like most kids turn out pretty well in spite of us!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

And a Great Orator Was Born...

That's right, Pumpkin said his first word!  Of course it was "mama" (see, those hours of practicing were not wasted!) 

He had been saying "mama" or "mamamamama" for a while now but never in a context where I felt like he was actually talking about me.  However, on Sunday he was playing with Daddy and saw me walk down the hall and into another room.  He started crawling down the hall looking for me and very distinctly said "mama!" 

The next day, I picked him up out of his crib after his now normal non-nap (the morning nap is apparently rather passé now...) and laid him down on the bed for a diaper change.  He was sweetly holding the sides of my face when he again said "mama." just melts my heart!

Pumpkin is One Year Old!

This past Friday was Pumpkin’s one year birthday. It is so hard to believe that an entire year has passed since our little buddy came into our lives. He has changed so much; sometimes I look at him and do not even see a little baby anymore, just a true little boy. He has grown from a 5 lb 2 oz little “peanut” to a bouncing 22+ pound rough and tumble boy.

We decided to go with a puppy dog theme for the party since nothing brings a smile to that boy’s face faster than either our real dog, Ms. Beagle, or a picture of a dog in one of his books. I found puppy plates, puppy napkins, a puppy hanging mobile, puppy tablecloth, puppy party blowers, and puppy streamers. After spending a small fortune at the party store, I think next year I’ll just buy a few strategic party items and get the rest in coordinating colors at Walmart.

My mom made a carrot cake with cream cheese icing and I decorated it with a puppy dog (which turned out pretty well considering I usually tear off the entire top layer of a cake just trying to ice it). Boy, did that child enjoy his cake…

At first, Pumpkin seemed a little overwhelmed by all of the attention but he quickly warmed up to the party and as usual was completely captivated by his seven year old cousin. Pumpkin received a lot of great gifts from family; but true to form, one of his favorite gifts was a Baby Plays Peek-a-boo book. Pumpkin’s in-town grandparents were in attendance as well as one set of his out-of-town grandparents. The other set will celebrate a second birthday get-together with us in a few weeks. Two sets of aunts and uncles were also here for the celebration. After a raucous evening of birthday fun, he was wiped out and in bed by 7:15 PM (about half an hour after his normal bedtime). The next day he was a WEE BIT grumpy, but we all know what it feels like to have partied just a bit too hard the night before, right?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Another Reason I Hate Spiders

Last night, my husband and Ms. Beagle spent the evening at the emergency animal hospital. We came home from work and found Ms. Beagle sprouting hives across her back. She had silver dollar size lumps underneath her fur that seemed to worsen over the next hour, so my husband drove her to the after-hours vet hospital, all the way across town. They gave her Benadryl and told him that most likely she was either bitten by a spider or ate a spider. This morning the hives made a reappearance so we’ve been giving her with Benadryl throughout the day. Tonight she gets a bath (she’s really going to regret that spider appetizer). Amazingly, despite her discomfort, she was still able to stand guard at the edge of the drop cloth we have under Pumpkin’s high chair, waiting for any choice morsel to fall to the ground. What they say about beagles is true, if you ever see a beagle that passes up food run to the nearest vet because something is drastically wrong with that dog. As I’ve expressed before, food is of utmost importance to Ms. Beagle.

Who Says You Don’t Have a Social Life After Children?

After years of bemoaning the fact that my 7 year old nephew boasted a busier social calendar than I did, I’m happy to say that I’m going to a party! That’s right, it’s a blog party hosted by 5MinutesForMom. So before I head over there, let me welcome you to my digs.

I’m part-time software developer, full-time wife and overtime mom to a beautiful baby boy who I like to call Pumpkin. Hard to believe but he’s getting ready to turn one this Friday! I am pretty new to blogging but I hope you’ll drop back by for another visit soon. I love being a mom and started blogging after I realized how much I benefited from visiting other mommyblogs; it’s nice to know that others share your concerns, your hopes and your neuroses!

Working part-time, I straddle the divide between the stay-at-home moms and the work-outside-the-home moms so I get the joys and struggles of both sides…day care, time management struggles, playgroups, etc. So come back for another visit and I’ll share with you my experiences as I try to figure out this whole mommy-thing! Leave me a comment and let me know how you balance everything in your extremely busy life as a mom. After that, let’s party-hop!

Ultimate Blog Party 2008

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It’s Never Too Early to Read

My husband and I are avid readers so we both really want to encourage little Pumpkin to love books as well. As a child, nothing was better than when I received a book as a gift. Actually, that is still the case with me today. To try to encourage the same love in Pumpkin, I’ve been reading to him since he was a newborn. I had to do a bit of convincing to get my husband onboard with reading that early, but he eventually came around. I think the turning point was when we finally “smarted up” and started a bedtime routine with Pumpkin. For some reason, we both thought a consistent bedtime routine was just parenting hype. However, after about three months of not having more than about three or four hours of sleep a night; I was willing to try anything. I had to cajole and persuade my husband to give it a try; however, he finally relented and quickly became a fervent believer in the bedtime routine. We started giving Pumpkin a nightly bath, a bottle and then reading two bedtime books to him: The Going to Bed Book by Sandra Boynton and Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown. The rhythm of the reading seemed to soothe and calm him and bedtimes quickly became a quick and painless endeavor. Ok, there was a little more to the sleeping success story than that (earlier bedtime, better napping) and true success (a real night’s sleep for us all) did not come until a few months later but a quick and painless bedtime was an early and much needed victory. As he got older, he definitely came to recognize the specific books we read to him at night; in fact, he would start to fuss if he was tired and we tried to read him any other story first.

Today, the child loves books. All I have to do is sit in the chair in the nursery and ask Pumpkin if he wants to read a book. Pumpkin will get an intense look on his face and race-crawl his way across the room to me, all the while making his trademark grunting noise that he makes when he just cannot get someplace fast enough. When he reaches me, he frantically sticks his arms up in the air, signaling me to pick him up and place him on my lap. We then settle in for a good read. He definitely has his favorites: any books with flaps or tabs that he can lift or pull. Any book with a focus on puppy dogs is a hit as well. Other favorites include Bear Snores On, The Big Red Barn, and Peekaboo on the Farm. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a reader!!

A Strong Stance Against ONLINE SHOUTING!!

I guess Pumpkin feels rather strongly about the overuse of the all-caps phenomenon which equates to online shouting. Admit it, you hate it to when SOMEONE WRITES IN ALL CAPS FOR EXTRA EMPHASIS AND THE READER FEELS AS IF SOMEONE IS YELLING AT THEM!! Apparently, he feels so strongly about it that he felt the need to completely rip the Caps Lock key off of our laptop, breaking the tab that holds the cover on the key to insure that reattachment was impossible. The kid knows how to make a point...

Walking! (well, he did it once…)

After a rather long hiatus, I am renewing my effort to blog on a more regular basis. So I would like to start with my most important and exciting news: Pumpkin walked! It actually happened a couple of weeks ago (he was eleven months and one week old at the time). We were out my parents’ house and I was trying to show them how well Pumpkin could stand on his own for a few seconds at a time. I stood him up and slowly moved my hands off of his torso and then he…walked to my mom. He went about two or three steps and did it very matter-of-factly as if he had done it many times before. I was in shock and so excited (and to be honest, rather nervous since our house is STILL not completely baby-proofed). It must be something about them or that house since my nephew also took his first steps there. Of course, when you find a woman who gives you toys every time you see her, who wouldn’t want to walk to her?? He has refused to take any steps since then; in fact, anytime I try to stand him up in front of me to practice, he goes limp-legged and refuses to even stand. He is still standing and cruising along the furniture but as we have often learned in the past, Pumpkin is not our trained monkey and will do what he pleases, when he pleases, thank you very much.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Better to be at Day Care??

We recently switched to a new day care for the three days that Pumpkin is in child care. We had many problems at our old day care, which I will probably blog about at some future date once I have reached the point where the thought of the old day care does not send me into a blind rage. We have been much happier at our new day care; the teachers are more responsible and mature, the care is more consistent, the facilities are much nicer and most importantly, they do not allow sick children to attend to so Pumpkin has been MUCH less sick himself since starting at the new center.

However, one of the teachers made a comment to my husband when he dropped Pumpkin off the other morning. Pumpkin had been home with me the prior two days. He is normally in day care for two days, home with me for two days, in day care for one day and then home with us for the next two days. We’ve had to adjust our schedule a few times since he has started but he has never been there for more than the three days a week, although this detail seemed to have escaped their attention up to this point. His teacher asked if he had been out sick the day before. When my husband replied that his was always at home on those two days, the teacher said, “Well, you will not be able to do that once he starts kindergarten.” What??? First of all, kindergarten is at least four years away. Secondly, the implication of her statement was that keeping Pumpkin out of day care for those two days was somehow detrimental to him. I do not care how good a day care center is, a child is always going to be better off with his parents as long as the parents are loving and nurturing. Plus, we have a schedule at home: a morning nap at 9:00 AM (though this one has been hard to get him down for now that his mobile) and another nap at 1:00 PM. In his class at day care, they have no set schedule and they nap if and when they collapse in exhaustion. Once he moves up to the next room at 12 months, then he’ll take a two hour scheduled nap in the afternoon. Now, they sleep wherever they happen to fall.

As good as his teachers are at his current school, I do not take kindly to parenting suggestions from them. At our last day care, I had a teacher rudely tell me that I had stop holding him when he fell asleep (he was much younger at this point and had a difficult time falling asleep on his own). I argued with her and told her there were many different schools of thought on that issue; however, she was insistent and apparently confident that she had the right to tell me how to parent my child. Oh no, I don’t think so… My husband and I are great parents; maybe we are a bit overprotective, but great parents. So the many, many “suggestions” we have received from family, strangers, etc. are irritating at the best, infuriating at the worst. I know that every new parent gets a lot of unwanted advice from others about how they “should” do things, but do these people not remember what it was like when they were parents themselves? Different generations had different ideas but parenting ideas from 30 years ago, are not necessarily viable nor desirable today.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

What Should You Be When You Grow Up?

Ok, I've always enjoyed art... drawing, painting, etc. However, the description below is definitely NOT me. I would not think that the word "spontaneous" would be the first word to describe me and I actually do like rules and structure. I was always a good girl (though I did at least become a little bit bad as I got older- well, at least within the confines of the major Rules, of course)...

Anyway, take the quiz and see what you should be...

You Should Be an Artist

You are incredibly creative, spontaneous, and unique.

No one can guess what you're going to do next, but it's usually something amazing.

You can't deal with routine, rules, or structure. You're easily bored.

As long as you are able to innovate and break the rules, you are extremely successful.

You do best when you:

- Can work by yourself

- Can express your personality in your work

You would also be a good journalist or actor.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Terrible Twos??? Try Terrible Ten Months!

The Pumpkin is increasingly having what I can only characterize as temper tantrums. They seemed to really increase right after he learned to crawl. If he does not get his way (Mean Mama won’t let him play with the hand sanitizer) or if I try to do something that he does not want to do (Mean Mama tries to put clothes on him), then he will scream, kick his legs, arch his back, and push me or whatever other irritating person or object is nearby.

I’m at a loss as to the best way to handle my demon child sweet baby. I have tried whispering to him to have him have to quiet down to hear me; this will sometimes work, at least until he realizes that I have nothing really that interesting to tell him. I have tried to turn it into a game by doing call and response screams with him; this does not impress him. I have ignored his actions and screams; not terribly effective but probably the best strategy. Redirecting him to another toy or activity seems to work fairly well too.

My question is…is this indicative of how he is going to be at 2?? I was hoping for a kinder, gentler tantrum like those my nephew used to have. He would silently lie face-down on the floor…not moving, just lying there silently. Seriously, that was his tantrum. You wouldn’t even know he was having one unless you happened to glance over at him. I think he thought that depriving everyone else of his attention was punishment enough for the rest of us (which, in all honesty, it was… he was and is one cute and funny kid). Obviously, the Pumpkin has other plans in store for us…

Does Anyone have a “Normal” Pregnancy Anymore??

I was talking to a friend the other night who was relaying her harrowing birth story to me, involving several days of hemorrhaging, inept doctor and nursing staff and various other incompetencies. She and her child were truly lucky to have survived the ordeal. As we were discussing this, it made us realize the many weak links in today’s medical environment as well as the high number of friends we know who have had difficulties in their pregnancies, myself included. Between the two of us, we know many people who have had premature deliveries, serious complications such as HELPP, complications from inductions, IUGR, as well as many other maladies. Luckily, all of the women we know survived and have healthy children, but it made us wonder. Are we just aware of more problems today and have a greater ability to diagnose them early due to ultrasounds, genetic testing, and other medical advances? Are we introducing too many medical interventions when they are not necessary? Are we having problems related to toxins in the environment? Older mothers? An inefficient and insurance-controlled health system that results in doctors spending too little time with their patients?

My son was born with a condition called Intrauterine Growth Restriction (IUGR), a condition where the fetus does not receive enough nutrients to grow at a normal rate. I became pregnant right before I turned 31. Throughout my pregnancy, everything appeared to be progressing normally and I was ecstatic about how relatively comfortable I felt throughout the pregnancy. I had a few issues, which in retrospect may have been pointing to complications; each symptom alone was nothing to worry about but when I review my symptoms in aggregate, I think they may have been pointing to a possible case of preeclampsia, which can cause IUGR. In the last trimester of my pregnancy, I started to have some minor symptoms. First, I would see floaters, or black spots, appearing periodically in my line of vision. I mentioned them to my OB, who stated that it was probably nothing but could be a sign of preeclampsia, but since I had no other symptoms and my blood pressure was in the normal range (although higher than my baseline BP), it was nothing to worry about. At a later visit, I mentioned that I was having some soreness on the right side of my abdomen, under my rib. I described it as feeling as if I had an organ that was aching. I received the same answer that I had received when I discussed the eye floaters. At another visit, I told her that I had been experiencing bad swelling, especially at the end of the day. My OB told me that was normal (unfortunately, all of my appointments were in the morning when my swelling was bad but not terrible; by the evenings, complete strangers would comment on how swollen my legs looked).

Also, during this time, my son’s heartbeat slowed down. For months, his heart rate would be at exactly 150 every time it was measured. Over the last several weeks of my pregnancy, it went to 140 and then down to 130. I questioned my OB about this since it had been consistently higher for months beforehand but she said that it was in the normal range and that the heart rate would naturally fluctuate. Now, I wonder if it was during this time that the placenta started to fail.

When I was about 34 weeks pregnant, my OB told me that I was measuring large and that she was going to schedule me for an ultrasound in a couple of weeks to make sure the baby was not growing too large. When I was went in for the ultrasound, at 36 ½ weeks, the technician told my husband and I that the baby was measuring where he should have been measuring at 33 weeks. When I asked her if he was ok, she told us that our OB would discuss that with us and then quickly gathered up the photos and left the room. Obviously, I started to panic at that point. My OB explained to us that our son was IUGR (they estimated him as weighing 4 pounds and 15 ounces during the ultrasound) and that the reason for the diminished growth was that the umbilical cord was not allowing enough nutrients to pass to him. She assured us that he would be fine but sent me straight over to the hospital for an induction; the fear was that if we waited, the placenta could fail to the point where our son could have died in utero. Apparently, my body was thinking the same thing since I was already having contractions every couple of minutes (I could not feel them) and I was 3 cm dilated when I arrived at the hospital, although I still got to experience the lovely experience that is pitocin. I was terrified but luckily everything worked out fine. Our son was born almost exactly twelve hours after we arrived at the hospital. He weighed 5 pounds 2 ounces and he was premature since he was under 37 weeks, but his lungs were fully developed and he was completely healthy. Our only complication was that he would not nurse, a big deal at the time but in retrospect, a very minor issue with which to deal. (I’ll have to tell you later about my very mixed feelings on nursing, pumping and the propaganda/guilt tracks you read…nursing is great but there are some situations where it just doesn’t work and you should not be made to feel as if you are going to kill your child by giving him formula!)

I am thankful everyday at how healthy my child was and is…he now weighs in at somewhere between 21 and 24 pounds (I’ll find out for certain in a couple of days when we have his ears rechecked). He’s a smart, active, wonderful little boy. In retrospect, I feel like I may have had preeclampsia but since each symptom presented itself at different times, the full picture never came together since my OB (whom I do still think is great) was really only focused on what was going on at each individual appointment versus looking at the trends during the pregnancy as a whole. I suppose we can blame the insurance companies for that…each OB appointment typically lasted about 5 minutes. I do not know if it could have been or should have been caught earlier; however I do know that next time, I’m going to be tracking things much more closely myself and I will be much more vocal and persistent about any concerns or problems that are occurring.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

You Know You're a Mom When...

You know you are a mom when you almost start doing a dance for joy when your son has a bowel movement after a bout of constipation. When he finally surmounted his problem, we started doing a joyous rendition of “You’re Mr. Poopy Pants…” to our mutual excitement. Yes, see how your intellectual prowess soars as a mother? No longer do you discuss the latest book you’re reading, world events, nor the most recent exhibit at the art museum. Now it is more likely to be the latest contents of your son’s diaper.

Poor Pumpkin has yet another ear infection. This one came about in a whole new manner. On Sunday afternoon, he suddenly spiked a high fever and had an episode of projectile vomiting (look, another lovely topic to add to your conversational repertoire!) We spoke to the doctor on call that afternoon and then made an appointment to see our normal pediatrician on Monday morning. He also seemed surprised to see another ear infection considering Pumpkin normally has a lingering bout of cold and congestion first prior to having ear problems. He had seemed to be doing better Sunday evening but then his fever spiked again later that night, despite the Tylenol later. In retrospect, I’m glad his fever did spike since I would have assumed it was just a normal viral episode otherwise. After a couple of days on a high powered antibiotic, the Pumpkin is on the mend although his appetite is still off a bit. However, let’s just say that his illness seems to have brought out a rather “willful” side of his personality! Giving him his antibiotic has resulted in several wrestling matches as he attempts to push away my arm with every attempt to give him his medicine, regardless of whether or not it is in a medicine dropper, a bottle mixed with a bit of formula or a bottle with just the medicine itself in there. Lovely, just another eight days with twice daily dosages to go…

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Pumpkin is On the Move!

He’s crawling forward now! He had been inadvertently moving himself backwards for a while now but has finally figured out how to move forward. It seemed like it happened overnight. He had made one or two tentative forward motions previously, but all of a sudden he was able to crawl across an entire room. I’m very excited yet apprehensive as well. In his first hour of full crawling, I had to pull him away from our carbon monoxide detector twice as well as away from repeated forays towards the toilet. Needless to say, our house will be completely baby-proofed by the end of the weekend. I guess we’ll be breaking out the “NO” word now as well.

My husband is overjoyed that I am now receptive to buying a flat-panel TV since I now view it as a safety feature. Our current Sony Vega weighs hundreds of pounds and takes two men to move it so I just look at it as a catastrophe waiting to happen. However, he does not have me sold on actually paying for HD service. That battle continues…

He's Growing Up

I know there has been a long hiatus from the blog. When did holidays get so hectic? Pumpkin’s first Christmas was good, although he ended up getting sick. Since we were out of town, we took him to an urgent care where the doctor said he did not have another ear infection but she did put him on an antibiotic since he was developing a nasty cough. I still suspect he may have had a flare-up with his ears so I was glad that he was given the antibiotic. Pumpkin enjoyed the gifts (more so than the wrapping paper, which surprised me) and definitely enjoyed the attention from the legions of doting grandparents and aunts/uncles.

At the Pumpkin’s nine month appointment right before Christmas, our pediatrician told us he wanted to have him weaned off of baby foods and onto pure table foods, weaned off of the bottle and weaned off of formula by his twelve month appointment. Whoa, my world has been turned upside down!! He wants him drinking milk out of an open cup as well. The Pumpkin does pretty well out of an open cup when we hold it for him but even with us holding it, he ends up drenched by the end of the meal. I’ve gone to a triple bib technique- two cloth bibs and one vinyl bib but he still manages to become drenched around the neckline. How many outfit changes are we supposed to have during a day? Since Pumpkin is already in the twelve month sizes and is starting to outgrow some of those, we only have so many baby clothes that fit! I’m confused about the sizes since at his last appointment (which was right after a bout of a stomach virus) he was only in the 25th – 30th percentile in weight. The table food transition is also daunting, although we have been making all of his baby food and keeping it at more of a chopped vs. pureed consistency. A friend referred me to an excellent website: which I think will give me some good ideas about how to proceed on the nutrition front.

We have been trying to give the Pumpkin as much organic and preservative/chemical-free food as possible. At least the table food transition should get all of us to eat healthier! A good blog I found for more organic baby products is: We have not gone extreme on the green side of baby products but we’re trying to incorporate more and more as we read more about the hidden dangers in all of the products we use. We’ll see what type of reasonable balance we’re able to strike.