Friday, May 30, 2008

Sorta Off-Topic

So I've been doing this blog thing "seriously" for about two months now, although I've dabbled in it a bit in the past (with limited success; said blog was something I started with two friends and intended to be a place for political musings and critiques of the day, but alas, I got lazy and didn't really hold up my end of the deal as far as postings were concerned. ) Anyway, I've really been having fun with Songs in the Key Of..., mostly because it is a great way for me to document my son's life (much easier than writing it by hand in a diary, I'm ashamed to say).  But still, I've always struggled with the question of how much personal stuff to reveal - mostly as far as K. is concerned, but also for my own benefit.  It's laughable to think that my life or this blog would ever elicit details juicy enough to warrant a crazy scandal, but still, when it comes to your child's privacy, you really can't be too careful. This is all a long-winded segue to the great New York Times Magazine article I devoured the other night, about the rise and fall of Emily Gould, former blogger in chief for Gawker.  If you can spare the time this weekend, check it out. Admittedly, I'm a sucker for this sort of stuff, but I do think you'll find it fascinating...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Allergy Secrets Revealed...

So we had our allergy appointment yesterday.  First, when the allergist checked K's lungs he said "I hear what I wouldn't call 'wheezing' exactly, but something more like a precursor to asthma wheezing... we will need to watch that."  Oh, wonderful.  That didn't really surprise me, however, because my brother suffered from asthma throughout childhood.  Bummer.  Then they did pulled out all the stops to test him - 24 pinpricks with allergens on his little back. Poor baby!  He was a brave little boy though, and only cried a tiny bit (although, thankfully, he soon got distracted by a little plastic bus he found under the doctor's examining table).  We had to wait 15 minutes after the test to see how he reacted to the allergens.  This is a picture of what it looked like, for those of you who are interested.  Those red dots you see are what the allergic reaction looks like (the one on the top left side of his back is part of the control group - it's "histamine" - and the pin prick above that is just to test his sensitivity to the pricks in general - it's saline.) Having struggled with allergies throughout childhood, the "pinprick test" was no big deal to me since I had to have it done all the time.  However, I quickly learned that others didn't have such a cavalier reaction.  I sent these photos to my husband on my iPhone while we were waiting for the test results, with no proper context or explanation, and I immediately got a frantic phone call: "What the heck is going on?  What is that on his back?  Is he alright?"  Anyway, we got the results back immediately and... (drumroll, please)... the good news is he is only allergic to three things, one way more than the other two.  Tree pollen is a doozy (3+ on a scale from 0-5 with 5 being out-of-this-world highly allergic), followed by milk (1+) and tomato (1).   The bad news is tree pollen is... EVERYWHERE I CAN SEE.  We have to give him baths every night (to make sure it gets out of his hair so he doesn't bring it into bed with him), keep our windows and doors closed (so much for that fresh spring air), and keep our car windows rolled up when driving.  Argh!  And we also need to give him Children's Zyrtec and an OTC nasal spray called Nasal Chrom every night for the next month (by which time pollen season should, God willing, be over).  We'll go back and check in with the allergist at the end of June. So there you have it. As for the other allergens, the doctor doesn't think we need to change our milk regimen (since he looooves his whole milk) unless it starts to really bother him.  And the tomato allergy was so inconsequential that the doctor didn't even mention it to me - I just saw it on the sheet he gave me afterward.  The really great news is he has no allergies to 1) dust (yay, I don't have to feel guilty about a messy house!) and 2) animals.  Our beloved yet maligned cat dodged a bullet!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Best of Beach Pics

I have a happiness hangover from our excellent weekend at Rehoboth Beach.  Still exhausted, so all I have the energy to do is post a coupla "Best of" photos.  Enjoy!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Beach Weekend!

We're going to the beach tomorrow!  We're celebrating my sister in law's birthday so the gang is all coming ... should be a great time.  I'll be taking a hiatus from posting over the holiday break so I'll leave you with another of my favorite pictures.  This was K's only other experience with a beach: the Gulf of Mexico.  We went to visit relatives near Bradenton, Florida last February. Here's me, K, and my brother after dipping our toes into the Gulf.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Sippy Cup Continued (Also Known as "I am a MO-ron")

OK, I am a HUGE MORON.  Born Free makes two kinds of sippy cup training cups - one with a "training spout" and one with a "drinking spout".  The training spout, although the softer of the two, is designed for younger babies and prevents the milk from flowing too fast.  The slit in the spout is really tiny.  The drinking spout is much firmer but has a larger opening so the liquid flows freely.  We had been using the training spout; hence, slow-flowing milk.  DUH!  I gave him the drinking spout this afternoon and voila, no problem, smooth sailing!  Again, I say DUH!  I am a huge moron.  And to think that this issue kept me awake last night.

Advice Needed: Sippy Cup Training

So, here's item 473 on my list of parenting-related things to obsess about: how to make the transition from bottle to cup.  The little one has never taken to a sippy cup, really, always preferring a good old bottle instead.  My pedi says we really don't need to stress about this, despite the American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendation that babies are weaned from bottles at 1 year. Still, I figure we should begin the gentle transition now that he is just about 13 months old.  So... I recently purchased some Born Free training cups and spouts (happily BPA-free) at a friend's suggestion.  The problem is, although he hasn't refused it outright, I'm concerned he's not getting enough to drink when we use it, because the spout is sort of funky and doesn't allow a free flow of liquid as a result of the usual sucking method.  Instead, you sort of have to bite on the spout to get the liquid out and then swallow it.  I guess in this way, it helps the child learn how to drink rather than suck.  And yes, I only know all this stuff because I tried it myself!  Anyway... it took him nearly 30 minutes to drink only 1 1/2 oz. of milk before bedtime last night, whereas with a normal nipple/bottle it only takes him about 10-15 minutes to drink about 4 oz. So... the question... is it OK for me to give him a bottle/nipple at times when he is really hungry, like first thing in the morning, and then use the training spouts during the day when the "need" for the bottle is not so urgent?  Or will it confuse him not to be consistent with the training cup?  Experienced mothers of the world, please weigh in... I'm desperate and paranoid that I am going to starve my child!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

10 Cool Things

We have developed an assortment of favorite things to admire (or eat) during our day.  Here, in no apparent order, is our top 10 list of all around cool stuff:
10. YoBaby yogurt (so delish that Mom can finish whatever he doesn't!)
9. Our fish aquarium crib attachment (used like a snooze alarm)
8. Gerber Puffs (consumed like candy, and it's Dad's favorite invention because it's virtually choke-proof... in fact, if it were up to Dad, this would be ALL the boy would eat)
7. Airplanes (whenever he hears one, he shoots a pointed finger straight up in the air whether he sees it or not)
6. Helicopters (a special bonus if we see one in real life, which is actually more common than one would think, living less than 15 miles from the White House)
5. Kitties (the word "meow" comes out like "leeeeeee-ooooo!")
4. Doggies ("Dah!")
3. Cars ("cah-cah-cah-cah...")
2. School buses (the elementary school one parks right outside our window at 8:15 and we go absolutely bonkers!)
1. Fire trucks! (on our shirts, socks, bibs, and books... but nothing beats the real thing!)

Monday, May 19, 2008

Dodging a Bullet

So the little one has been plagued with a blocked tear duct since he was knee high to a grasshopper.  Apparently it is very common in babies, but in 80 percent of cases it goes away by the time the kid is 12 months old.  Our opthamologist said that if it didn't, we'd need to schedule a minor surgery to have it opened up.  So, the blocked duct stayed on like a lingering houseguest (geez my figures of speech are lame today!) and caused a lot of hassle, namely just making his left eye all goopy and gross-looking when his allergies acted up, causing me to apologize to everyone we encountered, saying "No, he's not contagious, that's just a blocked tear duct."  Well, we finally scheduled the surgery for May 5th and had to postpone because that's when he had that nasty viral infection.  The resked surgery was supposed to be today - May 19th.  However, on Friday afternoon I got a call from the anesthesiologist herself.  She had been reviewing our little patient's history and told me, "I don't think this is a good time to do this surgery because your son has a lot of problems."  That declaration certainly snapped me to attention and I asked her what she was talking about.  Basically she was really concerned about the incidences of unexplained allergies that I wrote about in his patient history form.  He's had so many problems with mucus and phlegmy coughs and itchy eyes lately and our pedi has had him on Claritin and some nose spray for the past several weeks.  I'll admit I was starting to wonder if we were better off trying to determine exactly WHAT he is allergic to so we can narrow down our scope of treatment.  Well, that's exactly what the anesthesiologist recommended we do.  She said that putting a 12-month-old under when he has been battling heavy mucus and congested breathing would be "a big problem".  Talk about not mincing words.  Good lord, what if she wouldn't have called me to postpone?  I'm certainly no doctor and I never would've given it a thought.  These are the types of things that can really drive a control freak like myself nuts... anyway, we've put off the surgery indefinitely and I've got us an appointment with a pediatric allergist at the end of the month.  Now we can look forward to getting a handle on these allergies after all!

Friday, May 16, 2008

All Around the Mulberry Bush

Yesterday we finished our 4-week storytime series at the local library.  The little fella was fresh from a nap, so after it was over we decided to spend some time exploring the kids' section.  I imagined that he would be just fascinated by all the books lining the shelves, since he has seemed so interested in them lately.  But no dice.  His attention was focused primarily on doing this, over and over:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Someday My Couch Will Come

Not much to report today, except that later this morning we're going to sit at my friend K's apartment on Capitol Hill and wait for a couch to be delivered.  Why, you ask? Well, she's a good friend and I owe her one.  She always does favors for me, like cat-sitting while we are out of town, picking me up from various places, and whatnot.  The former is particularly meaningful because my cat HATES K.  (But then, he hates most people so that's not saying much.)  Anyway, in honor of what promises to be an exciting day, above is a picture of my two favorite K's chillaxing with some great reading material.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Our Reading List

So the Washington Post came out with a special kids' book section on Sunday and I was all excited to check it out.  K. is a really huge fan of being read to, which pleases me since I'm no good at math.  Just kidding.... sort of.  (I did tell his grandma that she would have to teach him counting since I have no interest!)  Anyway, I was hoping to find some good tips but was a little disappointed in the meager selection for the 2-and-under set.  It did, however, inspire me to create my own little Top 10 list of our favorite books in hopes that it can be a reference to some of you looking to build upon your home libraries.

10. Tails by Matthew Van Fleet (Lots of animal tails to touch and feel; perfect for little fingers)

9.  A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer (One-year-olds may get a little impatient with the pictures-to-words ratio, so I often make up my own story which works well at this point. But they will LOVE to see the fish grow and grow...)

8. Chicken Bedtime is Really Early by Erica S. Perl (If I ever launch my secret dream career of writing children's books, I will use this one as a model.  It's entertaining for the kiddies and parents alike.)

7. DOG by Matthew Van Fleet (What can we say ... we love this guy's work!)

6. Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (This is another favorite author/illustrator)

5. MOMMY? by Maurice Sendak (It's a pop-up book that we love.  However, this one's not for the faint at heart for two reasons: potentially scary pictures and lots of intricate cut-outs which he's already managed to tear up in two places.  Still, those are the reasons he just can't get enough of this book, and it's always a relief when we get to the happy ending!)

4. The Napping House by Audrey Wood (This was a sleeper... no pun intended... I was surprised he liked this one as much as he did, but I think it has something to do with the repetition and the imagery.  In any case, we read it almost every day.)

4. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle (This one ties with #8 as Mom's favorite.  It's got it all... great pictures, clever rhymes, and - of course - a moral that we can all learn from.)

3. Pajama Time! by Sandra Boynton (At first this one really annoyed me, but over the course of the last 6 months I've come to understand why these silly Boynton books are so popular.  I'm totally into it now, and he can't read it too many times.)

2. Trucks by Byron Barton (This one comes in a very close 2nd due to the fact that he can. Literally. Read. It. Over. And. Over. Again.  I have no idea what it is about this book, but he is crazy about it!)

1. Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman (Still the hands-down champ... see 4/15/08 post) 

Monday, May 12, 2008

Happy Belated Mother's Day

Hope all the moms out there had a nice, relaxing day.  This was my 2nd official mother's day but in many ways it felt like my first, since K. was only a couple of weeks old at this time last year and I was still in that post-birth haze.  (I don't really remember those early days at all - seems like I finally shook it all off twhen he was about 6 weeks old.)  Anyway, it was delightful.  I got to sleep in AND read the Sunday Post in bed... delectable!  Then we went out to breakfast. At 12:30 we took K. to swimming class (he is in a WaterBabies class at the local high school swimming pool - fun!) And then in the afternoon we picked up my M-I-L and we all went to the National Arboretum.  Even though it was pouring down rain, we thoroughly enjoyed a quick little jaunt through the "Azalea Walk." For those of you in the area, I highly recommend a visit. It's one of the Beltway's hidden treasures, to be sure.  We capped off the day with dinner at an Italian restaurant with my M-I-L and K's Auntie E., Uncle A. and Cousin B.  (Hilarious how I lamely attempt to protect people's privacy, isn't it?)  The little one went straight to bed and I watched Tivoed shows until the wee hours.  My idea of a perfect 24 hours!  How did all the other moms out there spend the day?

Friday, May 9, 2008

PSA for the Day

OK, it's time for a public service announcement, compliments of my friend Sweet Pea Chef in the Great Midwest.  There's been a lot of talk about the dangerous chemical Bisphenol-A (BPA) these days -- just another thing to make moms worry, I know.  If you're like me, you've probably been feeling a bit overwhelmed about what to do about it.  Well, our good friends at Amazon have come up with a BPA-free store.  Clever, clever!  SPC also published a cheat sheet to show you which types of products to avoid.  Print it out and stick it on your fridge.  Thanks, J.!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rash Update

I tried to think of a snappier heading for this one, but hey, it's late and I'm tired.  Anyway, the great news is that the rash is almost completely gone.  There's just a little bit of red blotch above his upper lip now, and it never seemed to be very itchy, so I'm glad.  The question remains: was it Poison Ivy?  Thanks to my highly allergic friend Julie for the above photo and the tip: "Leaves of three, let it be."  The problem is, although the leaves sorta looked like this, they were dead and on the ground so I'm not exactly sure.  So, hmmm... could the oils still be active if the leaves were all dried out?  This is pretty much the point at which my brain kicks into an obsessive tailspin, so I'd better stop dwelling on it and go to bed.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

I Thought I Was Sooooo Smart....

So yesterday was a beautiful day here in the DC metro area - sunny and mid-80's.  My parents were here (on a quick swing through on their way down to Florida to visit my bro) and we enjoyed a lovely dinner out on the back patio.  After dinner it was way too nice to come inside, and the little guy had taken a late nap, so we decided to hang out for a while.  When you're sorta beat and just looking to relax, it's tricky to think of ways to entertain a newly-walking 1 year old amid hundreds of potential outdoor hazards.  So, I developed a nifty little "explorer" game which involved giving him a little plastic cup and pointing out the various dead leaves and twigs scattered about the patio.  "Oh, what is this?" [singsongy excited voice] "A leaf!  Let's put it in the cup!" "A twig! Let's put it in the cup!" "No, don't touch that bird poop - ack!" Etc.  I was feeling sooooo smart and proud of myself for dreaming up such a creative activity.  Well, imagine my dismay this morning when I picked him up out of his crib and saw a HUGE rash across his face.  I'm talking splotchy welts over most of his cheeks and down the entire right side of his face.  The poor little guy looked absolutely miserable, although thankfully it didn't seem to be itching.  Our pedi squeezed us in this morning and confirmed that it was most likely an allergic reaction to some of those leaves and various organic items that he was pawing (and then rubbing his face).  Boy, did I feel dumb.  This, on top of the massive allergies that I've discovered he's inherited from me and his dad.  (We're still determining what he is allergic TO, exactly... dust, pollen, our cat, etc.)  And here I thought I was the smart one for encouraging "creative play".  Next time we'll stick with mind-numbing electronic toys.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Fun with the Video Monitor

Now, I was perfectly content with an old-fashioned baby monitor, but my husband wanted to get a high falutin' video one.  He insists it is for "entertainment" purposes but I know it's to alleviate his secret fears that the baby will implode in his sleep.  Anyway, now I'll admit that I've really come to enjoy this little invention, and the entertainment value is indeed priceless.  To wit: here are some recent photos of a what what goes on when Kibi is supposed to be napping!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Scary Scary Scary

Well, we had quite a weekend.  Our first scared-to-death fever episode.  The little guy was doing fine on Friday, demonstrating nothing out of the ordinary except a refusal to nap except for about 30 minutes in the afternoon.  Then all of  a sudden he developed a runny nose and then became blazingly hot.  Like, hot to the touch hot when I felt his back.  We took his temp on Friday evening and were shocked - 102.3!  Turns out, he had developed a viral infection and had a miserable weekend, not sleeping much at all, and acting very lethargic (I had actually never seen him officially "lethargic" - even last winter when he developed RSV he was playing and having fun like it was no biggie).  The fever peaked at 103.7 on Saturday which freaked us all out, but my no nonsense pediatrician stayed calm.  She had him on an Ibuprofen cocktail (Motrin plus Tylenol) for nearly 24 hours straight to keep the fever at bay.  She also took time out on Saturday afternoon (thank you, Dr. G!) to meet us at her office to check him out in person.  The verdict - a little fluid in the ears but no ear infection.  Just some sort of weird viral thing.  His fever broke early Sunday morning and he's doing much, much better today - back to talking and singing per usual.  As for my husband and me, we'll probably need a few days to recover from the worry.  Really makes you count your blessings.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Zoot Suits

According to Dr. Spock, you should never use the words "dirty diaper" when commenting on your child's bowel movement because it can give your little person a complex. My husband and I decided to head off this issue from the get-go, and since our son has been about 3 months old we've come up with a much more fun and friendly moniker: the "zoot suit". As in, "What do we have here?  It looks like a zoot suit!" or "Why, no zoot suits today?  Let's get out the prunes and oatmeal!" Employing this terminology should serve multiple purposes: in addition to boosting our child's self esteem, we will have given him a code word to use when he inevitably reaches that age when saying words about bodily functions is hilarious. This is a sensitive subject in our family, since my husband once called a lady a "fart" when he was about 3 years old. 

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Nap Nuttiness

If you were to ask me the #1 determinant of insanity linked to my journey through motherhood, I would have a simple response: naps.  For some reason (likely the fact that a well-rested bebe = well-rested madre), I have become obsessed with perfecting my son's nap schedule.  This drives me nuts because he has never been one of those babies who falls asleep on cue.  And it drives my husband nuts to see ME going nuts because, as he loves to say, "you can't control a baby".  It took our little one nearly 10 months before he was sleeping through the night, and you know what?  It happened completely randomly - when we were vacationing with family in Florida of all things.  After we came home he had no problem sleeping from about 8 pm to 6 or 6:30 am.  And now that he does that, I don't need to tell you moms out there how much more pleasant my (and, by extension, my spouse's) life has become.  And, since that time up through this week, we were also doing well on a semi-regular nap schedule.  (Morning nap was around 9:30 am and afternoon nap was more elusive, but could generally be counted on to happen sometime around 2 pm.)  Well, this week for some reason the morning naps have gone out the door.  Instead, the little guy runs laps around his crib for up to an hour and then starts to cry until someone comes to relieve him.  Consequently the rest of the day is thrown off and he ends up being crazy cranky.  I'm not sure if he's just transitioning to one nap (which I've heard can happen between 12-18 months) or just needs to be put down later in the morning.  I'm scratching my head over this one.  And by now I've digested so many napping books that I'm loathe to look at another one! ( Although, if you want my opinion, the best one so far seems to be one my friend L. shared with me: Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi Mindell.)  Any suggestions?  I'm all ears.

About Me

Arlington, VA, United States
Maestro and mom to a wee virtuoso

I'm #1804