Monday, June 30, 2008

Add This One to the Worry File

A fresh addition to the list of things parents have to worry about is (drumroll, please) ... sunscreen.  

(Just when I had finished congratulating myself for keeping K. sunburn-free so far this summer!)  

Check out this Washington Post article, which reports that "some studies have linked specific chemical UV filters with the transsexualization of male fish and coral reef degradation ... [and] hormone-disrupting activity in lab tests ... and low birth weight in infant girls."

The article goes on to say that other experts (namely the sunscreen industry) say there's nothing to worry about. Riiiight.  

But the takeaway seems to be that if you are worried about the possibility of chemical exposure, use sunscreen containing titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, which are less likely to be absorbed into the skin.

And be sure to bookmark this great database of cosmetic products that the Environmental Working Group (EWG) has rated in terms of their toxicity:

Friday, June 27, 2008

Allergies, Revisited

So I took Kibi to the allergist for a follow up this week.  He's been doing only slightly better on the regimen the doctor recommended (1/2 tsp. Children's Zyrtec and an OTC nasal spray called Nasal Chrom at bedtime).  The problem is, he still has this persistent cough.  It followed us down to Florida and followed us right back.  DH and I have done everything we can think of to keep (what we thought were) the allergies at bay: giving him a bath or shower every night, changing his sheets regularly, vacuuming our house regularly, running not 1 but TWO humidifiers in his room each night, etc.  

Well, now I know why all of the above wasn't working.  He has a sinus infection!

Who knows how long he's had it.  Poor little guy.  Just like his dad, he doesn't complain when he is sick.  I had no idea.  The only symptom he showed was the cough, plus he started hitting his head with both hands (like "I coulda had a V8!" but hitting both temples at the same time). The allergist noticed a rattle in his chest (which I noticed too, but only just that day) that he said was not a wheeze (ie, don't need to worry about asthma just yet) but a mucous-y rattle. 

He's put him on antibiotics for two weeks, plus we are to use our nebulizer (which we purchased when Kibi came down with RSV at 7 months of age - poor thing!) to administer Xoponex via breathing treatments twice a day for the next week, "as a booster," the allergist said.

Well, I hope this works.  Hopefully we can knock out this infection and get the poor little guy cleared up once and for all.

(By the way, the allergist confirmed that pollen season is over in the DC area!  Halleluiah!)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ode to the Potato Chip Bag

Oh, Potato Chip Bag, why do you taunt me?  

As I wait, starving, heating up my baked chicken and rice leftovers (marred by the presence of a half a wilted sweet potato), you mock me.

You call to me from atop the fridge, "Here I am!  Salty, fried, decadent goodness!  You've had a long day.  Spouse is away on a business trip.  Child is in bed.  No one will know.  You deserve me.  You only have to eat one, then you can stop."

But oh, I know I cannot stop at one.  The commercial speaketh the truth.

I try to resist you, but resistance is futile.  

The crummy leftovers take forever to warm in the microwave.  I think I can hold out for the 34 seconds remaining.  

But no, I cannot.

I open you, tentatively, telling myself, "Yes, I will just eat one."  But I know, the voice inside me knows, and my id, superego and ego have all joined together to taunt me.  "WE KNOW YOU WILL NOT STOP AT ONE."

"Foo," I say.  "I will stop.  Yes, I will!"

But it is true.  I have no self control.

I tear open the bag, eat 2 chips, and proceed to eat approximately 58 more.

I feel ill.  But now the microwave, and my lukewarm leftovers, summons me.  

I eat my meal in silent shame.  (You thought I wouldn't have room, didn't you?)

Oh Potato Chip Bag, how I hate you.  I blew all my Weight Watcher points.  

I disgust myself. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another Soul-Sucking Reality Show

Reality shows sort of depress me.  Well, in the interest of full disclosure I like to brag that I never watch them, when truthfully I have precisely two real favorites:  Project Runway and America's Next Top Model.  While the former is cleverly constructed and makes you feel confident that you are learning something with each episode (How to make a dress out of licorice sticks! What material works best for a bathing suit?  Is it better as a designer to be edgy and unpredictable, or classy but boring? Etc.) the latter is nothing but a show about beautiful but whiny post-adolescents.  So, I guess we all need our guilty pleasures.  Anyway, I digress .... 

Have you seen this show advertised? It takes teenaged couples and foists children of varying ages (baby, toddler, preteen, teenager and finally an old person (!)) upon them to see if they have what it takes to raise them properly.  In other words, it's a disaster waiting to happen.  

The Post reviewed the show today, and this just about sums it up:

"Right off, the series shows two structural weaknesses: First, we don't get to know enough about the kinds of couples who would lend their infants to a piece of exploitainment like this; and second, the most hazardous of the six 'Baby Borrower' episodes (and the one that most lives up to the title) is the first, thus rendering the next five installments somewhat anticlimactic."

I guess there's an argument to be made somewhere that the show may have a positive effect on hormone-driven teenagers who might otherwise find themselves in trouble, whether by accident or by pact (horrors!).  

But really, when this show goes up against the lovely array of television options competing for viewers' attention at 8 pm tonight (such as Wild Kingdom, SpongeBob or "Britain's Worst Teeth"), I think it'll be no contest.


Monday, June 23, 2008

Murphy's Law

So I had planned to get the little one's one year photos this weekend.  Actually, I should say "one-year-plus-some" since he is just about 14 months old now.  What happened was that my favorite photographer was having a baby at almost exactly the same time K. was turning one, so I told her I'd be willing to wait until she felt up for a shoot.  Consequently we're doing this two months late, but I don't really mind since I took a boat load of photos of him during his 1st birthday, and some of them actually turned out halfway decent.

Well, now instead of being just two months past due on the birthday photo, we may be waiting even longer.  

About 48 hours prior to the photo session (which we had already planned to be this fabulous, playing-in-the-park, bubbles-blowing adventure), K. fell down on the sidewalk (after insisting on NOT holding hands with his grandma) and got a quarter-sized strawberry smack dab in the middle of his forehead.  He is fine, thank goodness, but the thing looks HORRIBLE.  Bruisy and oozy and scabby.  Sigh.  Figures.

Friday, June 20, 2008

And Now, Some Mindless Friday Fun...

OK, enough serious stuff for one week.  I'm starting to bum myself out!  It's time to have some fun.  Thanks to my dear friend Sweet Pea Chef for tagging me to do my first meme.

Here are the questions.

1. What were you doing 10 years ago?

I was three months shy of meeting my husband. (Side note: long story short, through a strange twist of fate, I was supposed to be set up on a blind date with him, but the logistics of that didn't work out; ironically I met him by chance at a focus group two weeks later and he asked me out!  It's a story that's a little complicated to relay, but once you hear all the twists to it, it really does make you think that fate had a little role to play!)  Also was living in Alexandria, VA with two of my best friends from Wittenberg and working on Capitol Hill for a member of Congress from the great state of Minnesota (uffda!).

2. What five things are on your to-do list today?
Do some work for a client (done!)
Deposit a pay check (yay!)
Buy a birthday gift for a friend's 3-year-old daughter (any suggestions?)
Finish unpacking from Florida (pathetic, I know)
Clean the house (sigh) as M-I-L is coming over for dinner

3. Snacks you enjoy?
Peanut butter and apple slices (a staple of pregnancy)
Diet Dr. Pepper
Sweets, in general (alas)

4. Places you've lived?
Conneaut, Ohio
Springfield, Ohio
Alexandria, VA
Washington, DC
St. Paul, MN
Arlington, VA

5. What are five things you'd do if you were a billionaire?
Start a foundation and hire someone to research the best charities for me to give my money to (I guess that's two things)
Fund a major television advertising campaign designed to stop/prevent child abuse (a la Smokey the Bear/preventing forest fires or the seat belt campaign) 
Buy one of the Hawaiian islands
Invest in the R&D to create a machine that makes you invisible

6. People you want to know more about? [this is where you tag fellow bloggers you know...] 
Alas, my pool of FWB's (Friends Who Blog) is so small I don't think I can come up with anyone who hasn't already been mentioned in this particular string.  Poor me.  I guess the meme stops here.

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Hot Button Issue

So, judging from my last post I should've suspected that I was subconsciously gearing up for a conversation about labor division issues with Dear Husband.  And wouldn't you know, it happened while we were having dinner last night.  He was teasing that I was sort of "crabby" on the flights home from FL on Monday night, which obviously made me want to defend myself right away.  I chose my words carelessly and said something to the effect of, "Well, it's hard flying all day with a 14 month old and considering I'm his PRIMARY CARETAKER, I was pretty exhausted."  He got offended!  

Spouse: "Primary Caretaker?  Like I have no involvement?  That would be like me telling you I'm stressed because I'm the 'breadwinner' in this house."

Me: "Well [with the exception of my couple little consulting projects], that would be sorta true. No biggie."

Spouse: "Yeah, but it's not exactly true, or politically correct, nor does it make me feel very good to hear it."

Now, I wouldn't admit this at the time, but my choice of verbiage was probably a passive aggressive way of saying that I wished he would be a little bit more hands-on with the kiddo duties in general.  The way I recall the flight, K. was using me as a human jungle gym for most of the time in the air, hanging on me, pulling on my hair, whimpering, etc. while DH dozed, or read a magazine in his seat, across the aisle from us.  In the moment it certainly seemed like the division was a little bit off.  (Now, I know that I should probably ASK for help more often than I do... but is it wrong of me to wish that he would instinctively KNOW when to offer it?) The complication is that both DH and I know that in many cases, K. can only be comforted by his Mama... so I think DH defaults to this conclusion many times, whether it is accurate or not. In any case, the conversation turned out OK, and DH reminded me of the many things he does - despite working a 60-70 hour week - to help out with the childrearing. And it's true.  And he pointed out that these were the roles we both agreed to in the beginning, etc., etc.  

To be fair, his job is very demanding, just as my "job" is, albeit in a different sort of way.  So, yes, fine... I'm OK with that.  I think I just needed to vent - a little acknowledgement of the difficulty of child raising every once in a while would be nice, wouldn't it?  I mean, it's the best thing in the world to be a parent, and I'd never give this up for anything.  But it's also OK to admit that it IS. SIMPLY. EXHAUSTING.  

What do you all think?  Am I feeling too sorry for myself?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Do I Sound Bitter?

This article made me throw back my head with cynical laughter.

Now really.... how many "parenting equals" do YOU know?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Tanned and Happy

We're back from seven whole days of vacation in Florida.  So much fun... so relaxing... and I actually finished AN ENTIRE BOOK* plus an entire issue of The Atlantic!  I'm still recovering from a day of travel yesterday (two flights: Daytona Beach to Charlotte, then Charlotte to DCA with a 14-month-old = sheer exhaustion) so for now I'll just post this photo of the two of us at the pool.  The hubster was otherwise preoccupied, floating on a raft, and I was goofing around, figuring out how to take photos of K-Bear and me with my iPhone. This one is completely goofy but I liked how it showed off our dilated pupils. (Am I weird or what?) 

Anyway, enjoy ... and I'll try to muster up the energy to post more tomorrow.

*Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri, one of my fave authors.  I give it 5 out of 5 stars.  It will not disappoint.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Gone South for the Week!

We'll be taking another hiatus from blogging, as we head down on Monday to heat-soaked Florida for a week visiting family.  Last I heard it was in the 90's down there; it's actually not much better here in DC.  (Today's high = 89. Oy!)  Anyway, for the time being I'll leave you with some more photo goofiness. This is a multi-part series entitled, "Peekaboo with ABC (While Waiting for Groceries)".  

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Sublime Times

It's pleasing to be caught off guard by a sublime moment. This happened to me yesterday when K and I were entering our 8th hour of being cooped up in the house due to our lingering colds and the threat of rain. We had been warned all day that a bad thunderstorm was coming, and sure enough, as if on cue, at 3 pm the skies opened up and torrents of rain pummeled our little neighborhood.  I wasn't sure if he would care about observing the weather or not, but still I decided to pick him up and show him the rain, first by opening up our front door to feel the humid air and watch the streets, the sidewalks, our porch, and our garden get doused.  After a few loud thundercracks and rancorous lightning, I decided we'd better get back inside, so we moved over to our big cozy chair and had a seat while we watched the action from our window. He loved it!  Who would've known he could sit there, rapt, watching the sheets of rain pounding down.  We sat that way, quietly observing through our window, for a good 10 minutes (which in toddler-dom is equivalent to half a lifetime).  All of a sudden I was overcome by a feeling of gratitude about ... well, everything.  Pausing to appreciate the power of a summer storm while feeling cozy and secure, appreciating little K's physical closeness and imagining the scene through his eyes ... feeling conscious of the experience, wanting to remember it long after the moment had passed, was like leaving a mental bookmark at this page of my life.  All too often I'm zooming through the days, looking for time to pass, waiting for K's next naptime or the next time I can take a break.  A sermon I once heard made mention of the fact that time with a young child is "holy".  It was nice to have an experience like this as a testament to that notion, and to remind me to slow down and enjoy the serenity.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Finger Foods: We Have Liftoff!

Well, we're all feeling a bit better after being knocked out by summer colds in our household. Fortunately, feeling under the weather did not affect K's appetite, and I am pleased to report that we've made more progress in our foray into the world of finger foods.  Those of you who have been following our adventures closely know that our little one has been averse to anything with lumps, actually gagging and throwing up whenever we would try to feed it to him.  Consequently both K's dad and I have been gun shy about trying table foods with him, despite the fact that he is nearly 14 months old.  (For what it's worth, my pedi said not to worry about and take our good ol' time... which gave me a bit of relief.)  Nevertheless, I harbored worrisome images of K going to kindergarten with his baby food jars in hand.  Aaack!  Fortunately, on our trip to the beach two weekends ago, K's aunt decided to take the plunge and give him Cheerios and ... he LOVED them.  I know this should not be surprising to you toddler moms out there, but for some reason I was just really hesitant to try them -- I guess I had just cleaned up too many piles of baby puke to get really excited about the notion.  But since the Cheerios adventure, I'm pleased to report that we've truly turned the corner.  As a result, this week has been an adventure in "big people food," starting with peas and whole wheat pasta two days ago.  He looked so gul-darned cute that I had to take a picture.  Now, on to filet mignon!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Yep, He's Just Sick

It's a cold - not allergies.  Despite my previous post, it's still quite difficult to see your 13 month old miserable with a nasty, snotty, cough-y cold.  He couldn't sleep much again today and gave up on his afternoon nap after only about 30 minutes, crying hysterically.  Meanwhile, my sore throat has gotten worse, and now it's been joined by an irritatingly stiff neck.  So, I am sure that's what the poor little guy is going through too.  I added some Tylenol to his allergy cocktail before putting him to bed; I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.  For him, and me both! And now... on to bed.

Chinese Water Torture

I don't know what is up with the little guy but it's almost as if his allergies got WORSE since we've been to the allergist.  Two nights ago he started coughing in the morning upon waking up -- a hacking, dry sounding cough. Yesterday the cough punctuated his sleep all day - in fact, he couldn't nap at all due to it.  I've been on a laundry frenzy, washing everything his bedroom, sheets, crib bumper, stuffed animals, etc.  We've also been giving him a bath or shower EVERY time after he's been outside.  E-x-h-a-u-s-t-i-n-g.  (I'll admit I've been praying for the end of pollen season!) So anyway, spouse left yesterday for a business trip so last night I laid in bed from 1:15 to 2:45 am listening to him hack every 20 - 30 seconds.  Talk about Chinese water torture... for both of us!  I sat up in bed and my cat was there, looking at me like, "What the heck is going on?"  It occurred to me that perhaps the humidifier would help with the hack (sort of obvious, no?) so at that point I got the cool mist humidifier set up as close to his face as possible.  Amazingly... no more coughing for the rest of the night!  In related news, I woke up this morning with a sore throat, and after just talking to DH by phone I found out that he has one too.  So, you know, maybe this isn't allergies but a cold.  I hate to say I would be happy if it turns out he has a cold, but admittedly it would be a relief to know that I wouldn't have to fight the pollen gods as hard as I've been trying to do these past 48 hours....

About Me

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

I'm #1804