Friday, December 30, 2011

A Brief Note on Comments

I can't see them.  For some reason I am unable to discover, comments simply are not showing up.  I have the blog set to accept them, have turned off moderation, everything I can think of, and I still can't see your comments.  I can be reached through my Twitter account, TheUnfoundDoor, so if anyone has experience with such things and the time to figure out what's wrong, please let me know, this is frustrating.

*wonders if it might have something to do with my inability to get the AdSense working either*

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thrush... not a cute woodland bird.

You may have been wondering where I got off to this last week or so... well, baby boy and I were having a minor issue.  Thrush.  

This kind.                     Not this kind.

Oh, don't I wish we were talking about a pretty little bird with a sweet flute-like song.  

Don't.  I.  Wish.

As you may imagine, this resulted in some general consternation all around.  When I first noticed those patchy white spots on the inside of JJ's lips, I thought it was just milk.  Then I discovered that it did not easily wipe off, and was concerned.  By the next morning... OUCHIE, like someone was running a red hot wire through milk ducts.  Not good!

Did I immediately call our pediatrician?  No.  (Do not under any circumstances hesitate to do so, this is just me, folks.)  While John was calling the pediatrician, being a child of the internet age, I jumped on my computer and inquired of the ladies on the baby boards just what the trouble might be.  Thrush was mentioned, along with possible latching and related supply issues.  Did a little more research, found a few pictures... yup, thrush.  The suggestions ranged from OMG CALL YOUR DOCTOR NOOOOWWWWW!!!!! to "Make an appointment" to "in the meanwhile, try xyz."  

Well, I chose options b and c.  We'd already made an appointment for Monday morning (this was Saturday), and I nagged John into taking me out to find some of the aforementioned xyz.  In our case, we chose the Gentian Violet, for several reasons.  A) It was available over the counter, meaning it was something we could try over the weekend instead of either waiting for Monday or going to Urgent Care.  B) The information I was able to find suggested that if we were lucky and had caught the infection in its very early stages, the Gentian Violet alone just might turn the trick.  C) It's cheap.  Yes, I'm a horrible mother for considering money when my child's health is involved.  I know.  But if I can fix a problem with a $1.50 bottle from Walgreens instead of a $300 urgent care bill we can't pay, prescriptions we can't afford to fill, and the resultant frustration, I'll take that in a heartbeat.

So we got home after trying Walmart (didn't have it, even though the website said the specific store did indeed have it in stock... I suspect the end of shift contributed mightily to this occurrence), GNC (the very nice boy at the counter had never heard of it, but went online in his back room and found out where we *could* get it), and Walgreens (where the very nice GNC employee sent us, and the Walgreens pharmicist found ONE bottle left in the entire store.  *Whew*).  

I go back to my lovely laptop (Oh, interwebz, how do I love thee, let me count the ways...), and pull up the previously located information on how to use this itty bitty bottle of purple stuff.  Turns out I have to paint it all over the taps on the milk bar, and the first time all over the inside of baby boy's lips, cheeks, & half-way back on his tongue.  

Oh, yeah.  This is gonna be all kindsa fun.

I did mine first, and listened to John make jokes about purple pasties while it dried.  *scowl*  Then we did JJ's application.  Oh, he was NOT a happy camper, not in the slightest, no sirree Bob.  When we were finished, we had a screaming fit to be tied baby who looked like he'd been eating grape koolade straight from the jar.  When he was done actually eating, he stood as a warning to those in the mad scientist community who might ever consider crossing a certain fast food clown with his purple burger-gobbling pal.

Three days later, he still looked like he'd gotten into Mommy's theatre make-up.

But it worked, and thankfully it only took 3 days, I tasted that mess and it is NASTY.

So, we're back, and recovering from the latching issues I suspect resulted from the taps at the milk bar tasting of the sourest Sour Apple candy ever. 

Without the candy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My love affair with numbers...

Those of you who knew me when are probably scratching your heads right about now and thinking, "Wait.  Hold the phone.  Back the bus up.  Laura, you hate math."

Yes, yes I do.  More specifically, I hate algebra.  I loathe it with every fiber of my being.  Thank you, Saxon Algebra Series, Mr. Smith, my high school algebra teacher, and my mother who made me retake Algebra 2 three times despite my increasingly obvious difficulty memorizing formulae with multiple fraction lines and an unGodly amount of variables.

Turns out, I'm a geometry person.  Who knew.

That being said, I am addicted to numbers.  Numbers are concrete.  Their meanings are fixed and easily defined.  Math is simple.  It follows rules.

Understand and properly apply the rules, and math works.

Consequently, I have an inborn love of all things spreadsheet, as anyone who has seen me in an office setting will attest.  This is great, when someone needs me to organize a file room, figure out who's milking the time clock, or tell them why their scale at home never seems to match up with the scale at the doctor's office.  File rooms become models of organization, slackers find themselves on the receiving end of lectures from HR, and scales either get properly calibrated or the person gets a nifty little quick-reference chart showing the offset percentage & a range of "If it says ____, then you weigh ____" numbers.

Until the chart and its predicted values are supposed to apply to my son.

My son who, being human and my offspring (because seriously, when have I ever been normal), refuses to conform fully to expected patterns.

Oh, the jaundice cleared out as expected.  He's getting longer.  But he was on the light-weight side to begin with and his weight gain has been a bit slower than his doctor and I would like.  He was born at 6lb 11oz, bottomed out at 6lb 8oz by November 28th, and as of Monday evening weighed seven pounds, three ounces.  That's 11 ounces of gain over 3 weeks, or about 3 & 2/3oz per week.  Not panic time, but not fabulous either.

The other point of concern?  The poop.  Yup... never in my life did I imagine I would ever be this interested in poop.  Well, my boy is apparently one of those highly unusual babies that eats plenty, grows, is well hydrated, alert, happy, hitting milestones and not seeming the least bit uncomfortable, in other words is by all other indications healthy and thriving... but takes his darn sweet time making doodie.  10 days, at one point, he went without.  I had him in to the doctor three times in that 10 days, because I was repeatedly hearing from many sources that he should be messing 3-4 diapers a day, separately from the diapers that are just wet.

This first time mom was seriously panicking, y'all.

I was trying everything, worrying that my supply wasn't enough for him, obsessing over every baby-fart, and generally driving myself insane.

Then on Saturday, my sweet little angel decided to suddenly "hershey his huggies".  (That would be my husband's contribution to today's ramble...)  And boy howdy did he ever.  Two full cloth diapers and a messed disposable.

This required a bath.

Thankfully, one of our baby gifts was a contoured bath seat by Primo.  I love it, even for my slender and very wiggly guy it does the job.

So once he was all clean & sweet-smelling again, we went back to our routine.  Eat, cuddle, sleep, repeat.  

I spent nearly two weeks in a state of near-panic because the chart said one thing and the baby was doing another.  I confirmed that his latch was correct.  I obsessed over my diet and fluid intake.  He is never permitted to go more than 3 hours from the top of one feeding to the top of the next during the day (usually more like 2), and only once at night, for no more than 5 hours.  Hell, if I could figure out how, I'd let him nurse in the Moby and just swap sides when he needed his diaper changed.  

However, being a member in good standing of the BBTC (... that's "Bigger than Baby Titty Committee"...) it would likely be an exercise in frustration for both of us, as there is no good position for him that does not smoosh his face into my body too far and make it hard for him to breathe.

But after yet another visit to the pediatrician, another round of "head feels normal, skin color & elasticity are good, mouth is moist, wet diapers, temp is good" and his weight going up again, I have officially decided to take a breath and chill.  He's a perfect little guy, just unusual.

And really, I was expecting him to "conform"??   My kid?  Somebody please tell me what you put in my ginger tea, because I know some folks that could use that level of delusion.

(Note to autocorrect:  "smoosh" is so a word.  Why?  BECAUSE I SAY SO!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

BTDT Mommies, please explain this...

So, I have to ask.  What is with the biting?  No, I'm serious.  He is THREE WEEKS OLD, and he bites!  Hard.  Those bony little gums have left a ridiculous amount of bruising on things that do not appreciate bruising!  And he's too little to "thwock betwixt the eyes", as my mother put it.  (That would be a quote from my brother's baby book, from the day he bit her with his first tooth.)  So my only recourse is to unlatch the kid and start over.  Which results in a screaming angry baby.  Which results in more biting.

Anyone besides me seeing the vicious cycle here?

Worse yet is the dreaded Boob Yank.  The aforementioned bony gums are locked in place, but not so tightly as to arouse my suspicion just yet.  Then JJ randomly decides that he wants to look ... over... THERE, and tosses his head as far away from me as possible.  Without letting go first.    Oh, the agony.

John thinks it's hilarious, and has been on the receiving end of many a deadly maniacal grin promising vengeance if he does not shut his trap right the hegemony now.

Which, of course, has the effect of making him laugh even harder.  *rolls eyes*

Oh, well.  On to the next step, which is getting JJ to take a nap once he's full.  He's starting to stay awake and enjoy having us play with him between some of his feedings, which is at once fun (providing shutterbug me with opportunity to snap more embarrassing baby pictures), and tiring (I was taking naps too!!).  When he is disposed to sleep, he drops off fairly easily, often while still nursing, but then there is the challenge of getting him wrapped up and laid down without waking him up, or getting him back to sleep if that fails.  

In order to set this up properly, I have to back us up about 2 years.  Back to when I was working the graveyard shift at a truck stop Subway.  Meaning I slept during the day, usually from noon to about 8pm or thereabouts.

The sound of rain has always been a fabulous sedative for me.  So when I was having problems staying asleep for a sufficient amount of time, I went hunting online for a white noise site that did rain sounds.  What did I find?

Rainy Mood

It's a thirty minute recording of a decent early summer storm, complete with distant thunder, occasional birdsong, and oh-so-faint music of the Gregorian Chant variety sparsely woven throughout.  It is also looped, meaning it plays on continual repeat as long as you have the site open.

This site saved my sanity.  I would open the page, turn off my screen, and just let it play all day long while I slept.  Worked like a charm.  But now I have even greater reason to sing their praises.

Quietly, mind you, and definitely not from the roof-tops.

Yup.  Three weeks old today, and sound asleep.

This is the result of opening Rainy Mood and letting it play while little man was lying wide awake in his crib and staring at me with those unbelievably gorgeous eyes.  I had tried everything to get him to drop off, and he was fighting it, big time, despite the glassy expression & frequent yawning.  Nursing, lullabies, rocking, fresh diaper, new swaddle, laying over my heart, the works.  And was getting absolutely nowhere.  

Enter Rainy Mood.  Swaddle baby, tuck him in, open the website, and JJ is dead to the world in 15 minutes.  Thus why I am now able to spend time sharing the super-cute awesomeness with you, gentle readers.

Yes, Rainy Mood is still playing.  Tired I may be... stupid I ain't.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Oh. That was your toast?"

I love my in-laws.  I truly do.  They're wonderful, sweet, endearing ladies.

The catch?  They don't think.  It doesn't occur to them that already-toasted bread freshly popped out of the toaster when they enter the kitchen at 7am might belong to the lactating mother in the house who stepped back into her bedroom to watch the baby while her breakfast cooked.  So they push the button down and send the toast (not bread, it's already toast) back for another round of crisping.  Which wouldn't be a problem if I were one of those people who likes her toast to resemble charcoal.  I'm not.  I like my toast... here's a shock... toasted.  As in warm and lightly crispy so I can still actually taste the bread.

Like this. 

So when I re-enter the kitchen thirty seconds after the toast is originally done, I hear this:

"Oh.  That was your toast?" 

I've been awake since five because JJ for some reason decided not to sleep until 7 like he usually does.  He's fussy and gassy and I'm a little concerned he might be constipated.  Those of you who knew me when know that I am most decidedly not a Morning Person.  So give me some credit for not snarling back, "Yes!  Yes, that was MY toast, which you would know if you had asked instead of just assuming it was up for grabs!"

I wanted to, but I didn't, because they're old, not used to other people being in the home, and quite accustomed to the men in their lives doing all their thinking for them, so it would have been pointless.  Never mind that they have very generously thrown open their home to us, kept us all fed, and not complained about my cats climbing on their knick-knack shelves, while John was still looking for a job.  

What I actually said was, "Yes, that was my toast," proceeded to rescue it before it completely turned to cinders, asked if either of them wanted it because I don't like it that hard, and spread it with jam when they declined.  I then retreated to our room so I could stop biting my tongue.  


As for the little man, he is presently enjoying Second Breakfast.  By his eating habits alone, one would swear I gave birth to a hobbit.  He certainly has the feet for it!  Check out these canoes!

(Btw, I adore my webcam... it makes the creation and sharing of embarrassing baby pictures so EASY!!)

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

My world is forever changed...

Nineteen days ago, John and I welcomed our son, John Junior, into the world.  Eighteen days ago we brought him home.  In the seventeen days since then, John has found a job, we've gotten familiar with the process of changing a cloth diaper, and discovered the joys of co-sleeping.  (No, seriously, I cannot for the life of me imagine how new moms get ANY sleep with baby in another room... but that's a whole separate post...)

I've also realized that nobody can possibly be as excited and obsessed with our perfect baby boy as we are (nor should they be), and rather than continuing to drive everybody on Facebook nuts with constant status updates every time JJ does something adorable, I decided to roll with the bug a friend put in my ear and start a mommy blog.  Took me a few days to find the time and the energy, but here we are!

As the title suggests, I am by no stretch of the imagination the Fount of Wisdom for All Things Baby.  I did a lot (and I mean a LOT) of babysitting growing up, which prepared me in some small measure, I'm sure, but the last (almost) three weeks have thrown into stark relief how little I actually know.  I fell into "Mommy-mode" with barely a pause, and much of it is instinctive... burping the baby came without a second thought, for example... but this is the easy time.  Yes, I'm tired because I'm suddenly running on six hours of sleep a night (and I count myself blessed to get that much, he's a WONDERFUL baby), and yes, I get frustrated when I can't figure out why he's screaming (which, thank God, has only happened once so far), but at this point his needs and what to do about them are extremely simple.  Full stomach + well-burped + clean diaper + Mommy = happy baby. Generally speaking, anyway.  It gets complicated later, and believe you me I am ENJOYING this simple time... despite my aching back and all mutterings to the contrary.

That picture up there?  He was just about 90 minutes old when that was taken, they had just brought him back from the nursery.  I have to say, I don't look half bad, which kind of surprises me, because I got maybe an hour of sleep the night before, and the delivery was pretty insane.  The picture makes me laugh because I look completely stunned, and I was.  I kept looking at him, trying to wrap my head around the idea that he was inside me, that John and I together had made this beautiful, tiny, precious little creature that was now clutching my finger and sleeping with his ear to my heart-beat.  I couldn't seem to grasp it, and spent the better part of my conscious moments that day alternately grinning, crying, and staring at him in total astonishment.

In the last couple of weeks, I find myself looking at the world and everything in it with a completely new frame of reference.  EVERYTHING is being passed through the "we have a baby" filter, with some interesting results.  Shows I liked (or at least was willing to tolerate) before now have me asking John to change the channel because I don't want the baby hearing that crap, even if he is too young to understand.  I find baby-talk addressed to adults more obnoxiously irritating than ever.  The zoo scene in Happy Feet made me suddenly burst into tears... and not because it was sad.  It's supposed to be this tragic, gut-wrenching scene detailing Mumble's slide into depression and madness, and all I could think was "I get to take JJ to the zoo!"

We get to take him to the zoo, and the aquarium.  We get to watch his face when he tastes chocolate for the first time.  We get to teach him how to ride a bike and climb a tree and make snow angels.  John will be showing him how to clean a fish, and I'll be teaching him to sing harmony the way my mother did... by singing "Come, Follow, Follow" and "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in rounds with him at bedtime.  We get to tell him how flowers grow and why the sky is blue, and all about that big round white thing in the night sky and why it sometimes looks like a coin and other times like the clipped-off piece of a fingernail.

All the neat things we get to do with him thrill me.

All the scary things we have to protect him from terrify me.

And somewhere in the middle is this squishy little bean who wrapped his tiny hand around my finger and melted my heart into a pile of warm fuzzies.

Welcome to the world, son.  It's gonna be a crazy trip!