Sunday, January 28, 2007

Pajama Hootennany

Natalie was the only person in the House of AdProb who changed out of her pajamas this weekend. Nope, we weren't just lazy; we were sick. Natalie kicked off the affair with an odd 24-hour virus a few days earlier. Her only symptom was a 102 degree fever. The moms succumbed over the course of Friday, though Cait made it through the workday by sheer determination (she had been in a losing battle with a cold since the beginning of the week, but it took a little push from Natalie's germs to really get the party rockin'). I held out until the middle of the night.

We learned a few things in our weekend of snot 'n' sloth:
  • Natalie has an uncanny ability to get sick on the only day of the week that requires us to scramble for sick-baby care. Six out of seven days she is with a mom or a grandma. Only one day does she go to a babysitter (who has her own baby whom she would like to keep relatively healthy). In the two times Natalie has ever been sick, she's got a perfect batting average, requiring us to take off work every time (with the first illness being a cold that lasted 10 days and took a turn for the worse on TWO babysitter days).
  • If other members of the family are sick, the nursing mom may get the virus as a breast infection. Yup, mastitis. I woke up shivering and chattering miserably at 2 am on Friday (really Saturday but it confuses me to say 2 am Saturday). Cait heaped blankets and clothes on me and I thought miserably to myself, "I survived labor; I can get through this." Rest, nursing, fluids, nursing, heat, nursing, pumping, and comfort food took care of the fever and aches; however, I may yet have to find a nursing-friendly physician if the plugged duct at the root of the problem doesn't go away soon.
  • The people at the Poison Control hotline are very nice, even when you say things like, "Yeah, I knew that plant was dangerous; I just hadn't gotten around to moving it yet." Of course, Natalie chose this weekend to eat part of a philodendron leaf. She's fine. The plant has now been relocated.
  • No matter how much they may annoy you, family are worth their weight in gold. Jen's mom made an emergency grocery run for us and then played with Natalie for much of the afternoon, and Jen's brother's fiancee made us matzoh ball soup (nearly vegetarian, at that) and delivered it to our door. These acts of kindness enabled us to survive Saturday in a much better frame of mind and body than we might otherwise have done.
  • If people try to send you home from work on Friday because you sound like a seal with a two-pack-a-day nic fix, GO HOME. Don't say, "I'll rest over the weekend," because you don't know what will happen over the weekend. Your cold may be trumped by your wife's Boob of Doom.
  • It's really, really nice not to go anywhere or do anything, even if you're sick. I wish we could have more pajama-only weekends WITHOUT viruses crashing the party.
We hope you did get out of your P.J.s this weekend, or better yet, that if you stayed in them it was by choice and not necessity!

First person to identify the musical origin of the title gets a copy of the mix CD of children's music that turned us on to the song in question.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Forget Hillary, Where's Steve Forbes When You Need Him?

Want to know one of my dirty little fantasies?

I get hot and bothered at the notion of a simple flat tax, on a regular basis. Imagine, a two-line tax form.
1> Your income.
2> Multiply line one by X%.
This is the tax you owe.

End of story. Ooooooooh, baby.

Ok, I don't actually agree with Steve Forbes on ANY aspect of social or foreign policy.* And I do know that flat taxes are regressive, benefitting the rich at the expense of the rest of us. But fer-cryin-out-loud, the current system that we have is complete crap! It's arcane, cumbersome, frustrating, skewed in favor of the rich ANYWAY, menacing, and a general pain in the ass.

Why all the fuming and whining? Well, in addition to our my** ongoing battle over the mortgage interest on our house, I just today found out that I have to pay the dreaded "nanny tax". My mom's housekeeper cleans our house every other week and does some childcare for us. It's our one luxury and a concession to Lyme disease; we scrimp in other areas to make it possible. But if I'd known that I'd have to spend hours trying to understand how questions like "Date business started or acquired (month, day, year)" apply in this situation (did I start the "business" when I was born? When Natalie was born? The first day the housekeeper cleaned for us?), I might have preferred to sleep less and clean more. (Ok, I take that part back. What little sleep I get is essential!)

I know it's a privilege to have this problem. But, oh, God do I hate anything and everything to do with taxes.

*And don't ask me what I think of Hillary running. The feminist and the pragmatist in my head are still duking it out.
**If we were able to marry and therefore it could legally be "our" battle, it wouldn't be a battle at all. Hmph.

Monday, January 22, 2007

First Snow

Smiles & Snow
Originally uploaded by jrustdc.
Or at least what passes for snow in the DC area. We got maybe an inch, inch and a half of snow and then it turned to freezing rain. We were afraid it would melt by morning so we took Natalie out and played in the snow at 7:30 pm when we got home from our trip. She was intrigued and puzzled at first but really enjoyed it. We even gave her a (brief) saucer ride down a (virtually nonexistent) hill. She REALLY liked that!

A few fun trip pictures will be forthcoming. We had a BLAST with Quinn and moms at the Pittsburgh Children's Museum.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Clarification and New Info

The House of AdProb would like to thank all the commenters (in the past several months, really) for all of their support and advice. It's so great to be able to get input and reassurance from people all over the world!

Having said that - and we truly mean it - we have some rebuttals and commentary on the comments! :)

Cait responds to the comments from yesterday: I'm not at all worried about Natalie's size. I know she's healthy, and I actually adore her chub. I'm not even that terribly worried about the ped saying something next week. We're good at ignoring the information/opinions we don't need. I just like to go in prepared. And it does annoy me a little when people focus so much on her size.

Jen created these charts today (thanks, Trista!), which actually make me think they probably won't say anything.

Weight Chart

Height Chart

Her height hasn't really changed in proportion to her weight--I just thought she'd been in a higher band for height than she had been--and she's following a lovely curve.

Jen adds: I think yesterday's post was at least in part an outlet for some stress that had nothing to do with Natalie. We all had a bit of a frantic day yesterday starting with the 7 am doctor's appointment (and as an aside to my aside, who in their right mind makes a baby's appointment at 7 am? Me, that's who, but the right-mindedness is quite debatable. Getting us out the door to an office that is 15 minutes away without traffic was ludicrous - but we were only 4 minutes late!) and things went a bit haywire at each of our jobs, such that Cait went in with Natalie on her day off and I ended up going over to help after my school let out. So instead of worrying about the crisis (now resolved) at Cait's school which was the real problem, we got anxious about Natalie's height curve slipping. Which, when we look at the chart, it really didn't. I knew it seemed crazy that her height would suddenly be so out of sync with her weight, when her general appearance hasn't changed, but I couldn't remember the name or address of the growth chart website (and didn't have time to engage in major Googling, since my work stress just continued today). Trista was on our wavelength, though, and inadvertently did the research for me! I tell you, girl, you're a born librarian!

And now we're off to pack for another trip. We're off this weekend to see Natalie's grandma - another four generation gathering in the rust belt. Whee!

P.S. If you want to use the growth charts yourself, they're over here.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Nine Nifty, Neato, Natalicious Months*

As of yesterday, Natalie is nine months old. The basket pictures are getting harder to take. She's crawling all over, trying to talk, and can point to the picture of the cat in her books when asked. She yells in frustration and indignation when we eat something without offering it to her. She eats with gusto and makes fabulous messes. She grins and laughs and charms random strangers on the metro.

Her official stats will be recorded next Tuesday. However, she had an appointment with an allergist this morning (persistent sneezing, snuffly nose, etc. + family history--they're going to run some blood tests but aren't overly concerned), so we have rough stats to report. 25 lbs (using the weigh mom and baby and subtract mom method) and just shy of 28 inches. She's well off the growth charts in weight, but slipping percentiles in height. We're a little concerned that this will cause the ped to get on our case about her weight next week. I'm starting to gather my retorts now. Any suggestions?

*Props to Art for the alliterative adjective assistance!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

It Happens

I knew it would happen someday. I just wasn't prepared for it to be this soon. Nor did I expect it to be completely and utterly my fault. I knew, from stories told by friends with older kids, that someday Natalie would put something utterly gross in her mouth. But I thought it would happen when she was walking - a toddler, able to escape childproofing, restraining arms, out of my sight for a few seconds.

Nope. Today, not quite nine months old. In the babysitter's living room. In. My. Lap.

She ate...


Dog shit I had tracked in on my shoe. Yup. WWM*, here I come.

After you recover from retching, allow me to say this: Babies are not right, sometimes. I was muttering and gagging while running around the house with her in my arms. Natalie was smiling and chewing away, getting hysterical only when I fished the crap out of her mouth and kept reaching in to get every last bit. The kid LIKED the turd.

So now that I have completely grossed you out, I will ask of you two favors:
1) Is there anything we should DO about this? Call the doctor? Feed her ipecac? Get her wormed?
2) Please share any of your own stories of children** eating horrid things so I don't feel so bad!

*World's Worst Mother
**You as a child, your own kid, that annoying neighbor kid down the street, whoever.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Sleep Thing

As you know, we're working on sleep habits here at AdProb. It's been a long process, involving many books, Moxie, experimentation, some success and lots of failure. In general, I'd say we're making progress, though we have been somewhat derailed by holiday travel. Natalie doesn't wake as frequently during the night, and is napping better. Sometimes. So this is where I ask for your suggestions.

Some background:

We mostly cosleep overnight. Natalie starts in her crib (safer that way--she moves around a lot without us there), and then joins us in bed whenever she wakes up, somewhere between 10 and 12. On a good night, she nurses when she joins us, and then not again until somewhere in the 6-7 am zone. Other nights she nurses more, but we've been mostly successful with the no eating after 2 am rule, which has made for more pleasant nursing for her and Jen in the mornings (i.e. less biting).

Natalie is home with me 2 days a week, and with Jen's mom or a babysitter the other 3 days. I can get her to nap decently (2 naps ranging from 1-2 hours each) with some effort. She naps pretty crappily elsewhere. She naps in a crib (except for occasional weekend family naps). She nearly always has to be resettled somewhere in the middle of her nap. Sometimes this just means a rebink* or a short rocking session, but often it's more difficult than that. I have hoped that if I continue to resettle her, she'll get in the habit of taking longer naps on her own. Thus far, that has not been the case.

We are not interested in doing CIO at this point. This is not a judgement on anyone who has used this technique--it's just not what we want to do.

My questions:

How have you made naps successful at home? We currently do music and white noise and feeding and rocking and singing before putting her down. Sometimes she's slightly awake and settles herself, other times she needs to be completely, totally out when we put her down.

Are her naps elsewhere always going to be few and short, or is it worth talking with the various parties taking care of her about strategies? If so, what should we suggest?

If you cosleep, has this affected your child's ability to nap in a crib?

Have you used one of those soft wool fleece mattress pad things? I'm wondering if making her crib more comfortable would help in any way. If it's worth us trying one, where can we find a decent but inexpensive one? Anybody got a secondhand one to sell? Or are we dreaming to think we can get one without spending a fortune? We're pretty broke.

Did/do you use a lovey? How did you introduce it? We've offered Natalie different kinds of loveys, and she's happy to play with them, but they don't really help her sleep in any way, and she hasn't gotten attached to any of them.

Any other words of wisdom?

*Our queendom for a binky monkey.