Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Table Manners

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

How Quickly We Forget

The Force is strong in my family. The worrying force, that is. There were many nights when my brother was in high school that BOTH my mother and I lay awake in our respective beds late at night when he was not yet home, imagining hideous scenes.

Motherhood, of course, has done nothing but magnify this problem. And today, for the first time ever, I did not know where my daughter was, which led to the deepest, most fearful worry I've yet endured in my life. I was running a bit late to pick her up, and was startled to arrive at her caregiver's and find an empty house with no car in the driveway. I called the cell phone. No answer. I looked in vain for a note. And then, even though the rational part of me was sure there was some rational explanation, I panicked. How would I even begin trying to find her? Where would I go? Where would I call? In the age of cell phones, how was it possible that I couldn't get in touch with them?

And then she returned home. With her babysitter, my mother. The one who passed on the worrying gene to me.

(Natalie is also fully recovered from her illness, BTW.)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Risky Business

Six years ago today, I loaded a yellow truck with my belongings and drove off, alone, into early morning snow flurries. I was either doing the stupidest thing I'd ever done in my life or making a big, important decision for myself. I fiddled with the radio, trying to find anything decent between big cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. I entertained myself with an station featuring mostly polka and a language I could almost understand from studying Russian. I listened to CDs that I knew well enough to sing along with so that the crappy cheap speakers I'd bought for my discman wouldn't annoy me as much. I made phone calls to check in from payphones (!) along my route. Hours and many miles of turnpike and highway later, I unloaded the truck into a spare room about a mile from Jen's house.

Depending on who I spoke to, I was either moving for a cool opportunity to do an apprenticeship with an outdoor education group, or I was moving to be closer to Jen. I'll let you decide which one was the more honest answer. I knew the outdoor ed thing would be cool either way, and just hoped that I wasn't making a foolish decision about this relationship that would later bite me in the ass. As it turned out, the job, or rather, a tick, was what (literally) bit me in the ass, while the relationship just continues to grow. Best decision I've ever made.

And some updates...

We made our third trip of the week to the pediatrician this morning. Natalie spent most of yesterday sleeping, and this alarmed us. As did her goopy, choking cough. However, she appears to be on the mend. Slowly, but improvement is improvement. She is clearly still quite tired, but she's making attempts to play! And smiling! And moving! Sometimes. When she really, really wants something. She pauses to put her head down, and still cries when we put her down sometimes, or for no apparent reason. But she has had no fever today, and is definitely improving from this and this (which sadly, don't even begin to capture the full misery).

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


So Natalie's fever has continued since Monday, going down with ibuprofen, but coming right back. Yesterday she was the most miserable I've ever seen her. She would just ask to nurse, and then wail when I couldn't do it (and, yes, for the record, I did try offering my boob as an option. It was rejected.) Even in her newborn days I don't think she ever cried as much as she did yesterday. Today was marginally better, but still feverish and miserable and involving much holding and little interest in playing or being put down. Her nose is running like a faucet. She's drooling like mad. Her eyes are now goopy and running. A fountain of bodily fluids, she is. She's coughed/cried herself hoarse. Most of her coughs end in a whimper or a full-out cry. Time for a visit to the pediatrician, no?

In the waiting room, she sat in my lap, only making feeble attemtps to play before giving up entirely. She croaked "hi" at anyone who entered the waiting room. People sat as far from us as possible. (No one answered her.) I moved us into a corner to avoid the string of mothers coming in for newborn visits. I was glad when we were finally called back. She has either the beginnings of a second ear infection, or the return of the first. The stomach bug hit at the end of the antibiotic course, sothe first one may never have entirely gone away. She also has bronchiolitis, which is making her breathing wheezy, rapid, and shallow. She has spent the evening sleeping on us. I know she'll be fine, but it's just so sad to see her so miserable.

On the up side, she's learned a new word. As a general rule, our TV is banished to a closet under the stairs, and we've been vigilant to the pont of obsession about keeping Natalie TV-free, but youtube has provided some helpful bits of distraction...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Burn, Baby, Burn

Have we mentioned that part of our childcare arrangement is a swap with another family? I watch their kid on Mondays, and they watch Natalie on Thursdays. It's great. The kids love each other, the other family is pretty in line with our child-rearing philosophies, etc. They even use cloth diapers.


We keep passing bugs back and forth. That's where we got the evil stomach bug. There have been a few colds. Today Natalie, who had been getting congested over the weekend, woke up with a fever. We figured it was either her ear infection coming back, or the cold that C's mom came down with last Friday, so we said it was OK for C to come anyway. Shortly after C arrived, I noticed he felt hot. Naaah, I thought. Just imagining things. Finally I took his temp. 102.

So now hot stuff #1 is napping in her crib, and hot stuff #2 is napping in my arms. Gonna be a fun day around here. Thank god my sister is visiting. I only hope that it's slightly less contagious than the stomach thing. (which reminds me, I spoke with my dad yesterday and we DID get him sick. Luckily it was after he made the 10 hour drive home).

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Advice Column #1: Tips for Dining at a Nice Restaurant with a 10 Month Old


Many Happy Returns

Thanks to everyone for your birthday wishes. I've been meaning to post about the glorious day I had with Cait and Natalie (no alarm clock! snuggles and giggles in bed! beautiful sunshiny arctically cold weather! finally a haircut to fix the mess from August! hot Krispy Kreme! Alison Bechdel's graphic novel! and more!) but following my birthday dinner with my family, I've been distracted by the thought of becoming an advice blogger and am hard at work on my first post.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Happy Birthday to Jen!

This year has taken you from waiting to wonder. May the next be just as amazing. Natalie and I look forward to celebrating with you. As soon as we finish our coffee...

Sunday, March 04, 2007

A Twist of Lyme

The needle is edging closer to "healthy" around these parts, for which we are grateful. We did manage to take out Jen's mom with the virus, but she's recovering and doesn't seem to hate us. My dad is visiting this weekend, and as of yet is hanging tough. Natalie surprised us with another puke Friday night, but continues to seem fine during the days. So we'll just spend our nights anxiously grabbing towels for the next little bit.

Before the stomach fun began I had actually been writing a post (in my head, of course) on a totally different health topic. Basically it was going to say that a decision has been (almost 100%) made. I will not be trying to get pregnant. I met with my therapist Monday night to talk it over and, though there are aspects of the decision that I am sad about and things that I am sure will be difficult, I am pretty OK with this choice.

Over the last several weeks, I got pretty run down. Between Natalie's cold/ear infection, which kept her awake coughing, and some busy weekends, I wasn't getting much sleep, and wasn't getting the catch up time on the weekends. The week before the stomach fun I spent several days convinced that I must be coming down with something because I was just so miserably achy and tired. I finally realized, no, it was the Lyme coming back for a visit. I really have been doing so much better on the pain front since I've been on my latest medication. I figured I was finally getting rid of the Lyme. It appears that instead I am just keeping it in check, which will probably be my status for the rest of my life. And if I push too hard, I get painful reminders. Doesn't bode well for weaning off the drugs and trying to get pregnant this summer.

I may want to wean off my medication anyway, just to see what happens. I hate having all these drugs and chemicals running through my body. However, I am less optimistic about my body's ability to handle the stress of pregnancy. I could do it if I didn't have to work. I could do it if we didn't have a child. But not working is not an option, financially, and I don't want to drop out of Natalie's life because I'm too tired to be her mother. And then there's the question of risk to the baby.

Really, the bottom line is, I couldn't love Natalie more. I adore her with every bit of my being. Each day I am amazed at my good fortune. There is no part of me that feels disconnected because I didn't give birth to her. The annoying, negative, self-doubting part of my brain sometimes tries to tell me that I'm not "really" her mom. But you know what? I am. My heart knows it. Natalie knows it. And the majority of my brain knows it and can wave the adoption papers in the face of the stupid part. If we have another child the way we had her, how can I feel anything but incredibly lucky?

So, Jen's up to bat for the next round. Of course, she hasn't even gotten her period again, so we've got some waiting to do, but it feels good to have made a decision. And if Jen's body is ready, we'll get going again in late spring/early summer. Wow.

Wrapping Up the (W)retched Week

Since our last episode, the folks here at AddProb have been having a grand old time!

Thursday evening: Jen, wanting to add to the fun, lazily tries to step around the piece of furniture substituting for a stair gate and slams her foot into the wall, breaking a toe.A former martial artist lifelong klutz, this is not her first broken toe and merely adds to the general merriment.

Friday: Still dealing with Natalie’s ear infection, Cait attempts to administer a dose of sticky-sweet, lurid pink antibiotic.She finds her hands too shaky, and passes the medicine and spoon off to Jen. Following the directions on the bottle, Jen begins to shake the bottle vigorously. The cap flies off and a gooey stream of bubblegum-scented syrup arcs through the air, splattering over the table, the floor, and Jen, from head to toe. At this point, Jen and Cait laugh – what else are they going to do? – clean the floor, strip the table, change clothes, and give Natalie what little remains of the medicine. She blows bubbles, spraying it further.

Later Friday: Jen and Cait make their wobbly way to work, while Natalie goes to Gram’s, only to discover that poor Gram has been felled by the absurdly contagious malaise. Grandpa takes over.

Friday afternoon: still unable to eat more than bland white foods, Jen and Cait cancel their plans for dessert with friends.

Late Friday evening: Natalie, who has been eating, and keeping down, all the pediatrician-recommended BRATY foods, pukes yet again.

Thankfully, since then, things have improved considerably. Foods stay where they belong, out-of-town Grandpa has come to visit and tackle various house projects, and everyone was able to enjoy an early takeout birthday dinner from Jen’s favorite restaurant. The washing machine has coped marvelously with round-the-clock operations, and by some miracle almost all of the clothes have been folded AND PUT AWAY. We’re hoping things stay on this upward trend for the foreseeable future.