Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Haps

Our heater is on the fritz this weekend. It's not too bad, but it's chilly. The *emergency* electrician can't make it out until Monday. Good thing we live in a near-sea-level area of California - yeesh!

The Bug is rocking on hands & knees, getting up on her hands & toes, and can really get around on her tummy. Can push backward, but that's not what she's trying to do, so it's frustrating for her. Yesterday my mom taught her "so big," and her enjoyment of the game and response whenever Mom asked her, "how big are you?" had me in hysterics. She didn't do it today, though.

Familial (mine) disapproval of Sweet Pea having her own computer. It's not like we bought her a new one or hooked it up to the internet. It's a very old computer of mine, and until someone at work gave Slipshod some hand-me-down CD ROM kid games, all she did was type letters in Word and play with the paint program. Now, thanks to the kind person at Slipshod's work, she can also play preschool games (mostly matching and memory games). She is scary good at figuring out how to get around on the CD ROM menus by herself, can turn on the computer herself and get into the programs, and even switch out the CD ROMs. Dude. But, as I said to my parents yesterday, "what do you expect from a child of Alpha Geek?"

Obviously, a visit from my parents occurred Friday/Saturday. Here's what I'm doing wrong with The Bug now: while Mom has to concede that The Bug is eating solids now, apparently I am not getting enough food into her. No further mention (by which I mean pushing) of Cheerios or teething biscuits, but by golly, she's behind developmentally because she is not waving "bye bye." Whatever. I imagine that if we ever DID that with her, she might learn it. ha ha!

Mom spent time reading aloud to me from one of my parenting reference books. Things like, "don't do anything to reward your child for waking up at night. You can speak reassuringly to her, but don't pick her up, don't feed her, and whatever you do, DON'T bring her into your bed!" I had a good laugh. I know that my parenting choices make mothering harder on me than if I could follow the advice in some of these books, but thank you very much, authors, I will do what feels right, not what you, who do not know me or my family, tell me to do. I love having my children sleep with me, and I will not make them cry through 21 months of teething alone in a dark room.

Despite the chilly winds and cloudy skies, the girls and I have been getting out for more walks recently. We're WAY close (once out of our small neighborhood, just about 2 blocks & across the street) from the grocery store, so even though Slipshod has been driving my car to work most days (the steering in my van is less painful on his arms than his own car's steering), we can still get out to restock on baby food and ice cream. There is also a grassy park (no swings, but pretty - trees and grass and grape vines) on our side of the main street, across from the shopping center, so we can - and do - fart around over there as well. Unfortunately, speaking of things that come out the backside, every time we do go to that park I end up stepping in dog poop. But it's still worth it to get out for a walk.

My sister found a breadmaker for me on the local Freecycle group. She went so far as to respond to the lady and go pick it up for me, isn't that totally sweet? I had always thought it would be fun to try one but never wanted to actually buy one, especially because we already have many many appliances and not that much counter space. BUT - it was free, so now I can play with it and see what all the hype was about 10 years ago. ha ha! Amusingly, the model of this thing appears to be Australian, so the recipes in the user manual/cookbook are written in milliliters and grams and call for things like treacle. But, somewhere along the line I read that any 1 pound recipe will work well with it (I think it was the lady who gave it away who said that), so I've looked up some recipes online and can't wait to try it. I just need to find some time to read all about how to use the thing before I throw in any ingredients.

That's about it. Nothing very new or exciting. But thought I'd post while I have a quiet moment. That's actually pretty exciting, that I have one of those. ha ha! But that's about it.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Out and About

Yesterday was so gorgeous that we just couldn't waste it at home. It took us a while to get everyone showered and dressed and get all the drinks, snacks and diapers together, but in the afternoon we took the girls to the zoo. It was so great to be able to walk around in shirtsleeves in the 75 degree weather after all the rain and chill we've had this winter! The lions looked pretty happy, too.

We had only brought snacks to eat in the car, nothing that really constituted lunch, so we had to get lunch at the zoo. MISTAKE. Slipshod waited in line for a good hour for tuna on white bread. Yuck. But it was food, and we ate it. While he waited and ordered and waited some more, I took the girls for a walk around part of the zoo. We got to see the tigers up pretty close and Sweet Pea, with her love of all things catlike, was enthralled. Interestingly, she seemed even more enthralled by the yellow anaconda, but I think the real draw there was the cavelike place they had the anaconda cage. We also saw some LOUD macaws and some monkeys swinging from branch to branch.

When she saw the over-the-park sky chair things Sweet Pea wanted to go for a ride. I told her she would have to wait for Daddy and eat lunch first. Once we did those things, she dragged Slipshod right to the ride and they waited in line. As The Bug and I waited, me pushing her majesty in her fabulous rolling chair for her first ride in the "big" part (i.e., not in her infant seat, but actually sitting up in the stroller), I remembered with horror how very scared of heights Sweet Pea is. I don't know why - but she has quite the fear of heights. I found Slipshod and Sweet Pea in line and asked Slipshod if Sweet Pea knew what the ride was. He said that he had been explaining it to her the whole time they were in line, and continued to do so until they got on the chair. I was sure I would her an earsplitting shriek of terror when their chair went up a little bit past the platform, but she was totally fine on the whole ride up and back. Whew! She and her daddy had a great time riding over the park, seeing the lions, tigers, wildebeests, camels, giraffes, etc. from above.

I'm glad they got to see the animals that way, because by the time they got off the chairs it was closing time and although we were not shooed out of the zoo, all the animals were being fed behind the fences, and being "put away" for the night. I hope we can go back again soon and get there earlier in the day so we can see more.

As for The Bug - she napped just a little bit in the car before we got there. I carried her in the Bjorn for part of the zoo trip, but we both got hot and she seemed to want to see a bit more, so once Sweet Pea was out of the stroller I put The Bug in. At first she was like, "um, Mom, are you going to leave me here? This is a little weird." Then she figured out that the seat belt was neat to chew on (she's so little that she could pull up the huge bit of slack hanging outside the buckle and chew on that), and she enjoyed looking at everything as I strolled her around. She didn't make a sound the whole time we walked around, except to hum/coo happily when she saw a lot of birds flying and landing on the wires above our heads at one point.

Of course, the not sleeping made for a 3-hour bedtime last night (she fell asleep very quickly but woke up less than an hour later, then couldn't get back to sleep), but I don't think she woke up too much during the night. Two times, maybe three, I think. I lose track nowadays because I just bring her in bed with the rest of us and fall asleep nursing her so I can get some rest too.

Today the weather is not quite as glorious but it is still bright, if not exactly sunny. Not exactly overcast, either - hard to describe. Grandma and Boopa are visiting and The Bug is FINALLY napping. She cries and wakes up when I put her on her back and the swing is losing its magic over her, so I decided to try putting her on her tummy to sleep. It worked, and she has now been asleep for a whole half hour - so exciting! I hope she takes a good nap. For once.

She is really getting all over the place on the floor. Still not truly crawling, but definitely making progress in that direction. Getting Sweet Pea to keep paper, crayons, and too-small-for-baby toys off the floor is a daily struggle, but I imagine that's par for the course with two kids. I am amused at the way The Bug tries to launch herself out of our arms and take head dives when she sees something she's interested in. I can't tell if she's more gregarious about that than Sweet Pea was, or if I just can't remember this stage very well with Sweet Pea.

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm Back

Not that anyone missed me, but my internet connection was down all week. Something broke upstairs. Slipshod fixed it tonight and it's good to be able to get "out" again!

I think everyone is healthy around here again. No more coughs or snot, and the girls finished up their antibiotics last week (it was only a 5 day course). Every day I wonder if I should take The Bug back to make sure her ears are clear, though, because her sleep is still even more messed up than it was pre-cold. This results in her frequently touching her ears when I lay her down on the changing table. However - she has reached the unfortunate age where she ALWAYS cries when I put her on the changing table (in fact, if I so much as walk into the room holding her she starts to complain), and she is always tired, and she is the kind of kid who plays with her ears when she's tired. So I am really pretty certain that her ears are fine. She is not sticking her thumbs into them like she was when she was sick; I think that's an indication of them being better. ha ha!

Anyway - The Bug cut tooth #4 on Monday the 12th, and seems like she's got more coming any day, the way she's gnawing on everything including the kitchen table (she's not actually hanging from it like the little sister in the Lemony Snickets movie, but only because she can't walk yet, I think...).

Sweet Pea has had a couple 12-hour nights of sleep, one even longer, and I have to say, those days are almost always so wonderful. She is so much sweeter and more cheerful when she sleeps that long at night. And she doesn't need a nap the following day, which gives us more time (well, it did when The Bug used to sleep during the day) to do fun things together while The Bug naps.

That is all... nothing exciting or fun or quirky, just the daily grind. I am having a very difficult time catching up on the sleep lost during the cold, but had a good night the other night. Probably because I went to bed a couple hours earlier than usual. Which means tonight I am not doing myself any favors by being up so late. Duh.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Will The Trial Never End?

The poor Bug - I'm not sure she's getting better. I mean, she is definitely better than she was a couple days ago, because she's smiling and playing again. However - it still looks like her ears hurt pretty badly when I lie her down flat. She cries and bats at both of her ears. I don't know if the antibiotic isn't working because she's not taking enough of it (meaning, she is spitting too much out), or if she just still has too much congestion in her head for her ears to feel better.

She is still waking up REALLY often at night and is nearly impossible to get back to sleep. She is tired and really wants to go back to sleep, but it just doesn't seem to be happening. Until she's been awake for a couple hours and just can't stay awake any longer. I forsee another trip to the doctor's office next week if this doesn't clear up soon. Today and tomorrow she will have her last two doses of antibiotic. Today she is more congested and is coughing more than she was yesterday, and nose is running more. We'll see what happens... of course, as luck would have it, our doctor's last day at work before vacation (or whatever - maybe it's a convention) was last Thursday. He's out for two weeks now. There are other doctors in the office, but the one there who most often sees children is... not our kind of person. VERY opinionated and pushy about what she feels is the right thing - she's one of those doctors who doesn't give parents the benefit of the doubt and doesn't seem to think that we can have working brains and our own educated opinions, because WE don't have medical degrees. I guess we can ask to see someone else. I think they're all family physicians. I should really find the girls a pediatrician up here, but I think that since we've already taken this problem to our current doctor and have called in and talked with his physician's assistant, we need to finish this out with the people who know what's going on.

Can I just say, I'm so bummed about the ear infections. This is the first time either of the girls has had one (well, actually they both have two). I'm very happy that Sweet Pea made it 3.5 years without one, but am bummed that The Bug didn't make it through the first year without one. I remember when Sweet Pea was a baby, our doctor said that if a baby can make it through the first year without an ear infection, they're doing very well. Oh well. This cold apparently lent itself to ear infections, since there was so much phlegm involved. Yech. And The Bug DID make it 8 months. She never even had a cold or anything until she was 6 months old. So I guess she's still doing pretty well.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Isn't She Sly?

I had a feeling The Bug was slipping something in unbeknownst to us... sure enough, yesterday while carrrying her I heard her grinding her teeth! That means she's got one on top now. Her third tooth came in - the top front left one. So, I guess the fourth will follow soon. Yay!

She is still coughing until she turns beet red and can't breathe sometimes, but not as much, and everything is getting much better rather quickly, which is SUCH a relief. Yesterday morning The Bug didn't seem a whole lot better, but over the course of the day yesterday she improved really really rapidly.

Sweet Pea's cough is still here but doesn't surface very often and is mostly dry now. She's doing great. Last night I left all the couch cushions, etc. downstairs and Slipshod came back to the family bed. His cough is much better too, but it's amazing how just a couple nights with him out of the room can make me forget his snoring! Oh well. The Bug slept much better, mostly in her co-sleeper propped up (but part of the time in bed with the rest of us). So I finally got to sleep a little better too. Whew.

Oh yes - Slipshod's grandma went home yesterday from the hospital. I guess she had two mini-strokes over the weekend (did I already say that?). We had heard that she had some slightly slurred speech and something else that didn't feel or work right, but I can't remember what. Slipshod went to see her yesterday at lunchtime and said she seemed totally normal to him, so either the slurred speech had cleared up, or it's so minor that he didn't notice. Glad she's home, but I hope the doctors told her stuff she can do to try to avoid more strokes... the doctor did give her a "Life Alert" button necklace thing, so at least she'll be able to get help right away next time - though she could have called any family member over the weekend. Yeesh.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Over the Hump - I Hope!

Okay, here's the latest: The night before last I slept sitting up again, for the third night in a row. The Bug slept more fitfully than the previous night, and kept pushing away from me, probably because it's just too damned hot for both of us to sleep with her in the Bjorn! But she has needed me to hold her upright so she can breathe, and obviously I can't go to sleep holding her; she'd slide down and end up in my lap on her back or her face if I fell asleep that way. Thus, the Bjorn.

Yesterday morning Sweet Pea woke up and sat up at 4am. I kept telling her to lie back down and go back to sleep, it was the middle of the night, etc. She finally told me, "my ears hurt when I lie down." I had two conflicting thoughts: 1) she keeps waking up and seeing me holding the baby, so she just wants attention, and 2) if she's waking up at 4am and saying that her ears hurt, her ears probably hurt. She didn't get back to sleep until 6:30am, after a lot of pleading for me to lie down and cuddle with her. I knew she didn't feel good and besides that she has been becoming more frustrated and bummed by me carrying the baby around all the time and not holding her has much, so I felt pretty sad about not being able to lie down with her and comfort her, but... I just couldn't. The Bug had to be kept upright, and also needed to be kept asleep as much as possible.

After Sweet Pea went back to sleep I got up with The Bug to change her diaper and it was nearly dry. I went downstairs to tell Slipshod that something had to change. The Bug hadn't thrown up again, but just couldn't breathe and was getting more and more tired and not wanting to nurse or drink from a cup. I had stopped feeding her solid food two days prior both in order to get her to poop wet stuff again and stop with the tiny bricks, and also because feeding her seemed like too much to deal with when she didn't want to be set down. And dammit, I wanted some sleep.

The Bug's temperature had been slightly elevated (98.3 or so axillary, which means 99.3 oral or 100.3 rectal - and all four of us have a normal resting temperature of 97.9) for a couple days and she just didn't seem to be getting better, so Slipshod stayed home from work again yesterday and called the doctor's office as soon as it opened at 8am. They had some free appointment times, so Slipshod and I moved as fast as we could to both get showers before we had to leave. The appointments weren't for 3 hours, but we are still seeing our doctor in Los Gatos, and now that we've moved up here, that's an hour's drive. AND, there's always the possibility of traffic. So we managed to get ready in time to leave an hour and a half before the appointment time.

All morning before we left Sweet Pea was begging to be allowed to stay home. She didn't want to go see the doctor. She wanted us to call various family members and ask them to leave work and come stay with her, and wanted us to just take The Bug to the doctor. She insisted over and over again that her ears felt better. I asked her if she was lying to me in the middle of the night that they had hurt and she said, "no," then later said, "yes, I was lying to you - PLEASE let me stay home!" We told her that she must be lying to us one way or the other - either they hurt or they didn't, and that lying was not okay.

Turns out that she may have been telling the truth both times. When the doctor looked in her ears, he said she had a broken blood blister on one of her ear drums (!). He didn't seem too concerned about it, but said that she definitely has an ear infection in both ears. He said that the blister was probably full in the middle of the night and was causing pressure that would have hurt Sweet Pea, but that once it broke, she probably felt better.

The Bug's ears were getting red inside. She did not have an active infection yet, but the doctor said she was right on the verge. By bedtime she was batting at her ears and was miserable. I mean, she had already been miserable for three days, but it seemed markedly worse at bedtime last night. But with her, it's hard to tell... she plays with her ears when she's tired anyway.

So, they're both on antibiotics for ear infections in both ears. Sweet Pea says she feels fine, though; I think she only had any ear pain when she woke up the other night. The Bug is still miserable because of all the plegm, but last night she slept propped up (on the foam wedge we used for her to combat her reflux as a newborn, and a thin pillow under that) in her co-sleeper and I was finally able to lie down and sleep on my back. She woke up every hour except for the couple times that she slept for two hours, but that was WAY better than the three nights preceding. AND, she is nursing a lot more often now. WHEW! I fed her banana baby food for dinner last night and for breakfast this morning. Since she is finally pooping normally again (no more bricks! Yay!) I think I will give her some oatmeal baby cereal with her baby food tonight for dinner. She is definitely very interested in the milk and the solids now - even warm water from a cup! Wahoo! She is still clingy but is playing more and is able to be away from me (playing on the floor, or sitting with Daddy) for short periods of time before missing me. That is progress from a couple days ago when she only wanted me to hold her at all times.

As for the medicine - Sweet Pea says it tastes awful, but she takes hers just fine. I never appreciated how good she is at taking medicine until The Bug came along. She spits everything out, so we have to hold her almost on her back in order to get anything in. We have to hold her hands away from her mouth so she doesn't knock the dropper away or grab it, hold her head facing forward, and then we have to cram the dropper as far back in the side of her mouth as we can and give her small bits at a time so she has less chance of spitting out the medicine. Then we have to hold her there until she swallows, which usually occurs as part of a huge sobbing fit. Then repeat until the dropper is empty. It's just lovely. BUT, they've both had two doses now (our doctor gives us Zithromax for them so we mercifully only have to give them one dose per day), and there are only three doses left. Whew. It's good to be on this side of this crap.

As if all this with the girls weren't enough, yesterday evening Slipshod's mom called to tell me that her mother was in the hospital. She's out now - went home today at lunchtime - but she appears to have had two mini strokes over the weekend. She has had another mini stroke before. We're talking about the queen of the martyrs, as was demonstrated when she told her doctor, "I felt weird on Saturday but wasn't sure what was going on. Then Sunday night I felt awful and thought I may have had a mini stroke but I didn't want to call and bother anyone because it was 2:30am... so I waited until Monday morning." The doctor told her that time counts for everything after a stroke, and that if she can get to the hospital within three hours of a stroke, they can help minimize any damage that might occur as a result of the stroke. Grandma said, "Oh, that's okay, I'm DNR." (DNR = do not recussitate) The doctor said, "well, that's all well and good, but strokes don't usually kill you. They're much more likely to paralyze you." I really hope that she heard him on that and will be less martyrlike about this in the future if she has more of these. But she probably won't want to bother anyone... GAH!

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

My Butt Hurts

... because I got what sleep I could last night while sitting up, propped on pillows, with the baby on the front of me in the Bjorn. It was very hot. And my butt hurts. Did I already say that? I am living in sort of a bubble here, so I lost track of what day it was and forgot to put the diapers out last night for the service to pick up. So we have a new bag of clean ones, but we also have a big stinky bag full from last week that we have to keep until next Monday night. Ugh.

The good part: We both actually did get a little bit of sleep - more than the night before.

Slipshod has been sleeping downstairs on the couch since he has a loud cough too. Sweet Pea still wants to sleep upstairs with me, though, even though I make tons of noise and move around all night, trying to keep the baby upright so she can breathe, nurse her when she needs it, and then burp her for a long time afterward, hoping to avoid another eruption of snot and breastmilk. But once she gets to sleep, Sweet Pea can sleep through just about anything.

More good news: The Bug has managed to keep 4 feedings (nursings) down since the last time she threw up, WHEW. Her diapers were getting drier and drier last night - but she awoke with a very wet one, and has nursed successfully a couple times today. The coughing is horrible and her face is all runny. But she's breathing.

I currently have her upstairs in her swing, hoping that she'll drop back to sleep so I can take a shower. I didn't get one yesterday and am feeling rather disgusting.

Two nights ago I tried putting The Bug in her swing, but apparently its magic isn't active at night. Last night I tried putting her in her car seat, but she woke up 30 seconds later and just wanted me to hold her. AND, if not belted in, she can squirm out of the car seat. So - looks like I just have to hold her all night until the worst of this cold is over. I really hope tonight is the last night of this... I just want to lie down and sleep!

But, more good news: The other night when I had a sore throat and headache seems to have been the worst of it for me. I am still WAY better off than anyone else who lives here. Whew!

Slipshod returned to work today, but will come home if needed. He went out and got breakfast for me before he left, which was nice. Now I just need a personal shopper to go out and get me some new shirts and some sweat pants. I STILL don't have the rest of my clothes, and due to all the baby spew, I am now wearing a pair of shorts from a set of summer pajamas, and one of Slipshod's long-sleeve T-shirts that he wears at night to keep his arms warm (yes, his RSI is still very bad).

Yesterday The Bug did not want to nurse much so I tried to pump in order to make sure I kept producing milk for her today. Apparently she doesn't suck very hard, though, because the pump on its lowest setting HURT! I couldn't use it for fear of making my nipples too sore to nurse for real. That was my electric pump. I also have a manual Avent Isis pump, but lost the last little valve down the drain. Gotta call Babies R Us today and see if they carry replacement valves so Slipshod can go get one for me at lunchtime. Whee... the fun never ends!

Oh, and for the record: The swing doesn't work when the baby's sick, either. So I woke her up by moving her for nothing, and now she's miserable and can't breathe AND is making more mucus by crying. Augh! Gotta go.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Damned Turkeys

They got me. I fought valiantly, but they got me down. I'm sick. Dammit. And so is The Bug. Which means, of course, NO sleep for me, because she can't sleep lying down - can't breathe that way - and to make matters worse for me, she doesn't seem to be able to sleep unless I'm holding her. IN MY ARMS. Yes, the Baby Bjorn will keep her against me, but I have to use my ARMS. AUGH! So, almost no sleep last night. I'm sure that will help me get better really quickly. Also, today she has reached the lovely point of "I'm-a-baby-so-I-don't-know-how-to-clear-my-throat," which means that when she gets too much phlegm going on, she has to throw up to breathe again. Joy. At least it's only snot and breastmilk... she hasn't had any solid food for two days because she is STILL pooping teeny, tiny bricks and only after lots and lots of effort for each of them.

Slipshod is, of course, all ready to go back to work after his weekend of being sick at home. Though thankfully, he's going to work from home today, whew. Sweet Pea is better every day, hooray. She's not waking up coughing anymore, and her daytime cough doesn't sound so awful and body-wracking anymore.

I am hoping that I'll just get a glancing blow. So far I've got a sore throat and post nasal not-drip (it's just sitting there). Oh, and I had a headache last night at bedtime. But hopefully it won't get any worse... wish me luck. Going to lounge in the couch-bed now with the kids and watch "Cars."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Mamas are Strong!

Everybody's sick here. Except me, of course. Yeah! ha ha

Slipshod has been sort of sick for over a week, but of course kept going to work.

Sweet Pea has been sick for a few days and thank goodness her cough is getting a little better. Two nights ago and yesterday every time she got on a coughing jag I was afraid she was going to either puke or cough up a lung. It's still bad, but the jags aren't happening quite as frequently or lasting for as long. She still has a mild fever, because she can't seem to have any tiny little germ in her body without getting a fever, but it's nothing serious. Nose running like crazy and every time I try to school her in proper noseblowing techniques, she says it hurts and pushes the tissue away, and continues to make that yucky snorkeling noise people make when they've got a gallon of snot just waiting to pour out.

The Bug and I were doing well to all appearances until today, though The Bug had been clingly for the past five days or so - which is unusual for her. She's got other issues, though... I seem to have plugged her up with rice cereal and other solid foods (though I think the rice cereal is the culprit). I stopped feeding her the cereal a few days ago but have kept giving her the fruits and veggies, and two days ago on the advice of our family physician I tried giving her some apple juice with her water, but she was pretty pissed about that and wanted nothing to do with it. But she has been drinking a little more water lately. However, today ever since she got up from her nap she has seemed tired and cranky and has spent a whole lot of time with her little head laid on my chest, resting. She does seem to be trying very hard to poop today, though so far nothing has materialized. The past couple days, though, she was quite the little pebble factory.

So, we will not be going to the birthday party we were supposed to attend tomorrow, darn it. I do hope that Slipshod feels better tomorrow. When he gets sick he sleeps and doesn't talk much. We've watched a whole ton of TV today, because I just don't want to deal with parenting two sick kids AND a sick daddy without any input from anyone else (the cats are just not help at all).

I must say, though, I'm actually doing a surprisingly good job of taking care of the house through all this. I think it's a reaction to not being able to make anyone feel better - I'm excercising control where and how I can.

Anyway, wish us luck... and health...