Monday, November 28, 2011

Phantom Poo Poo and other Misadventures

I'm here! I know I haven't posted in a week - what a week it has been!

We have had many adventures in our Thanksgiving travels, including:

"Mommy, it is time to look at the weird blue man."



This is from a look and find book. This page is "Genie in a Bottle" obviously. Parker was entranced. And weirded out. And he couldn't stop looking at it. This killed some time during our long drives.

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My son actually channeled Robert DeNiro on our trip out! The famous, pained expression of ol' DeNiro is exactly what my son looked like in the back seat as he threw a royal fit about...I don't even remember what it was about, but he looked pretty funny. Like this guy:

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We also had a fabulous time watching our child play, play, play with other people's kids. Parker even bravely tried to sleep in one of these said child's room one night, but the other boy had to come get me. He said, "Parker says there's a ghost light in the room." Alas, no break from sleeping with Parker during vacation for me, and into bed with me he went.

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Speaking of ghosts, we were lucky enough to be plagued by a Phantom Poo Poo on our long drive home. About every 30 minutes, Parker said his stomach hurt and that he had to poo poo. Wanting to avoid an accident, we fell for this ploy about 3 different times and stopped so he could go to the bathroom. No poo poo. Every time. But, hey, we got to have lots of fun running around another convenience store.

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While sitting at The Kid Table one night for dinner, I could hear the kids sharing their ages.

"I'm eight!"

"I'm six!" etc.

"How old are you, Parker?"

"I'm 21."

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My boy is keen on doing ear splitting screeches at random. They don't last long, and I never know when it's going to happen, so I can't really prevent it, and it's one of those things I just ignore and let go of. It's one of those things that mothers learn to tune out a bit. Until the child is around other people. Then it seems very apparent. It is a sort of high pitched WoooooOOOOOp! Like an angry peacock. Or a howler monkey.

I looked over at one of the 25 people at our Thanksgiving get together and said, "He just likes to make sure everyone's awake," and I offered an apologetic smile.

He said deadpan, "Well, we are."

It reminded me of an Elizabethtown clip - the one where the hyper little boy is always screaming and periodically wakes the old man. This guy:


Which then inspires Orlando Bloom's character to play this TOTALLY AWESOME video for the hyper, loud boy.

Rusty's Learning to Listen
(You must watch this.)



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Some other pics from our trip:

Parker's first time on the ice! (Being held up by his daddy and aunts)


Watching the zamboni

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Our Thanksgiving Menu Includes Cat Food

Thank you for the kind response to my last post. I feel a renewed desire to keep working on my book!

I am also the proud recipient of an Editor's Choice award for Pocket Change at Become.com!

Award for Best Mom Blog


And, now, I cannot help but be reminded of last year when I wrote about my son eating money around Thanksgiving time, "Forget Turkey and Stuffing. I'll have Pennies and Dimes."

Last night, Parker ate cat food.

Parker threw up last night, and we thought he was getting sick. We fawned over him, set him up on the couch, and geared up for more vomit. Because, you know that when a child is sick and throws up, it doesn't just happen once. I thought it interesting he didn't have a fever.

Turns out, he gave cat food a try, and his body promptly rejected it.

He is fine. He is not sick. It's time to get ready for our Thanksgiving trip and leave the cats with a big honkin' pile of cat food - and no one to compete with for food.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A Night with No Limits

This week Write on Edge challenges us to write a short non-fiction or fiction piece about a road trip or a journey.



Mine is fiction and may or may not be from a book I'm writing. I'm shy about that. I just chose a quick snippet of it. It's the first snippet that's ever been shared at all here.

...............

The first stop could not be too far. The celebrating had to begin. An event that would cut the line between Before and After. Right off Interstate 17, traveling the lonely high desert of Arizona, there was one place that begged for a visit. What the universe knows, but people only wonder about, is that every single driver who has passed by the Rock Springs CafĂ© (with a sign boasting World’s Best Pies!) has wondered what it would be like to actually stop and take it in.

Moonlight competed with the flickering neon, a perfect combination on a night that had no limits. They were still buzzing with drug, ready for more drink. Kate pulled in to the gravel parking lot and felt the slowness of the car approaching the old building. Oh my god, they’re going to think we’re weird, Kate thought as she looked in the window where people sat at stools like they had sat there forever.

“This is going to be fun,” Marisa said, giving Kate a wink.

“Let’s do it!” Kate said, shutting off the car, feeling better already in the influence of Marisa’s confidence.

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Ok, I'm stopping there. I feel shy, like I said. Let me know what you think!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Meet Me on Monday



Need a little help this morning to catch up on things, so I'm linking up with Java for Meet Me on Monday!

Here's the questions:

1. Does your family/friends know about your blog?

Absolutely! I'm shameless about loving attention. If the people around you don't know about it, how can you get gushing compliments all the time?
2. What is your favorite card game?


If I'm gambling, Black Jack. If I'm just hanging out having fun, Chop. I'm very competitive and don't like losing.


3. What do you wear to bed?

Comfy cotton pajama pants and a tank top. You know, just like this girl.


4. What is your favorite kind of French Fry?

Hmm, the crunchy, seasoned type. Perhaps spiral. With both ketchup and ranch. I love lots of flavor.
Mmm, Get in my belly!

5. What is your usual bed time?

I read and go to bed about 9:00 pm. If I didn't have a kid, I'd be up much later than that because I'm more of a night owl. However, sleep is wayyyy too important to me, so I go to bed EARLY since I gotta get up early.
I don't iron, but maybe if I did, I'd look like this lady.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How We Survived Reflux/Colic

As I realize that some may land here to find “answers” to dealing with colic, I thought I’d give the top things that helped the most in our situation.

(Besides Zoloft for me)


Our son was diagnosed with infant reflux at three weeks old. He had eczema. Chronic constipation started at one month. He was identified as having milk allergy at one month. Other food allergies started showing themselves with the introduction of solid foods around four months. Once the reflux was managed with medication, he still demonstrated classic “colic” for months (crying for no apparent reason for a prolonged period at a specific time of day).

Holy shit, right? Right.

So, here’s my list:

1. I stopped doing what all the different books said I should do and did what felt right for our family for the moment. This is what I call “mothering from your own heart.” For example, I threw away the book that had told me to never let my baby sleep with me, to be careful not to overfeed the recommended ounces per bottle, and to breastfeed at all costs. I’m not saying my way is the right way. You may throw away the book that is the opposite of all that because it works for you. Do what preserves sanity for you and your family. The reason this helps you survive reflux/colic is because it gives you permission to do what helps you survive for now, rather than judging yourself for not doing things “by the book.”

This book is shit.


2. We were blessed with an awesome pediatrician and pediatric gastro-intestinal specialist who were with us every step of the way, willing to try different approaches.



3. PREVACID. Prevacid was a God-send. Parker was prescribed the solu-tab. He would get a half dose in the morning and a half dose 12 hours later. We had some hoops to jump through to get this covered by insurance, but it was worth it. Parker took this for about one year. We tried to take him off at six and nine months, but in both instances, the reflux came right back and he aspirated (choked on the reflux and stopped breathing for a moment). The Prevacid relieved the arching, the pain, and decreased the screaming.

Thank you, God, for Prevacid.


4. Elecare – A “superhypoallergenic” formula. I had a prescription for this and eventually got the right person on the phone at my insurance company and got it covered by insurance. Thank goodness because otherwise, it cost $50 per can. PER CAN. Roughly $600 a month. With insurance, it cost me about $100 a month. With Elecare, my baby could finally feed without it bringing him pain. Previously, I had the defeating experience of breastfeeding my baby, only to have him scream in pain afterward and choke on reflux. I was even on an extremely strict diet (white rice, broth, apples, water, and plain white meat chicken). I was losing weight rapidly. I breastfed for three weeks and pumped for an additional week after that. By the time we gave up on it, I was relieved and my son could finally feed and be…content.

WHY is some greedy asshole making MILLIONS from selling this to desperate mothers for $50 a can???

5. Miralax for constipation. We tried every remedy out there. Every remedy. That only brought us to eventually having to do an infant enema. Not fun for anyone, especially the baby. Miralax kept my son pooping for three years, and let me tell you, that was relief for all!
Oh yeah, the BIG bottle.

6. Thickening the bottle, especially for the night-time bottle. This helped to keep things down. Sometimes it’s a necessary thing for reflux kiddos, even though nutritionists warn against thickening bottles (your baby won’t learn his own “fullness signals” or gain too much). My boy has never been a chubby baby, and I think that refluxing up all of your food is hard enough on a digestive system without worrying about a “fullness signal.”

For crying out loud, KEEP IT DOWN!
7. Keeping his bed at a 45 degree angle – My husband installed a piece of wood under my son’s crib mattress that kept my boy at an angle for years. When he outgrew the reflux, we kept it like that since it helped with all the, seemingly, constant colds two year olds get. My son slept with us for the first six months of life. We created this angled spot for him with blankets to have this angle going on.

Get the damn purple sex pillow out and make it useful! (I am not saying I have one of these, but I have heard of it.)

8. AAT – Advanced Allergy Therapeutics - This is an emerging, alternative approach to treating allergies. There are not many people who can do it, so you’d have to Google it to find someone near you or in your region. Let me start by saying that after the first treatment, my son’s eczema was mostly gone. He’s now had three different treatments and is finally able to eat most things. We still avoid things that we haven’t treated that he is allergic to. We took him to a chiropractor 40 miles away who has had training in it. I was referred by the pharmacist at the Medicine Shoppe where I used to fill his Elecare formula.

Alternative treatments need to be talked about more!!
Google images

Anyone have other experiences to help with their child's reflux/allergy/gastro-intestinal issues? Do share! Share for the moms out there looking for a place to start!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Moms Dealing with Colic: It's Going to be OK



If God wants you to only have one child, he gives you a baby with colic to start with. At least, this is the lesson I've learned.

Why would I ever want to go through that again? Holy shit. No thanks.

My mother swears that the second one is easy. “The second one is an angel baby!”

I will not fall for that trap.

I don’t know why I thought that I would be free from the curse of colic. When I was pregnant, I just did not prepare myself for that (although, how does anyone prepare for colic?). No, I was a highly effective, organized, all-put-together type! I would have a highly effective, organized, all-put-together baby type too! Or at least a baby who followed a schedule and loved to snuggle and sleep, sleep, sleep all the live long day as I nuzzled his soft cheek and we lay in bed together, peaceful-like, just like pictures in magazines.

Instead, I remember hanging on to my last shred of sanity, hoping and waiting for the screaming to stop because there was really nothing that could ever help it stop.

One day, my husband told me I needed to get out. There were some things we needed at Target! Yes, I would go to Target. It was a glorious idea.

I had to wait for this angry baby to fall asleep so I could go. I was still breastfeeding, and I had to make my escape at a time that my body would not be needed.

I was very, very impressed by my husband’s bravery. I didn’t want to be alone with the thing, much less be a person without lactation services. “What if he wakes while I’m gone and starts crying and wants to feed?” I asked.

“I’ll deal with it. It’s ok,” he reassured me.

Eventually, the baby fell asleep. I was scared. It was my moment, and I was just scared. I suddenly felt urgent that I had to take care of this mission as quickly as possible. It had become an errand, something that must be done, rather than a chance to get out, but I made myself do it anyway.

I drove to Target in the rain, feeling strange to be alone in my car. Alone in my car with my own music. Like the person I used to be. I felt I would never be that person again. I felt that I was changed forever. And it freaked me out.

I hurried through Target. If anyone got in my way, I wanted to frantically scream, “I have a baby at home that screams and cries!! It could happen at any minute!! I have to be there, and you are in my way, you mother fucker!” Seriously. It was temporary insanity.

I couldn’t get out of there fast enough. The whole experience totally stressed me out. Freakin’ Target.

As I neared our street, a thought struck me dumb.

There’s no way I can ever go through this again.

I started bawling. I felt like a failure. I couldn’t have another baby! I wouldn’t be able to give my child a sibling. I was not cut out for this. How do all the other mothers do this?? How do they have more than one for crying out loud??

Something was wrong with me. Perhaps I wasn’t supposed to be a mom. Perhaps my husband and I were supposed to be those travel-types for the rest of our lives.

I pulled up to the house and didn’t know what would meet me on the other side. Crying? Quiet? Peace? Chaos? My home was no longer my sanctuary I could trust to get away from the world. It was filled with constant responsibility.

I dried my eyes, grabbed my bags, and walked inside. It was quiet.

I remember I was actually able to go crawl into bed with that sleeping baby and read a book for about an hour. Being near to him and knowing he was okay, while I was still able to do something I loved was exactly what I needed.

I wish I could have told myself back then, “It’s going to be ok. You will feel yourself again, sooner than you realize. You will get more and more of these beautiful moments all the time.”

Colic does not last forever. In fact, it is merely a blip in time. A hazing. Everything gets to be a whole lot more fun eventually.

But don’t ask me if I’m having another one.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Delivery

I intended to link-up today with Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. I wanted to write to the prompt that challenged us to elaborate on a story from our "22 Things I've Done" prompt last week. Although the demands of the day got in the way, I still wanted to write this story, no matter how late I got around to it. So, here it is...the story behind my #21: Stayed up all night to help my dad throw Sunday papers on his paper route.



Delivery

I was in bed in the dark, yet the light that came in under my doorway was so bright. It was all I needed to keep my anticipation level high. It was so different to be trying to sleep so early, so soon after dinner. It was only eight o’clock, but it was time to try and get about four hours of sleep before going with Dad on his paper route.

My dad had taken a job throwing papers. He had lost his job, and it was time to do anything to bring in more money. At first it was a little strange that he was throwing papers - a grown man. But, those are the people who bring the big Sunday paper to your door. Not a boy, riding his bike, earning coins and tips, like in the cartoons, but actual men who need to find a way to help feed their family.

I wanted to see what it was all about. I thought that maybe he needed company. I thought that maybe it was a lonely thing.

I always thought that maybe I could try to make something better.

When we drove out to the area where all the paper throwers gathered, we waited for the big trucks that brought the papers. The people – so many people! - stood in the empty parking lot under the glow of streetlights talking and laughing with each other. Dad said “hello” to many of the others and exchanged small talk here and there. A truck/cart near all of the other vehicles sold coffee. They held the steaming cups in their hands grateful for the warmth. Although it was Phoenix, it was the middle of the night in the desert, always chilly.

As we waited for our delivery, a woman with deep lines in her face, a missing tooth, and a warm, cackling laugh called out to my dad. “Who’s that pretty lady with you tonight?”

My dad introduced us. “You gonna throw some papers tonight?” she asked with a smile.

“Yes,” I said and smiled up at my dad.

“Well, it’s good to meet ya,” she said, winked and walked off, calling to her friends.

The rigs came with the deliveries of paper. All the paper throwers lined up and gathered their sections of paper. They would take huge stacks to their vehicles and go back for more. It was our job to sit in the hollowed back of our old, white Chevy van and combine all the different sections – life, entertainment, sports, ads, coupons – into one large Sunday paper. Because it was a night that could see rain, we had to put the whole paper into the plastic bags provided for just that possibility.

Our hands were black. It took over an hour to get all the papers ready for throwing. It was harder work than I expected, but we were warm in the small space of the back of the van.

“You know that lady who had the missing tooth? She’s been doing this for fifteen years! Can you believe it? She knows everyone here. She brings food sometimes for everyone,” Dad said as we worked.

“Really?” I said. “What about that man you said hello to after we talked to her. Do you know him?” I asked. I had thought the man was strange and was interested to know interesting facts about this community of workers.

“No,” my dad said quickly. “He’s new. I don’t know him.”

By his tone, I could tell my dad didn’t like him. There was something “off” about the man who jumped around telling stories and talking loudly while in line to get his papers.

No matter how “off” anyone was, I supposed we were part of them. We were here, doing a job that many people never considered doing themselves. Most people wake up and find the paper on their driveway. Or they find it in their neighbor’s lawn and curse the paper-throwing fucker for missing the target. Again.

It seemed a very long time before we were ready to actually drive and throw the papers, but I pushed that tiredness away and prepared for what I thought would be the most exciting part of the night.

We drove through neighborhood upon neighborhood, dark and sleepy with no signs of life. It seemed we were the only ones awake and alive, doing a job in the still of the night.

It was difficult to get the paper to the right spot. There was a sure rhythm needed in the speed of the van and the toss of the arm. There were many homes to get to, and the route was long. To save time, we threw from both sides of the van on both sides of the street as we drove. My reach and aim were poor, but my dad did not seem to mind. He had his daughter with him. If someone had to walk a few steps for their paper, well, that was okay in his world.

The end of the route was mostly apartment buildings and a retirement community. At the apartments, we had to park the van and run around to various doorsteps and drop papers. The grass between the apartment buildings was wet with dew and the only light to work by was from streetlights and the moon. We saw no one.

We saw no one until we hit the retirement community. By this time, it was approaching four am. The sun would be rising soon. Old men sat on porch chairs in their driveways waiting for the paper. An elderly lady, waved from her doorway. One man, sat outside with an electric shaver, shaving his face in rhythmic circles.

I could not help but laugh and laugh about this. How silly! My dad said that this man sat like this every time, waiting for the paper and shaving his face.

When we had thrown the last paper (my arms were so sore!), we stopped for donuts at a convenience store. Bear claws were always my treat of choice, with milk.

I was tired. So tired. I fell asleep fast and hard upon reaching the house when the world began to wake. I would sleep all day, but I would not join him again on that route. It was hard work. It was hard work for my dad. Eventually, our family dog would accompany my dad in the back of that old van. And then, the experience would be used as punishment for my brother (and his friend who lived with us) when they had been suspended from school. (“You’re going to throw papers with your dad for the Sunday paper!”)

But at one point, it was intriguing. And I tried to be there in some way.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Trick or Treat His Way

Well, of course we've got some Halloween festivity pics to link up at Wordless Wednesday! Thanks, Kristi at Live and Love Out Loud for the link!

Here's our pumpkins!


I vant to suck your blood.


Parker and me, awwww


Dragon Parker


And now, my FIRST EVER video clip, so you must watch. I'm so glad I happened to catch this moment on video. Parker had never done this before, and we were embarrassed that he did it! He actually had the gall to.....

video

OMG, the video loaded sideways and I have no idea what to do about that. Sorry. Enjoy anyway. Tilt your head. Whatever.

How was your Halloween? Any fun trick or treating adventures?