Friday, June 24, 2011

Baby Earrings - solved

We went back to our pediatrician today, as the nurse who's the earring expert was in today.  I like her, we've seen her for a sick visit before, and she's very professional and reassuring.

She looked at Cupcake's ear and told me that the hole might not have closed all the way and that she wanted to try to get the earring through before re-piercing.  No reason to put Cupcake through pain if it wasn't necessary.

I gave her our earring (the thinner one), and she managed to poke it in through the back (which is where we'd been having trouble).  So it was decided, the hole was still there, so we could just push the original thicker earring through. I wanted the thicker earrings because their backs have a locking mechanism and would be safer.

So she asks me to hold Cupcake down while she gets the earring in the hole,  and in the second try it goes in!  Sure, Cupcake cried, but it was more of the angry cry rather than pain. It wasn't her usual banged-her-head high pitched shriek, but more of a low angry cry.  If I had to translate it from baby talk, it would probably be something to the effect of: "stop touching me, weird nurse lady, I want to practice standing... why are you still touching me, why can't I move my arms!"  I can handle her anger.  As soon as the nurse was done, I picked Cupcake up, and all was well.  She got a Mum Mum to distract her, and she promptly forgot that she was upset.

Our pediatrician didn't even charge us for this.  I'm so grateful at how professional and thorough they were with all this. I felt like Cupcake's ears were in good hands.  We were at her pediatrician's in a sterile environment, where a medical professional is overseeing it, and her ears are fine.

Drama is over.  Back to our regular programming.

Baby Earrings - follow up

I went to the pediatrician today to see what to do about Cupcake's missing earring. We'd tried to put it back ourselves last night, but we couldn't get it through. I called her doctors office (where they did the original piercing), and the doctor nicely told me that she could try to put it back, no biggie, just stop on by around lunch time.

We went a little after 1 pm, and waited for about 10 minutes, which is fine because our pediatrician has a wonderful waiting room full of wooden toys that must be some Montessori fantasy (you know the type, wooden, pure and very Swedish).  Cupcake has a great time playing with new toys.

When the doctor finally saw her she regretfully informed us that the hole had healed completely, and the best thing to do would be to re-pierce it.  I mean, we could try to push it  through, but then we'd be risking potential pain, and also infection.  Her medical advice was to re-pierce so we'd know that the needle was antiseptic, and they could use the proper little piercing contraption.  I was devastated.  I just could not believe that the hole could close in a mere 30 hours.  Our pediatrician was super nice about it, and reassured us that this was in fact wonderful news: Cupcake is very healthy and can heal quickly.  Well... when you put it that way...

We have another appointment tomorrow for the re-piercing, when the nurse practitioner is in.  On one hand, I'm really upset that she'll have to go through the pain again, but I'm reassured that our doctor is taking care of it.

Whatever.  My mom is currently in a conference in Spain, and I asked her if she could go  buy us some baby earrings to have as backup should she pull one out again.  I seriously don't know where one would go about buying baby jewelry in the US.

Apparently, my mother went to the first jewelry store she found and asked for baby earrings, and they had newborn, baby and toddler styles. Bless them. She started chatting with the store owner, explaining to him that she needed earrings for her granddaughter, because in the US babies don't have earrings, and told him how scared I (Cupcake's mama) was about the piercing falling off, since some people in the US considered baby piercing barbaric.  His response:  They legalized handguns,  but they consider earrings barbaric? That's ridiculous.

It's so reassuring whenever I hear of other countries that pierce.  I was feeling very mixed about it today, but it's just a cultural difference, much like Cupcake's late bedtime.   I'm still scared about the re-piercing tomorrow. But it'll be okay. It's being done in a sterile environment, and Cupcake is a tough girl.  We'll be fine.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Baby earrings

I'm having some major second thoughts about my decision to give Cupcake earrings, and I feel like a terrible mother about it.

She got earrings when she was almost 3 months old. At the time I was freaking out that we had waited too long.  I come from a country where baby girls get their ears pierced in the hospital, within days of birth, and the idea of waiting 3 months filled me with dread.

Nevertheless, after her tetanus shot, we made our appointment, and our doctor's office pierced her ears. It was a pretty easy procedure, that didn't seem to hurt cupcake too much.  Sure, she cried after the first piercing, but it seemed to come from frustration at being  strapped down more than anything else. She cried for a few minutes (they felt like hours), and then promptly forgot about it.  In fact, that evening was the first time we heard her laugh.

Our pediatrician told us to rotate them and clean them, and that after a month we could take them out and replace them with our own earrings. We ended up keeping them for almost 3 months, as we were both too nervous to deal with holes in her ears.

Finally, we got some courage and replaced the earrings.  It was stressful, but she seemed pain free, which was our main concern.  The new earrings were a gift from Cupcake's great-grandmother, and they were special gold baby earrings with a special back to protect from scratches.   Everything was gravy.

Then yesterday I found one earring on Cupcake's play mat.  Apparently, she took it off, not really sure when.  And I looked and looked, and I couldn't find the back (did she swallow it?).  No problem, I thought, we'll just put back the original earrings from the pediatrician's office and go about our way.   Except that then last night we were running errands and we got home past Cupcake's bedtime, so we had to put her down quickly and didn't get a chance to try to put the earring back.  

We tried again this evening, and it won't go in.   It goes in one side, but doesn't seem to come out the other. We've realized that the doctor's earrings are much thicker than ours, so her ear might have healed thinner during the last 3 months.  I don't know, at some point early in the procedure I had a total panic meltdown.

I feel like a selfish mother for putting holes in my baby's ears. And I tell myself that this is cultural, that I had earrings as a baby and it's perfectly normal, but we live in the states, and the constant scrutiny of people noticing her ears are pierced is getting to me.  I try to tell myself that it's better to do it when they're young, as there is less chance of infection, but then  why won't the earring go in her ear?   I'm so scared it's gonna have to be re-opened, that it's gonna be infected, that it will cause her pain.  I can't bear to have her cry over something so stupid.

I feel like a terrible mother because we might have been able to get the earring in  the hole if I hadn't freaked out. This was a two person job: one holds the baby down while the other puts the earring, and I couldn't do either. I ended up hyperventilating in the bathroom while Nate tried valiantly to fix the problem, but ultimately couldn't.   Why can't I handle it? What's wrong with me? Why am I failing when I'm needed?  I'm gonna call the pediatrician tomorrow and see if she has any advice.

What's our bedtime routine?

The bedtime routine is one of the few things we feel in total control of as parents.   We chose it, altered in response to Cupcake's preferences, adjusted things that worked better logistically, and have arrived in a routine that we all enjoy.  Cupcake is happy, we have activities to do with her, and most importantly, she goes to sleep very quickly at night.  (Does she stay asleep? No, she still nurses at night, but one issue at a time, right?

We start some time between 9 - 9:30 pm.  And yes, that's late compared  to other kids in the US, but she wakes for the day at 9:00 am, so it's a non issue,  she's getting all the sleep she needs.   So depending on how tired she is, we either try to hold her over until 9, or sometimes we are having such good family time that next thing we know its 9:30 already and it's time to get her in her bath.

First bath, always with her dad.  This is their special  time to bond and play.

Next dry off and, put on diaper, and have baby massage with lotion.  I used to do this, but now Nate has been giving her the massage  more and more often. That way I can be cleaning or cooking for longer. Then she puts on pajamas.

At this point Nate will take her to the kitchen clock and tell her what time it is.   This is my sign that they're done,and I nurse her in the couch.  She has milk, sometimes lots, though lately she doesn't seem as hungry at night.

Then we read two books.  All three of us.  Sometimes only one of us will read if the other is busy, but it's such a fun family activity, we try to do it together.  We used to skip the book sometimes when she seemed way too tired, but now we have to read it.   Then about a month ago seemed to be sleep nursing and we made the misguided decision to go ahead and take her to bed, and he screamed bloody murder, and was not content until we read two book.  Yes, two.  It's pretty cute, she likes turning the pages, and has books that are obviously her favorite.

When the books are over, I give her a goodnight kiss and she goes to our  room with her dad.  He rocks her on a yoga ball (still), and she's out within 5 minutes. He sets her down on her crib, she turns to sleep on her side, and by 10 pm-ish we are done.

It's been really great.   She really knows the routine by now, and we've been able to leave her for the evening with my mom, who followed the sequence to a T and said Cupcake zonked out with no problem.
It's curious how she seems to get that it's time to sleep.  She's energetic and awake in the bath, then gets tired and cranky during pajama time, is about to pass out during milk, but wakes completely for the books.  We used to worry about the books taking her out of the tired zone, but it seems the exhaust the last bit of energy she has left, so by the time we're done with them she's ready for sleep.

Next goal, establish a nap time system that's as effective.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Swimming pool

Yesterday, as a father's day treat,  we took Cupcake to the pool for the very first time.   It's summer time, and the weather is great, but since  the local school aren't on summer break yet, the public pools aren't open .  So instead we went to a nearby indoor pool that offers open family swim Sunday afternoons.

I'm glad we went the indoor route first, because we didn't have to worry about sunburns, or Cupcake getting cold from the breeze after getting out of the water.

Our initial goal was to be there for 15 minutes, figuring Cupcake might hate it, but since we had to pay to get in, we should try to stay as long as possible.  No issue, she LOVES the water.

When  we first put her in (there's no wading pool, so this is all us holding her on the 4 ft end), she made a strange face, seemingly confused at the concept of being inside such a big bathtub.  But within minutes, seeing that both mom and dad were there with her, she warmed up to the concept. She started splashing, moving her legs, and smiling.  Big wide smiles as she looked at all the other kids playing in the pool.  I'm so glad we went, she had a wonderful time.  Didn't put her face in the water, or anything too ambitious, we just wanted to make her familiar with water.  I want her to enjoy being in the pool and the ocean.

In the end, we stayed for 35 minutes, much longer than anticipated.  And when we got back home, she zonked out for a nap within minutes.  What a great way to tire out an 8 month old baby. I expect we'll be going back many Sunday afternoons in the future.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

I might be trying a new blogging style

I'm realizing that I'm not a good writer.  Not in the quality sense (though I am aware that my writing style would horrify my high school AP English teachers), but rather in the inspirational sense.  As in, I'm often not that inspired to sit down and blog.

Through the day, I have a constant commentary running through my head, and things I want to talk out, put down on paper/keyboard. But it's hard to find the time to finish a complete thought on the computer (specially now that one of my professional licensing exams is coming up).  But then I noticed that I'm very involved in the email threads for my mom group.  The difference?  Well, in addition to knowing in person most of the people in that group, it's also more of a Q&A environment. Someone has an issue and asks the group for feedback.  Sensing the immediate tangible concern, we answer our personal experience and what's working (or not working) for us.  There's an issue, there's something to write about.  None of this open ended essay-about-my-life trap I've been falling into with this blog.

So I've decided that I'm gonna pose certain questions to myself (most of which I will probably borrow from my mom group email threads) and answer them in this blog. Why here?  Well, it's hard to truly open up to fellow moms you know in person. At the end of the day, you don't want to look like the crazy mom who will still be dealing with diapers and rocking to sleep at age 8.  And since we are all so hard on ourselves, sometimes its hard to open up about how hard this really is,  or how intrinsically satisfying it can be.  At least it's hard to do it face  to face. Which is where a blog comes in, with it's layer of distance yet the promise of truth. 

Lets see if this experiment works.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Standing up

I am relieved that at 8 months, Cupcake is already standing on her own.  She pulls herself up, and then lets go of the raining and balances on her own two feet.  I mean, I don't really care if she's standing or still sitting from a holistic level (really, what's the hurry to walk, where does a baby have to go?).  But rather, if she's strong and shows lots of muscle control, they probably won't need to do full blood work at her next metabolic appointment.  At our 6 month appointment, our doctors decided drawing blood wouldn't be necessary because she could sit so well.  I'm hoping the next appointment goes similarly.  I just don't like my little baby girl getting blood drawn.  It's necessary, and I support preventative medicine, but it still makes me sad.

So far it seems MCAD has been kind to us.  One of the side effects we were warned about is decreased muscle development.  It seems it's not uncommon for kids with an FOD to have problems with their physical development.  So far, we haven't had any issues with delayed muscle control/strength.  Au contraire, Cupcake seems to be standing and reaching for things way ahead of schedule.   And for that I'm grateful.

Here a little secret, and I hope I don't ruin my good Karma by sharing it.  On New Year's eve, we played a game where you would write a wish on a piece of paper, then at midnight we all threw our wishes into the bonfire.  The usual superstitious shenanigans, and aren't those the best part of New Year celebrations?  I wished for no metabolic crisis.  At the time, Cupcake was only 3 months old, and we were terrified of what her diagnosis would mean for us during her first year.  I'm glad I made the wish; so far it seems to be working.  Maybe she would have been asymptomatic this far regardless, but the wish really stuck with me.  I wished with all my might that she be healthy, and that we would have the wisdom to prevent a crisis by feeding her.  I wished wonderful things for all the people that advocate for mandatory screening.

I know she could still get the stomach flu and need an ER intervention.  But with every passing month I feel more in control.  Our doctors said the first year could be the toughest, and I'm glad we're 3/4 of the way through.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Letter to my Baby: 8 months

Dear Cupcake,

You turned 8 months yesterday, and I cannot believe how time is flying.  It feels like yesterday that we brought you home from the hospital, and now you're an established baby, smiling at the world.

You like to eat.  A lot.  In fact, I don't think I'm keeping up with how much you could actually eat, and I constantly worry that I'm not giving you enough solid food.  Then again, I want to make sure you're still getting the bulk of your nutrition from my breast milk (yes, we are still breastfeeding!).  You current favorite food is bananas.  I think you like it so visibly because you can recognize it.  All your other food comes to you in pureed form, so you have to wait until the first bite to know what it is.  Bananas, on the other hand, we feed you straight from the source (with a spoon, of course).  The other day we were at a convenience store and I reached to buy a couple of bananas and you audibly squealed in delight.  It was hilarious, and you managed to freak out a couple of school aged kids.

At this point you have officially become a carnivore.  I made you chicken and vegetable puree this weekend, and you loved it.  Actually, not to toot my own horn, but it came out delicious.  I should have made some for all of us too.  So far you eat:  chicken breast, lentils, spinach, apples, apple sauce, pears, bananas, brown rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, peas, butternut squash, yellow squash, parsnips, yogurt.  All your food is homemade with lots of love (and the help of blenders and ice cube trays).  Additionally, you love munching on MumMums, which is a commercial-food concession I've had to make.  I mean, they're such practical snacks.

You love standing.  Seriously.  All the time.  You stand, stand, bounce, try to walk, and stand again.  I'm certain, now more than ever, that you will bypass crawling, since you still show NO interest in ever being on your belly.  (Unless, of course, you are on your crib, since you finally sleep comfortably on your belly.)  In fact, your new trick is that you let go of whatever you're leaning on so you can balance on your own.  It's amazing watching you learn to stand on your two feet.  Sometimes you balance for half a second, a few times you've made it up to 15 seconds.  After you stand on your own, you look so excited!  It's almost like you realize the importance of what you're doing.  At this rate, I don't know how soon you'll be walking, but it'll be sooner rather than later.

On sleep.  You're habits are changing, and you've dropped one afternoon nap.  This is a bit exhausting for me, but its a good sign that you're maturing towards a more adult sleep.  I wish this also translated to you not waking up three times a night, but I try to remind myself that you're just a baby, and it's normal for you to to have interrupted sleep patterns.  

For your month-day, we took lots of pictures with the new party dress you Mamama brought you.  She's been visiting for a few days, and you love spending time with her.  And your mom and dad got some much deserved time off.  We love spending time with you, but it's also nice to go out to dinner and drinks.  Plus you got to hang out with your Mamama, so it was a win-win.

MCAD hasn't affected us yet.  You're still nursing at the same times as before, you're just eating extra solid food now.  And though you eat a lot, I know you're burning lots of calories by pulling yourself to standing so much.  So far you've been a great baby for MCAD, you have a healthy appetite and a strong immune system.  Lets hope it stays that way.

I have so much I could tell you, but soon you'll need your night feed.  

Love,  Mom