Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Baked Potato!

As Avery inches towards her first birthday, we are coming closer and closer to the days when she will no longer breastfeed. Now, she is a voracious nurser but as a newborn, it did not come naturally to her. At one point in the the hospital a nurse commented on how much it looked like it hurt when she was latched on. I thought everything was fine until I ended up with scabs on my nipples. Enter the lactation consultant. What a relief it was to visit her post-delivery, have her council me on proper positioning and give me a nipple shield to help me continue to nurse as I healed. When we got a routine down that wasn't leaving me injured I was so much less stressed.

While Avery nurses, I wonder if it is at all similar to the sensation Violet Beauregarde had in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when she grabbed the newly invented chewing gum and began to chew. "Oh, it's tomato soup, I can feel it running down my throat!" Does Avery say the same thing as she nurses? "Mmm, great burger mom. And I dig the new Trader Joe's cilantro dressing you've been eating." Maybe the last time I nurse her I will prepare some sort of gourmet meal as a send off. (Like you can plan the exact last time.)

I will definitely miss nursing. It will signal the end of an era, the end of my baby being a baby and you can't go back to those days. They go by SO FAST! There's another side of me that will also be glad to be done. Nursing makes your child dependent upon you in ways that can feel limiting . Though I love the feeling that I am providing for my child without doing much at all, I can't be away from her for an extended period of time. (She never went for pumped milk or formula in the bottle.) For now, I will enjoy having her cozy on my lap, getting grins from her mid-suckle, and the time it affords just she and I.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

And Peace Ascended, The Never Want To Go To Bedder Addendum

Every mom has moments when they feel on top of their game, where they not only respond correctly to the marvel that is in front of them, but they feel appreciated and at one with the world. Hopefully I am not obnoxious in expressing these glorious and fleeting times.

Last night after I'd read to the Jooge and we were snuggling in her bed she started to show signs of panic that I was about to leave her side.

Instead of the usual, "It's okay, don't be scared," response, and in the name of trying to encourage an emotionally intelligent child, I tried something new. She likes to say, "Let's talk," and we talk about Santa Claus or Grandma, faraway happy things. I said something like, "Let's talk. You look like you're getting scared about something."

She seemed to relax. She said, "Mr. Night's not going to come tonight."

Mr. Night is a character in a book that we recently checked out of the library. In the book he was in charge of calming animals and arranging stars in the sky, and in our case, scaring our child half to death. I knew she was always talking about Mr. Night, and according to my husband she was even looking out the window last night claiming to hear his footsteps, but I guess I didn't associate Mr. Night with the bedtime freak-outs. Add him to the list of anxiety provokers. Acknowledge him as SCARY.

Anyway, we talked about Mr. Night, and how he WAS kind of scary. He was black and you didn't always know where he was. She said she didn't want him to come visit her and close her eyes. She said he might scare Buddy, her elephant. After our chat, I reminded her from the doorway that Mr. Night was gone, that I had told him to go away. She seemed assured, and it was the first scream-free night in awhile. HALLeighLUIAH!

Okay, so that's the sickeningly perfect moment of peace after nights of screaming, wherein my child just gave up the fear after it was acknowledged by her mother. Well here's the whipped cream on top part where things get warm and fuzzy. It was time to put Avery down and I was reading to her and my husband was standing in the doorway waiting as though he had something to tell me. I was absorbed in Ten Little Ladybugs and when I was done I turned my attention to him. He was just standing there smiling.

I said, "What?"

He said, "Nothing. I like your momming, " and walked away.

Later, in bed together, we watched Ham on the Street concoct a lovely skillet Smore over the camp fire. Don't hurl, but it really was the cherry on top of the night.

A Day in the Life

Yesterday we were on our way to playgroup for the first time in four weeks. I had Avery (complete with lingering chest congestion and occasional snot) safely buckled in and was rounding the car to buckle the Jooge (still suffering from a cough) when Jooge THREW UP! It was with much inner struggle that I got them both back out of the car.

Since joining the playgroup in September, we have been a total of six times, and they meet WEEKLY! If the past six months were to be accurately chronicled, you would see us hunkering down during the week (HELLO CABIN FEVER!) and then our weekends punctuated by my husband and I leaving the house to run errands solo, so as not to expose the kids to more germs and prolong their sickness by being out and about. When one is well and the others' sickness reaches its' cresendo, we go to the doctor to make it all better. What do you know, three days later we're struck by something new.

Inspired by this constant state of challenged immunity, I have written a haiku.

On the doctor's floor
New virus your parting gift
We'll be sick 'til spring!

Check out the Spring '05 BRAIN, CHILD the magazine for thinking mothers for a whole section of "Mamakus!"

Sunday, February 19, 2006

The Never Want To Go To Bedder

Dear Mrs. Piggle Wiggle,

First of all, let me start out by saying that you were one of my favorite book characters when I was a kid. It was a special teacher that first introduced your stories to me, and after reading all of them as a child, I grew up and continued to share them with my own students when I was a teacher.

Well, it seems that I have a new need for you these days, not just as an entertaining heroine saving children and their families from selfishness, poor manners, and selective hearing, but as advisor to one of my challenges as a parent. You see, my two year old, Julia, has been FIGHTING going to bed every night. She's been fighting it for much longer actually, but for the past two weeks or so she has been having a MAJOR TANTRUM as soon as she's been left in her room alone. She will cry out that she has to go potty, or that she forgot something, all pleas to be rescued from her room. I will go in and she will be okay after awhile and I will leave and then as if on cue, the screaming will start again and she will be SO UNHAPPY. It's really a terrible ritual that has come about.

Last night I put on my ipod during the screaming, so as to shut it out. (Mrs. P, this is a new electronic device which both stores and plays music.) I don't want to seem unsympathetic, I feel really awful that she's so unhappy in there. At the same time, I can't rescue her. My reassurance seems to make it worse. Oh it's just so hard to know if I'm doing the right thing. I know there's some clever solution out there somewhere, but unfortunately I haven't found it yet. I think these flare-ups are compounded by lots of things that are new in her life, like being potty-trained, and having an imagination which invents red things with horns. She has been sick too, and jacked up on albuterol, and it seems to be an unfortunate combination of factors which have created this phase.

So. Here we are in a quandry, and I have nobody like you, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle to send over the "Never-Want-To-Go-To-Bedder" Solution. I do remember what you recommended to the parents of those kids who never wanted to go to bed. You advised the parents to just let the kids stay up as long as they wanted, until the kids were so tired they WANTED to go to sleep.
I'm afraid this wouldn't be a solution for our family as my child is quite a bit younger than those you advised in that story. She isn't allowed to play Parcheesi either, which was one of the major pasttimes of the afforementioned family.

In conclusion, if you have any creative solutions I would be so appreciative if you'd send them my way, hooked to the collar of the family dog, perhaps, as you like to pass the cures paraphernalia on in such ways. Back then it was, "Oh, just send it home with Jordy after he's done playing at your house." I wish my kids could play in your house. It sounded like so much fun. And all that mess, what heaven for my toddler.

My deepest regards,

Friday, February 10, 2006

Deep Blue, A Review

Have you seen Deep Blue? It is a fascinating documentary about the miracle that is the ocean. Watch it for jellyfish resembling huge slices of cucumbers and electric orbs lurking in the depths. Watch it to meet a part of the world that most of us will never meet face to face.

I learned a ton of stuff, but was amazed to see Orcas in a whole new light. Orcas are the badasses of the deep, bullying their prey by tossing it high above the water. There is one scene where an Orca throws a seal 20 feet up in a strange pre-meal show of prowess. When you watch a movie where an Orca is throwing a seal into the air and your three year old is in the room, she will innately sense the injustice and she will scream, "Stop that whale!"You will wonder if you should have let her watch, but then you will remember that as horrific as it was for her to watch, she has further developed empathy, and that makes it worth it, right there.

The real question is whether you will ever again again dare to go tandem sea kayaking in the San Juans with Ocras surfacing within 30 feet?

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

My little human vacuum cleaner

Avery, the orally fixated and faster than a speeding bullet, ate one of her sister's Dora the Explorer Colorforms the other day. One turned up her diaper and gave her mother a good laugh. Thankfully, it didn't lodge in her windpipe on the way down.

I have fished a zillion things out of her mouth but mostly it's dust bunnies or crumbs and today she tried eating both a diaper, which left a long string of cottony stuff coming out of her mouth, and the yarn hair of a Groovy Girl, again, leaving a long string of cottony stuff coming out of her mouth-it was just a different color. (I suppose it doesn't help that I encouraged her to munch on maxi pads....)

I might mention that this love of inserting things into the mouth does translate to the high chair, where she will eat ANYTHING put in front of her. It is glorious, given that her older sister is quite particular about what she will munch on.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Doctor's Orders

Superbowl Sunday for me meant nothing more than a trip with Avery to the Doctor's office. Each of her colds seems to bring on an ear infection, which she was showing telltale signs of having last night. There was ear pulling, fussiness, and a wicked cough, her nostrils two caves infested with bugar bats. Poor poor sweet baby!

Because it was the weekend, we saw the doctor on call, a gal who I just get the feeling is the office Black Sheep. The last time we dealt with her, she prescribed Prednizone, an aggressive way to combat Julia's wheeze. We did a follow up visit the day after that and our regular doctor said in retrospect, "Wonder why she thought THAT was necessary?"

Anyhoo, so Dr. Unnecessary also turns out to have these SUPER DRY HANDS which leave her skin all cracked and bloody. I was really aware of those hands and how they needed emollients. Sorry but doesn't it seem like such a situation would warrant gloves? This is my baby you are touching. When she detected not just an ear infection but a wheeze in Avery's lungs, I felt skeptical. When she mentioned the potential for E.R. visits I began to panic. Her saving grace was the sweet way she spoke to my sad child, telling her she was going to help her and calling her things like "Beautiful girl," and "precious baby." (All terms of endearment communicated warmly, but stollen straight off conversation hearts.)

To make a long story short (yes, I am actually doing that for once!) now Avery faces breathing treatments every four to six hours, as well as two doses a day for ten days of extra strength Amoxicillan. It's not the doctor's fault, but I hope that when we see our regular peditrician tomorrow he doesn't balk at the advice she gave us again. I might even leave Dr. Dryhands a note reading something like this: "Doesn't the office have samples of extra strength Eucarin you can use? "

In the meantime our nine month old is hopped up on albuterol in her Johnny Jumper and crawling like she needs a cape. Her wheeze is undetectable beneath the squeals of baby joy.