Saturday, April 30, 2011

Milestones: Crawling and semi-walking

I have never, ever, ever met anybody in my life, young or old, big or small, who wanted to move around as much as Desmond does.  Ever since he realized that he could get from point A to point B, even if that distance was 6 inches, he's been fighting to go on that path crawling or walking.  Except that he army crawls instead of regular baby crawls, which is quite frustrating and doesn't get him as far in the amount of time that he gives himself.  And he doesn't walk on his own yet...he wants me to hold his hands while he walks and I walk, hunched over, right behind him.  In Des's perfect world, he'd have a full-time hand-holder and carrier.  He will not sit or lie down unless you distract him with a new something to gum on (today it was the packaging that held my toothbrush from the dentist's office).  I hope that this means that he'll be an active adult when he grows up, but it's starting to stir some terror in me thinking about having a very active child.

I do not consider myself to be an active person.  I like my couch.  I like sitting on my couch.  I like sitting on my couch and watching The Daily Show and House Hunters International, preferably while eating some kale chips (at least they're sorta healthy).  I run because of my health, I take Desmond and Pirate on walks because I know that I'm burning more calories, I do yoga partly to keep up with my flexibility...every active thing I do is out of necessity.  I do not find being active very fun most of the time.  Unless it's dancing at a club to some Killers or The Cure...but oh, those days are few and far between.

If it were up to me, I'd rather relax, maybe get a pedicure and a head massage at the same time.  So, the other day, when I, miraculously, had no meetings and no nanny, I took Desmond from errand to errand, stopping for a feeding and a nap (for him) in between, from 10:30am until 5:30pm.  By the time 11pm rolled around, I was a zombie.  Literally.  I couldn't even bring myself to watch the end of the American Idol results that we had DVRed that night.  Looking after and carrying Desmond all day WORE ME OUT like running, dancing, zumbaing, and yoga never have.  Even when Des was waking up every 2 hours I didn't feel exhaustion like I felt that night.  I don't know how most stay-at-home-moms do it.  Tons of hats off to's probably why you all are losing all the baby weight while I'm still clinging on to mine.

Anyhow, this post is about Des, not me.  The kid loves moving around.  The second he notices that you plan to plop him down on his tush he straightens his legs and arches his back, making it next to impossible for you to sit him down.  The second he grabs onto your fingers and starts walking, he's all smiles and pride.  He looks around to make sure that everyone in the room is watching and then goes on his course.  Sometimes in circles, sometimes in straight lines.  He's to the point now where he can stand by himself for like 6 seconds, but ends up falling on his bum.  As you can imagine, the occupational hazard in being a mother to a 9-month-old includes sore lower backs: every day, I hunch over to let Des have access to my fingers and walk with him, for several minutes at a time, in a hunched over position.  Des is like a slavemaster.  The second I let go of his hand to stretch, he starts making his pissed-off sound (where he furrows his forehead and scrunches up his eyebrows and stick his lips out a lá Donald Trump and goes "uuuuuuggggghhhhhh uuuuuuuggggghhhh" in the most dissatisfied tone ever).  The second I give him my hand back, his face smooths out at once and he smiles in pride as he starts taking his steps.

This was taken about a month ago.  He's much less drunk looking now and can step up that step like a pro. Don't mind the boobage.  Yet another occupational hazard.

This was taken about a week ago. The face and noises he's making are his, Dammit, Mom! Pick me the eff up already! He usually claps his hands when you say "Bravo!" but he doesn't do it in this video.

This final video (sorry for the bombardment) was just shot today. We got him one of those baby walkers and, though he was hesitant at first, is his new favorite thing to do. Watch as he pushes it into a rocking chair and then tries to back it out. Silly baby doesn't know how to put himself in reverse.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Have to buy a baby gift for someone? Think of these first!

I must have had like 20 receiving blankets (on top of the 20 or so I got second hand) from my shower.  I had a few newborn items on my registry because a sage friend of mine warned me that most of the clothes I receive at the shower won't fit a newborn.  So, I put a few onesies and pants on my registry and my dear good friend Sara bought them for me, along with one of those crazy, the-designers-must-have-been-on-LSD, Manhattan Toys toy.  See?  She, a new mother herself, knew what was important and got me something that was useful off of my registry.  Another woman got me a starter set of cloth diapers (thank YOU, Julie, for the most generous gift: 12 fuzzibunz!!!) and other women got me really great baby books that fit my parenting philosophy (thanks, ladies of DFPM!)

So, as a new mother myself, I implore you to really get to know the gift recipient's wants and needs before you start buying her the typical Carter's newborn set because you're just not sure of what to get.  Look at her registry (if she has one) and pick out something that you would feel comfortable getting for YOUR child, but don't push your parenting beliefs on someone at their shower.   If you're still not sure what to get, consider a HABA toy.  Haba toys are the best thing that toymakers ever invented on this planet.  At least for Desmond for the past 5 months or so.  Haba is a German company whose focus is on making toys (usually out of high-quality, eco-friendly wood and non-toxic paints) and it defines itself as a toymaker for "inquisitive minds." 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not the type of parent who only lets Desmond play with wooden toys; he has his fair share of plastic toys that light up and sing and beep.  However, Des loves his Haba toys.  I was introduced to them on accident.  One of the hand-me-over toys that I received before Des was born was this:

Haba Caterpillar
Des loved the different sized rings and, as soon as he was able to sit up, would put it in his mouth and sit there with it hanging out of the side of his mouth.  He would grab it by the end ring and wiggle it around in the air, pull it and have it snap loudly back together, and squeal. 

Once, at my SIL and brother's house, Desmond spied one of Nico's toys:

Haba rattle
He picked it up and immediately put it in his mouth.  I was so enthralled with the adorable design and how nice and smooth the wood was.  Desmond was enthralled with all of the different shapes and how the pieces on the top wiggled around in his mouth.  I was sold; I went out the next week and bought my very own rattle for Des. 

Now, I keep it in the diaper bag and pull it out for very special occasions when he's inconsolable.  They are beautiful toys, are non-toxic, and babies love gnawing on them.  I would highly recommend these as a baby shower gift.  These are on my wishlist:

You could buy all these toys and more from Amazon's website.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Left Central Incisor Broken Through!

Desmond has his first tooth.  Unbelievable.  Just blows my mind.  Not just because he has a tooth, which changes the landscape of his beautiful pink old-man-baby-gums, but because I made a creature that had teeth buds!  Think about it.  At one point, I had a full set of mini teeth buds growing inside of me.  Reminds me of that scene in the last book of know the one I'm talking about.  And yes, I read the whole series like 3 or 4 years ago.  Hopefully, once I finish writing my dissertation, that would cancel out the fact that I've read Twilight.  Anyhow, it's now grown to the point that when he's drinking water from a glass or eating food from a grownup spoon, you could hear his tooth clanking. 

It's really hard to see and he doesn't like me poking around in his mouth as much as he used to.  So, he'll turn his head and purse his lips.  I only catch glimpses of it when he throws his head back and chuckles.  So many people have warned me that teething will be the worst few weeks of my life.  Our pediatrician said that only about 30% of babies show the "classic" symptoms of teething: pulling on ear, fussiness, etc.  Desmond has been putting things in his mouth ever since he could grab them.  Every single thing goes into his mouth the second he grabs it.  And when other people (usually moms) see him doing so, they always remark, "Oh, there he goes!  You'll see a tooth in there soon!"  This has been going on for about 4 months and I don't have the heart to tell them that they're the thousandth person to say so and that I don't think he'll be popping out any teeth anytime soon.

The second I felt the nub of a tooth popping through, I giving him the following teething-friendly items:

Oh Plah! Teething Bracelet

Somewhat generic teething ring

Wooden rattle (given to Des as a Christmas gift from his Aunt Melanie)

I also ordered him this:

An amber teething necklace!  It's not meant to be chewed's long enough that I don't worry about it being too tight on Desmond's chubby neck but not long enough that he can play with it and pull it.  Each amber bead is also individually knotted so that if he does pull too hard and pull it off (not very likely), all the beads will stay in place.  Anyhow, the way it's supposed to work is that the heat from the skin releases succinic acid, which acts as an anti-inflammatory.  Not once have we had to give him acetaminophen.  It may be that he's one of the 70% that doesn't exhibit the symptoms, but I like to think that the amber necklace helps, partly because it's so stinking cute on him.  However, one thing that has been different is that his poops are...for lack of a better word...more watery.   He'll drop a load and all of a sudden, what I think is pee would start leaking out of his diaper.  So, I go change him and realize it's not pee, it's poo water.  Yes.  Fecal water.  My nanny says that her son had the same types of poops when he was teething.  This is a common side effect (maybe due to the increased saliva production?)  Oh, the glamorous life of a mom...

We also got him this popular item:

Sophie the Giraffe, made out of all-natural rubber and food-grade paint

But he's lost interest after about 2 days.  He prefers this:

Yep, that's an old bottle of Mylicon (the anti-gas medicine that doesn't work) that we washed out.  He likes gumming the top of the dropper: it's rubber and squishy.  

So, if you're baby is around 6 months and everyone is telling you that it's going to suck and to dose him up with acetaminophen, try other non-drug alternatives first.  You may be in the lucky majority that won't ever need to give their kid drugs for teething...if so, hooray!  No fussy babies.  Well, not due to teething.

P.S. Even though he's getting his first tooth, he's making this weird face that older people who have no teeth make.  His lips sort of flatten out, his chins disappear, and his cheeks puff out, like this:

He does it ALL the time.

Hope everyone has a joyful day, regardless of what you observe!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cloth diapers sent!

Aubree and Rachel, I sent the cloth diapers, via USPS Priority Mail on Monday.  Aubree, hopefully you'll receive it within the next day or two.  Rachel, it may take a little while longer for yours to get there.  Would you lovely ladies mind shooting me an email or leaving a comment post when you receive the package?  I would love to know that it got there safe and sound. 

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

Not original packaging.  You'll see when you receive your boxes the CRAPPY tape job that I did.  The lady handed me the tape gun machine and I kept on twisting the tape, none of it came out in a straight line...It's rather embarrassing.  So, please disregard and don't think badly of my taping skills. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Snips and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails?

 This is so silly.  I completely anticipate letting Des play with dolls if he wants that he could wear them in a sling, "feed" them, change their clothes.  People who see this and think that it turns boys into sissies or turns them gay or whatever the hell they think don't understand that a man needs to grow up to be a nurturer and a caretaker and learns that through caretaking and nurturing as a child.  This isn't just a woman's job.  

Waldorf Daddy and Baby doll.

And if I had a girl who wants to play ball and in the dirt, playing with earthworms and things that I find gross, I'll totally support her.  I can't believe that society feels that it has a right to dictate what little children can and cannot do and then go on to relate it to their sexuality.  I mean, really???  

You can read the article on HERE.

 Pink Toenails

A ridiculous media storm has erupted over the innocent act of painting a child’s toenails. All young children, boys and girls alike, want their nails colored. It looks pretty. Congratulations to J. Crew for illustrating normal childhood.

The early years of childhood are an enchanted time of imagination. The child’s job is to play, to imitate, to pretend to be everyone. The child’s job is not to fit into rigid gender expectations. That comes later. That comes when the hormones of puberty kick in. Before that, the sexual identity of a child is fluid.

I have four adult children, two females and two males, and as they grew up they exhibited this fluid, undefined sexual identity. Their play was influenced more by their order in the family than by their gender.

As a child, my oldest, Lally, dressed her two younger brothers in girl clothes and pretended that they were her sisters. I have one photograph of my son, Bram, around four, dressed in a skirt, boots, shawl and wearing a scarf on his head. Nonetheless, he grew up to be a hearty male. But, even if he hadn’t it wouldn’t have been a tragedy and it wouldn’t have been because I painted his toenails when he was a child.

My favorite photo of this “genre,” is the one of my son, Finnie, also about four at the time, standing at the top of a stairway. He has on a football helmet, is holding a football in one of his hands and other than that is dressed only in panty hose. He now has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

My youngest daughter, Nora, with two older brothers, grew up playing GI Joes, cars and mostly “boy” games. This helped her to get along exceptionally well with boys but did not make her into a lesbian.
What difference would it make if she were a lesbian? Would I love her less? No. Would I have failed as a parent? No. Could I have “made it happen?’  No. The first thing wrong with this whole conversation about the innocent pink toenails is that it’s not a tragedy if a child grows up to be homosexual. Homosexuals are a normal part of life.

Only those with insecure sexual identity themselves would assume that we have to teach our children their sexual orientations. Sexual orientation is a complex subject but it is not something that we learn; it is something that we have.

We may be confused as parents when our children experiment with different sexual identities in play but we can trust our children’s play. It’s just that. It’s make believe. You will observe that your children will undergo a transformation at puberty. You will see them become men and women then, but not before. Before then they are only children.

We try to pin down our child’s sexual identity too early. Why do we dress girl babies in pink and boy babies in blue? That is so stereotypical, so 1984. I realize that people want to signal the sex of their babies so that others won’t wrongly identify them, but this encourages conformity. We don’t have to set boundaries for our children regarding their sexuality; they will do it themselves. It is inherent; it will unfold.

This rigidity regarding the sexual identity of children is even more exaggerated with boys than with girls. It is acceptable for girls to be “tomboys,” wear boy clothes and engage in sports, all without censure. But boys can barely step out of the roles expected of them. Their clothing is limited to pants only and they are ridiculed for interest in areas traditionally dominated by women, such as decorating, dance and cooking. We have to be careful as parents that we do not corral our children into stereotypical gender roles.

We’ve published a couple of great articles about gender-bending boys. One, “The Boy in the Blue Tutu” is about a three-and-a-half year old boy who just wants to wear dresses. The article was first published in the March/April 1999 issue of Mothering Magazine and received the 2000 Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) Media Award for Outstanding Magazine Column.
It is the issue of defamation that is at the heart of this furor. First is the defamation of a child’s innocent experience. Those who read unnatural motives into the innocent play of children would do well to examine their own sexual security. To attempt to control children’s play because of adult’s prurient intentions is exploitive and abusive.

It is a further defamation to deny a person’s authentic experience, either as an innocent child or as a teenager and young adult. For the teenager or young adult who realizes that he or she is homosexual, the censure of the society at large can be overwhelming. In fact, a 1998 study claimed that homosexual or bisexual junior high and senior high school boys are seven times more likely than heterosexual boys of the same age to report suicide attempts.

Demonizing the innocent behavior of the pink toenails is a way to bully others into conformity and is inherently homophobic. A homophobic society doesn’t eliminate homosexual behavior, it only forces it underground and its intolerance increases suffering. Specifically, it increases the chances that teens will take their own lives. Let us be compassionate to these teens.

And, let us treat children as children. It isn’t correct to interpret the behavior of psychologically healthy children through the lens of neuroses. It is correct to let children be, to trust in their inherent innocence.

Sleeping update, part 150

We like to think that we're pretty laid back parents.  I really do think we are: we don't sweat the small stuff and our frustration level with Des tends to be pretty minimal lately.  For example, the other day, he was sucking on a teething biscuit and I saw him reach his hand down to Pirate, Pirate would like the biscuit and Des's hand a few times, and then Des would put it back in his mouth.  The first time I caught him doing this, I looked at him and sternly said "NO!" (we're trying to get him used to the fact that there are things that he can and cannot do now that he's a lot more mobile).  He looked at me and slowly put the biscuit back in his mouth.  I don't think he knew what I was being so stern about.  Then, just as slowly, without taking his eyes off of me, he lowered his hand and once Pirate started licking his hand and the biscuit, he broke out into a big, toothless grin.  I melted and let him let Pirate lick his biscuit.  See?  No stress, no worries, even though what he was doing was pathogen filled and gross.

Anyway, now that Des has found out that he could move around a lot more (holy heck can this kid move), he constantly wants to be moving or standing.  He never wants to sit and much less lie down (which makes changing his diaper a huge headache).  So, this newfound energy means that Des wants to party, party, party late into the night.  We usually try to get him ready for bed at 8 so that he could be sleeping by 8:30pm.  However, the last few weeks, the routine has been going as follows: it'll take 30 or 40 minutes to get him to fall asleep, he'll sleep for like 20 minutes, wakes up for another hour (where we let him hang out with us), and then we take another 30 minutes to put him back to sleep, putting his final bed time at around 10.  Yes, it is too late for a baby to go to sleep, but fighting him tooth and nail and getting so frustrated doing it is worse than a 10pm bedtime.  We never let him CIO (cry it out) and believe that he'll fall asleep when he's good and ready.  Although we may be effing ourselves in the long run, right now, not fighting him every night and gently lulling him to sleep fits the best with our lives and slightly lackadaisical parenting philosophy. 

It's interesting that babies' sleeping habits get disrupted because they just learned something new.  I remember being 5 or 6 and being with my entire family in Disney World.  It was way past my bedtime and it seemed that the longer I spent awake, rehashing every single Mickey and Minnie and Princess I took a picture with, I would start getting more and more loopy.  Hyperly loopy.  And that's exactly how Desmond gets.  He starts laughing really weirdly, like the kind of laugh that could turn into a cry any second.  That's when I know that he's ready to go to bed.  At that point, I know to expect some resistance, but he generally falls asleep quickly.  We put on a CD of lullabies sung by children that my mom gave us and I walk around the bedroom holding him tightly against me, one arm under his head and one arm in between his legs, supporting his bum and lower back.  He loves the motion that walking produces and he loves being close to me, so he generally falls asleep within 10 or 15 minutes that way.  Billy is able to just lie down with him and Des falls asleep with Bill that way.  As for me, I can't have Desmond touching me when I sleep.  I can't have anybody touching me when I sleep.  I like to have my own space.  So, when Desmond is at his most fussy during the night (6am!!!) I pick him up, hand him to Billy, and the two fall asleep with Des in the crook of Bill's arm.  Craziness.

Oh!  and last night was the first night EVER that Des slept for more than 5 hours (his previous top score).  It was awesome.  So, so, so awesome.  So see?!?!  8.5 months later, and I finally got a decent night's sleep. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

An 8-month-old's eating habits

Desmond loves food.  Loves it.  He definitely inherited his love of food from the best lover of foods: me.  I'll generally eat anything that's put in front of me (seriously.  One time, in Bhutan, we were guests at this wonderful farmer's house and they made this wonderful dinner.  Because we were guests of honor, they made us the best meal that they could: emadatse (chilis and cheese), fiddleheads, red rice, and pork.  The pork was a huge deal since Bhutanese are Buddhists and don't kill animals (but still eat them...they just have Hindus kill them).  They placed a plate in front of me and I started eating.  I happened to look down at my fork and saw that it had speared a piece of pork that still contained some pork skin.  My stomach turned a tiny bit, but I thought, screw it!  As a Colombian, I grew up eating chicharron, fried pork meat attached to fat attached to skin.  It's all very crunchy.  What was speared on my fork looked boiled.  I immediately thought, don't overthink it...they're watching you...down the gullet!  And as the fork was nearing my widening mouth, I caught a glimpse of a patch of dark pig hair growing out of the skin.  And it was too late.  What my brain registered had not reached my arm and I ended up putting the speared piece of pork inside my mouth.  What was I going to do?  Spit it out in front of my gracious hosts?  Spit it out and offend them as their guest of honor?  I chewed once, twice, and swallowed it whole.)


Anyhow, moral of the story, this girl can eat.  And it seems I passed that on to Des.  The little guy, for as long as he's been eating real people food, shows so much excitement and enthusiasm when he eats.  Even when it was just simple, 1-food-at-a-time, mashed up mush deals, he would say "MMMMmmmmm" when he would eat, his hands opening and closing (his sign for "more"), licking his lips (smacking his lips, almost) in anticipation for the next heavenly bite of mush.

That's some egg on his chin...another favorite food.
  I was going to type out a list of foods that Desmond loves eating, but there's so much he'd eat, that it'd be easier to type the things he doesn't like to eat.  Seriously, he gets so jealous when he sees us enjoying our meals and will start getting antsy and agitated (hands opening and closing and stepping his feet) until we offer him a bite of our lunch or dinner or whatever it is we're having.   Of course, we're not giving him popcorn or anything like that, but if we're having some stir fry or soup, I'll mush it up and feed it to him.  He loves spicy foods like Thai and Indian (Whole Foods had some Indian food in their hot foods bar and, after about 30 minutes in the cart, Des became fussy.  So, I bought food that looked mushy enough for him...hence the Indian food...and gave it to him.  I tasted it and thought that it may be a bit too spicy, so I had water in a cup available for him to sip.  He went crazy for it!)

  Here is a list of foods he generally doesn't like:
Potatoes and parmesan (we buy a packet that's made up of this and he won't eat it)
Any of the food packets with Spinach or peas in them

I hope that this is just a phase and maybe he'll start liking the greens a bit more.  However, I may try the ol' this-is-delicious! trick on him: for example, if I'm eating my delicious oat and marshmallow cereal in the morning and he's having his mushy fruit, he'll start fussing for my cereal.  So, I squeeze a little bit of mush fruit onto his spoon and pretend to eat it, all the while "MMMMMMMmmmm"ing and opening my eyes really wide and nodding my head up and down so that he can see that Mommy thinks this food is delicious and you should, too.  Works about 70% of the time. 

He's eating about every 3-4 hours.  During the day, we give him more milk than regular food, but he's eating more regular food at the times that he does eat regular food. 

P.S. this is really kind of gross, but also all kinds of awesome.  I previously wrote about my bowel elimination habits when I was pregnant.  Desmond, for one day shortly after introducing solids, adopted these habits and, instead of having what you would consider a normal, runny/pasty baby poop, had this gem:

Yep...a little nugget of tightly compacted poop.   I wish all of his BMs were like this.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cloth Diaper giveaway

Hi everyone.  I have some cloth diapers that don't fit Desmond anymore that we'd like to give away to a good home.  They fit all the way up until he was about 7 months old (but he's a smaller kid, fits up until about 15 or 16 lbs.)  It's a set of 6 covers, 3 Bummis and 3 Thirsties, with a bunch of cotton cloth inserts (the trifold kind).  I think there may be around 24 inserts.

Diaper covers with the cloth inserts

Diaper covers (one is missing...was in the wash)

Cloth inserts, washed and ready to go.
I am obviously a proponent of cloth diapers.  It has saved us hundreds of dollars in disposable diapers. I'm not asking for anything for the diapers and I'll gladly ship them out to anyone who wants them.  All I ask is that if you don't want or don't end up using them, that you offer them to someone else who would want them, free of charge.  Cloth diapering is an expensive start-up, but saves so much money over the long run.

Please let me know if you want them or if anybody you know wants to have them.

Yay environment!  Yay saving money!  Yay diaper-rash-free bums!  Yay cute diaper designs!

***UPDATE: Cloth diapers have found a new home.  Thanks!***

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Desmond's fussiest, worst nights ever. The culprit? Ear infection

My mother is an awesome cook.  Specifically, she makes the most amazing rice and beans, fried plantains, and, in particular, soups.  She believes that any ailment, be it a headache, stomachache, flu, depression, anxiety, etc could be cured by eating some "chicken soupy."  She made us the most amazing chicken soup (we were all recovering from an awful sickness) that was made with cabbage.  We gave some to Desmond because 1, he gets so jealous when we eat our grown up food and he's eating mush out of a bag, and 2, the kid eats anything and everything (except parmesan potatoes and spinach).  I had just finished my first full day of my qualifying exam and was exhausted.  All I wanted to do was watch Oprah and Nikita (I know, I know...not very cool) and eat my mom's homemade cinnamony-sugary cream of wheat (my mama calls it Harina de Negrito).

So, Desmond started to get really fussy, so we tried to put him to bed at around 9.  He slept for about 2 hours and then woke up howling.  Usually, Des makes a little tiny yelp at first, groans a bit, and then starts fussing.  This time was different.  He would wake up yelling.  I ran into our bedroom terrified that something had happened.  I picked him up out of his crib.  As soon as I picked him up, he quieted down and lay his head on my shoulder.  "Weird," I thought.  I walked a few paces and, when his breathing became steady, I put him down again.  20 minutes later, he howled again.  and 20 minutes after that.  And 20 minutes after that.  By the 5th time, I convinced myself that something was wrong.  I immediately thought of how he would howl during the night as a newborn because he didn't quite yet know how to fart.  Ridiculous, huh?  Imagine now knowing how to fart!  I'm sure it was more complicated than that, but it's kind of funny...babies are really so helpless!

Anyhow, Billy was housesitting his parents' house that night so it was just me, my mother, and my little brother Gabriel (although he was of no help...the kid can sleep through a hurricane.  Seriously.  He's slept through at least 4 so far).  By 2 am, I put Desmond in the Ergo carrier and rocked back and forth while watching all of my saved Late Night with Jimmy Fallon episodes.  The minute I stopped rocking and sat down, he would start crying again.  At 6am, I handed him over to my mother and, exhausted, slept until noon.  My mother felt horribly and kicked herself for putting cabbage in the soup (cabbage is one of the main culprits of gas).

Back when Des was feeling like crap...He's got milk all over his face and some major boogers.  He's going to want to KILL me when he grows up and sees this picture.

Throughout the day, Desmond did really well.  The next night, he slept horribly again.  We decided to take him to see the pediatrician the next day to see whether what was bothering Desmond was gas or reflux.  The pediatrician poked Des in the stomach ("feels soft...hardly any gas"), listened to his little heartbeat ("sounds nice and strong"), and looked into his mouth ("aaaaahhhhh").  It wasn't until she looked into his right ear and said "hmmm" that I almost slapped my forehead and thought, "right...duh.  Ear infection."  I mean, classic sickness for kids and babies, right???  It turns out that he had signs of an ear infection that was either coming or going.  In BOTH ears.  Which makes sense.  Des had the remnants of our cold (although not as severe, thankfully.  Yay for breastmilk!) and was really stuffy (at one point, when he slept or nursed, he sounded like Pirate, our pug).

Poor, poor baby.  She sent us home with a prescription for antibiotics and told us that if he gets worse, ("and you'll know if it does") within 2 days, to go ahead and pick up the prescription, but not to give it to him if he seems to get better.  So we decided to wait.  We bought a new vicks warm humidifier and some baby vicks vaporub, which has lavender in it.  

Des seemed to be getting better, slowly.  He still disliked being completely flat (the fluid builds up in the ear canal and pushes against the inflamed eardrum when the baby is horizontal), so we stuffed a quilt underneath one end of his mattress so that it was elevated about 40 degrees.  We gave him some acetaminophen every 4-6 hours.  A few days later, he got worse.  The same symptoms - the waking up screaming, the general fussiness - came back.

Second time around...
We were just about to go to St. Louis and didn't want to go to a different city without the prescription, just in case.  We got the amoxicillin, which comes in this bottle and is a pink concoction that tastes like fruit mix.  We give him 4 mls 2 times a day with a syringe.  We started giving it to Des and within one day, we saw a major difference.  He's still on it, but almost done with the prescription.  I wish I wouldn't have been so busy, or I would've done something else to ease his pain and waited the infection out, like giving him warm olive oil drops in his ear or putting a warm compress against his ear.

But now?  Sleeping like a champ (a welterweight...not heavyweight yet) and happy as a goose.  Or a duck or mussel or whatever.  What?  English is my second language...back off.  :)

An infection-free Desmond!

Abuelita's visit to SLC - only her second time seeing Des!

My mother came out to Salt Lake to visit me and help me take care of Desmond day in and day out while I took the qualifying exam. She was amazing. She took over my house: she did the cooking, the cleaning, she played with Desmond, put him to sleep, gave him a bath... She ended up being "mom" to the both of us for a week. She made sure Billy had a lunch each morning before he went to work and left our freezer full to the brim with made-from-scratch soups. It was so nice to just surrender everything and focus on just writing. I mean, the writing part was hard and taking the exam was pretty difficult, but it was nice to focus on one thing and do it and not to have to worry about washing out Desmond's onesie because he shat up his back (which, by the way, happens nearly 100% of the time when he wears the Huggies Naturals diapers, but has hardly ever happened with his cloth diapers).

My mother bathing Desmond.  The tub is pretty just pour some water in it and the bottom is this rubbery plastic.  I like it because it's smaller and contained: I could let Desmond sit in it and not worry too much about him slipping in a bigger tub. 

I wish that I could live closer to my's hard to see all of the milestones that Des is achieving and knowing that my mother wouldn't see them in person.  Just today, she remarked that she missed Desmond's smell.  I swear, that woman loves him even when he smells like what's in his diaper.  She is so patient with him and would wake up with a smile when I would come into the room at 3 in the morning with a crying Desmond (turns out he had an ear infection...more on that in another post).  She even wore him around the house!

I'm so envious of my mom's bone structure.  She's beautiful!

  Thankfully, she gets along great with the future in-laws.  I mean, she's such an outgoing person and the most optimistic person I know.  People (like Des) are drawn to my mother naturally.  She's got such amazing energy.  I definitely have a lot to learn from her...

Here are both grandmas!  Chatting away at Squatters Brewing Company

What a lucky guy...

I love you, mama.  Thanks for coming out and helping me out.  We'll see you on the beach in June!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Mastitis and decreased milk the most horrible week ever

Wow.  In regards to posting, March has been absolutely, pitifully dismal.  But I have a great reason.  It all started when my brother and his girlfriend, the uber talented designer Katie Evans, came to visit (and meet!) their nephews.  Katie and John came last year when I was about 5 months pregnant.  I made Katie touch my belly and feel the lumpy creature growing inside of me.  She was disgusted :)

I just had to add this...

Oh my God.  My heart is melting.  Uncle John is so sweet to our little demon.

Des's guts are like 10 times bigger than in this picture. 

This has to be printed and framed.  It's too cute. 

Look at Nico's hand on Desmond's shoulder.  He always does that to Desmond...I love it.

Too close for Des's comfort.

He will put anything in his mouth.  Especially flashy jewelry.  He's like a crow.  Or a sparrow.  Or whatever the birds are that like shiny things.

Then we all went bowling.  I got last place.  My SIL has beautiful form.  And yes, we wore our kids and bowled.

After I didn't gutter the ball for once.

Cutie couple.  

Anyhow, I was feeling sick during their last few days here and felt so horrible (physically and guilt-wise).  I was getting the chills and had to lie down in bed with a winter jacket.  I would sleep for about 2 hours and then wake up drenched in sweat.  I was tired all day, had a sore throat, and a runny nose.  On top of all of that, I had another crack in my nipple (second so far) that I had been trying to "nurse" back to health.  I would get the same sharp pain down my left arm emanating from my breast that I used to get when I first started breastfeeding.  How is this happening to me?  At almost 7 months of nursing, it's almost old hat!  Just goes to show that anything can happen at anytime and I shouldn't be surprised. 

Anyhow, Desmond has been weaning since month 6, when we started feeding him solids.  For the first month, we kept on a pretty good schedule, feeding him every 2 hours: food, breastfeed, food, breastfeed.  So, it was an every-4-hour nursing schedule.  So, the risk of mastitis (an infection of the mammary glands in the breast...usually happens when milk isn't flowing through; i.e. you're not nursing enough or drop drastically; or when bacteria finds its way into your breast) coming on during a schedule that has been going on for a month is pretty low.  But, that weekend when John and Katie were here, my breasts felt really tender, as if I had went hours in between nursings.  I attributed the swelling to getting "off" my schedule.  And I attributed the flu-like symptoms to...well, the flu. 

I kept on nursing and nursing, even though it hurt like hell.  When I couldn't take it anymore, I switched to pumping except at night, when I would nurse des in bed.  I had 3 or 4 plugs in my left breast.  When I would pump, I would get only 1/2 oz at a time.  My right breast, the one that usually produced less milk, came to save the day and increased its output.  Isn't that amazing?!?! 

I was advised by my good friend Sara to call my midwife.  I told her my symptoms and she automatically prescribed me some antibiotics.  I think it was something like dicloxacillin and I had to take it 4 times a day for 14 days.  Lots of pills.  But, I would be remiss if I didn't point out, you should ALWAYS finish your prescription of antibiotics because if not, you run the risk of not killing all those bugs (I think I got the infection from the crack and not my feeding schedule) and the bugs that survive the 7 or 8 days you take the medicine will reproduce and make more bugs that can withstand that amount of antibiotics.  Bad news.

Anyhow, so that took about 1 week and a half to clear.  And then what happens...I get the qualifying exam.  BAM.  It took me about 50 hours to complete.  It was absolutely crazy.  The qualifying exam is something every PhD student does.  We have to take a General Exam (sort of like a glorified final exam).  Once we pass that, we have to write a 25 page proposal of our proposed study.  Once we write that, we hand it in to our committee and they ask you a bunch of questions regarding the proposal and you have to take a week and write great answers to their questions.  I think my exam turned out to be like 24 pages or something.  It really is taxing and I'm just now starting to feel like I can just sit and do nothing and be OK with it. 

My sweet mother came out from Florida to help me take care of Des while I took the exam.  More on that later.  But to leave you, here is another picture of the little demon:

Holy crap this makes me laugh so hard.  hahaha!  I love him!