Thursday, November 28, 2013

Memoirs from another Turkey Day

I was so excited to see my dad and have people over, I didn't really stop to prepare myself for yet another holiday without mom.  I was fine until after lunch, when all the men (everyone but Baby and I) gathered around the TV to watch football. Baby and I were sitting there on the floor playing, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I was in a room full of people, but I felt incredibly alone. 

I thought of the conversations my mom, aunts, and I had on Thanksgivings past.  I thought of the first year we had a Michael's in my small hometown town, and it was also the first year folks starting opening up on Thanksgiving night.  We didn't really need or want anything--matter of fact, no one spent a penny.  The women just wanted to escape the boring football game; so we all packed up and wandered the store talking about current projects and projects to come.

I thought about the birthday invitations I need to address, and the birthday crafts I don't have time to do. My heart ached for my crafting partner in crime.  The Cowboys scored a touchdown. Everyone cheered.  Baby threw her hands in the air. I decided to refocus.

I started working on the invitations. Hubby reached over and helped.  I felt better to be focused on something. Grandpa started playing with Baby. She absolutely loves her grandpa. Matter of fact, for the first time ever she cried when someone other than mom or dad left the room. It was beautiful and sad at the same time. I didn't want to see him go either.

Now, the delicious meals my father and my amazing husband made dairy and soy free just for me are resting in the fridge. Baby is asleep in my arms.  I'm hoping for a little sleep tonight, but I'm bracing for none.

I hope the holidays were kind to you all. I know they can be hectic and stressful. People criticize and judge, they say the wrong thing, or they say nothing at all. But when night falls, when the guests have left and you can breathe deep.  When the house is still again, and regardless of whether the day went according to plan or made up its own: you survived.  Tomorrow is a new day, and everything important in your life will still be waiting for you in the morning.

Happy Squashgiving Day

I'm feeling confident from our carrot win, and it's onto the next food. Squash.

Hubby pureed some squash Monday night, and I presented it to Baby yesterday morning. When I removed the container from the fridge, I was taken back by Joe watery it was.  I even called hubby to make sure I was grabbing the right one.  He admitted to adding water out of habit from the carrots.  Hmm, well, it's awfully soupy, but I'll give it a go.

Baby was as skeptical as can be as the spoon closed in, but my very convincing airplane noises persuaded her to give it a try.  The small bite was followed by gagging. Lots of it. I apologized profusely.  Her response looked awful. I almost starting gagging too!

I thought perhaps it was the taste, so I add just a little breast milk to see if that would help.  The airplane did NOT receive permission to land. It took much coaxing and a little bit of trickery, but I got another half a spoon in. Queue Gag Fest--so many times I was pleading with her not to vomit. Yeah, I totally kept my cool.

I was admittedly bummed. I love squash. I had such high hopes. How would we trial it if she won't even eat it! So, that night we discussed trying it again with a thicker consistency or moving on.  We decided to try it once more; it would be a squashy Thanksgiving morning for this Baby.

This time around, he cut out much of ghee middle, used bigger chunks, and no water. Perfecto.  I showed Baby the spoon, and we rowed the squash boat on over.  She psyched me out a few times, but finally took a bite. I braced myself, but... she loved it! High fives all around!

So, this morning I fed my daughter two vegetables for the first time ever. I was so happy I cold hardly stand it.  I kept trying to reel it in, not get my hopes up, but they are flying high despite my  best efforts.

Now, we wait.  Again.  And, honestly, this has been a horrible morning nap, so the anxiety is already flooding in.  I keep telling myself that she hasn't sleep well in a while, though usually at night, and praying it's not the carrots or the squash.  But, the sleep whimpers are hard to ignore.  Cross your fingers.

Deliciousness Score: Carrots > Oatmeal > Sweet Potatoes > Bananas > Avocado > Squash
Reflux Score: B
Gastro Misc. Score: B

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

What's Up, Doc?

I'm excited to say that not only does my daughter like carrots, they seem to like her as well!  Ladies and Gentlemen, we have our very first official pass!

And the longer she's on carrots and off of oatmeal, the more I start to wonder about symptoms that I might have been missing that whole time.  Her diapers are more normal in all characteristics now.  The rasping is limited.  The hiccups occurred only once.  I'm starting to think that isolated cases of hiccups may be a result of new foods, period.  However, with avocado, they were relentless.  So, <adjusts glasses> I'm learning the difference between "normal" behavior and symptoms.  And the only symptom I'm spotting with carrots are some wet burps, almost like swallowing down spit up, but they are infrequent, and so I'm hoping we can continue to move forward.  The big unknown is how it's affecting her sleep, because frankly, she hasn't slept well since these top two teeth starting moving in.  Oy.

Frankly, mealtime has just been nicer.  Now, she dances with each bite, leans in for more, and is generally happy right up until she's done and ready to move onto her next task.  She's a busy girl with a full schedule, don't you know?  No time for dallying.

What a relief.  We really need a win.  I know you know it.

Deliciousness Score: Carrots > Oatmeal > Sweet Potatoes > Bananas > Avocado
Reflux Score: B
Gastro Misc. Score: A

The Pre-Party Stress Fest

Baby turns one soon.

I'm stressing. I'm stressing because my baby is so big. She's growing up so fast.  I'm not ready. Freeze time!
I'm stressing because things aren't the way we thought they would be. Most days it doesn't bother me that she doesn't sleep in her room.  I'm glad to have her closer. Most days I don't even mind that she needs me near (read: underneath) to take her naps. I need the rest and cherish these rare still moments of an otherwise busy, busy day.

But the day approaches when all will gather around in my poor, haggard house and ask all those milestone questions. And honestly, for most people it will just be a way to connect, a conversation to have, but my mom guilt will grab every quandary and sculpt it into judgement. 

I'll admit that, no, she rarely sleeps through the night (read: maybe 4 times) with my eyes cast down at the floor.  I'll sigh and confess that, no, she hasn't magically grown out of her reflux like we all hoped she would by a year.  I'll explain, again and again, that she can't have that finger food, or even her own birthday cake because of her milk soy protein intolerance.  I'll excuse myself to feed her and imagine hushed exclamations of surprise that we are still breastfeeding.  I'll know that I'm not imagining a few of those, and I'll wonder what they are saying while I'm gone.

And--I'm taking a deep breath here--I'll beam when she says "Hi!" and waves. I'll try to contain myself when she says "mama" and walks over to me all by herself.  I'll scoop her up, and I won't be shy about showing her how proud I am. I'll laugh when she dances.  I'll say, yes, she did just point at that baby and say "baby."  And when they say, wow, she's such a happy baby, I'll smile at my husband and know, without a doubt, that she's amazing because of the decisions we have made, and not despite them.

I'll know we've given her everything we've got, and in return, we've gotten everything.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Wiggle Wiggle

This baby is a dancing machine.  Sometimes, she says seated and wiggles on the floor.  Sometimes, she stands up and pops her hips from side to side.  If there is music, she's dancing.  If there's clapping, she's dancing.  Sometimes, she dances when she's angry, but she doesn't seem to appreciate the laughter it generates.

The last few nights have been teething terrible.  We spend the first half of the night trading off baby cuddles until she can get comfortable enough to sleep.  She wakes up SCREAMING in pain, and in we go to pick her up and hold her close.  If ever I wondered if we were doing enough, if this was helping at all, my doubts are answered by a quiet little wiggle dance on my chest as she snuggles in and holds me close.

It's hard to be angry, it's hard to be frustrated by this tiny little dancer.  But in all honesty, I am very tired and a little touched out.  The dancing is much cuter, much sweeter, and much funnier in the morning.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

T is for Teeth. Terrible, taunting teeth.

I feel like teething is one of those things that is going to be constantly redefined by a new level of terror through each phase we pass.

The bottom right tooth was not so bad, but the bottom left tooth was tough. Neither even belong on the same scale as what is happening in our house right now.

We had several nights of difficult bedtimes and mild discomfort before the top right finally broke through. The left seemed to be following closely behind, but then...

They just stopped.

Right there in the midst of agony, those jerks just decided to take a breather. So the top left side is swollen, red, bleeding, and depending on the day, sometimes sports the glimpse of a tooth. The left is slowly working its way through, but the progress is slow enough to be questionable most days.

In the meantime, we have spent the first SEVERAL hours of bedtime holding her while she flails and whimpers in her sleep. You cannot set her down or the screaming begins.

I. Am. Exhausted.

I'm typing this from our pillow fort in my bed as she tosses and turns all over me.  Last night a full dose of Tylenol helped tremendously, and she finally got some rest around midnight. Tonight, it hasn't even taken the edge off.  So, I might as well pass the time writing... perhaps I'll start my memoirs.

It doesn't help that, on top of being exhausted from last night, she took her nap around 9:30 this morning and decided she was good for the day.  Once she hit her second (or third, or fourth) wind, she was delighted to pass the evening with some serious walking practice.  She bounced around from her take, to the ottoman, to me, to the couch like an invincible pinball, squealing and beaming with her progress.  She's getting braver and braver, crawling across the room before she'll pull up on the couch, turn to me, smile, and bulldoze back to my side.  At one point she just got up and walked away from me.  She circled the room while I tried to nonchalantly hover close enough to catch my tired little traveler before she finally lost her balance. 

It's so remarkable to watch that I almost forget how tiny she still is, and how hard it must be for her to process all of this at once.  Don't worry--I have been thoroughly reminded.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Anger Management

It's been one of those (extended) weeks where I somehow managed to land myself on the bottom of Karma's boot.  I don't think I did anything bottom-of-the-boot worthy... I suspect that I might have just been standing too close when Karma was katamari'ing up it's SOBs for the week.  I don't know if you've ever been in the middle of a katamari, but it's pretty rowdy;  I can't quite seem to catch anyone's attention to point out the possible error.

It all started on Friday when the dryer broke.  It had been running for 4 hours before either of us realized that it had A.) not stopped or buzzed and B.) generated any heat of any kind.  Funny, MOST seasons in Texas this would not be a problem.  Heat is something we have in spades.  But it's actually cool to pleasant outside--great for us, not so great for drying clothes.  This was all especially frustrating as the warranty on our dryer had expired just the week before.  I even managed to REMEMBER that it was about to expire and schedule MAINTENANCE for the thing because I suspected it might not be preforming on all cylinders.  The repair guy kept snickering about how I needed to extend the warranty and barely looked at anything.

So as you can imagine, I was super happy with the entire situation.  I called Sears to discuss the situation with a supervisor, and on my third call I realized something:  If you ask to speak to a supervisor, you are on a one way trip to The Abyss of Horrible Hold Music.  And NO ONE ever comes back from The Abyss.  No one.  At one point, I had three phones on hold, the longest of which was an hour and a half.  So, I gave up.  I shot off a rage tweet about the situation, said a lot of things that Baby shouldn't have heard, and decided to reclaim my weekend.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Breastfeeding Saga :: Part II - Nipple Shields

Hey, remember months ago when I started telling you all about our Breastfeeding Saga?  Well, probably not because I really dropped the ball.  So, without further ado, I'm just going to jump back in here with Part II.


The next two days at home with the baby were difficult.  My milk had come in, but she was constantly in distress, difficult to settle, and never satisfied with the amount we were told to feed her.  I think we were both relieved to visit the pediatrician and see what they had to say.

The doctor asked about breastfeeding, and I confessed our difficulties.  She reviewed the amount we were feeding Baby and said it was not nearly enough.  The baby was screaming because she was hungry!  It all seems very "Duh!" now, but you have to realize that it was the first two days of our parenthood.  We followed the instruction sheet to a T, and I still have no idea why the LCs thought she needed so little.

Once I described our latching issues, the pediatrician sent in their own LC to do an evaluation.  The LC watched me attempt to feed baby, looked at her mouth, and said she wanted the doctor to come in and evaluate her for a tongue tie.  The doctor returned and they examined her together.  The doctor explained to me that she was fighting against her anatomy and that she would, in time, be able to breastfeed (Missed Diagnosis #6).  She pointed out her very strong suck, and explained to me that she was gumming and tongue thrusting.  "Even if you could get her to latch," she told me, "it would be incredibly painful for you." The LC suggested a nipple shield, and the doctor concurred.  They also told me to ditch the pacifier.

Come with me if you want to breastfeed.

Moments later, we were breastfeeding for the first time.  Tears flooded to my eyes as baby latched easily and began to nurse contently.  I thanked the LC over and over again.  She warned me that a lot of folks don't like nipple shields--they used to be a thick plastic that would slow the milk follow and eventually decrease your supply.  She said they had since been redesigned and offered some moms their only chance at breastfeeding.  She told me that most moms could eventually wean off of them, and that she only had one mom still using them even though her baby was several months old.  I was hardly listening... we were breastfeeding!  My heart was full of hope.  I was finally feeding my daughter the way I always thought I would. (Well, not exactly the way I always thought I would...)

An Ode to the One Nap Transition

An Ode to the One Nap Transition

1 Nap. 2 Nap.
Red Nap. Blue Nap.
I do not think I'll nap at all.
I do not think I'll nap this Fall.
I will not nap, I'll play instead.
I will not nap, I'll play in bed.

Maybe I will nap on mom.
Maybe if she sings a song.
Maybe if she sings it twice.
Maybe a short nap sounds nice.

I emailed the above poem to myself at 3AM this morning.  It was quite the delight to discover, though it's somewhat concerning that we have yet to begin reading Dr. Suess, and I'm already knee deep in rhymes.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Carrot O' Clock

We started carrots today.  But first, let's rewind to last week...

I've mentioned before that we order Baby's oatmeal online.  Her portions have been slowly increasing, and before we realized it, we were out of oatmeal!  I felt horrible.  I called all the Whole Foods in the area, but no one had any in stock.  We had no choice but to skip solids for a few days.  There was so much mom guilt, but I reminded myself that she really is getting everything she needs from breast milk.  I hid in the dining room to eat alone, and I did my best to keep her distracted at meal times so she didn't miss it.  We stayed busy, and she really didn't seem to mind.

The oatmeal arrived on our door step (not hidden under the mat this time), and I was excited to share our mealtimes again.  I started to feed her, and she started to rasp.  I searched my memory and realized she hadn't rasped at all during the last few solid-free days.  I grew suspicious.  We gave it one more day, but when she rasped again at breakfast, I panicked and took her off of the oatmeal again.

That was the beginning of a serious solids stress fest.  Everything I had known was false.  Was the oatmeal causing other reactions to be worse?  What did I do now?  Start her on barley?  Brown rice?  Try another veggie?  I had no idea.  So an entire week crawled without feeding her solids.  She was fine with it, but I was not.  I don't think I can cope with her turning A YEAR OLD and not being able to eat a single solid food.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


Do you remember those women on the Oprah's Favorite Things episodes? You know, the ones who were so beside themselves excited to have won <insert Oprah's Favorite Thing here> that their reaction could only be described as a cross between "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, I'M ON FIRE!! HELP ME!!" and "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!"?

Well, these last few weeks Baby has been experimenting with self expression, and she currently has two speeds: Unamused and OFT Nutcase Explosion.

Take Tuesday evening for example, Hubby had just gotten home from work and was holding the baby. I walked in the room making a silly face, and this happened:

It doesn't matter if you fan her with a blanket or turn the water on while she's in the bath.  You will get the same amazing result, and it's hilarious.

Unfortunately, we are now doing a similar experiment with expressing displeasure. And the speed options seem to be about the same.

It's not quite as cute.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Baby Arithmetic

What do you get when you take:

A Baby that stands on her own


A new waving skill


Amazing baby dance moves


The most adorable chicken dance you've ever seen.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

A Call For Help

"Hello? 911? I'd like to report an assault."

"Yes, it's my 10 month old daughter. She's holding her foot like a weapon and using it to repetitively kick me in the face and chest. Don't even get me started on what she's doing to my nipples with those new top teeth."

"You're notifying the police? Well, if you think they can get through to her. I'm all out of ideas."


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Texas Two Step

Today was a remarkable day.

The last two weeks have been full of fuss.  So very much fuss.  Fuss because she went to bed too early, and fuss because she went to bed too late.  Fuss because she slept too long (rare), fuss because she didn't sleep long enough.  Fuss because I left the room, fuss because she wants to leave the room.  You name it, she fussed it.

I suspected it was because she seemed to be teething pretty hardcore, but time kept passing and I could feel nothing in the way of new teeth.  Several days ago, bad sleep went to worse, and I told myself I could feel a bump where her top right tooth would be, but I wasn't sure.  I wasn't sure the teething would ever end. I started to wonder... why is it taking so long?  Why is it always SO hard?  And then... yesterday morning I felt a tooth!  I wasn't feeling far enough forward, I don't think, or maybe it had just come along... but there it was.  Relief rushed over me... my daughter was going to have more than two teeth afterall!  And maybe someday, she would feel comfortable again.  WHEW.

Last night started off rough, but ended with a decent stretch of sleep.  When we woke up, I found the hints of TWO top teeth.  I suspected it might work like this, the bottom teeth came in holding hands too.  I was so glad she got some rest, and MY GOODNESS, if someone didn't replace my Fuss-O-Matic 2000 with the sweet, happy Baby of yesterweeks.  She was smiling, playing on her own, just happily moving about the room while I fixed our breakfast.



Yesterday, Baby fell asleep on the way back from Mommy & Me Yoga (fun fun fun), so I was just cruising around town to let her sleep. I pulled up to the window at Taco Bell and whispered "Hi, can I have a small Coke?"  The woman looked puzzled, but then she glanced at the backseat, turned, and got my drink. When she came back, her eyes were all glassy and red. She waved away my money and turned away from the window.

I pulled away with mixed emotions. I wanted to turn back, give her a hug, and tell her that--although I didn't know her story--she had a kind heart, and I appreciated the gesture.  Since I was unable to do that (and frankly too shy), I took the experience and put it here: a little real-life reminder that people are far more than the tiny little snapshots we see as we go about our days.

Be kind to each other.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Not So Sweet Potatoes

The Battle to Feed Baby Solids Continues.

Last week we tried Sweet Potatoes.  Baby made a bit of a face with the first bite, and though she looked doubtful, quickly ate the rest.  Day 1 passed by without incident.  Day 2 there was some slight rasping and one hiccup incident.  I started to get nervous, but I pressed on.  The slight rasping and very occasional hiccups continued on to Day 4, at which point she was not sleeping very well.  I decided to give it a rest.  She was only getting about a tablespoon of the potatoes (as per our GI), and I just didn't want to continue down that path if the signs were starting to accelerate.  I lost all my bravery in the War of Reflux 2013 (ongoing).

At this point, I was ready to score Sweet Potatoes a B and possibly try them again in the future.

But then, the dirty diapers, which had slowly been increasing in density, stopped all together.  She gave it her best effort, but the end result was always the same: lots of baby tears and barely anything to speak of.  It was so sad to see her struggle.  One day turned into four days, and once again we were trapped in the ramifications of trying a new food--only they were not the consequences I had anticipated.  Easily enough, all other reflux symptoms--as mild as they had been--had subsided when we stopped the potatoes.  So there was that, at least.  Finally, on Day 5, she had a big diaper.  Then nothing again.  Now another diaper... so we are slowly getting back to normal.

Sigh.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  Never would I have thought I would have such a disdain for solid food.   I was at a birthday party for a 1 year old over the weekend, and watching that baby eat bits of turkey, roast beef, grapes, and CHEESE was heart breaking for me.  I felt so sad that my daughter will be 1 soon, and she is still eating mush--one flavor of mush, at that!

I want her to have fun eating.  I want her to have finger foods.  And smash cakes.  And culinary excitement!  Someday...

Deliciousness Score: Oatmeal > Sweet Potatoes > Bananas > Avocado
Reflux Score: B
new! Gastro Misc. Score: C

Monday, November 4, 2013

Monitor Magic

Our baby monitor has a slight delay when you turn it on where the picture is frozen from whenever the unit was last turned off.  Some nights when I get Baby to bed, settle down on the couch with dinner, and turn on the monitor, there is a split second where Baby is not in her bed.

And I always think of one thing and one thing alone:

Disclaimer: Baby on my monitor appears drastically cuter than baby in the image above.