Saturday, January 31, 2009

small favors

Having a screamy baby and a whiny toddler with a cold has benefits too- I've lost 4 pounds in the last week, likely because I don't have the time to be snacking or eating or drinking while I'm taking care of everyone else. But still! I'm secretly thrilled! We are going to California for a week and a half and then Florida for another week to visit each set of grandparents, and I am going to have to get into a bathing suit. Ick.

If this keeps up, though, I may just be in bathing suit shape by then. Not any kind of bathing suit shape that actually looks GOOD, mind you, but at least I will actually fit into any bathing suit without horrifying our families. Although I'm typing this one handed while I scarf down cookies with the other hand, so maybe this is all wishful thinking.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

they're lucky they are so cute

How is today going, you ask?

Well, let's see...

As of this morning, we're upping the dose for Josie in the hopes that it'll help a little more. This morning there was a period of screaming followed by much spit-up, so we're hoping she just needs a little more baby Zantac.

Gabe caught a virus from a child at his toddler program because her parents sent her to school even though she went to the hospital in an ambulance over the weekend with complications from a cold. We spent most of last night up with him while he cried and coughed and cried and coughed. So far today he's sneezed on Josie apparently 72 times.

Gabe sprayed himself in the eye with shower cleaner this afternoon, so I've spent the last couple of hours on the phone with Poison Control and the pediatrician, and then holding him down on the floor of the shower, holding his eye open and pouring water into it. He was thrilled about that, as you can imagine.

And because what we're really lacking around here is more hormones, I got my period. At 6 weeks postpartum, breastfeeding around the clock, and pumping even more milk on the side. I didn't even know this was possible. Isn't this a little unfair? I thought it was a given with breastfeeding that I'd get a break on this particular subject. Apparently not.

Both children are still alive, though. I'm pretty sure I'm still sane. Please send a dairy-free, non-chocolate dessert our way.

Monday, January 26, 2009

I actually forgot to feed the dogs yesterday for the whole. entire. day. So now I can berate myself about being a terrible dog owner too. Fabulous! I woke up at 5am out of a deep sleep and realized suddenly that I hadn't fed them, and felt appropriately guilty, but not guilty enough to get out of bed and feed them right then and there. I've left food down for them all day today to make up for it.

Josie is still improving, I think. Today she seems a little bit better than yesterday, and yesterday was better than the day before. We did have a screaming fit last night where we couldn't calm her down and at the end I did dissolve into a puddle of tears, but I figure that is to be expected at one point or another. I've been paying more attention to the spitting up situation, and I think in retrospect that she is spitting up more than what would be considered normal. The quantity of times she spits up isn't that many, but when she does spit up it feels like a lot of spit up.

Gabe is still totally enchanted with her, despite all the screaming, and I'm being very careful not to voice my frustrations in front of him to make sure he doesn't blame her for me being tired/angry/impatient. In fact, today at naptime she was crying because I put her down in her swing so I asked him if she could tuck him into bed (because I try to put him down alone so he doesn't feel like she imposes herself on ALL our time together). He said yes, so we went upstairs and after I tucked him into his bed with all his gear, he asked if Josie would give him a kiss. I said of course, and leaned her over him, and... she threw up all over his head.

ALLLLL over his head and his pillow. It was even in his ears. Poor Gabe whimpered out, "Mommy! Josie spit up Gabe's head!" I had a moment of panic, but quickly wiped him off with baby wipes and turned his pillow over to the non spit up side and rushed out of the room trying not to make a big deal out of it. Just as I was leaving the room, Gabe said, "Mommy, Josie kiss!" Honestly, how forgiving is this kid? She is so ungrateful for her sweet brother! I would certainly not want to try that whole kiss thing again, but he adores her.

Okay, one more adorable Gabe thing, because seriously this kid is delicious. My pediatrician recommended that I spend at least 15 minutes a day of devoted "Gabe"time playing or doing whatever he wants to do. So when Josie fell asleep and I felt confident that she might stay that way for 15 minutes, I turned to her and loudly said, "Okay Josie, it is Gabe and Mommy's special time now, so you need to stay in your bassinet for a little bit while we have special time." Gabe looked up happily from his train set and said, "Yeah, Mommy! Gabe and Mommy special time." I knelt down on the floor with him to play and he scooted over next to me, looked up sweetly and said, "Mommy! Ex-cit-ing!" with tons of emphasis and meaning. I tell you, this kid kills me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

it still tastes awful, flavor or not

On Thursday, I can't even tell you how many hours Josie screamed incessantly. Being in our arms made no difference, and at 9:30 at night I drove like a crazy woman to Whole Foods to see if they had some kind of homeopathic remedy for colic or gas or SOMETHING. They recommended gripe water, but it barely made a dent in her screaming. I finally crawled into bed with her and tucked her closely against my side and we both fell into a fitless sleep for most of the night.

In the morning I called the pediatrician, and we agreed it was time to try reflux medication, even though she wasn't having the massive amounts of spit-up that often highlights reflux. He called it into a special compounding pharmacy that could flavor the medication to taste a little less awful, and I was shocked when the pharmacy offered to bring it out to my car so that I wouldn't have to unpack both kids out of the car.

It took so long to call in the medication, and then for them to make it (because according to the pharmacist who brought it out to the car, they actually make the medication in their pharmacy, not just package it the way chain pharmacies do), that I couldn't give her a dose until last night and then again this morning. On the way home from the pharmacy she cried so hard and so long that she made herself hoarse and couldn't stop hiccuping and gasping for air. When I finally pulled her out of the car seat, she threw up all over both of us in massive amounts.

It has been tough around here. I am a bundle of nerves, because I can't put her down, even for 30 seconds without her screaming uncontrollably, and she often continues screaming even in my arms, and she is LOUD. Even though it pains me, there are some times when I have to put her down and let her scream because I have to put on a shirt, or take a shower, or pluck my eyebrows, and by the end of whatever I have to do, my hands are shaking from listening to her hysterics.

I've tried the swing, the sling, the bouncy chair, the bassinet, the moses basket, even Gabe pats her on the head and says, "no cry Josie, no cry." I feel horribly guilty because Gabe is obviously affected also. Yesterday I would put her down right next to us to change his diaper, and I couldn't even hear him talking over her cries. He doesn't seem upset by all the crying, but I feel like a terrible mother because I can't sit on the floor and play with him while I'm bouncing and jumping and dancing around in an effort to make her feel better. It is exhausting.

It's been 16 hours since we gave her the first dose of medication, and I don't know if it can start to work this quickly or if this is a fluke, but this is the least amount of crying we've had in days. She has still been fussing when we put her down, but she slept without grunting and whimpering, and she has consented to sit in a swing for 15 minutes and to be put down in her chair for an amazing 30 minute stretch. I hate hate hate putting her on any kind of medicine, because I'm always terrified of side effects or damage it might do to her sensitive system, but I also can't sit here and listen to her suffer. It's been torturous.

I'm keeping a hold on my sanity, though, mainly by reminding myself that she is healthy, she will be fine, this too will pass. Neither of my kids have a serious illness, and in the end, this is just a little blip in our lives. It feels hard while we're listening to her crying in pain, but compared to those parents whose children have serious illnesses, this is NOTHING. We can totally do this. We are totally blessed.

But still, I'm placing lots of hopes on that little bottle of vanilla flavored liquid.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


There is a lot of screaming (on Josie's part) and silent hair pulling (on my part) going on over here, so my ability to sit at a computer in sweet peace is seriously limited. I'm sometimes afraid that this adorable little girl is going to push me over the edge, honestly. Today we were all ready to get out of the house to go to Josh's office for lunch, and she vomited her whole feeding all over me, and then proceeded to scream incessantly any time I tried to put her down to change my shirt, or pluck my eyebrows, or drinks a glass of water. She screamed in her car seat on the way to the car, then in the car, then in Josh's office, then at the stroller store where we were test-driving strollers. I am exhausted.

I can't let this day go by without marking it, though. Yesterday is Josh's and my 10 year dating anniversary. 10 years ago, yesterday morning, I sat down in a philosophy class behind the cutest boy I'd ever met and flirted relentlessly until he asked me out. 10 years! That means that I have spent 1/3 of my life with Josh, because we met when I was 20 and I turned 30 this year. Isn't that a little bit crazy? 10 years together, 6 and a half married, 2 kids, 2 dogs, multiple moves and jobs later, and he is still the cutest boy I've ever met.

He's promised me 100 years more, and let's hope he's right.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Poor Josie is going to think that is her actual name, because we call her squawky so much. It turns out that Josie is, um, a little bit more demanding than her brother was. I always knew that Gabe was a remarkably easy baby, and he has turned into a remarkably easy toddler. Don't get me wrong, everyone has their quirks and different challenges, and Gabe is no different, but these days I am starting to appreciate just HOW EASY I had it.

Josie knows what she wants and is not afraid to be vocal about it. She wants to be held and she does NOT want you to sit while you are doing the holding. She does NOT like to poop and she does not want you to change her diaper after she has accomplished the pooping. She also has a few moments of every day where she screams for no apparent reason, or at least no apparent reason we have been able to figure out. Sometimes the screaming sessions end in some explosive gas, so I tend to attribute a lot of the screaming to gas, but then sometimes, to be honest, she just seems pissed off. Generally. At the world.

All this screaming has caught me so unprepared, that I've been going a little crazy adjusting my diet to find a cause for gas or pooping problems or whatever. I've completely cut out dairy, chocolate, and vegetables, except for plain lettuce. I also tried eating a super bland diet of just pasta, bread, rice, bananas, and water, but the crying continued. We attributed it first to the anti-constipation medication I was taking, and then to the antibiotic I was taking, but both of those are done and she stills seems upset. She also seems incredibly gassy, but if it isn't milk or vegetables or chocolate, I can't imagine what else it could be. I'm considering cutting out wheat for a couple of days and seeing how she does, but beyond that, I'm at a loss.

I must really adore this little girl, because going without chocolate for all this time (3 weeks) is causing me all kinds of suffering. My friend made me a tray of my favorite brownies, and I had to cut them all up nicely and freeze them because my little experiment of eating just one did not end well for us. That particular night we were up until 1am with a very squawky baby.

All the squawking doesn't seem to be affecting her much, though, because she is still eating and gaining like a champ. She is the most efficient breastfeeder I have ever met. She feeds for 10 minutes and seems totally satisfied, and most shockingly, at her 1 month appointment she weighed a whopping 9 pounds 10 ounces. For those of you keeping track, her birth weight was 6 pounds 5 ounces, so she gained 3 pounds 5 ounces in a month! Amazingly, that is a faster rate of growth than her brother, and that boy ate around the clock. I felt like I never stopped breastfeeding him. I was able to read book after book after book with him while I sat on the couch nursing.

One of my breastfeeding books mentions something called hyperlactation syndrome, and I'm trying to figure out if maybe that is the problem with Josie. Hyperlactation syndrome is where too much milk is produced with a too forceful letdown, so the baby gulps down too much milk, especially too much of the foremilk (thinner milk that comes out of the breast first), and all that extra lactose turns into gas in their little stomachs and causes gas problems. I definitely have too much milk, and she definitely gags and sputters often at the start of a feed and will even pull off and cry sometimes when the milk pours out too quickly. I have some tips on how to slow down the flow and keep her from gulping too much air, so we'll see how that goes.

I should also mention that I've considered reflux, but the pediatrician and I don't think that is her problem. She spits up, but not that much and not with every feed, and sitting up or lying down doesn't seem to impact her squawking. She is very noisy when she sleeps and often fusses and grunts even in her deep sleep, but the pediatrician doesn't seem to think that is enough to call this reflux.

Besides the extra fussiness, though, both of the kids are really very cute. Josie has become much more alert all of a sudden and she will look around for long stretches of time and smile if we jump into her view or squeeze her cheeks. She is getting the chubby cheeks and thighs that her brother was famous for, and I'm glad she doesn't know how to protest yet, or she'd complain about all my munching on her cheeks.

Gabe is finally feeling better and he is back to his sweet self, although slightly more affectionate than he was before. We were told that once a second child appeared, a first child might become more affectionate all of a sudden, now that his or her "resources" were being challenged. This seems to be the case with Gabe, because we've all been receiving more hugs and kisses on a regular basis (from the dogs, to Josh and I, and especially Josie). He is funny as always, and loves to do things by himself. Yesterday we went sledding, and he insisted on going down the hill on his own. He also learned how to put on his jacket and boots by himself and wants to screw the lids of cups on and get himself snacks. Today, we went to lunch with a friend and she carried Josie over to the table for us, and when he noticed she was gone, he turned to me with a worried look on his face and said, "Mommy! Josie! Mommy! Josie!" until I showed him that she was in her car seat around the corner. It was adorable to see him concerned about his sister, when my greatest fear was that he'd want to get rid of her.

So really, life is good. I just wish I knew why Josie seems so uncomfortable. It is the one thing I worry about quite a bit, so if you have suggestions, please share them.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

first smiles

Last night Josie slept beautifully in 4 hour stretches, and I was up since 2am sick in the bathroom from this stomach bug. When my sickness finally eased at around 6am, Josie decided she was up for the day and began cooing and chatting with me, despite all my efforts to shut off the lights, close my eyes, and ignore her.

When I finally gave in and turned on the light on my nightstand, I looked down at her and she gave me the biggest, most blinding smile, and to be sure I wasn't mistaken, held it there for what felt like an eternity, but was maybe 10 seconds. Josh and my mom kept insisting that she'd smiled at them purposefully over the last week, but I didn't believe it.

That sweet smile almost makes all this stomach bug, lack of sleep, want to cry with exhaustion nonsense worth it. Ok, who am I kidding, it is totally worth it.

I feel guilty because the tally of pictures for Josie versus Gabe is already uneven, and it is only the first month. The truth is, though, I can't seem to tear myself away from holding her, kissing her, snuggling her, to grab the camera or write a blog post. With Gabe, I was so concerned with him being spoiled that I would resist holding him just for the sake of enjoyment, to make sure I put him down in his bassinet awake or didn't get him too used to being carried around. With Josie, I'm a little less worried about her being spoiled, and I simply can't tear myself away from her. I want to bury my nose in her neck, I want to stop her from growing up, I want to keep her in my arms forever.

It has been shocking to find that I can love another little person as much as I love Gabe. I thought it was impossible.

I'm not a super affectionate person, but with both of my children I can't resist. I've tricked poor Gabe into giving me hugs by never asking if he wants a hug, but asking instead whether he wants a big hug or a little hug. Yesterday he finally caught on and responded, "NO HUG!" but for the most part, he complies. Poor Josie has no choice, so she gets slobbered on constantly.

Now I'm just wishing time would slow down. It moved quickly with Gabe, but it is impossibly fast with two kids. Even though this time around I know how much fun awaits me at every new stage, I can't help hoping for the two of them to stay the same a little longer. I should know better by now, huh?

Monday, January 12, 2009


Ok, after all my whining in the previous post, I also just realized that today is National Delurking Day 2009!

So please leave a comment, and in return, I'll, um, umm, ummm, well... How about pictures of the babes? Old pictures, but pictures nonetheless. That's something, right?


On Thursday, when Gabe first started giving indications that this stomach bug was an actual stomach bug and not just something he'd eaten, I called the pediatrician's office to get some advice, especially on keeping Josie protected from the plague. I spoke to one of the nurses who seemed very helpful and understanding and she gave me a long list of advice to follow. On Friday I spoke to her again and she gave me more advice and a list of dos and don'ts for his diet. On Saturday, he seemed worse, and Sunday he was worse still. More importantly, Saturday night and Sunday he has been miserable.

Clingy, whiny, crying, screaming for me constantly, doesn't want anything to do with Daddy, inconsolable, and impossible about everything. To make matters worse, I had been struggling with nausea since Friday night, but on Sunday morning it became very clear that I had come down with the same stomach flu that everyone else had. Dealing with a sick and miserable toddler while feeling sick and miserable yourself has been an exercise in self-control, that's for sure.

Yesterday afternoon, in a fit of desperation, I started surfing the Internet to find more advice on how to treat diarrhea in toddlers because things didn't seem to be improving. I became more and more agitated as I realized that the advice I'd been following for 4 days was in direct contrast to everything I was reading. The nurse told me not to let Gabe eat ANYTHING until his diarrhea stopped, but clearly that was an impossibility since it had been 4 days, but I'd been severely restricting his diet. I was only giving him dry toast and rice, and small quantities of those. She said to give him apple juice and sports drinks as often as possible, to make sure he wasn't dehydrated, and absolutely no milk, even Lactaid, which I'd bought because my pediatrician had previously told me that Lactaid was safe even when he was sick to his stomach. All the websites dealing with toddlers/children and diarrhea were saying the opposite. Feed them a somewhat bland diet, but don't restrict their food. Don't give them apple juice or sports drinks, or really anything sugary, because each of those causes more diarrhea. Consider giving them some dairy because studies have shown that dairy doesn't have much impact on the diarrhea.

I freaked out. I hate calling the on call pediatrician's line, but I was frantic. I left a message stating exactly my concern, that the nurse had given me what I suspected was incorrect advice and that I was FREAKING OUT. The doctor called back almost immediately, and confirmed that I needed to stop the juice, stop restricting his food, and start letting him eat, especially plenty of bananas, soup, pasta, bread, rice, etc. Happily for everyone who had been having to listen to Gabe's screaming about not having any milk, we were permitted to give him Lactaid too. I was writing up a grocery list for Josh even before we finished the call, and by the end, the doctor was incredibly apologetic and said she would speak to the nurse. Apparently her advice would have been correct for someone whose child was profusely vomiting, but not for a mild case of diarrhea caused by a stomach bug.

I am livid. Incensed. I cannot believe that I may have been making his stomach bug worse by giving him all of this apple juice. Apple juice isn't something we regularly drink, so I had no idea that copious amounts of juice can actually cause diarrhea. I could punch someone, honestly. As soon as Josh got back from the store, we started letting Gabe eat actual amounts of food. The poor thing inhaled a banana within seconds, and then ate most of a plate of plain chicken and baked potato. He was starved.

His mood improved within minutes, and today he is much happier and energetic and while still a bit grumpy, he is much closer to his normal sweet self. No more crazy tantrums, no more non-stop crying. The diarrhea is a tiny bit better, although definitely still a problem. I'm just hoping that all these binding foods will help him to improve asap.

On Saturday, my parents also finally left town, and facing a house without their help and with a newborn, a sick toddler, a sick husband, and feeling sick myself, was not a pleasant prospect. I cried most of the day on Saturday, and the guilt I felt when Gabe would turn to Josh and say "Mommy crying, Mommy sad," didn't help things either.

It has been a long week.

I face this every time I see my parents, but I'm reminded again of how much I HATE living so far away from them. This is the most absurd way to live. I shouldn't have to wait until March or April before I see my own parents, before my children see their grandparents. I shouldn't have to wait 3 months to give them a hug. This departure was even sadder because I feel like I spent almost no time with them. That sounds silly because they were here for almost a month, but between Josie's birth and all of the illnesses we've had (first my dad caught a cold, then my mom caught a cold, then my dad got gout of all the things to get in this world, then I got some crazy virus that seemed suspiciously like the flu, then Gabe got what I had, then Josh got what Gabe had, then my father in law got what Josh had, then Gabe got the stomach flu, and so on and so forth), not to mention the demands of a toddler, and trying to keep some semblance of a home, I felt like everyone was too busy to spend actual time together. When I hugged my parents goodbye at the airport, I couldn't even remember the last time I'd hugged them during the entire trip. That still makes me cry.

Hormonal much? Geez, I'm a downer today.

But all of this is to say that today has been better, even though today is the first day I'm 100% alone with both children and I've spent much of it in the bathroom due to the stomach flu. There hasn't been much crying from either Gabe or Josie, and I've fed both of them decent amounts of food, bathed Gabe and myself, and even run a vacuum quickly over the hardwood floors when I was shamed by Gabe's footie pajamas collecting piles of dust bunnies. I'd call that successful, wouldn't you?

I may just survive this two children thing after all, as long as I keep bathing everyone in alcohol and Lysol.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

ugh, ugh, and ugh

I have several posts in the works, but we've been felled over here by a couple of illnesses.

Gabe has some kind of gastrointestinal bug.

I have mastitis.

Both stink. Really, really stink. Literally and figuratively.

Gabe is lethargic, whiny, feverish, and has been having nonstop diarrhea since yesterday. Today we're on strict orders not to feed him anything at all and to keep pumping the electrolytes into him.

Mine started earlier this week when I began noticing that Josie wasn't draining my breasts all the way. A couple of days ago I realized that I had a lump in one of my breasts, and suspected a blocked milk duct. Although I started treating it immediately, by yesterday morning I was achy, headachy and feverish.

All I have to say is thank goodness my parents are still here. We would be so totally screwed without them. Yesterday I was incapable of getting out of bed and today, although I'm a bit better, I'm overwhelmed with the prospect of washing my hands every 30 seconds to keep the contagion away from Josie.

Plus, I'm feeding constantly to keep the mastitis and blocked duct from getting worse, and pumping when I'm not feeding to reduce the pressure. This never happened with Gabe, I suspect because he was such an avid eater. He would eat from both breasts and still be looking for food, whereas this little girl will munch for 10 minutes and come away satisfied. My boobs haven't quite caught on to the difference, I guess.

Anyway, I'm hoping that we'll be back to normal in a couple of days, hopefully in time for my parent's departure on Saturday. And I'm doubly hoping that we get a reprieve from illnesses for a little while! Keep your fingers crossed!