Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Food and Drink

Well, Jacob seems to be doing much better these days. His mood has improved greatly, although he's definitely still a little moody at times. He'll still flip out over going in his carseat or when we lay him on his changing table to get dressed...from a good mood to screaming in two seconds. Ugh. But when he's legitimately happy, you can definitely tell the difference that health makes. I'll even go out on a limb and say I haven't heard much coughing lately. As routine as the coughing became, I still cringed every time I heard it, and I don't recall cringing lately. Even still, once a day or so is better than periodic coughing fits, so hopefully that means that the medications are working. He had some sleeping issues three nights in a row, where he'd wake up crying around 2 or 3am, and as long as we rubbed his back he quieted down...but the second we'd stop, he'd be right back at it. He'd almost always seem to be half asleep, without any visible clue about what was wrong. Usually if he's teething he'll be chewing on his hands, or if he's in pain he'll arch his back and scream bloody murder. But all three nights, he just went between a whine and a cry, mostly with his eyes closed. We took turns but eventually we needed to sleep so he slept on one of us for at least a while the first two nights. The third night I said that we had to stop that practice, because that was a bad habit to get into. Once in a while is one thing...repeatedly, that's a problem. It took a while but he did get back to sleep. Last night he was only up for about 10 minutes...much better. Tonight he woke up about an hour after he went to sleep. We let him cry for a bit to see if he'd calm down. He didn't, but a little rocking got him back to sleep again...for now, anyway. I'm hoping it's just a phase.

The sleeping problems made it a bit of an up-and-down weekend. Friday through early Sunday was pretty good...Jacob was great, and we had a good time hanging out, napping, and doing some running around. We even went to the Knighthawks game. Things were ok until Sunday evening, when he got a bit fussier, and that got frustrating. It's one thing when you know they're sick...and it's another when they're seemingly fine and you have no idea what's triggering the crankiness. One of my current theories (including the nighttime problems) is gas. I have no idea why all of a sudden it would be an issue again, but considering his poop changed consistency completely practically overnight a while back (despite not changing his diet during that time), nothing would surprise me.

But the overriding issue for a while has been his eating. He's just not doing very well...and the trouble lies more with breastfeeding and bottles than it does solids. He's been cutting off his feedings early...both with me and when he's bottle-fed at day care. He'll cut off quite early and cry, but if I stand him back up or let him play, he's fine. Sometimes I think it could be the acid reflux, but that should be under control based on all of his medication, and the reduced coughing would indicate it's working...and even if I try to feed him sitting up, he doesn't want to do it. Then I think he's just too eager to go play. He's trying to crawl and pull up and get all over the place these days, and part of me thinks he just doesn't want to bother wasting time eating. He gets a little to drink, enough to calm any hunger pangs, and then can think of nothing else besides practicing his stuff. That's all I can figure. It's worrying me a bit, because it is having a bit of an effect on my milk supply and I'm not quite ready to wean yet. It was bad enough that he was losing weight from not eating when he was sick, but God forbid we go back to the doctor again sometime soon and he's plateaued for any significant period of time. I don't want people thinking I'm not feeding him enough, nor do I want him to have any complications from not getting adequate nutrition. I guess before I freak out I'll give it a little time in case it's just a phase, and see how things look in a couple weeks. If it's still a problem, we'll call the doctor.

While many people would probably say to feed him more solids to compensate, there are two issues with that...first, I'm not sure he'd eat more. While he is eating, I think it would be pushing it to do more. He's still been a little fussy in the high chair so it's been a challenge for him to finish what he has. Second, they say that breast milk/formula is really a baby's main source of nutrition for at least the first year. And if that's the problem, filling his stomach with more solid food is only going to make him want to drink less. So, I'm feeling a little stuck. I keep hoping it is just a phase and he'll get out of it soon when he realizes he's hungry and needs more calories to support his active lifestyle :)

On the food and drink front, Jacob continues to like what we give him. Even if he's not one of those feed-me-now-before-I-freak-out-waiting babies, he still seems to like whatever he's getting. Tonight we tried his second meat, some pureed turkey and gravy from the jar. I mixed it a bit with his green beans and cereal, and he seemed to like it. I will keep working on that in the evenings until that jar is gone, and then I have a couple stage 2 jars to try--turkey and sweet potatoes and chicken and apples. I really want to give him some variety but am finding it difficult because so many baby foods now have citrus or tomatoes (some meat/pasta types), and both are a little acidic considering Jacob's reflux issues. Others have berries, which are supposed to be a little allergenic for babies. Go figure. I could just puree our food, but that's just weird to me. I did try the frozen mixed veggies again yesterday, and he seemed to do much better this time around. No renegade carrot bit popping out of his mouth 10 minutes later this time. We also started Cheerios a few days ago. He hasn't quite figured out how to get them up to his mouth, but will happily take them if we feed them to him. Cheerios got us through church on Sunday, actually. Between feeding them to him, letting him dig around in the little container they were in, and letting him shake the container (it's a nice muffled version of a rattle), he was well-occupied for the entire hour. No wonder they've been a church staple for generations!

Still no progress on the sippy cup. I keep trying, and so does day care, but he doesn't seem to want to suck on it. He likes to chew it or bang it around. He does like drinking out of a real cup, though. He's not very good at it yet, since a lot dribbles down his chin and I have to hold it for him, but he seems sort of obsessed with it when it's sitting there. My next steps will be to buy a couple other varieties of them--one with a really soft spout that's supposed to be a perfect transition, and maybe one with a straw. You never know what he will take to. And if he's starting to wean himself off of the breast and/or bottle, then we might really need to get working on this.

The roller coaster ride is tough, but I'm hoping it's just a growth spurt or some other short term issue, and he'll be his normal happy self soon. I'm happy he seems to be feeling better, but now more than ever I wish I could read his mind...

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Worrying never gets you anywhere...

...but that doesn't seem to stop it from happening. I think that tends to be a parent's part time job, no matter how hard we try to stop it. I sometimes beat myself up when I screw up something (like accidentally leaving the car seat in my car the day Craig was supposed to pick Jacob up. Oops. No workout for me. :( ), but I know that a lot of that stuff happens because I have a million things on my mind every day...from the big stuff down to the minute details. And sometimes one will drown out the other. My whole life tends to revolve around timing things out...this much time since his last feeding...he needs his meds this long before the next feeding...he's been nursing on this side for this long...if we do this, this and this, it should time out just right for bedtime...etc. From making sure Jacob has enough clean clothes, food and medicine to hoping he's getting enough sleep, playtime and other experiences, there's a lot of stuff that flows through my brain in the average day...and that's not even getting into the rest of the stuff pertaining to the other elements of my life that flows through as well. I've tended to filter a lot out...things that I used to think about or do a lot are no longer at the forefront of my mind...hence the reason I hardly watch hockey anymore, haven't had a haircut since before Christmas, and haven't bought myself many new clothes since Jacob was born. I just don't have the time or the focus. I know eventually things will balance out, and that will be great. It may still be busy and I will still be preoccupied, but eventually this will become the norm and I will just deal.

In the meantime, I still have a million things that go through my mind and keep me wondering if we're doing everything we can to give Jacob a good life and the best start possible. He's generally happy so I think in many ways we're fine. My concerns tend to be in a couple different categories. First, I'm worried that I'm too structured and eventually that structure will be holding him back. For example, our living room has a handful of potentially breakable things sitting around...picture frames, candles, etc...and I hate the thought of having to move them, but I also don't want them broken. I'm stuck somewhere between doing my darndest to teach Jacob not to touch stuff, and being a realist and knowing he probably will anyway and knowing how mad I'd be if he broke something. I know I just need to let go, either of my stuff or my pleasantly decorated living room, just so I can let him have fun in the living room learning to crawl and walk. Same goes for eating. I know eventually he'll have to learn how to feed himself, and it will be a messy process...so I'm dreading it. I hate stain removal. I did buy some neat full coverage bibs at IKEA, but I'm not sure even those will take care of the mess. I really should have gotten two sets of two so I could send a set to daycare! It's going to be a challenge for me to let go and let him learn.

My other issue is that I never think he's ready for stuff, when he's probably fully capable. I started him late on solids, and put off things like sippy cups and table food probably longer than I should have. In many cases I wonder how he would have been if we started things earlier...would he have picked it up earlier? Or would he have fumbled through for longer and still picked it up at the same time? We may never know. I hadn't rushed into the sippy cup because for the longest time he didn't even hold his own bottle...and really, he still rarely does when I give him one. He will do it at day care, though. That alone worries me a bit, that I'm an enabler...already letting him get away with not holding it, even though I know he can (but he doesn't always get it up high enough to keep the nipple full, and I don't want him sucking air and giving himself gas...ahhh, control issues.). But even once I knew he could hold it, I didn't rush to the sippy cup because I didn't feel like he needed to use one. But then I realized he was almost nine months old, which is plenty old enough to start working in that direction. Then he got constipated and needed to drink juice, and they always recommend against putting juice in bottles, so I was sort of kicking myself for not starting the sippy cup sooner. I tend to wonder about the timing of introducing new foods and new toys. I want things to be age-appropriate and do whatever I can to keep moving him along developmentally, but sometimes I wonder if I underestimate him. I don't read to him nearly as much as I'd like, mostly because his attention span doesn't seem very long when we sit down to do it. It seems like he doesn't get much out of it, despite what you read about how important reading is to language development. But then I sit and wonder if my lack of reading is the reason he's not babbling syllables yet. I mentioned in my post yesterday that I want to get a zoo membership this summer. There are times that I wonder, though, if he's ready for that. He doesn't seem to really fixate on much yet, so will he really see the animals and enjoy it? Or have we just not provided him with stuff worth fixating on, and given the opportunity to see something that cool, he'll just eat it up? Is there a problem with laziness/creativity/exhaustion, where we don't turn off the TV and think outside the box to provide him with the best stimulation possible?

It just seems like I second guess everything. I don't want to baby him as he gets older, but I don't want to rush him, either. It's probably a good thing I don't have extended exposure to parents of other kids his age, because I'd probably obsess even more comparing him to other kids...even though I know not all kids are the same. I don't want to be one of those crazy, high-pressure parents, but I also want him to excel in whatever he does. And I end up thinking about this stuff all the time. I try not to make myself nuts, but on the rough days I just end up making it rougher. Perhaps I've had too much worrying to do in the midst of his recent illnesses...that all of the sick time has set him back and now he's got to hurry up and catch up...and it all compounds because I'm already stressed about the illnesses themselves. But then I have a day like today, where other than one rough feeding period, he was awesome...and I just enjoy him so much that the worrying takes a backseat. And that's awesome. On days like today, it doesn't matter that the younger kids at daycare seem to move ahead of him on things...today he was just my amazingly sweet little boy, and that was all that mattered.

Finding the balance is tough, and I'm sure it will continue on forever. I still remember when I told my parents that I wanted to get an internship with the Amerks when I was in college. Initially they said no, because the thought of me having a car and driving into downtown Rochester scared the crap out of them. Their little girl, not a great driver...just didn't seem wise. But eventually they relented and it turned out to be a major turning point of my life. Not only did I get some great and much-needed driving experience, but that internship led to my first job and introduced me to my future husband. So having been through an experience like that, it weighs on my mind how we will balance Jacob's world...from keeping our little boy within a world that's safe and age-appropriate, while also giving him the freedom to spread his wings and push himself a bit. The situations may change over the years, but the challenge will remain the same. Wish us luck!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Spring...

I felt compelled to write up a little something for our company's spring newsletter, because there's never very many submissions from our office and I haven't done it in a while. We can really write about anything...why we like spring, any spring plans, spring recipes, etc. I decided to a little mini-essay about why I'm looking forward to spring, as it relates to Jacob. I figured it was a good fit to post here as well:

I am looking forward to spring because it will be my first real chance to get out into the world with my baby! Jacob was born June 20, 2008, so I spent most of last summer close to home. I was a little intimidated by going anywhere for too long, lest we have any baby-related "situations" that we were ill-equipped to handle! Now that Jacob is nine months old, my husband Craig and I are a little more comfortable with parenthood and are looking forward to showing Jacob a good time.

We've spent all winter battling to bundle him up, and can't wait to ditch the winter coat and mittens...one less battle to fight every morning! I'm also looking forward to having him less covered up in general. Baby body parts are so cute...little feet, chubby thighs, cute little belly...and I miss seeing them when he's covered in clothes from head to toe when we're just chilling at home (no pun intended) in our cold house all winter. Last summer Jacob didn't do much except eat, sleep and cry, but right now he's working on crawling and will be walking before we know it. I can't wait to let him play in the grass and experience flowers and leaves for the first time. We live around the corner from a playground, and I have been looking forward to taking him there since before he was born! It will be fun to be a kid again, swinging on the swings and going down the slide! We're also planning on getting a membership to the Seneca Park Zoo here in Rochester so we can go see the animals whenever we want. He's just getting to the age where he'll be fascinated by the animals that put on a good show!

Spring will be a great time to do all of these things, before it gets too hot and humid. Once that happens we'll be heading off for Jacob's first swimming experience at his grandparents' pool in Buffalo! But by then it'll almost be time for another first--his first birthday--on the last official day of spring! How time flies...last spring was pretty busy with all of the baby preparations, but hopefully this year we can savor every minute!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

I had to ask...

It was meant to be a rhetorical question, but I got an answer to my question at the end of yesterday's post last night when we went to the doctor. They originally wanted to check him for strep when I called asking about the rash yesterday, but when we got there it was apparent to the doctor that it was roseola and no test was needed. From the fever to swollen glands in the back of his head (the doctor made me feel them...ewww) to the rash, it seemed pretty obvious. Easy enough...it's viral and there's nothing to do but wait. But then he looked in Jacob's ears. Double ear infection. Ugh. I got to look and see inside his ears, too. Interesting. There's a chance it's viral and related to the roseola, but at this point he figured it wasn't worth waiting around to find out, so we've added another medication to Jacob's cocktail of daily meds. I'm seriously starting to lose track. For the record....first thing in the morning he gets Reglan for his stomach. Ideally we should wait a half hour before eating, but the doctor said it was ok to eat right away for our convenience, because in the grand scheme of things it helped us stagger the doses more. He also gets his antibiotic (fruit flavor--where was that when we were kids?) in the morning, as well as his daily vitamin drops. If his cough is especially potent, he also gets nebulized. He gets two more doses of Reglan at day care, then his Prevacid (dissolving tablet) and one more dose of Reglan in the evening or right before bed, depending on his eating schedule. We'll add another dose of the antibiotic to that for the next nine days, too. Then he gets nebulized again before bed. Hopefully once he's over his immediate issues the cough will get a bit better and we won't have to do that twice a day.

So...Jacob was pretty cranky last night and right through to this morning. He slept crappy again, too. I know I can't blame him, but it's really frustrating. We're already short on sleep and none of the normal tricks seem to work. Then he won't eat. Then he fights like crazy through his medicines. It leaves you feeling like you can't do anything right. Again, I know he's uncomfortable and this all should be temporary, but in the meantime it's exhausting. Oh, and after all of his fussing this morning, what does he do? He flashes a big smile like nothing ever happened. Oy. Normally that's cute...but this morning, not so much. While I can't blame him for rebelling against the medicines, I'd have hoped he'd be used to it all by now and would just take it. Everything has color and inevitably drips out of his mouth onto his clothes, or gets him all sticky. I need three hands to give him his medicine--one to hold his hands, another to hold his head and pry open his mouth, and a third to actually give the medicine.

In the meantime, I'm also frustrated because we're back in a holding pattern. He lost weight since last week, so growth obviously isn't his forte right now. He's not eating well--milk or solids--and his crankiness means that now is not the time to try new things, like further practice with the sippy cup, or trying out Cheerios. He's also not big on playing right now, so he's probably not getting as much crawling practice as he had been.

I know that this, too, shall pass...but it's getting very old in the meantime.

Monday, March 23, 2009

When will it ever end?

Well, after Saturday's post, we got back to my parents and found out that Jacob had a rough day. He just slept a lot and wanted to be held. He was whimpering in bed and woke up a lot that night. I think I got 2-3 hours of sleep, max, and I don't think any of it except for the first hour or two was quality. His fever went up to about 103-104 in the middle of the night, and I gave him some Tylenol at that point and he eventually slept on Craig for a bit. The next time he woke up the fever was gone completely. It was like a miracle. He still wasn't his normal happy self yesterday, but he was okay. The biggest issue was eating...he was cutting off his feedings early and wasn't really interested in solids. Still, since the fever was gone I figured it was just sleep deprivation from the rough night, or holdover discomfort from the fever's dehydrating effects. We did a bit of running around yesterday and he really did pretty well with that...other than an insatiable desire to suck on the shopping cart at Target. Ugh.

Well...this morning I got a call from day care asking me if we had noticed a rash on him this morning. I hadn't, but I also wasn't the one getting him dressed this morning. Craig hadn't seen anything either, so apparently it just showed up. The doctor wants to check him for strep (scarlet fever, actually...third week in a row we're headed to the doctor, in case you're keeping track), but from everything I've read, I think it's roseola. I had come across roseola info when I was searching for "fever no symptoms" last Friday (Jacob seemed pretty good in the morning and went downhill during the day), but didn't really look into it. But when I was reading the symptoms and people's comments about it this morning, it sounded perfect. Sudden high fever, sticks around for 3-5 days, child seems to have few symptoms other than some crankiness, child likes to be held, a lot of moaning/whimpering, decreased appetite, fever goes away, and it all winds up with a rash a day or two later. The irritability seems to last through the 2-3 rash days, which would make yesterday and today's crankiness make sense. He's no longer contagious, if that's what it is, and other than looking pretty iffy and still not feeling 100% for the next couple days, he should be fine and should never get it again.

Seriously...how many more things can this poor kid get diagnosed with? :(

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Toronto...a year later.

Today was a flashback to one of the more memorable days of my pregnancy. Craig and I headed up to Toronto for the Knighthawks-Rock game. We came up here last spring for a game as well, when I was rather pregnant. It was a pleasant spring day and I was loving my maternity clothes that day. The most memorable moment of the day was putting headphones on my body so Jacob could listen to daddy's play-by-play! I also couldn't help but "awwww" when the Knighthawks' backup goalie was taking pictures on the field after the game with his newborn son nestled in his lacrosse stick. We had lunch at our favorite restaurant (we figured it might be the last time for a while), wandered around the Hockey Hall of Fame store, and got our fill of Pizza Pizza (one of my favorites) before, during and after the game. Yum!

This time around, Jacob was supposed to come and we were going to sit in a suite with the Knighthawks staff. But when Jacob woke up with a fever yesterday, the whole trip was in jeopardy. It's so hard, because you want to be with and take care of your sick baby, but when you're looking forward to a fun day away, it's tough to give up that dream. No matter how much you love hanging out with your baby, a day of something different (with or without them) is always a nice change of pace. This morning Jacob woke up in a good mood but still with a fever of 100 degrees. But the good mood was promising, and he got a good nap on the way to N.T. We figured that if he stayed in a good mood, he'd be okay with Grandma and Grandpa for the day. If not, Craig could continue on to Toronto and I'd at least have my parents to keep us company for the day. The good mood held up (enough), and Craig and I were off to Toronto. Hopefully things are going okay without us. Jacob is getting into the "stranger danger" phase apparently, and it's been tough to leave the room, let alone to leave him with someone other than one of us or daycare. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but what can I say? It's nice to be loved!

It's been a fun day, though I miss Jacob a lot. As I alluded to in my post the other day, it's a tough call to leave him and miss out on the little time I do have with him, But sometimes it's nice to do something fun that hearkens back to the days before we had a baby. We stopped at IKEA on the way up. I picked up a pair of bibs with sleeves that will come in handy for when we start working on self-feeding. They're water-resistant, wipeable, and have a pocket to catch messes...all for $3 each (Canadian). I also bought something for Jacob's Easter basket--a rattle that's a stuffed bunny in a carrot car. So cute! I also want to get him a rubber ball with an Easter theme from Wegmans. I'll probably give him a couple eggs to bang together, too. Even better if I can tape something choke-proof (Cheerios?) inside to make them rattle! Knowing him, he'll like them the best!

The most interesting part of the trip was pumping in the press box. I knew I'd have to pump once today, so I brought my pump (thank goodness it's contained in an inconspicuous black bag) and the battery pack so I could pump anywhere. About 45 minutes before the game I locked the door to Craig's booth, moved into a corner, draped myself with my coat, and pumped. It actually went pretty smoothly. It helps that I can go about six hours now without getting uncomfortable. It's a far cry from the days where four hours left me in agony. I guess we're slowly but surely progressing toward weaning whether we like it or not...but that's another post for another day.

One interesting side note of today was seeing Toronto Nationals ads around the arena. The Nationals are, in essence, the Rattlers, Rochester's former outdoor lacrosse team. The Rattlers technically folded and Toronto is an expansion team, but they got many of Rochester's players thanks to territorial rules. Rochester won the championship last August but ran into some financial difficulties when ownership fell apart last fall. It was sad but the good news is that Craig won't be working those 12 games this summer. Jacob and I will be happy to have him, so we can go to family parties, summer festivals, the zoo, and whatever else all summer. I can't wait to have Craig around full time for the first summer since the year we started dating. And it'll be a nice excuse to finally bring Jacob on his first trip to Toronto!

It's been a fun day (despite the loss), but I will definitely feel better once we're back in N.T., sleeping in beds next to Jacob's crib. A day away is nice, but it always makes getting back to Jacob that much better!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Nine months

Jacob is nine months old today. Hard to believe that he's been with us now for the same amount of time as I was pregnant...and I didn't even know I was pregnant for a month. It's pretty crazy. I was hoping to do a fun, happy post today for the occasion, some sort of looking back and getting nostalgic sort of thing, since I haven't done much of that lately, but honestly, it's been a rough day. I can't even really get my brain oriented in that sort of mode. Part of the problem is that I've been sick for a good chunk of the week--a cold with lots of congestion, and a bit of fatigue--and today it really seemed to catch up with me. Even though the congestion isn't as bad, I just feel really tired. That's never a good basis for the day. Then Jacob woke up with a fever. It was about 99 when I first took it, then it went up to 101-102ish, depending on which ear I took it in. Tylenol seemed to help, and he didn't have any other symptoms. He was happy and smiling and seemingly otherwise fine. He's always congested, so it's tough to pinpoint another cold or anything like that. He hadn't been pulling at his ears, and as of Monday his ears were fine, so an ear infection seems like only an outside possibility. Apparently over the course of the day he's gotten a little crankier and a little more clingy, but beyond that it's tough to tell. They said he was drooling and chewing on his hands like crazy, so it could be teething, but that's a pretty high fever for that. His fever went back up despite another dose of Tylenol, so of course that worries me a bit. The doctor said that if it goes for three days or anything gets worse, then we can take him in. Otherwise we just dress him lightly, push fluids, and wait it out. It may put a crimp in our fun plans to go up to Toronto for the weekend, unfortunately. We'll just have to see how he does, I guess. It's hard to just sit and wait, though, because there's always a concern that more is going on than meets the eye. I hate that he's not feeling good, and I hate even more that we keep having to deal with this stuff and he can't just be a healthy little boy for even a little while.

Of course, even worse was that I heard today that the almost-two month old baby of an acquaintance of mine (a classmate of my brother's from way back, our moms are close and we've run into each other at the cafeteria in her office building a couple times...and she randomly met Craig on a plane once) just passed away. They knew pretty early on that she was going to be born with Down Syndrome, but apparently she had a lot of other problems beyond that and she just couldn't overcome them. I can't even imagine what they're going through. To go from the joy of finding out they were pregnant, to the distress of the positive Down Syndome test, to bracing yourself for life with a disabled child, to dealing with all of the other issues they may not have anticipated, to finally losing her...such a roller coaster. If there's any bright side here (still quite dark, I'd imagine) I suppose it's a bit of a relief if only because she's not suffering anymore. They do have another daughter, and while the loss has to be difficult for all of them, I would have to think that she will have a more "normal" life because so much time and energy would have had to go into care for her sister. I'm sure that's little consolation, however. Losing a child is beyond horrible no matter what, and they were apparently well prepared to deal with whatever challenges came their way with this baby. It must be such an empty feeling...not just that they no longer have their child, but just the emotional downshift. I'm sure they spent a lot of time praying and preparing for the inevitable challenges of a Down Syndome baby, but I have a feeling that they weren't expecting the other problems they came up against...and even if it was a possibility, I think the tendency would be to assume you'd get through the immediate stuff and psyche yourself up for the long haul. And now, after much time in the NICU, where do they go next? How do you fill your time and mourn and move on? Do you just close the door to the baby's room and leave it as is? I can't even imagine. As I'm sure I've mentioned numerous times before on here, I can't even fathom losing Jacob and how empty I would feel. I think about how hard that week was when he was in the hospital, and can't even imagine extending that to two months with an even sicker baby to worry about. And to never be able to bring your baby home? Absolutely beyond my comprehension. It's heartbreaking. I think about how much every smile and laugh from Jacob brings joy into my life, and I don't know what I would do without that. Sometimes I'm not sure what would be worse--to experience that and lose it, or never get to experience it at all. Safe to say that neither of them is a good option. Ever.

So, with all of this floating around my head, I feel a bit stuck. Sad that Jacob's sick...again. Thankful that it's not something worse. Worried that it could be something worse and that in a flash everything could change. Such is life as a parent, I guess. I'm beyond grateful for Jacob's nine months and look forward to all of the milestones and experiences that lie ahead. He amazes me every day, and I feel so blessed to have him in my life.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Busy Evening

At the last minute Craig and I got tickets to the Fleetwood Mac concert here in Rochester last night. It was awesome, by the way. They may be 60ish, but they can still rock. Anyway, that meant that we had to leave Jacob home for the night. That was a bit scary since the last time we did that he was miserable the whole time. Regardless, godmother Lori was up to the challenge...and at the last minute, no less. This time it went better, though he was still miserable at first. Guess our little boy is pretty attached to his parents right now. Thankfully he is comfortable with the folks at day care as well, so he's not freaking out when we leave him there. Whew. I don't think I could do that every morning. Anyway, it always makes me nervous to leave him, no matter how capable his caretaker. As a parent you'd never forgive yourself if something happened while you were gone. We don't leave him too often, but even when we do I miss him a lot. I feel guilty for not spending that time with him, since evenings and weekends are all we have. The freedom is nice once in a while, but it's definitely different than our pre-kid life. I was probably extra paranoid last night since it was all very last minute and I was running around right up to the moment I left the house trying to make sure I had all my bases covered--bottles, medicine, etc.

On the way home from work/day care we went to Wegmans to pick up some juice for Jacob. The doctor suggested pear as an alternative to prune (side note: where was that advice when I was a kid? I somehow still have memories of being force-fed prunes at some point in my early childhood). Everything you read these days suggests that you don't serve babies juice in a bottle. Why a sippy cup is any better I'm not entirely sure, though I think it has something to do with how the juice is sucked out of it and how it impacts the teeth. But regardless...I'm almost out of bottle liners for the small bottles and don't really want to have to buy more, so I wanted to try the sippy cup with the juice. I had read that it sometimes helps to dip the spout in the juice so the baby gets the idea that there's something there worth going after. I tried it with Jacob and he actually seemed to get it! He did a little bit of sucking, though I'm not actually sure how much made it down his throat. A lot seemed to end up dribbling down his chin and onto his bib. Still, it's progress. I sent another with him to day care this morning so he can get a little more practice (and hopefully a little more pear juice).

On a related note, Jacob's digestive system seems to be loosening up a bit. He pooped before leaving day care yesterday, then did it again this morning. This morning was the same deal as yesterday morning. He was fussy while eating and we went in for a diaper change. I found some poop, and then he pooped out more into the open diaper. Let's hope that's not a trend he takes beyond this constipation episode!! The last couple turds appeared to be a little softer and not quite as dark as their predecessors, so I'm hoping that he's on the back end (no pun intended) of this episode. I still have no idea what triggered it. No new foods for either of us, no new meds...so who knows. On the bright side, firm poop means no blowouts! But surprisingly, it's not worth it...Jacob's too uncomfortable. Hopefully he'll be back to normal soon.

Monday, March 16, 2009

If it isn't one thing...

Warning: This is a poop-related post.

Poor Jacob. Just when things appeared to be settling back down after adjusting to his medicine regimen and getting over pinkeye, we had another challenge this weekend--constipation. Before this we'd only had one foray into that world, and as I recall it was more about us getting concerned than it was about Jacob's actual discomfort. I think this was within the first few months, and he had gone quite a while between poops. We were freaked out about it and maybe picked up on a little discomfort on Jacob's end, but in the end I think it was more us than him. We tried some prune juice that time around and he went shortly thereafter. May have just been coincidence. But in any event, when he went it came out soft so that really isn't deemed constipation anyway.

Fast forward to late last week. Jacob had a BM on Wednesday night, and I don't think he had one Thursday...and I know he didn't have one after that. But frequently he'd make his poopy face (quite often while I was feeding him his dinner in his high chair), I'd get nervous about what I'd find, and when I'd go to change his diaper, there would be nothing there! That never happened with him before...if he made the poopy face, there would be poop. We went through this for days. Over the weekend he was straining more and more, and I tried prune juice. Jacob didn't seem to like it and only downed an ounce each day. Still no luck, and finally his discomfort culminated in some bad eating yesterday. He just wasn't comfortable, I guess, and he just didn't want to eat much of anything. He did eek out one tiny little pellet of poo in the afternoon. It was soft and he was miserable just getting that out. We pondered getting him a suppository on the way back from Craig's parents' house last night, but none of them were baby-specific and since it was late and Jacob was sleepy anyway, we decided against calling the doctor. Jacob's 9-month well visit was this morning anyway.

This morning Jacob woke up at his normal time and I started feeding him, but he quit about eight minutes in and just started crying. I kept trying to no avail, and ended up taking him into his bedroom to change him, just to give us both a break. Well, lo and behold, in his diaper was poop...quite firm and molded to his butt crack. Lovely, I know. The consistency was like firm modeling clay. Ouch...particularly when you consider that he just graduated to poop with any form at all in the last month or so. While I was looking at it, he pushed out two other decent turds (think medium-sized dog poo), which were much the same. He seemed so much happier after that, but I have no idea if we're done with this or not. After all, he went quite a few days and probably has a bunch stored up there. The doctor suggested pear juice instead, so we may be trying that until I'm convinced he's back on track. I have no idea what may have caused this bout, because nothing has changed in his or my diet recently. What's more, he was eating quite a bit of oatmeal and apricots over the weekend...and oatmeal has fiber and apricots are good for constipation. So go figure.

As I mentioned, this morning was his well visit. I had about a million questions for the doctor, and as usual she went through and helped me feel a bit more at ease about pretty much everything. As far as his head size--even though it's small, he's really tracking along the growth curve the same as he has been all along. Wheat--She said that if he's going to be allergic to it, it probably won't matter when we start it. So, perhaps we will give Cheerios and pasta a shot one of these days. At least it will help him with his pincer grasp. I got some clarification on taking Reglan on an empty stomach, as well as how much Tylenol is too much when he's teething. The only thing that I'm still a little iffy about is Jacob's lack of babbling. The fact that he's doing well with pretty much everything else makes me think I'm just worrying about nothing. He's probably going to be one of those kids that walks early and talks later, but the fact that he still isn't doing "bababa" or "mama" or "dada" (not necessarily labeling us as such, but using the syllables) is a little bit of a concern, enough that the doctor gave us the number to get his hearing checked, just to be sure. I'm pretty sure he can hear, though, since he'll stop crying when I sing to him, and things like that. I don't know much about this stuff but maybe there's some spectrum that he's not hearing? Who knows. But the doctor was happy with his progress, so I guess that's good. He's now 18 lbs. 3 oz. and 29 inches (though I think they overmeasured a bit because he wasn't that long two weeks ago). He's definitely a growing boy!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Big Step

I forgot to mention earlier this week that we hit a milestone the other day. While I was home with Jacob on Tuesday, I officially moved down the mattress on his crib! He's been getting more mobile by the day, not to mention stronger, and we were getting nervous about him learning to pull up on his crib with the mattress in the higher position. The one day I had him sitting in there while I was doing something in his room, he scooched right up to the front rail and got pretty close to getting up on his knees using the rail. Granted, I don't think he's gone directly from laying down to sitting up yet, but I wouldn't put it past him to figure it out quickly one of these days. He rolls all over the place and finds ways to get around , so at this point I'm starting to think that there is little that's out of his reach these days, one way or another. As a result, we were getting nervous leaving him in his crib unattended (even when he'd wake up in the morning and just play around in there quietly), so it seemed to be time to get it done. I had been waiting for some replacement brackets for the crib--it was recalled a while back but they said that it was only urgent for brackets that had gone through major trauma during assembly or if the mattress was being used as a trampoline--but I just couldn't wait anymore...I was stressing out every time I left the room with him awake. So I took care of it on Tuesday. It looks so different! The change didn't seem to phase Jacob, fortunately. The only downside for us is that it's a little harder to get him in the crib when he's already sleeping. It's a little more of a reach if you do it with the drop rail up, but if you have the rail down, it makes some noise when you put it back up, which could easily wake him right back up! I think for now we can reach around it, but it might take some practice to do smooth transitions from the arms into the crib. Last night when I had him in there again while I was doing something in his room (sometimes I just need my two arms--and the lack of his--to get things done!), and he was doing his darndest to pull himself up! Definitely a good decision, I think!

Another random side note was this little purchase I made the other day that seems like a brilliant, why-didn't-I-think-of-it idea. I was looking in the clearance section at our Wegmans (usually a lot of seasonal stuff), and I saw this package--can't remember the name off-hand--but it contained two straps for securing toys to strollers, highchairs, etc. The straps came two to a pack, one black, one white, and the pack cost less than $2.00. They have a couple different snap positions, and you basically loop one end around the stroller or highchair, and the other end around the toy, and voila...enough slack for the baby to play, but when he loses interest and drops the toy (as all babies do), it doesn't have to hit the ground and get dirty or lost. I think I will keep one with whatever stroller we seem to use most this summer, and another with the diaper bag for toys Jacob plays with in the highchair at restaurants. Maybe they'll be terrible, but it seemed like a good enough idea to spend about $1.50 on in the event they work!

I also made a rather large purchase earlier this week. Have I mentioned that for ages I have been trying to find Fisher-Price Peek-a-Blocks for Jacob? I wanted to get him a set back at Christmas but couldn't find them anywhere. They're basically blocks with clear sides that have something going on inside them...maybe it's just a little plastic animal, or maybe something that would make noise or move around. One set was an alphabet set with the letters printed on the sides and something with that letter inside. Anyway, about that same time I discovered an activity center called the Incrediblock that worked with the Peek-a-Blocks and thought it was the greatest thing ever. It's basically a big cube with activities related to the blocks...one side is like Plinko, another lets you stack the blocks then hit a lever and they all drop out, the top plays sounds related to the eight special blocks that come with it, etc. The block retailed for $50, so I figured it would be a good first birthday gift. Well...turns out both were discontinued. Why, I have no idea. As far as I could tell they were really popular. There are still similar things called Roll-a-Rounds in the stores, but they're round (rolling + hardwood floors = lost under furniture) and I like the block concept better because boys like to build things. I obsessed over this for a while, and eventually decided to try looking on eBay. I've never used eBay before, though I have looked there from time to time. I found one auction for an Incrediblock and a bunch of blocks, but got outbid late in the auction. I kept looking and found a really good deal but forgot to bid before it was up! Doh! It was someone with a huge lot of Peek-a-Block related stuff and a bid of 1 cent! It was pickup only...so not a lot of competition, I guess. We would have had to drive an hour and a half, but it would have been worth it. I guess between signing up for eBay and PayPal I just lost track of time. Earlier this week I stumbled upon another auction thanks to a reminder email. It was within what I was willing to pay and was close to the end of the auction, so I bid a buck higher and won! It has an Incrediblock, the eight original blocks, and 47 additional blocks. The package is sitting on my doorstep as I type, and I'm looking forward to getting home and checking it out. I will have to give it a thorough cleaning, as it is used, but I think it's going to be fun. I think I might let Jacob play with the blocks now, and wait on the Incrediblock at least for a while (age is nine months anyway), though I may do a test run with him in the meantime...though if he loves it I'll be sad to put it away for now, so we'll see how strong I am! It'll be better when he is crawling, though, so he can crawl his way around to all four sides and pull up to play with the top. I've seen great reviews so I think it will be cool.

Well, I'm off for the weekend...Craig is working part of tonight and all of tomorrow, and then we're off to Buffalo for Craig's mom's birthday dinner. Should be busy but fun! At least the weather is looking up....warm enough for a walk? Not sure we're ready for that yet, but tempting...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Likes and Dislikes

Now that Jacob's personality has really started to come out, I figured I'd give you a rundown of his likes and dislikes...so here goes:

Likes:
- Electronic devices with buttons - remotes, phones, keyboards...you name it.
- Accessories - Daddy's baseball hat and glasses, Mommy's jewelry - if it's hanging off of your body in any way, he'll grab it and hold on tight
- Women - he smiles at most women he sees, which makes outings quite interesting sometimes. When we went to the doctor he smiled at the nurse, the doctor, and some random woman in the hallway, to the point that she stopped in to say hi to him! He's not so sure about most men, but females (from little girls on up) elicit smiles all the time.
- Clapping - he could be hysterically crying, but the second you start clapping for him, he gets incredibly happy. We keep working on getting him to clap himself, and he's getting there--he at least does it by accident now!
- Pears - and really, most baby foods. He hasn't really rejected anything since the green beans after his puking incident. While he's not one of those "can't get the spoon there quick enough" kind of babies yet, he's really gotten quite good at eating.
- Cups - particularly big glasses like most restaurants have, and generally clear ones. He'll grab them with both hands and try to drink out of them, even if he doesn't really know how yet.
- Peek-a-boo - Big giggles every time! Recently I've taken to hiding out of sight beyond his high chair tray and popping back up. He LOVES it.
- Wearing a "halo" - We play this game where we put his Rock-a-Stack rings on each of our heads and let them slide off. For some reason, he thinks this is hysterical.
- Beeping noses - He loves when I beep his nose and then make him beep mine. Hopefully soon he'll learn to do it without me helping him beep.
- His Reglan - the medicine that speeds up his digestion tastes like butterscotch, and most of the time he's eager to suck it down
- Biting - Not nasty biting, of course, but what we're sort of hoping are his kisses...where he comes at you with a big, open mouth. Generally he goes for cheeks or the snouts of stuffed animals, but once in a while he'll try for necks, arms or anything else he can get his hands on. That got a little scarier for everyone once he got those first two teeth!
- His Jumperoo - Since he loves moving, the Jumperoo is perfect...he bounces contentedly for a long time, particularly if you're in the room watching him.
- Standing up - He loves being upright, and has since very early on. As adept as he is at rolling and being on all fours, most of the time he'd rather be standing.
- Being able to watch the action - Whether it is being in his new stroller, or getting a piggyback ride on Mommy's shoulders, or no longer having the winter cover on his car seat, Jacob just loves being able to check everything out.
- His own image - I'm not sure if he knows it's him or just thinks the baby staring back at him is cute (who can blame him), but whenever he sees himself in a picture (like our computer wallpaper) or a mirror (the ones around the house or the mirror in the backseat of the car), he smiles.
- Singing - mostly songs he's familiar with...the alphabet song has gotten me through a few cranky car rides with minimal crying...as long as I sing it over and over and over...
- Farts - I know that sounds crude, but seriously...every time he does one, he smiles like he just did the coolest thing.
- Moose - He comes by this one honestly, since his parents have quite the collection, but he seriously smiles whenever he sees them...particularly the Mariner Moose (mascot) we brought back from Seattle.
- Snuggling - particularly with Daddy. He will snuggle into Craig's chest and go to sleep almost every day when Craig picks him up after work.
- His feet and socks - He pulls on his socks and gets them off so he can suck on them...and when the socks are gone, he'll suck on his feet.

Dislikes:
- Having his nose wiped - even the slightest wipe starts up hysterical crying
- Getting bundled up and getting in his car seat - arching his back when angry has made this extra interesting...ever try strapping down a stiff, wiggling baby?
- Lack of motion - he can scream through the strapping in, but the second you pick up the carrier or the car starts moving, he usually quiets right down. If he's getting fussy while you're sitting down, all it takes is standing up and he's fine.
- Truly "solid" foods - namely, anything that's not pureed. He hasn't quite figured out anything chunkier than a puree, including things that would melt in his mouth if he ever kept them there. We'll keep working on it.
- His nebulizer - he squirms and shrieks, sometimes to the point of tiring himself out.
- His Prevacid - apparently dissolving pills are just as weird for babies as they are for adults.
- Teething - I'm not sure I've ever seen him as miserable as when he was teething. Not looking forward to future teeth, that's for sure.
- Going to sleep - once he's sleeping I think he's a fan...it's just getting to that point than can be tough. He likes to see what's going on, and doesn't want to miss the action. As a result, it's tough to get him to go to sleep, or to get him back to sleep if he wakes up prematurely. He's the king of the 30 minute nap.
- Getting dressed - He's put on a shirt over his head almost every single day of his life, but he still fusses most mornings when we do it. Not sure if he's got recurring nightmares from coming down the birth canal, or what.

I guess it's good that he's got more likes than dislikes, because I think that means he's a pretty happy baby! He'll definitely let you know when he doesn't like something, but for the most part his life is full of smiles...and consequently, so are ours!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Update...

Well, I got a couple calls from daycare this afternoon that Jacob's fever was back and his eyes were getting goopier. I took him to the doctor this evening (thank heavens for doctors that are open late!) and it appears that he has pinkeye. His fever had gone up to 102 by then, as well. It appears to be viral so they can't do much for him. They gave me a prescription for eye drops and I just have to keep him Tylenol-ed up to keep the fever down. The doctor said that the inside of his one ear was just a tiny bit pink, which could be from all of the viral activity, but since this is just the first couple days of this, we could still be in for an ear infection in the next few days. Ugh. Fortunately we're scheduled for a well visit on Monday anyway, so if one pops up, that may be good timing. But let's hope it doesn't become an issue. Craig and I are splitting up tomorrow at home with him...and we'll see how the rest of the week goes. If his fever goes away he can go back within 24 hours. So, his parade of meds continues. And here's a scary one...when I went to the pharmacy tonight (between the three of us I spent more on prescriptions than I did groceries!), the one woman asked me where "the little one" was tonight. Now, considering that this is Wegmans and there are thousands of people that go through there, this is a little scary...that I'm at the pharmacy enough that she knows me AND remembers that I have a baby. Yikes. Never a good sign.

On the bright side, Jacob did perk up a lot the second he saw me, and all things considered he was in a really good mood tonight. He ate well and smiled a lot despite the runny nose and the goopy eyes. We'll see how tomorrow goes...

Fun Weekend

We had a pretty good weekend other than the fact that Jacob may be coming down with something. Yesterday was a little rough, with watery eyes, more of a runny nose than usual, a low-grade fever, and just a general lack of spark. Jacob still had his happy moments, but he always looked tired. I'm hoping it's not pink eye, but he had the watery eye thing going on a couple weeks ago for a day or two and it turned out to be nothing. We'll see how things go this time around. I feel so bad for him that he just can't seem to catch a break! Still, he was pretty good yesterday, all things considered. He got to go in his new umbrella stroller for the first time, which he seemed to like. We stopped at the dollar store after church because I wanted to look at their selection of wall stickers. I had seen them there before and decided it was time to look for good kid-themed ones to put up next to the changing table. Jacob's been really squirmy up there lately and I figured any sort of diversion would be helpful. I got a set of wild animal stickers (cute elephant, zebra, giraffe, etc.), and he seems to like them so far. My ultimate goal is to make some sort of texture assortment for that same spot, but I figured I'd get the animals for a buck and if he seemed to like them enough, then we'd be good until he gets bored with them. But as for the stroller, we're definitely looking forward to walks as the weather gets nicer and the days get longer.

The low point of yesterday was when he was falling asleep sitting up in the shopping cart at Target. He'd taken a decent nap (for him) earlier in the afternoon, but apparently the impending illness may have gotten the best of him. I had to keep him awake for the last few minutes of the shopping trip so he didn't slump over too badly. Poor baby. He seemed better this morning, though, so I'm definitely keeping my fingers crossed. (Side note: Later on while I was typing I did get a call from day care that his eyes are "gooping up" a bit...which they did from time to time yesterday...and he just hasn't been himself, so...bummer :( )

The only other notable thing yesterday was a couple new food options. I figured out that Gerber oatmeal does NOT have wheat in it (Beech-Nut does) so Jacob finally got to try oatmeal. He seemed to like it, at least when it was mixed with his favorite food, pears. I also tried giving him his first real finger food, a piece of this Baby Mum-Mum stuff. Imagine a rice cake that's been rolled flat and smooth...and that's basically it. It's got that styrofoamy feel to it, not a lot of flavor but a touch of sweetness. I'll admit--I tasted a corner before I gave it to Jacob, and it was pretty good for being a bland, baby-approved food! Our friends Laurie and Colin (more on them later) were nice enough to share a pack with us, and if Jacob takes to them I think we can get them at Wegmans. But by the time we got to the point of trying it last night, Jacob was starting to get cranky and didn't really want to hold it or bite it. We'll keep trying...I think he'll like it, though, because he's a big fan of holding on to things and putting things in his mouth!

His medication regimen is going okay so far. It's been a bit of a challenge working in four doses a half hour before feedings, though. He only has five milk feedings a day (and yesterday it was only four--I think the time change and our schedule threw things off a bit), and since he wakes up hungry we're really tied into a tight schedule. It's awkward to work around naps and trips out of the house, and I feel bad having to distract him for a half hour sometimes. It's just odd. I need to get some clarification from the doctor about the duration between doses, or what constitutes an empty stomach, because I may have to work around solid food feedings or make some exceptions sometimes when our schedule isn't as simple as it is on weekdays. Fortunately, he seems to like the taste of the Reglan a lot. It's butterscotch! He's not as big of a fan of the Prevacid, though. The dissolvable tablet really throws him off. I think the flavor is okay, but the texture of it all is a little odd. Yesterday he was drooling little bits of it out, and when I tried to help him wash it down, what was left of the tablet ended up in the dixie cup. So...time to figure out plan B. I know there's enough saliva in there to dissolve it, but it may just be a matter of laying him down so nothing drools out before it happens. His face is priceless, though...."what IS this thing?"

The highlight of our weekend was Saturday. We spent the evening with my parents, as well as Laurie and Colin and her parents. We were treated to a great dinner (still dreaming about dessert!!) and we had a blast watching the boys. They're still not very interactive, but just comparing and contrasting them was quite interesting. Jacob's quite adept at rolling over, while Colin's not a fan. Colin is the king of blowing raspberries, while that's a skill Jacob never acquired. Jacob was showing off his rocking abilities and tried to teach Colin how to use a bouncer, and Colin was showing off his unique (and hilarious) method of eating--following up each bite with his thumb :) It's going to be really fun to see the boys get older together...because even though there may be quite a few differences now, they're still only 9-1/2 weeks apart which will be nothing when they're older! We had a great time and definitely look forward to future visits!

Here are some fun pics:
The boys just chillin' on the blanket...

Jacob's trademark smile!

One of my all-time faves, I think. About two seconds after I took the picture, Jacob and the bag went toppling over. He was still smiling, of course!

The four of us!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Busy week, I guess...

...seeing as I haven't posted since Tuesday. Not much to report, though. Jacob is still rocking up a storm. No actual crawling yet, though. It's funny to watch in the meantime! It's tough to tell, but it seems like the medication he's on is at least preventing him from spitting up. He didn't do a lot of it before, but I don't think he's done it at all since he started the meds. Good sign, I guess. He also seems to be pooping more frequently. There's good and bad to that. In theory, more pooping would mean less per poop, which probably means less of a chance he'll blow out. However, blowouts aren't always volume-related. Sometimes they're all about how he's sitting. As a result, more poops up the odds of a blowout on any given day. Hmmm. For example, last night. We were out to dinner and Jacob made his "poopy face" (essentially a very stern, almost-smile with a little grunt--you may not realize it, but you probably make the same one). I couldn't smell anything when I checked, but that doesn't mean much because I swear my sense of smell has been decimated by something--most likely constant allergy issues. Craig thought he could smell it, but regardless, it was only two pushes and he'd pooped earlier in the day so I wasn't that concerned. However, when we got home, it turned out he had pooped up the back of his diaper. Whether or not that was at the restaurant or somewhere in transit, I'm not sure. Fortunately the onesie (a red one...whew) contained it and it was a pretty easy cleaning. At least his poo is thicker now so it doesn't travel as much. In that case he must have been sitting in an odd position in the high chair, because all of the poop was concentrated in the very back of the diaper. He pooped again this morning, so that's three times in less than 24 hours...only one blowout, though, so his odds are getting better. But anyway....he's still got the cough. I have no idea how long it's going to take to get that under control...probably a question I should have asked. Our big challenge today is going to be remembering to give him his meds before his feedings--the first time we've had to do all four doses in one day. We're still mastering actually giving it to him, but he doesn't seem to mind the taste. He's a little thrown off by his dissolving Prevacid tablet, though! I think I'm going to start giving him a dixie cup with a little water at the same time, just to help it dissolve...and with the added benefit of him learning to use a little tiny cup! He loves cups to begin with, so we'll see how he does with one his size.

This week my main worry was his head size. The did his measurements at the pulmonary specialist. He's finally up to 18 lbs., after stalling out for a while when he was sick and teething. He's 27-1/2 inches long. His head measured 42 centimeters. Curious, I looked online for a percentile calculator and filled in all of the figures. According to at least one calculator I found, his weight only puts him in the 18th percentile, and his length in the 34th percentile. Basically it means that if you lined up 100 babies in order of size, 82 of them would weigh more and 17 would weigh less. I'm not worried about the weight because Craig and I were both skinny kids. He's also really getting into solids now, so I know the weight will come. As for the length...I actually sat down to read the literature for his nebulizer treatment meds a couple weeks ago, and found out that it can stunt growth a bit...like 1 cm per year. While I doubt that's having a huge impact yet, you never know. Not eating well for a month could have impacted that as well. What ended up concerning me most was that his head circumference was coming up in the single digits. He's always had a small head--I think originally he was in the 15th percentile--but it's never looked disproportionate to the rest of his body so I think it never really bugged me. When I compare him to other babies his age at daycare, he does look a little small, but again...that could just be genetic. Still, the single digit percentile for his head did throw me off a bit. While he seems to be hitting all his physical milestones okay, I still wonder a little. I feel like his babble doesn't seem particularly purposeful yet--in that very little of it sounds like actual syllables that could eventually turn into words. It's still mostly squeals and laughs and gutteral noises. He's never been a good mimicker...he's never stuck out his tongue on command or learned how to blow raspberries, nor have I ever noticed him mimicking sounds...and all these actions are things that the usual baby literature says that many babies do by now. They ALSO say that not all babies develop the same, so again, I try not to worry about it. But as a parent you can't help but wonder. I'm sure he's fine, but you just wonder sometimes if all of the medicines and stuff he's endured in his 8-1/2 months have had some sort of impact. We'll see what the doctor says in a couple weeks.

Well, if you made it through this post of poop and irrational worrying, you deserve a reward...so here are a few pics from last weekend...

If I did a closeup of this one, you could see his little teeth...they're coming in nicely now :)


Just thought this was a cute one!


He's obsessed with cups so my mom gave him the orange one on his lap...never noticed it matched the afghan! Anyway, as you can see, he was thrilled!

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

My child the drugstore...

So, we're back from the pulmonary specialist. Our pediatrician's instincts were correct, that they would prescribe Reglan. It will speed up his digestion so there's less risk of acid reflux. While he's never had bad spitup incidents like a lot of reflux babies, he's shown a couple other signs and the scintiscan last week confirmed that he has it. The Reglan scares us a bit because one of the main side effects is muscle spasms. Another one the doctor mentioned is diarrhea (duh, it gets things moving faster), but hopefully that will only be a short term one. He needs to take that four times a day, each time on an empty stomach, which is a lot to coordinate considering sometimes I have a hard time figuring out when he ate or will be due again. However, I'm thinking most of the burden there will fall on daycare (which saves us, obviously, but involves a heck of a lot of trust that they'll do it when they're supposed to) because he's always hungry first thing in the morning so I won't be able to pull it off then, and he's only got four other feedings the rest of the day, three of which are there. Still, the thought of taking the medication there every day, getting it back, and coordinating all of this stuff for the next six months (we have an appointment in two months, but most of the time they're on it for at least six) makes me a little crazy. In addition, she prescribed a different reflux medication--one that stops the stomach from producing a lot of acid, rather than just neutralizing what's there. That one also has to be taken on an empty stomach.

As far as the diagnosis itself, the slow stomach emptying can allow for more reflux issues. When the acid comes up (even if he doesn't spit up out), it can irritate his esophagus. Apparently the esophagus and trachea share a nervous system, so if one is irritated, so is the other. The irritation causes mucus to be produced, which is why he has chest congestion and the coughing. While a lot of it seems to make sense, I keep wondering if all of this is necessary. Could just the Prilosec prevent these problems? Is the Reglan really necessary? I mean, Golisano Children's Hospital at Strong is a pretty great place to be able to take your kid, but sometimes you just wonder if there are symptoms that doctors just hop on because they make sense, but in reality it's not really what's going on. It's so hard to know.

At the end of the day I'm just sort of intimidated by all of the coordination these medications involve. We'll still be doing the nebulizer, too...did I mention that? I'm tired of co-pays...doctor visits, prescriptions...it never seems to end. And when it seems like there's no end in sight right now (heck, six months puts us to the end of summer...and it's barely 20 degrees out right now), it's a little disheartening. But as I mention often, I know this is really minimal stuff compared to what some people have to deal with. That hit home a little bit as we were walking out of the hospital and passed a woman and her two daughters, one of which had Down's Syndrome. Or when I think of my longtime friend Heather and how she can't have children, so she and her husband are going through the difficult process of trying to adopt. I know we're so incredibly blessed to have a happy, mostly healthy little boy. And I know we'll get through this, and hopefully Jacob will get healthy soon. It's just a long road and I'm still trying to find the most comfortable way to travel it...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Rockin' & Rollin'

As I mentioned the other day, Jacob has really started to rock in preparation for crawling. He is already finding ways to get where he wants to go, mostly by rolling around. He's gotten very good at that, in fact. I can hardly leave him alone for more than a couple seconds anymore without him rolling one way or another and getting into something. He's obsessed with the stack of magazines under our coffee table, and is constantly trying to wiggle away. Changing him, dressing him, and strapping him into his carseat have all been very trying the last few days, because he arches his back and tries to flip over, screaming the whole time. I'm not sure what has prompted that, but it hasn't been particularly fun. I'm definitely concerned about babyproofing, and I'm really concerned about Jacob hurting himself when he tries to get into things. He's so curious that I'm not even sure that my best attempts at babyproofing are going to be enough. He's really getting some sort of independent streak, and I'm afraid that the second he figures out how to move, we won't be able to stop him...or if we try he'll freak out, screaming and wiggling out of our grasp. He doesn't understand the word "No" yet--or if he does we're in big trouble because he usually just responds back with a smile--but we'll keep trying to use it when he tries to get to something he shouldn't be getting into, and hopefully he'll pick up on it as we go along. My goal is to teach him (and this is a ways down the road) that if it isn't his and he hasn't been given permission to touch it, don't. Curious as I was as a kid, I think I was pretty good about that sort of thing, so hopefully I can teach Jacob to do the same. We have a while before he'll start absorbing stuff like that, though, so in the meantime we're going to have to do a lot of babyproofing! Bring on the gate and the doorknob things and the cabinet locks! But for now, here's some video of the rocking...

video

In other news...Jacob tried chicken for the first time over the weekend. His first attempt was only moderately successful, and I can't say I blame him. Pureed baby-food chicken seems pretty gross. Although, when I warmed it up on Sunday for attempt #2, Craig thought it smelled pretty good. Each time I've mixed it with his cereal and sweet potatoes, but he still gagged quite a bit the first time around. I think it was probably more the texture than the flavor, but he made enough funny faces that I think the taste threw him off a bit as well. Jacob did much better with it the last two tries, though...ate it right up! The little pieces make it a bit harder to clean off his face after he's done, but it's a new source of nutrition and I'm glad he seems welcoming to new foods. There really hasn't been anything he's rejected yet, other than green beans...which I haven't tried since a couple days after the throwing up incident...so I can't say I blame him. Soon we'll try again, though. He's been eating really well, about 1/2 of a stage 1 jar or 1/3 of a stage 2, with an equal amount of cereal, twice a day. He really gets into it sometimes, though he's still not quite at the "freaking out because I'm not getting him the next bite quickly enough" stage. Not a bad thing. It's just so nice to have him eating well, though.

Tomorrow is his appointment with the pulmonary specialist. We'll definitely be interested to hear what they have to say. We held off on giving him the medicine his doctor prescribed, just because the side effects bothered us and if there's any way we can avoid it--namely, they don't think the slow stomach emptying/reflux is what's causing his problems (and seriously, I just don't think it is...poor kid is just too congested)--then I'd rather do just that. No sense risking it. If that is his problem, hoepfully they will have some words of wisdom for us to ease our fears. Either way, I just want to make Jacob better...and if they can't do that, I at least want to know what has caused all of this and if there's anything else we can do to help him out in the meantime. Being sick for over six months just isn't fair when you're only eight months old. He's been a trooper, but I'd like to know what it's like to not have a coughing, stuffy baby.

Well, I'm about ready to fall asleep sitting up, so I think it's time for bed...maybe Jacob's 9pm bedtime would be a good thing for mommy too!