Archive for category dr.

Ear infections, figure fours and no sleep for the weary

So, we’re working on a week now…

A week of what you might ask?

A week of non-stop “mama, mama, mama, mama, mama.” A week of “no like, mama.” A week of holding my strong little boy in the Figure Four position, wrestling him down to force feed him spoonfuls of Amoxicillin. A week of being quarantined all in the name of his first ear infection.

This isn’t really a milestone, but hey, we’ve been ear infection-free for 2 years. I guess we lucked out in that department. Let’s hope we won’t have to deal with this much longer or at all in the near future!

Our poor guy has been miserable. I mean, look at that face! Quite the difference from just two weeks ago at his well visit!

Sick boy24m well baby

Ok, so, miserable doesn’t even do it justice. He’s a hot mess quite literally. There have been a few days in a row now where his temperature has been as high as 104ish and hasn’t been below 102. When all I hear and read about is the H1N1 virus, it’s hard not to be worrisome.

So, we haven’t slept much. He hasn’t moved out of my lap much either. But the last part isn’t so bad.

Except when it’s 4am.

We’ve been to the dr. WAY too much this past week, with today’s 2 hour wait/visit/debacle involving a throat culture, hysterical little boy and punctuated with an antibiotic shot to the no longer chubby thigh.

But, good news! After sleeping off some of his exhaustion (and canceling my plans to attend a Cupcake Crawl!!) my buddy, popped up from his nap and squealed with glee! No, really. He did!

He laughed a little, whined a little, laughed a little more and then still insisted on crawling onto my lap a few times. His fever isn’t as crazy as it’s been, which is good. He’s not wailing over the pain from his ears that much either. I don’t want to jinx it, but it looks like we’re on the mend! Cross your fingers, everyone. I’m ready to have a healthy boy and a little social interaction besides the nurses at the dr’s office!

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And the word of the day is, “No!”

Lately, it seems Jack’s vocabulary has hit a figurative and very negative wall.  As in, the “no, no, no” wall.

Cute at first, the habitual “no” has become something we can’t really avoid.

“What’s your name?”

“no”

“Where’s mommy?”

“no”

“Would you like to eat?”

“no”

Ugh.  I no likey the “no, no, no” phase.

But when we visited the pediatrician last week, per usual, they gave us a checklist of “normal” development for kids this age.  At 20 months, Jack could easily be pegged as the poster boy for said checklist. But truthfully, even though he has no idea what he’s saying half of the time, the endless stream of “nos” is starting to get to me.

"normal" development checklist 18-24m

When I’m the main person he sees and learns from on a day to day basis, I’m absolutely conscientious of the person he’s becoming. 

Thanks to the reinforcement from family, (“Well, it’s no wonder, all he hears is no.” and “Do you say anything besides no?”) I was convinced my parental choices and discipline tactics were backfiring.

But before I get all boo-hoo-y about it being “all my fault,” this is good to know:

Parents Magazine said that a recent study in Child Development showed that 2- and 3-year-olds argue with their parents 20 to 25 times an hour.

Before a kid can completely verbalize their feelings, it’s normal for them to repeat what they hear.  “No” might be heard a lot as Jack scales bookshelves and eats days-old cheerios found under the couch, but I do my best to offset that negativity with hugs and high fives when the situation calls for it.  When other little boys his age are either running away from new friends or pushing to assert themselves, my son, the hugging bandit, can often be found befriending kids and hugging and offering friendly smooches.

There’s always room for improvement; the boy and I are always learning. As we begin to face the beginning of the Terrible Twos, (we’ve already had a full blown, red-in-the-face, head-turning tantrum on the way home from the park the other day) we’ll continue to work on the “no no no’s” and turn negative scenarios around to inject some positive reinforcement. 

But dudes, really, it’s a phase—one that I can’t wait to pass. Hug me.

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In good company

We waited over an hour to be seen at the dr's office, but killed the time by making funny faces at the camera phone

We waited over an hour to be seen at the dr's office, but killed the time by making funny faces at the camera phone

Jack had his overdue 18m well baby visit today, where he got his most recent round of shots. He turns 19 20m today and look at me, I’m so on top of things as usual.  Not only was this appointment TWO month late, but um, he never even had his 12m well baby visit.

Parenting time management FAIL aside, we also learned the big boy’s recent stats, which would make his cousin, Michael, beam with pride.

Dr: “At 29 lbs. and 33.5 in., Jackson is in the 75th percentile for both categories”

Me:  “Good to know he’s still on the charts.”

Dr.: “But, uhhhhhh, at 50 cm., how do I say this?  His head is kind of large.”

Me: “Yeah, I know, it runs in the family.”

Kind of, doc?  Just say it.  We already know the boy’s in good company.

We kind of already celebrate the big headedness.

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Brand new menu and a highchair

Not too long ago, before our lives were spent shuffling from pediatrician visits and frequent playground jaunts, we had a social life–one that revolved around high tier events like $5 burger night, $.25 buffalo wing night and What the Buck.  We slept in on Saturdays and Sundays, sometimes going to bed at the same bewitching hour that Jack begins to crow from his crib.  We’d spend our Sundays recovering from the weekend mischief.  We’d wake up by midday, often finding ourselves at one of our favorite restaurants brunching and watching baseball on tv all day long.  Scheduled just right, Bloody Marys, bellinis, muffins, steak and eggs would serve as breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Life wasn’t nearly as tragically orchestrated as they are now.

Those were the days.

On Friday night, when we walked the 5-block walk back from the hospital, it was about the same time that we’d normally head out to the bars just a few years ago.  As we passed our old watering hole, from across the street, I could see a few familiar friends, still doing the same thing.   It made me miss those carefree days–the days where my responsibilities were as simple as finding exact change for the bus, so that I’d have enough cash for What the Buck.

Surveying everything my child ate and had contact with over a 72-hour period wasn’t even a blip on the radar back then.

crayons and bloody mary

On Mother’s Day, a day that I simply requested as an “easy” day, Jeff and Jack let me sleep in until 9am.  I woke up to Jeff scrubbing the stove, something I’ve neglected in place of fine tuning WordPress themes.  What a wonderful gift it is to have several hours shaved off of my chore list (thanks, babe!)  We made our way to brunch at one of our favorite restaurants, the kind of place where the bartender knew “our usual.”  Except, we haven’t been there since way before I got pregnant.  Our favorite bartender was replaced by a pretty brunette.  The restaurant had new owners; the place even had a whole new menu.  Instead of a pair of barstools, we sat at a table and asked for a highchair.

We got our muffins as we waited for our meals.  I sipped on my bloody mary as we played pick-up-the-crayon and count-the-sugar-packets.

My, have times have changed.

But at one moment, Jack leaned over and hugged me in the way that he does every single day.  It’s as if his hugs say, “Mama, thanks for giving everything up and reshuffling your life to make things better for me.”

Mother's Day at the Gas Light

Memories of debaucherous weekends and the carefree days always puts things into perspective.  I struggle with the fact that I may never have a job in print magazines ever again.  I’m still conflicted about finding my way with this freelance and blogging business.  I’m no longer giving direction; for someone whose career once navigated our course, sitting back and letting go has been hard.  So very hard.

I know how blessed I am, but after a hectic weekend of doctor visits and new found allergies on top of the usual exhaustion, that simple brunch reminded me just how good I have it.  While I might miss those carefree moments from time to time, I’m so grateful for the brand new menu and even more thankful for the high chair and the person who has replaced our barstools.

Motherhood is my brand new menu.  I never saw myself as just a mom.  I’m so glad there’s more to it–the websites, the networking and more.  It’s taking a while to get used to the new options, but the extra side of hugs and spicy Bloody Marys are just as delicious.

And btw, the word “just” should never preface “mom.”  For all of us, there’s always more to it.  I’m just sayin.’

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The new baby boom

Apparently, there’s a new baby boom and Jack, along with other 2007 babes are a part of it! According to a story in the NYT,  More babies were born in the United States in 2007 than in any other year in American history, according to preliminary data reported Wednesday by the National Center for Health Statistics.

But in contrast with the culturally transforming postwar boom, when a smaller population of women bore an average of three or four children, the recent increase mainly reflects a larger population of women of childbearing age, the report said.

Another statement that I found interesting:  In yet another record high, the share of deliveries by Caesarean section reached 32 percent in 2007, up 2 percent from 2006. Experts have repeatedly said some C-sections are not medically necessary and impose excess costs, but the rate has steadily climbed, from 21 percent in 1996.

But we all know how my “convenient” procedure came about.

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Dr. Jen on baby’s sleep habits and nighttime routines

Sleep.  I crave it like a juicy Five Guys Hamburger.  I need it, I want it, but like many moms, I don’t really get it as often as I’d like.  (Sleep, not the delicious hamburger.)
Today, for the first time in a few weeks, I actually feel well-rested.  We’ve been going through our own sleep issues right now, so it’s amazing what an extra 2 hours of sleep can do for you.  Though,  I won’t say that too loudly, I don’t want to jinx it!

Fact:  On average, babies fuss about 74 minutes a day.

Dr. Jen TrachtenbergThere are many reasons behind mom’s lack of sleep, but often, a new baby is at the top of this list.  Even though my child is beyond the baby days, with all this lack of sleep that’s been going on, it’s so fitting that I was able to sit in on an event to listen to Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg talk about something so relevant.  The renowned pediatrician and author of Good Kids, Bad Habits: The RealAge Guide to Raising Healthy Children, Dr. Jen offered some invaluable tips and insight on sleep and nighttime routines.  Here are a few things that she had to say about baby and my old friend, sleep:
My are notes indicated with star-pink-32x32

  • Nighttime routine is very important;  I can’t stress that enough, she said.  It needs to be done consistently, on a day-to-day basis.  It doesn’t have to be exactly the same, but more of a daily routine. It’s not a schedule she says, but more of a routine.
  • Not only is the nighttime routine important for the kids, but Dr. Jen says transitioning yourself to nighttime from daytime is really important–turning down the lights, turning down the tv, make it quieter, playing nighttime music such as classical or softer tunes.  In the baby’s room, close the blinds so that baby’s sleep isn’t disrupted by light.  Natural sunlight is known to wake up baby, Dr. Jen says baby should wake up on his own terms.
  • Also check the room temperature.  Babies sleep better in between 68-72 degrees.  Too warm or over-layering the baby can make the baby too hot, thus more fussy.  It’s great to have a fan in baby’s room for many reasons.  There’s new research showing that circulating the air can reduce risks for SIDS for babies.  It also has that white noise effect and drowns out other noises, making it easier for baby to fall asleep. Fans are simple, economic alternatives to those white noise machines out on the market.
  • Good nighttime routines typically start with a bath.  It’s a great time to bond and talk to baby, Dr. Jen says.
      star-pink-32x32 After not having much luck with our initial baby tub, I have to say, Munchkin’s inflatable safety duck tub is the most versatile baby bathtub out there.  It’s portable, inflatable, soft, easy to clean and does the job.  Not bad for $10.
  • Dr. Jen recommends moisturizing the baby right after the bath.  Lotion is a great way to help with massaging the baby.  Baby massages–usually slow circular motions–after the bath is another great time to bond, as well as time to wind down and get ready for bed.
  • going-to-bedQuiet nighttime activity, reading is always recommended.  Dr. Jen says it’s never too early to start reading to your baby.  Starting with a board book that is easy and only has a few words on the page.  Eventually, babies start to respond to rhyming and then inflection in your voice, Dr. Jen says, then reading becomes reciprocal with the anticipation of page turning and when the book is about to end.
      star-pink-32x32Our personal favorite nighttime book is Sandra Boyton’s Bedtime Book.  It’s a short and sweet story about animals aboard an ark that are also preparing for bed.
  • After the quiet activity, ultimately, it’s time for bed.  Dr. Jen recommends putting the baby to bed when she is sleepy, but still awake;  ideally, they should still be arousable but drowsy.  This is important so they learn how to transition from your arms to the bed.  According to Dr. Jen, this is so important for babies so they learn how to fall asleep on their own, and ultimately, sleep through the night.
      star-pink-32x32If they don’t know how to fall asleep on their own or are used to falling asleep with help–rocking, feeding, etc.–they won’t know how to fall asleep without that help when they wake up in the middle of the night.  Dr. Jen confirmed exactly what I kept trying to tell my mom who was big on rocking/singing when putting Jack down for a nap and the occasional bedtime all of those months.  It was so helpful at the time, but unfortunately, Jack never slept through the night until a few months ago (which is a distant memory for now and our current battle!)
  • Dr. Jen is a big proponent of swaddling.  When you swaddle the baby it makes them feel cozy and warm, just like they’re in the womb, but it also decreases the startle reflex they have as newborns, she said. Some moms say that their baby likes to sleep with their arms out, but studies show that babies sleep much better and stay asleep when they are swaddled.  Receiving blankets do the trick, but there are great innovations out on the market equipped with velcro and other things to help with this.star-pink-32x32
    The NYT recently provided some information on the “right” way to swaddle.  We started out with several Kiddopatomus Swaddle Mes which were awesome, but Jack grew so quickly, that by the second month we were miracle_blanket_step11looking for the next size.  Recommended by a good friend, I ended up buying a Miracle Blanket which ended up being one of our best newborn gear investments.  There was no Velcro, just more soft fabric to wrap.  I ended up using it until he started to roll over (around the 5-month mark,) which is when pediatricians recommend to stop swaddling.  If you decide to swaddle your baby, the Miracle Blanket comes highly recommended!

      We’ve probably heard or read some of these pointers along the way,  but hearing her actually say it all was that much more reinforcing. Here’s hoping that all of you, including baby, get the sleep you want/need/crave!

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Sweet dreams are made of this

I had a pretty sweet day yesterday, and I mean that quite literally.  On behalf of Philips AVENT, the awesome baby products manufacturer, I had lunch at Dylan’s Candy Bar. (which, by the way, was my third trip within the last few weeks–yum!)

I dusted off my business attire, smooched my boys–one sick, the other whiny– and headed into the city.  This event was my first press function as a blogger and freelance writer.  Even though I have attended more press functions than I care to count, to be honest, I felt a bit out of practice. In this life, my day consists of singing about parties in my tummy, dancing with Bongo Bird, picking up foam alphabet letters, extinguishing meltdowns, in between researching several stories, then writing 3 words and then deleting 2 words—and all this before lunch and Y&R.  After 4 months out of the game, that magazine editor world seems like a lifetime away.
Dylan's
As soon as I approached the mecca of all that is sweet, I headed upstairs to the cafe area.  The lovely PR ladies greeted me and like most events where one is invited, they asked me who I was and who I was with.  I could barely say my name without stuttering, nevermind say “Babyrific” without feeling like a dork.

I’m sure I said something like, “Um, I’m Jen and I write” and left the rest for her to figure out.  She checked her spreadsheet with the expected attendees and couldn’t find my name.  Naturally, I couldn’t remember if I RSVP’ed with my hyphenated name or my professional/maiden name.  To make things easier, she asked for my business card.  Of course, I came unprepared. Several months ago, I’d have 658 business cards in my right pocket for easy synchronization with my introduction. Today, I had zero. And, I could barely speak the language in which I have a degree.

So she handed me the list so I could fill out my name and information.  And there I was, the second name on the list:  Jen with Babyrific.net. I felt so much validation at that very moment—and not because I’m on some list, but because I was back in the saddle on my own terms.  After all those fruitless interviews in ’08, dodging the awkward conversations with people who don’t “get” this whole new direction I’m taking and questioning my choice to take said direction, everything is finally starting to make sense.  The ideas, the research, the determination—all of it!

So besides my sweet dreams, today’s function was all about sweet dreams.  The renowned Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg, author of Good Kids, Bad Habits, gave a presentation to help Avent launch some new products.  I received so much great information,  multiple posts are in order. Product reviews, details and Dr. Jen’s helpful hints soon to come.

P.S.  Isn’t Annie Lenox awesome? I love that song.  Sweet dreams are made of this, indeed.

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A million reasons

Jack and I had a lovely day in the City today.  We met up with two of my friends from my old job, which reminded me how much I miss all of them.  Besides seeing my very cool friends, I had a chance to window shop and enjoy the scant amount of foliage in the city.  Fall in NYC is a thing of beauty for me; hell, all seasons in the city are awesome.  Today was a great way to punctuate an unforgettable week.

Madison Square Park

Macy*s windows in progressDespite the whole ball joint fiasco, the news of unemployment reaching a 14-year high and all the other ominous current events that continue to loom, this was one of the most memorable weeks I’ve experienced to date.  I’m sure there’s never an easy time to be a parent, but I’m sure I speak for many to say that it’s daunting to be a new parent at a time like this.  Instead of thinking, ‘what will Jack and his peers do for college, jobs, etc. with the way things are going…’ I’m hopeful that maybe things will look up in time.  So, based on the way this past week has transpired, I consider myself fortunate to be part of this whole Reason to Believe school of thought.

But while we were in Herald Square today, I noticed how Macy*s is in the process of decorating for Christmas.  So, if I may, let me throw out an analogous scenario [pairing a literary device with Macy*s--I'm sure I make my English professors proud ;) ] At a time like this, the famous window displays might have been a work in progress, but it was the theme that had such impeccable timing.

Millions of Reasons to Believe

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Snowfall in October

It’s kind of hard to believe, but parts of NJ, NY and PA saw their first snowfall yesterday!  We knew it was going to be cold and stormy, but not THAT cold!  Thankfully, we didn’t see any snow ourselves, but we got a lot of rain and wind.  Our heater was working overtime yesterday.
snowFALL

Jack and I stayed indoors all day yesterday and canceled our big plan to go to a local toddler concert.  There’s no fun traipsing around in the rain with a stroller.  At this point, we’ve watched every single Jack’s Big Music Show episode ever made, so we’re going a bit stir crazy.

And when I say we, I mean me.

Photo credit: Star Ledger

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12 months

So sorry for being so MIA.  Like Jack, I really haven’t been myself lately—more on that next week.  My last day of work is next Wednesday.  It’s bittersweet.  Onward and upward.  Speaking of which, have you met my 1 year old?

My sweet, sweet little boy.  How did you get so big so damn fast?

These days, I’m completely exhausted.  I’m tired from wiping snot, exhausted from chasing this boy, doing dishes by hand, picking up wooden blocks, chasing this boy and fishing random objects out of his mouth.  I’m sure there’s more, but I’m too tired to think.

Oh dear God.  This child is into everything.  Anything that was of importance, uh, is no longer important.  He continues to destroy everything.  This weekend, we discovered that our DVD player is no longer working, and it has our WI trip slideshow in it!  Yeah.  Guess whose little fingers like to poke at the DVD player? uh huh.

When he’s not breaking electronic equipment, Jack can be found climbing furniture and TOYS.  Note to self:  leave all plastic toys that double as ladders at mom’s house in VIRGINIA.  Together with the climbing, he is walking– yay!  As of early last week, Jack’s been walking about 85-90% of the time.  He showed off a few of his skills for family and friends when we were back home, but now he’s really on the go.  He gets a big kick out of it when we cheer and clap once he’s made his destination.  He totally “gets” the whole walking thing!

Now that Jack is officially everywhere, he’s also become extremely conversational and sociable as well. No real words, just made up ones.   When I call for him, he’ll try to say his name (DDDDaaat!) or just lots of mamamamama right back at me.  When we read, his “words” are much MUCH louder than mine nowadays.  His signing has really flourished.  More, eat, drink, book, dog, hot, sleep and thank you are the main signs that we use for now.  It was so cool when he finally grasped the signing and would tell us what he needed without us even initiating.  Jeff said, the other day while I was out shopping, Jack was in mid-play then crawled over to him, signed sleepy and curled up on his daddy’s shoulder.  Too cute.
12 Months
Jack’s social skills are flourishing so much more now, too.  He flirts and tries to befriend kids of all ages every chance he gets.  Last Sunday, he freaked out the poor little girl behind us because he was trying to touch her hand to make nice. haha.  I definitely attribute his friendliness and outgoing nature, not only to family, but to the great teachers at his daycare.  He loves the other kids and teachers, it’ll be sad to say goodbye for now.

Jack’s size has pretty much stayed the same from last month.  He’s mainly in 24m, but still wears some 18m clothes.   The belly never seems to fit–poor guy.  He’s still in size 4 diapers, and I assume he’ll stay in that size for a few more months.  He’s still heavy, teetering in the high 20s.  We missed his 12m appointment, so we’ll have to update those stats.

The boy likes to eat, but it has to be timely.  If we get home too late from daycare, he pitches a fit and goes on strike.  He eats any and everything, with pizza, pasta, chicken, mango, bananas and peas as his faves.  We just started giving him juice a few weeks ago, but milk and water are still #1.  We have yet to switch over to cow’s milk at our dr’s suggestion.  Jack’s still trying to fight off that upper respiratory infection, so until he does, we were told not to change his diet too drastically.

Separation anxiety is big right now: he’s still a mama’s boy and loses his mind when I leave the room. He started with the toddler tantrums a few weeks ago. It’s so hard and frustrating, but signing has really helped us out. I heart baby signing.

In spite of the meltdowns (from both him and me)  Jack is such a handsome, active, lovey and bubbly little dude.  Those little boy hugs remind me how much I LOVE love LOVE being a mom.  Now that I’m closing one chapter and Jeff and I are both embarking on our own separate and new(ish) professional journeys (new responsibilities for him and freelance for me), it’s only fitting that it coincides with another year of Jack’s growth.

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