Tuesday, January 31, 2012

wtf Disney?

A few days ago I decided to take a break from the trash TV I watch on a daily basis and put something on for Parker's entertainment. We had already watched every episode of Sesame Street (multiple times) that we saved on DVR, so I flipped on the Disney channel for him.

I was so surprised from the image that was on the TV. I couldn't figure out what the characters were supposed to be. I took a picture so I could share my confusion.

Was Disney trying to inform children of the normal range of variation in bowel movements (including variations in size, color, consistency, and fiber bulk)? It even appears that the fat, brown poop all the way on the right has specks of residual, undigested salad coming out of his head.

Pardon the pun, but holy shit!

I was totally hooked.

We continued to watch these happy poops ride the train, while the small but lovable conductor poop dictated where they were destined to go.

After watching for a while, I realized (much to my disappointment), those are not, in fact, turds riding happily on a train...as had initially crossed my mind.

They are actually "small potatoes," as the title of the show informed me.

Monday, January 30, 2012

speculation nation

I am pretty sure we have all been victim to well-intentioned, older, more experienced family/friends/strangers who feel compelled to give their opinion on what is ailing your baby. Nevermind the fact that you, as the mother, have spent every waking (and not-so-waking) minute with your child and you know your baby inside and out. You, after all, do not have the experience of raising 6 children...it doesn't matter that they did this 20+ years ago. They know your baby better than you do.

1. "It's colic."  This one really gets to me, probably more than any other excuse for a crying baby with the exception of food or milk allergies (see #2). Colic is a term that gets thrown around by lay people all the time for a fussy neonate. In reality, colic has a very defined, clinical definition. There is a difference between a "colicky baby" and a baby who actually has colic.

2. "Your baby may have a cow's milk/lactose/[insert any solid baby food here] allergy." Milk and food allergies...OMG people, these are rare conditions. Just because your baby gets upset every time he eats a bottle does not mean he is allergic to the lactose. This is called normal response to new bowel stimulation. Let me inform you on what an actual allergic reaction is, in contrast to an adverse reaction (adverse reactions are very common, allergies are not).  Allergic reactions result in, at the VERY LEAST, hives. Hives, swelling of soft tissue, and difficulty breathing are all signs of an allergy. Allergies can be life threatening, with the worst reaction being anaphylaxis (swelling of the throat resulting in death if no intervention is taken immediately). Hives are NOT the same as a rash. A rash is an adverse reaction, hives is true allergy.

3. "It's teething." This may very well be the case for your fussy baby...the problem is that you just can't tell until the tooth pops through, and by the time the tooth comes in, the baby feels better. It's just not fair! There are so many teething myths that don't hold up when you study babies in a general sense (for example, babies do NOT get a true fever because of teething). However, I do believe that individual babies may show their own signs of teething (maybe your baby has a "tactile fever"....he feels warm to you).

4. "He is pulling his ear...he has an ear infection." Maybe, but probably not. If your baby just got a cold and is pulling on his ear, it's most likely NOT an ear infection. Ear infections show up days after the first cold symptom because it takes some time for the infection to spread from the nose and throat to the middle ear. Ear infections also usually are accompanied by true fever. Pediatricians are also not routinely handing out antibiotics for ear infections anymore, because almost all ear infections are due to viruses anyway.

5. "He's too cold."

6. "He's too hot."

7. "He is sleepy."

8. "He is bored."

9. "He is overstimulated."

10. "He is understimulated."

11. "His diaper needs changed."

12. "He is being a little shit." ...but seriously, this should really be one of the options.

...Ok I think I've made my point. Any of these things *could* be the case for why you have a fussy baby. The problem is that you can sit there and speculate a million possibilities, and you will never know for sure.

I know that most people are just trying to be helpful, but it's just so annoying, especially because they always suggest these things when you are almost about to have a mental breakdown trying to figure out what's wrong with your child. It wouldn't be so bad if they were giving you input while your baby was happily playing on the floor.

"Maybe he is hungry." Ohhhhh yeah, I didn't consider that possibility...babies need to eat???

Friday, January 20, 2012

psychological damage

I have done my first real "bad mom" thing. I have introduced fear to my son.

I guess it's not surprising when I think about it, that I would be the one to open this emotion to him. I mean, I've introduced every other emotion to him...starting with comfort in the womb. I've introduced security, happiness, anger, silliness, frustration, discomfort...and now fear. 

Fear is, by far, the worst of the bad feelings. After all, it is the one that is most remembered. It's imprinted in the primal brain. It's hard to overcome (psychiatrists make TONS of money trying to have people unlearn their fears...fears of flying, phobias of all sorts).

So are you wondering what I've done?

It's not as bad as I make it sound. No permanent damage has been done. Parker will not grow up to be a sociopath.

I was doing that game where you toss the baby in the air. I help him down low, and then quickly brought him up above my head and tossed him up.

At first, he would get this frightened look on his face, but he always laughed right away. I *thought* he was having fun.

Until I tried to do it again today, and when I caught him he was shaking he was so scared.

OMG I am the world's worst mother. He even starts to shake if I just hold him up above my head. 8 months old, and he needs to see a therapist.

I can picture him 20 years from now, laying on some psychiatrist's couch. "I have this irrational fear of heights and flying. I'm terrified I'm just going to plunge to the ground, out of no where. Where do you think this fear is stemming from?"

Then the psychiatrist will hypnotize him, and somehow it will come out that I maliciously threw him 4 feet in the air, over and over, with him crying while I laughed at his horror.

Of course, this is absolutely not the case. Once I realized he was, in fact, terrified of the game I cuddled him and stopped doing it. I also feel very guilty for him learning fear from me. I'm the person who is supposed to protect him from it!

Ironically, we have a plane to catch tomorrow. Let the psychological damage begin!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

age is in the eye of the cashier

When Tim got off work tonight, I asked him if he could swing by the grocery store to get a couple of things we needed (one of these things was a pregnancy test, but that's a different story). In addition to my list of things, he also grabbed beer for himself, since he can't go into a place that sells beer and not buy some. For the record, he is not an alcoholic. I never buy beer for him because it's too heavy for me when I'm shopping by myself with Parker...which is a one-arm job. That is why he always buys it when given the opportunity.

He gets all the groceries and goes up to the check out aisle.

Here is a funny bit of info about my husband: he ALWAYS has his ID out when he buys beer. It always makes me laugh to myself, because I can tell that no one has been planning on checking his ID since I've known him (this is the complete opposite of my situation...I get ID'd all the time. I actually got ID'd by the UPS guy when he had a delivery of wine. It's actually really very annoying and I don't really think it's flattering at all). Without fail, Tim always has it out for the cashier, and they usually look at it since he is waving it in their face, so they don't insult him.

This time was a little different.

How old do you think this man is (take off the baseball hat, and keep in mind that his hair is not grey at all and he does not have a receding hair line)?

The cashier goes, "Oh I don't need to see your ID. Let me guess your age...38?"


OMG I'm seriously dying laughing!! 38!!

Tim replies, "No! I'm.....30."

The best part is that Tim is actually 28...but he told the cashier that he was 30 so it didn't seem like the age discrepancy was so huge. He didn't want to look 10 years older than he really was!

Amazing what job stress and a baby will do for your aging.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

pompous posting: life update

I decided to lump two (possibly) boring topics together so readers don't have to suffer through 2 different posts. I mean, I think my son's milestones are riveting and I believe my career update is important...but probably only those that actually know me care. Don't worry, I won't try to explain what The Match for residency is. I've explained it to my own mother a zillion times, and she still doesn't get it ("So what happens if they offer you a job in an interview? You gonna take it?").

I bought a really beautiful, sweet baby book for Parker. I haven't even cracked it open. It's on my list of things I have to do, but I just haven't gotten around to it :( Maybe one day I will, but in the meantime, let me remind myself of tricks Parker is doing these days.

He is 8.5 months old now. He started crawling and pulling to a stand at 7 months. He is now able to stand unassisted for somewhere around 30 seconds until he sit-falls. Just before he turned 8 months he started to babble "dadada." He just made the cut off for pediatrician evaluation for lack of babbling, since I was going to take him in if there was still no babbling at 8 months. He now babbles "mama" and "baba" regularly, and occasionally makes other sounds. He has never had any socialization issues...except he sometimes is sensitive to too much noise, especially if he is tired.

Because no one can resist a baby laughing, here is your reward for putting up with this post:

As far as my career goes, I am in the process of finished registering for my "rank order list" for residency. This is pretty simple since I am only ranking 3 programs (unlike most people, who, on average, rank 15-20 programs). This was a harder decision than I anticipated it was going to be, but I am finally at peace with my decision, and now it's just going to be a waiting game for match day. This year it is on March 16.

I have a lot of anxiety jumping back into the medicine grind after a year away. I have anxiety mostly about leaving Parker for 80+ hours a week, but also about some insecurity about my knowledge-base dwindling. I need to stop reading books like The Hunger Games (or blogging my life away) and get some academic reading started. In equal proportion to the anxiety I am feeling very excited also. Here is the sucky part...I feel guilty about feeling excited. Oh well. Suppression of guilt is not something I am new to.

I would love to hear your thoughts on going back to work after having a baby!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

vegetarian cereal

You may think that all cereal is animal free...but you would be wrong!

Yesterday Tim had a day off work, so I took advantage of the opportunity to have some extra help and we went grocery shopping. We had to go to Target first, so by the time we got to the real grocery store, Parker was becoming a little on the beastly side. We decided to divide and conquer, so we split up to get all the food we needed.

I HATE doing this. Tim loves it, because he has zero amounts of patience and he thinks it's more efficient. Well, it's only considered "efficient" if the work done is actually done properly...and it never is when we do this because we end up forgetting half the things we need. I get all flustered since I'm being rushed (and I always leave the list at home). Of course, this isn't Tim's problem, since he only goes shopping with us like once a month and the only thing on his list is beer.

So like a good wife, I agree to divide up, and one of the things I had to grab was cereal. This is not something I am proud of, but I don't eat grown-up cereal. I usually buy Fruit Loops. The most adult cereal I've ever bought has been Frosted Mini Wheats. I am walking down the cereal aisle and there is this little boy (probably 5 years old) with his dad trying to pick one out. The little boy says to his dad, "Oh look! This one has a frog on it!" (I immediately know he is talking about Smacks.) The dad replies, "Oh yes it does. But we don't buy cereal with animals on the box."
Son: "Why don't we buy cereal with animals?"
Dad: "Because that's bad nutrition."

Sir...you are a sneaky genius. Deep down, I feel that you are to be commended. You have clearly done a good job instilling healthy eating habits in your little boy. And your son is a total angel. And how the hell did your wife convince you to go do the grocery shopping AND bring your kid?? This is all well and good, however, now I feel like a total asshole. I mean, I am awkwardly standing near you, waiting for your son to move out of the way and, well, I can't very well shove your son aside and grab the box with Toucan Sam on the front.

I have a choice here. I can a) wait until they leave the aisle to get the cereal I really want, or b) I can grab a PETA-friendly box with good nutrition.

I chose the latter.

This is a man who should be giving nutrition speeches to his son's elementary school classes. Well played. Not only can he convince his son to eat well with a one-liner (with complete assent from his son)...he was capable of influencing my entire household's cereal choice. He also had the bonus of positively reinforcing his "bad nutrition" speech by having his son watch me choose a vegetarian cereal. Pure genius.

Are you wondering which nutritious cereal I chose? I went with Fiber One honey clusters (with 51% of your daily fiber requirement in one serving!). I ate it this morning and it was really good! I may convert.

Monday, January 16, 2012

flying with baby

We have an upcoming trip to see Tim's sister in Dallas, and we are all really excited for the mini vacation. The quickly approaching flight got me thinking about previous flights I've had with Parker (a total of 3...2 of these were by myself) since flying with him is a fairly large source of anxiety for me.

The last trip I took by myself was a few months ago. I was flying home from visiting my family in south Florida and I didn't have a direct flight. Parker was a DISASTER on the first leg of the flight. He didn't sleep at all and fussed a lot. Nothing made him happy...not the bottle, not the pacifier, not me. I knew it was a rough flight because on every other flight I have been on with him, people always came up to me after to tell me how good he was on the flight ("I didn't even know he was on board!"). No one spoke to me after the flight this time, no one even looked in my direction, because everyone was making a beeline to get the hell away from us.

While he was busy being a monster on the plane, I figured one major contributing factor was that he hadn't pooped, at all, in several days. I had some prune juice in the diaper bag with me, and since our layover was fairly long I decided to give him the juice during the layover. I figured I had more than enough time to produce a good bowel movement before boarding.

Mistake #1: having prune juice in the diaper bag
Mistake #2: attempting to "plan" my son's bowel movements
and Mistake #3: assuming the plane would depart on time

So I give Parker the juice and he drinks a couple ounces. I knew the juice would do the trick because, in the past, it only took 0.5 ounce to produce a sufficient poop.

I'm waiting and waiting.

Parker still doesn't sleep.

We have some issue with the terminal that the plane is supposed to board at. So we move to a different one. Flight is delayed, delayed, delayed.

Still waiting.

Not even a fart.

Fine. It didn't work.

We are finally boarding. Woo hoo! Let's get this shit over with.

The plane is 100% full.

We sit down and across the aisle is this very nice woman, about my age, who is baby talking to Parker. She tells me she has a daughter at home that is only a month older than Parker. Her and Parker are super busy being BFF when all of a sudden Parker stops happily bouncing in my lap, squats down, and turns purple. This woman looks up at me and goes "Oh my. That's the biggest poop face I've ever seen."

Somewhat similar to this, except this is a much milder, more G-rated version:

Parker's butt EXPLODES for a good minute. Please God let it stay in the diaper. Please please please.  Everyone around us is actually laughing out loud at the noise that Parker just produced and the smell was ungodly.

Okay so the prune juice worked. At a very inopportune time. The plane was done boarding but was taxiing. How much f-ing longer are we gonna taxi??

I page flight attendant. "Umm, I need to change my son's diaper (obviously). Do I have time to go to the bathroom to do it before we take off?"

"Let me go ask."

By the time she returns I could have changed 10 poop diapers.

She says yes, and escorts us back to the bathroom. When I stand up with Parker I look straight at the ground and awkwardly say "sorry about the smell." The lav had a pull down changing table (BONUS!!).

Moment of truth: will Parker remain clothed for the duration of the flight, or will he be donning only a diaper?

No blow out!! At this point I do a mental victory dance...which lasts all of a few seconds, at which point I realize I have no wipes.


I wipe his butt with toilet paper, get it mostly in good shape, throw the diaper in the trash, and book it back to my seat.

The moment my ass hits the seat we get the "cleared for take off" announcement.

Now MY face turns purple. I was the a-hole holding up a plane full of people. To make matters worse, the entire plane smells like 5 days worth of Parker prune poop since it's just sitting in the trash.

The good news is Parker was happy as a clam the rest of the flight. I would be too if I were 3 pounds lighter.

I'll end this post on a point that I never realized prior to having a baby: What do moms (or dads) do when they are the ones who have to pee? I had to pee twice while flying with Parker. The first time this grandmotherly lady sitting next to me offered to hold him while I went. A very small part of me flashed back to that movie "Flightplan" with Jodie Foster, where the little girl disappears on the plane and then no one believes the mother ever had a child with her...but anyway, I quickly dismissed that thought. I had to go.

The other time I had to pee on the plane I ended up taking Parker with me. I don't recommend this...unless you are ambidextrous, have a very small baby, and are wearing sweatpants with no underwear.

Do you have any good flying with children stories?

Saturday, January 14, 2012

follow up to food mix up

This might be why Parker is constantly eating cat food (forgive the poor quality of the picture):

One of these is a sweet potato flavored Gerber puff, and one is a piece of cat food. Can you tell which is which?  I actually pulled this particular piece of cat food out of Parker's mouth today. Not that I care if he actually ate it, but I figured it was a little too crunchy for him to be trying to eat.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

food failure #1,021

I know several moms who make their own baby food. I hate them all (jk...really I'm just jealous at their successes in an area that I have so miserably failed in). I pretend like I don't care that I buy baby food and that I actually prefer Gerber to wholesome, home made food. This is not the truth though. That would be like saying that you preferred to use formula over breastmilk, or that you preferred to have a c-section (ok maybe some do...and that's alright). Sometimes preference isn't priority...and I'm guilty of 2 of these 3 things.

Sidenote: why are we constantly judged for "decisions" like these? You can't really help having a c-section. Sometimes nursing just doesn't work out. And some of us can barely prepare meals for ourselves, let alone for babies. I think people should just stick to judging their own self. Things like these do not determine if you are a good mom or not.

So one day I had a rare moment of motivation, and decided to make pureed carrots for Parker. He loved Gerber carrots (loved. He won't eat any type of vegetable anymore. You're judging me for indulging him in too many fruits. Stop it! We just talked about that.) so I figured he would love the real deal even more.

I was doomed from the start. All I had were baby cut carrots, so I boiled them whole (I probably should have cut them up). They were really soft when I took them out so they seemed to be done. I put them in a blender and pushed "puree." Even after adding some water I couldn't get the carrots anywhere near the consistency of Gerber. It was pureed enough not to be hazardous though, so I added some cinnamon and decided to try it out on Parker.

I was really excited when he woke up from his nap so I could feed him. He gagged on the carrots. I think it was just too much thicker than what he is used to. The only food he had a worse reaction to was smashed avocado...where he gagged and actually vomited it back up.

I think I'll stick with Gerber (fruits, of course).

Let's tally up my food failures:
1. Breastfed exclusively for 2 months and pumped until 5 months. Then went strictly to formula...6 months earlier than planned. I'm sorry for the IQ points I cheated Parker out of.
2. Introduced solids at 4 months. Parker was not even close to ready then.
3. When Parker was ready at 6 months, I was REALLY behind the game as far as a food schedule goes. See hunger games.
4. Managed to get Parker addicted to sweet foods. I am guilty of sprinkling sugar (not like a little bit...like a lot of sugar) on his rice cereal (God that feels good to get off my chest).

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

food mix up

This is not a breast milk/real milk mix up...which would probably be funnier, but this is kind of amusing. (Tim one time did take a big bite of rice cereal that was mixed with breast milk, not water like he thought. I think he secretly was curious about what it tasted like and pretended he didn't know it was breast milk.)

These two things happened on the same day, within an hour of each other.

First, I'm playing a game with Parker which is a combo of hide and seek and peekaboo (I was gonna call this game "hide and peek" but, well, you can figure out why I didn't. Don't want child services called for me playing hide and peek with my son). He gets behind the side of the couch and I slowly crawl around the couch to catch him on the other side so I can shout PEEKABOO and get him to laugh.

This time I wasn't fast enough, because by the time my not-so-spry knees carried my body to the other side, Parker was holding the cat food bowl, and eating from it (of course). 
I like how the only way my cat is interested in his own food is when someone else is infringing on it.

 The pink mushy stuff around his mouth is cat food:

(Side note: did anyone notice that the fridge is open in this picture? It's because Parker is OBSESSED with the refrigerator...and since it's harder to pull him away from it than to parent him properly, I just let him play in it. I stopped letting him do this unsupervised after he started pulling the wine bottles out of the bottom shelf of the door.)

The second thing that happened occurred after I fed Parker his dinner, which was Gerber vegetable beef. Parker is not a big fan of this one (to be fair, it is really disgusting), but sometimes I can trick him into eating it if I start with something he likes that is the same color...such as sweet potatoes or carrots. So I do the switch and this time it just doesn't work well. There was a bunch of the baby food left in his bowl.

A little bit later, Tim and I were cleaning up and doing the dishes. I grabbed the bowl with the vegetable beef in it, but almost all of it was gone. I showed Tim the bowl, expecting him to make some comment about how he hates the cats and that this is why they are constantly throwing up all over the place.

Tim with genuine look of puzzlement: "It evaporated?"

Really, Tim? If food just evaporated off dishes I wouldn't spend half my life rinsing them, loading them, and unloading the dishwasher.

So it takes all of half a second of my "Are you f-ing kidding me?" look to get him to realize how ridiculous he is, and he makes the cat connection.

Maybe the cats and Parker should just eat each other's food for a while.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cinderfella: the lost bootie

Parker and I had to go to the grocery store yesterday to get something for dinner. It was only 4:30 but it was already getting dark and dropping in temperature. I dressed him in a Gap fleece jumpsuit, a hat, and booties (my favorite ones, the ones that don't come off).

We get into the store and I am lifting him into the cart when I realize he only has one bootie on. Damn it! I have a mini debate in my head about going back outside to look for it vs. going shopping and then checking the parking lot. I decided to go back out first and look for it (see prior statement: my favorite ones, the ones that don't come off infrequently). We walk all the way back to the car, no bootie.

So we go back inside, and even though it looks crazy, I leave that other bootie on.

Why, you may ask? Because if I leave one on then people will know that at some point he had both on and they won't think I'm the mom who brings her kid out without shoes on. I am very paranoid about this because of my recent interaction with Target lady.

Maybe you can guess where this is going? Parker refuses to have the other bootie on his foot, so he takes it off.

Oh God, what do I do? Put the one bootie back on? Surely I can't put it in the diaper bag...people will definitely think I took him out without shoes.

I decide on giving it to Parker to chew on. Then people might see why he isn't wearing them.

This works for maybe a minute before he throws it on the ground. Fine. I decide to just put the stupid shoe in the bag and get the hell out of the store.

OH NO! I forgot the onion and bell pepper. ffffffffffff.

So I quickly go to the produce section and this mother of 2 boys comes up to Parker. FFFFFFFF. "Aww look at you riding in the cart like a big boy!"

I'm still suspicious of her true intentions....I know for sure she is dying to say something about his feet. So I start word vomiting. And I can't stop.

"I had booties on him when we left. Lost one on the way inside. Don't know where it is. He won't keep the other one on, see? Here it is! People keep coming up to me and telling me he isn't dressed appropriately." At this point, I'm burning I'm so embarrassed. But I just can't shut up. This poor woman is looking at me like I'm a crazy person.

So I finally stop talking and give this really nervous laugh. Bless this woman...she replies with a story of her own. She tells me that when her son was a baby they were sitting in the ER waiting room and her son had a poopsplosion with blowout. She forgot an extra outfit and had to debate which was worse...having her son wear a poop covered outfit or be naked. She opted for naked. She said all she had to cover him with was a burp rag and she got tons of looks like she was crazy.

I fell in love. "Umm so I know this is really weird, but can I get your number?"

Haha jk...I'm not that creepy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

postpartum hair loss

I have discovered the cause of postpartum hair loss, and it has nothing to do with hormones. It's cause is actually your infant's grasp reflex. When they have outgrown their grasp reflex, the cause is sheer infantile sadism.

I have worn my hair up since I realized this phenomenon, and my hair has a permanent crease in it where the hair clip stays put. I look like a 12 year old boy with my hair up, acne (which has everything to do with hormones), and face naked of makeup. Top it off with pajamas worn all day and my postpartum physique and you have a fail proof form of birth control.

God probably did this intentionally...his own way of avoiding overpopulation. The problem is there are way too many MILFs out there (I really hate that word, but it's too appropriate not to use in this case).

Where do these women come from? Is it some form of evolution? Will my bloodline die out because I haven't adapted to motherhood with makeup, a full head of untouched-by-infant-hands hair, and proper clothing choices? I bet THESE women use burp rags.

And here is the cruel, cruel truth: my husband has gotten MORE attractive after our son was born. All he has to do to win a nurse over at the hospital is casually mention his infant son. All of a sudden, the nurse who was belligerent and stubborn 5 minutes ago is all smiles and "show me some pictures" and "yes doctor, anything else you need, doctor?"

And can you blame them?

The only thing more attractive to women than a physician is one who loves kids. It's just not fair!!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

"first time mom" is not synonymous with "moron with no common sense"

People are obsessed with judging how mother's dress their babies. The baby is NEVER appropriately dressed ("that baby should really have a snowsuit on," "that baby is getting overheated"). I have witnessed my own mother smugly mentioning under her breath that some stranger's baby is "crying because it's cold."

This has led me to dress Parker not as I feel he should be dressed, but as I presume others deem appropriate. This can be difficult because I am not a mind reader, but I can read facial expressions.

I have had 2 recent encounters with people very vocally judging my choice of clothing for my (that's right, MY) son.

Let me quickly preface this by saying it has been extremely warm in St. Louis for January...I'm talking 60s and 70s. So the other day I dress Parker in a long sleeved onesie and put a fleece snowsuit over him. The suit has mittens, feet, and a hood. I had his actual hat in my purse, but he hates wearing it and I decided he definitely didn't need it. The temperature was AT LEAST in the 50s, and sunny. This is the outfit he was wearing: 

We head to Target and the whole shopping experience was the average pain in the butt it normally is. (Sidenote: I was SO excited when Parker started sitting up because it meant he could sit in a cart while out shopping and I wouldn't have to lug his car seat or stroller into every store. Lesson: Just because a baby is physically able to sit in a cart doesn't mean he prefers this over being held. ) So I check out and am walking back to my car when this 100 year old woman catches my eye, looks at Parker, and crosses the street toward me. I figured she was going to say how cute he was so I give her this big, STUPID smile. Then she totally blindsides me and lets me have it.

"Cover his head!"

Wow, this woman is NOT messing around. No polite "Maybe you should put a hat on him" or "his head might be cold" or even "don't you think you should cover his head?"...she goes straight to the command. Then she proceeds to say "Even I put this (lavender silk scarf) on my head before I got out of the car." OK time out...so this sentence is so funny I don't even know where to start. Let's disect it from the beginning.

"Even I" ...is she actually implying that she is in better physical health than my son, whose body is overrun with stem cells and who has a brand new immune system? "Even I", a million year old woman who weighs 80 pounds, who can barely walk, who gets winded having a conversation (which is the reason for the short and sweet command "cover his head" in the first place), who's body is waving a white flag at infection ("f this...we give up! I mean she doesn't need us to fight her infection, she has her head scarf")..."even I covered my head". 

Which leads to what she covered her head with: the silk scarf. It's doing nothing to keep your head warm lady. It is completely sheer. In fact, it's not even touching your head, it's simply holding the top of your white boufant hairdo in place...and let's be honest, THAT was the real reason you put it on your head in the first place. You did not put it on your head to keep your head warm. I know this because no sane person uses a glorified handkerchief for this purpose, they use an actual HAT.

And the last part of the sentence: before I got out of the car. This woman is barely alive. I mean, I am all about the elderly maintaining their independence, but not at the expense of society as a whole. Whyyyyyy are you behind the wheel?

So we all know I'm too much of a chicken to actually be rude to this woman and explain to her that I went to school for a very long time, and one of the things I learned while obtaining my MD was that being cold, or even being wet AND cold, does not cause any type of respiratory illness (worst case you die of hypothermia, but never pneumonia)**. I wanted to tell her that I could strip my son naked, dunk him in cold water, walk from the store's exit to my car, and he would still not get sick. He would only be very pissed off. Which leads to the last thing I wanted to say to this lady...did my smiling, happy son somehow indicate to you that he was the least bit uncomfortable?

What did I actually say to her once I wiped that stupid smile off my face? "Thanks for the advice." And I pulled on Parker's hood and walked away. After all, she had good intentions I suppose. Plus she was just so old.

This is getting kind of long, but the second incident involved a woman who mentioned to her husband "Isn't it a little cold to bring a baby out?" We were at the botanical gardens, but the displays are indoors. This really made me angry...at least the old lady at Target came right up to me and got to the point. She wasn't passive aggressive about it. Am I supposed to just stay indoors the entire fall, winter, and spring season? This lady didn't care how appropriately dressed Parker was, she wasn't commenting on his clothes. She was commenting on him being out of the house at all. And, let me tell you, Parker was uncomfortably cold and HATING every minute of it: 

Did I turn around to this woman and ask her what was leading her to believe my son was miserably cold, so much so that he shouldn't be out of his house? Of course not, I just pretended like I didn't hear her.

Taking the high road SUCKS.

**For those of you who are smart enough to realize that Parker got sick a day or so following the Target lady, rest assured this is pure coincidence. Parker had a playdate with a very snotty toddler a few days prior to Target lady.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

burp rag

When Parker was 11 weeks old I was convinced by my husband to go to this welcome brunch for resident's wives. I guess he was tired of hearing me complain about having to give up my life for a year while he had all the fun working, about how we moved away from all my friends, and about how tired I was from Parker needing constant attention. So I packed Parker a really quick, smaller version of his diaper bag and went.

They had childcare there in a room adjacent to the banquet room, so I signed Parker in and left his bag with him. He was by far the youngest child there. This should have registered as odd to me, but I was still blinded by the sunlight and shellshocked from being outside the house for the first time since I left the hospital and moved to St. Louis.

I left the babysitter room and went to the banquet room and immediately felt myself burning...every mother with an infant had their kid in the room with them. At first I just played it cool, like I didn't care that Parker was in a room full of insane toddlers. But as time ticked by, I was sweating more and more. There was a girl at the table with me and she had her baby in a car seat next to her. I asked her how old her daughter was. "8 months." OMG I am a terrible mother. After maybe 30 minutes of palpitations, I excused myself to go check on him.

There was this very nice older woman who was with him and digging through the bag I left, which contained only pumped milk, a bottle, a pacifier, and a blanket (and I think exactly one diaper). And bless this woman's heart, right when I'm behind her she goes "wow, mommy didn't leave very much for you." Crap. At this point, I considered just backing away and grabbing the nearest kid to pretend that kid was my own...but I was already awkwardly standing too close to her. She turned around too quick anyway. I was SO embarrassed. I started spewing out apologies to her, about how I've never taken him out before (lies). She was so nice about it and explained that she was just looking for a burp rag. I told her that I must have forgotten one (lie) and that I was so sorry.

What I really should have told her was the truth: I don't use burp rags. I use my shirt. I realized how off putting this is to other people when I had someone over recently and Parker spit up on himself. Instead of getting a burp rag or a washcloth, I took my hand and rubbed the spit up off his face and shirt, and wiped it on myself. My guest was laughing, but I could tell she was slightly mortified.

When I later reflected on this, I realized that it gets even grosser. I dig Parker's boogers and snot out with my fingers and also wipe these on my clothes. I really am a disgusting person.

I do draw the line at poop.

Friday, January 6, 2012

new mom tip: boys have a penis, girls have a vagina

There are some things I learned about having a baby boy that I never knew about until he was born. This post is mainly aimed at women who are pregnant with a boy or have a newborn boy and haven't yet figured these things out on their own.

1. Circumcision: I didn't realize how trendy this topic is nowadays. Evidently, it is very trendy to cast a negative light on people who circumcise their boys ("OMG you are mutilating him." "OMG we would never do that to a female baby." "OMG you could have the surgery botched.") I initially wrote this long rant at this point but decided to remove it since I guess it could be a little less than PC...and I don't want people to think I believe all boys should be circumcised. I don't think that at all, I just think people are grossly misinformed on the topic.

Ok sorry, back to the post.

First off, make sure you know what kind of circumcision you want. There are 2 main types. I have seen these done in school, and the one you want is the Gomco (or Sheldon) clamp type. You don't want the plastibell. The reason is cosmetic (and unless you are doing it for religious purposes, your entire goal is good cosmesis). In my (limited) experience, the plastibell just does not look as good. See this link for more info http://www.cpmc.org/services/pregnancy/information/circumcised_care.html

Second, I didn't realize that a circumcised penis still requires foreskin cleaning. There is still a "lip" of foreskin left, and this part needs to be retracted and cleaned once a day. This is really important because if not done, the foreskin can re-adhese to the penis, and the adhesions will have to be broken by the pediatrician (an extremely unpleasant experience for your little man and probably a worse one for the parent in the room).

Third: Circumcision care. If you have the clamp type circ, you will care for it will petroleum jelly. Instead of using gauze or trying to put the jelly directly on the penis, just smear a whole bunch of it on the front of the diaper. I found this the easiest way.

2. Infantile erections: I kind of knew about this before I had Parker, but in case you don't know, baby boys get little baby erections. They are purely physiologic, so don't let them freak you out. The thing you need to know (besides the fact that it happens) is that you need to point the penis down when you do a diaper change. If you put the diaper on your boy and his man part is pointing north, you guarantee yourself a urine explosion out the top of the diaper.

3. Hair tourniquets: Long hair (like from your head) can get wrapped around the baby's penis (very very tightly) and can cause a hair tourniquet. This can also happen on the fingers and toes. If you have an inconsolable baby, you should always keep this in the back of your mind. It's kind of a medical emergency, so if you actually discover one, get your baby to the emergency room immediately. That being said, this is extremely uncommon. Just be careful when you change his diaper and if you see your hair has fallen in the diaper, pull it out.

4. At some point, your baby will probably discover his genitals and they will be his new favorite toy (probably for life haha). When this happens, be extra fast with poopy diaper changes. It will be a race to see who has the faster hands. If your boy wins, it usually results in poop on his hands, which can quickly lead to poop in the mouth. Use a toy to try to distract his hands (Parker's favorite is the tube of butt creme).

5. I heard of someone who didn't realize that poop gets under the scrotum folds (this sounds like a mom off of Teen Mom). No big shocker here, it does...so make sure you clean in the folds.

6. I almost feel dumb saying this, but I think this would be incomplete without mentioning that boys pee on you when you change their diaper. I'm sure almost everyone knows this. I have found that it's not so much that Parker peed on me as he peed on himself. I never found a good way to prevent this (some people put a wipe over it during the change, some use a peepee teepee), other than trying to be very quick with the change.

If anyone has anything to add to this, I would love to hear! 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

things i secretly love about my husband

1. His use (or misuse) of the English language:
-he actually calls herbs, h-erbs, h and everything. Yes, like Herb, short for Herbert.
-he calls tv shows "programs"
-when the dvr records a show, he says it is taping
-he misuses words in sentences...here is a favorite example: One day Tim had really bad gas. He lets out this really loud fart, waits until it hits his nose, grimaces, and says "Oh man, that's a poignant fart!" Poignant. I do believe he meant pungent.
-he says "wowza" instead of "yowza" 
-he likes his pasta "a la dente"

2. He bathes every night. Notice I didn't say that he showers every night, which would be what a normal person does. He actually takes super long, lavender infused, candle lit baths. This has been a point of marital contention when he wants to relax for extra long, i.e filling the bath with all the hot water, letting it get cold, and instead of exiting the bath at that point, refilling the bath with the remaining hot water. All I want at the end of the day is enough hot water to rinse Parker residue off me.

3.  He never knows the lyrics to songs: He sometimes sings the Barney song to Parker, apparently in a version I have never heard before. "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family with a knick knack patty wack give a dog a bone."

4. Best of all, he is the world's best dad. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the octagon playpen

Ever since Parker has acquired increasing mobility, we have had some minor issues with him getting into things if left unattended (mostly due to my lack of baby proofing). As mentioned in a previous post (http://poopandotherthingsmomsareobsessedwith.blogspot.com/2011/12/omg-what-do-you-have-in-your-mouth.html), I asked my dad for an octagon playpen for Christmas.

I thought this was a great idea for a gift. Thought.

When I was looking at these things online I was wooed by their seemingly magical baby/mommy pleasing qualities. The ads show a surplus of toddlers playing in these huge octagons with all their favorite toys, while mom blissfully is off in the corner doing her nails or some other "me time" task.

I don't paint my nails, but I do enjoy taking 5 minutes here and there to stuff my face.

When the box for the playpen came I was super excited to set it up. The day after Christmas Tim and I opened the box and stood it upright.

Huh. I guess I can't count. It's not an octagon. It is, in fact, a hexagon. It's a hexagon that will barely fit my almost failure to thrive 8 month old. There is no way in hell 2 or more toddlers will play in that thing together, unless the manufacturer's idea of toddler play is MMA cage style.

Despite my disappointment, I decide that Parker might not mind playing in it (albeit with exactly one large toy). So I mask my disappointment, clap my hands, and put Parker in it. This is the response I get: 

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

new mom tip: constipation

This is for moms out there who might need some more unsolicited advice...you know you can't get enough of it!

There are a few things I've learned in my very seasoned 8 months of having a child (and my whopping 2 months on pediatrics as a medical student). The topic of discussion today is one of my favorites and very near and dear to my heart: constipation.

Let me preface this by saying my baby is formula fed. I suck, I am poisoning my son, I know this. I did my best with breastfeeding and pumped for 5 months. Maybe next time I'll do better. Maybe not. Either way, formula fed babies get constipated often and it's no fun. We are transitioning from soy to cow's milk based formula in hopes that it is less constipating. We will see. 

So a week or so ago I realized that Parker had not had a normal bowel movement in at least a week. He had only had occasional tiny, hard, powdery poop. I had been trying to get him back to normal by giving him apple juice and feeding him apple everything (apple sauce, chicken and apples, apple oatmeal, etc). I figured apples are high in fiber and full of fructose, so this should do the trick. Apparently, I'm retarded. If I had thought about it for a second, I would have realized the A in BRAT diet is for apples. And what is the BRAT diet for? Diarrhea. So I had been inadvertently contributing to Parker's constipation.

Of note, apple juice is good for constipation (the nurse told me that the sugars are processed differently in apple juice vs apple sauce/apple baby food). At least I wasn't causing a complete bowel obstruction.

Well I learned all this extremely useful information from calling up my pediatrician's nurse, and she also informed me that they sell laxative suppositories for kids ages 2-5 years (Fleet's makes them, they are glycerin suppositories and I think they are called Pedialax). You can cut them in half lengthwise and give them to infants! Now why didn't they teach me this in medical school? Oh ya, I was too busy learning more useful information on rare leukodystrophies. Why would I waste my time learning about all the common things that happen to babies?

So the suppository worked like a charm.

Tips for suppository use in infants
1. Only use when your baby reallllly needs it, and then only do it once to pop the cork, so to speak. Babies can actually become dependent on them, so you want to use sparingly to basically only empty and open up the rectum.
2. Like previously mentioned, for infants cut the children's suppository in half lengthwise.
3. When you insert the suppository in the baby's booty, it doesn't need any lubrication. It will go in easily. (By booty, I mean anus...you have to put it up there. Sorry if this seems obvious, but you would be surprised what people do when you aren't very literal with instructions. One time I had a patient who was swallowing medicine that was meant to be put in her vagina.)
4. It will go in easily, but it won't stay in easily. Once you get it in the baby's butt, hold their buttcheeks closed for as long as your baby will tolerate (this may be only a couple seconds). You can reinsert the suppository and keep trying.
5. Give up when you and your baby are both exhausted of trying to hold it in. Even if only a tiny bit is absorbed, it will (probably) do the trick!

As far as prevention goes, I've learned that yogurt for breakfast (if your baby is at least 6 months old) has worked wonders. I don't know if this is just unique to Parker's GI tract, but I suspect not. Probiotics are a miracle, for adults AND babies apparently. I have found yogurt to be much more useful than juice, although others swear juice is a good preventive measure too. I am sure I don't need to go into the "evils" of juice...I don't buy into it, but form your own opinion.

Monday, January 2, 2012

don't wipe that...I'm eating it!

This year was our first new year as a married couple. Tim bought us lamb chops to grill and we were planning on having a nice dinner and stay home (obviously) since we have no baby sitter and no family here in St. Louis. Tim decided to take a nap with Parker around 4 in the afternoon. At 5:30 I woke him up to help me get Parker ready for bed. He went back to sleep when Parker went down at 6. At 7 I was absolutely starving, so I woke him up again. "Just 5 more minutes...I don't know why I'm so tired."

Ya at this point I knew how my New Year's Eve was going to end up. I ate some grocery store quality sushi, didn't drink a single drop of alcohol, and went to bed at 9. Here's the sad thing...I wasn't even mad at Tim because I figured he would be so well rested that he could get up with Parker when he woke up in the morning.

And did Tim get up with Parker?

YES...yes he did! It was so glorious.

So meanwhile, Parker was sick on New Year's Eve and had his first real fever (102). All he had was a runny nose. For the past couple days I have been chasing Parker around trying to wipe the gunk off his face (he actually smears snot EVERYWHERE because it annoys him when it's dripping down and he takes the back of his hand and just rubs his nose really hard, getting snot on his cheeks, eyes, and forehead). Parker, however, feels he is doing a perfectly good job taking care of the snot himself: i.e sucking whatever he didn't smear on his face into his mouth. Oh well. I give up!

At least today we switched from runny nose to stuffy, congested, green boogers. A delicacy. This sucks even more because Parker can't breathe when he drinks his bottle, so he gets totally frustrated and freaks out while trying to drink. I refuse to use saline drops...I've heard from multiple mothers it's just not worth the trouble. I think we will just ride it out. If anyone has actually had success using these drops I'd love to hear!