Thursday, December 9, 2010

Reality Bites


So Eli has been kind of a jackass lately, what with the moaning and wailing and general refusal to sleep.  We thought it was just him being a toddler and feeling the stress of three straight days of heavy snowfall.  And then he was sitting on my lap, being tickled, and he hung back just so, allowing me a long, well-lit look of his upper gums and... yeah.  

Huh.  What do you know, he's NOT just being an asshole for the hell of it.  It seems that he has good reason for his general crustiness.  Or, as further examination revealed, several reasons.

I've made a helpful little diagram to illustrate:



 A. Two bottom front teeth, aka the current tenants.  These bad boys erupted several months ago and have ruled the roost ever since.

B. Right lower lateral incisor.  Slower to appear than the other newbies but quickly gaining ground.  There's no sign of the left lower l.i., so he's already looking crooked even before you take into account...

C. Okay, it's hard to tell from my less than impressive Paint skillz, but this is actually the LEFT upper central incisor or left upper front tooth, which is just barely poking through.  The other upper c.i.?  A complete no-show.  So this bad boy is looking to dominate the upper front area and give Eli the illusion of having one upper front tooth in the center of his mouth.  We call the tooth Tom, as in Cruise.

D. Left upper lateral incisor.  So not only does this child have only one upper front tooth coming in, the tooth NEXT to it is coming in as well, bring even more attention to the lopsidedness.  I like to call this tooth Katie Holmes.

E.  Big ol' gaps where teeth should be.  And may be soon.  But right now, these spots are making Eli's mouth look a bit like a mis-aligned slot-machine.

So yeah... right now he's pretty much a big bag of cranky but I guess it's better to get it over with all at once.

And if all else fails, we have plenty of whiskey.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

MIA

Right, so... it's been, what? A month since I last posted?  And I know, I KNOW, November was some sort of blog every day month or something and still.  Still, I wrote nothing.  The irony, it kills me dead.

What's actually happened is that Eli has taken notice of all things computer and declared the laptop to be super cool and irresistible and just plain face-melting-ly awesome.  At least that's what I assume he's trying to convey as he gleefully Vulcan death grips random keys and initiates a symphony of beeps and blurts that can only be translated as DANGER DANGER SYSTEM OVERLOAD COMPUTERS ARE NOT TOYS ACTION STATIONS ACTION STATIONS etc.

So I can't exactly bring the thing out during the day without taking some serious evasive maneuvers and tuning out the incessant bleating of a spurned toddler.  I guess I could theoretically try to do it when he's napping.  Oh, but napping (and sleeping independently at any time of day, really) continues to be an issue and so I'm usually either stuck on a couch or bed with him, laptop out of reach, or ever so caaaarefulllly prying myself away for ten minutes to do self-indulgent things like shower or watch True Blood.

(I also unload the dishwasher which is a current close second on the list of household appliances and/or electronics that have stolen my son's heart.  The vacuum was sadly and rather suddenly dethroned about a month back when Eli suddenly decided that while it's still fun to play with when it's off, the thing is altogether too noisy and upsetting when it's on.)

That leaves me with blogging after he's gone to sleep at night but I find that by the end of the day I'm just so freaking tired and instead of writing an entry, I watch TV or surf around on my iPhone because I'm too lazy to bring out the laptop.

All of this is by way of saying that I'll try to do better.  I promise.  Even if I sometime just plaster a bunch of baby pictures up and call it good enough.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

His First Halloween: A Night In Pictures








We didn't take him trick-or-treating because he's too young for the candy and while I'd happily eat his share, it wasn't exactly the first impression I wanted to make on most of our neighbours.  Instead, I took him outside and let him walk up and down the street (holding my hands - he's not stable in shoes yet) to his heart's content.  It was only a few degrees above freezing (in fact, it snowed off and on all day... I don't want to talk about it) so I figured he'd only last a few minutes but surprisingly, he LOVED it.  Maybe it was all the bigger kids passing by or the novelty of being outside after dark, who knows.  Whatever the draw, he traipsed back and forth happily, making excited noises (I chose to interpret them as roars) and he never once complained or headed for our door.  He definitely, absolutely didn't want to be carried.  Eventually, though, we figured his hands were getting too cold despite my holding them and we headed in after about half an hour.  All in all, it was a complete success.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You Say It's Your Birthday?

Last week, I turned 28.  I made out pretty well, too - an eReader, some cash (specifically earmarked for something for me or I'll have to answer to the lovely women in my family), a bunch of TV on DVD and possibly a hysterical pregnancy.  Oh, what was that?  You want to know more about that last one?  Well, too bad - this is the birthday recap post.  I'll talk about the other thing tomorrow.

So, my birthday... It rained.  A lot.  My mom took Eli overnight which was lovely of her.  He still doesn't sleep through the night - or even close - so the idea of so much uninterrupted sleep was a present in and of itself.

Early on, Pete and I had grand delusions of driving into the city and going to a fancy steakhouse but by the time I had driven the baby to my parents' place, driven back to our place, I barely had the energy to shower.  By the time Pete got home from work, showered and dressed, it was nearly eight and we just couldn't be bothered.  So we went to The Keg instead.

At one point, the waitress checked our bread status (still a bunch there), then took my bread plate and left Pete's.  I joked that The Keg was officially deeming me Too Fat For More Bread but since the piece I'd had was enough to satisfy me, I didn't actually care. We never did get our appetizer, which was the first thing to go wrong but really, not a big deal.  They offered to bring it out after our entrees had arrived but we passed since we already had steaks in front of us.  Of course, it wasn't until after we were alone again that I noticed I'd been given the wrong side dish... but again, not worth quibbling over.  Then I took a bite of my steak.  Wow.  I'll admit that I'm a bit picky with seasoning because I rarely use much salt but this was way, way salty.  Inedible, actually.  Pete was upset on my behalf because, in his mind, My Birthday Was Ruined, but I assured him that I was still having a good time.  I ate my baked potato and a bit of the less seasoned part of the steak, and we ended up having it taken off our bill. 

On the way back home, we stopped to get coffees.  I'm a sucker for a good latte but don't often indulge because of the price tag.  On my birthday, though, I willing to spend the five bucks.  Of course, they aren't making gingerbread lattes until next month, so I had to go with a back up choice.  Then, their debit machine wouldn't recognize Pete's card.  At this point, I was finding it all pretty hilarious while Pete was looking more and more frustrated.  Visa came to the rescue, though, and we were off, lattes in hand.

"As long as you don't crash the car on the way home," I joked, "it'll still be a good birthday."  Pete said that was coming perilously close to jinxing him but I had confidence in his abilities and we did make it home unscathed, regardless of the rain.  Pete kept apologizing about the things that had gone wrong but I told him it was fine, better than fine, funny even.  He said he felt bad but eventually I was able to talk him down.  We agreed to put it all behind us and enjoy a slice of my specially requested ice cream cake.  I ran out to the freezer to bring in the box, opened it up and dissolved into laughter.

It was supposed to look sort of like this...


... but it actually looked like this:


It must have melted when we brought it home the day before and then refrozen because it was still ice cream, just not really cake, at least not in the structural sense.  It was kind of a perfect summary of the day, actually - a little crooked, not quite what we'd anticipated and yet still delicious.

And yes, my cake says Bazinga.  I got two seasons of The Big Bang Theory, so it was appropriate.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hamburgler

Usually, if we go out to eat, Eli gets bits of whatever we're having to supplement his applesauce and cheerios and whatever the heck I might have thrown in the diaper bag on the way out the door.  Yesterday, though, neither Pete nor I were interested in anything kid friendly (French Onion soup? Not easily fed to the under one set, especially considering it took forever to cool enough for me to eat) so we weighed the pros and cons and decide to order him something off the kids menu.  Which, hello milestone.  Forget first steps.  We've officially reached the point where we have to really plan what we're going to feed him while we're out or shell out the five bucks to get him real food.

A touch of formula will no longer satisfy his hunger and woe unto the person who thinks a hastily purchased jar of baby food will do anything but offend his palate.  He wants fries or vegetable soup or hummus.  And you'd better be willing to offer up a taste of whatever you're having.  My baby has an opinion on this sort of thing and he will make sure that his views are Respected, come hell or high water.


He got a tiny hamburger and a handful of fries, which suited him just fine.


Of course, step one was dissecting it.
 

And he went for the bun first, carb-lover that he is.
 

But in the end, he ate the whole patty, a bunch of fries and threw the bun on the floor.

So yeah, I'm sort of weirdly proud of him, eating his own meal and even dessert (scoop of ice cream, no pictures because it took a lot of stealth to allow him some but not all of that bowl-full).  It's like he's turning into a real person or something.  Who'd have thunk it?

Monday, October 18, 2010

In Genius

When Eli was less than a month old, he got a diaper rash.  THE diaper rash, the one to rival all other diaper rashes.  One night before bed, I noticed that he was looking a bit red and by the next afternoon... well, we were talking ulcerations.  It was bad.  The doctor prescribed a steroid/anti-fungal cream which didn't do much more than keep it from getting worse.  Luckily, we had a visit with a woman at the hospital breast-feeding clinic that week, who gave us a few samples of a silicone based cream they use in the NICU.  And seriously, by the next day, his ass was barely red.  A miracle.

Still, we rethought how we were doing things and decided to switch to cloth diapers.  The only problem?  We didn't have the money to invest in good, brand-name all-in-one diapers and I was completely overwhelmed with the idea of the ones I'd have to fold, so we ended up with a box of second hand no name deals that had the absorbency of a Q-tip and refused to stay closed.  We stuck with it as long as we could and even tried a few Kushies brand but I quickly got sick of changing Eli's entire outfit every hour or two.  So we gave up and went back to disposables, though we continued to use cloth wipes for a long time.

Recently, I once again found myself reading about cloth diapering and longingly perusing online suppliers and sales.  Eli's still a long way from being potty trained and we know we want more kids - it just makes sense.  The more I looked, the more convinced I became.  I wanted to go for it.

When Pete came home, I pitched my idea - we'll use some of the money that Eli got for his baptism to get a start (I found a good deal for a dozen online), then buy a couple of diapers a month and eventually be able to give the disposables the boot completely.  He signed on, but only if we could do a trial run before forking over for the bulk-order online deal.  So I took a drive to a specialty baby store and brought back two bumGenius brand all-in-ones.

And fell in love.  They are adorable.  They come in different colours (though sadly, no red).  They fit him well.  They're easy to wash and come remarkably clean.

Oh, and they DON'T LEAK!  Score one for the green team.

Pete is taking a little longer to come around, since he's afraid we'll make the investment and then back out again, but I feel confident that I'll get my way it'll all work out.

And be honest - is this not the cutest bum you've ever seen?



Thursday, October 14, 2010

There When It Counts

Is there anything worse than bringing your baby to a hospital?  Well, yes... not bringing your baby home again would, obviously, be worse.  But even if the child in question is in nearly perfect health and there's no question that you'll all walk back out again in an hour or two, there's something about the act of carrying a little person through those doors that really brings home how fragile we all are.

Eli had an appointment with a specialist today at The Hospital for Sick Children, a pre-op visit for a congenital defect that will be repaired sometime in the next six months.  I won't be discussing the medical details or even naming the specific condition because while I'm not particularly worried about disclosing certain aspects of our lives online, this, I feel, would be too personal, too much of my son to share.  I will say that it's nothing, really, in the grand scheme of things - a very minor issue with no current presentation, but with a small risk that it could cause future (non-life-threatening) complications.  But it's something that we all feel would be better to deal with early on. 

We left a little later than planned but still had enough time to make it there, had it been a normal day.  But, of course, there were blackouts downtown and rain, rain, rain and that slowed the major highways to a mind-boggling crawl (WHY ARE YOU DRIVING FIFTY KM/HR, OMG GET OFF THE 404) and we were stuck in it while the minutes ticked away... and I got progressively more panicked.

I hate being late.  Let me say that again - I HATE being late.  I live in fear of some imaginary penalty system that I expect to be implemented the moment my tardiness is discovered.  Pete sat comfortably behind the wheel, telling me to relax, that it would be fine and besides, there nothing we could do, but all the while I was picturing a nurse swiping the baby's health card, her cheerful expression melting away as she realized just how irresponsible we are.

"Oh," she would say as her face contorted into a judgmental frown, "His appointment was at 10:30?  That's going to be A Problem."

And from there... I don't really know what I thought would happen.  Would we be publicly reprimanded, lectured on the importance of anticipating delays and leaving ample time for Important Appointments?  Would they take our inability to plan for such a simple thing as rush-hour traffic as an indicator that we're not who we pretend to be... that we're actually little more than emotionally-stunted children masquerading as adults and parents?  They couldn't actually take away his appointment, right?  Deny him service because his parents are morons who forgot that the DVP is essentially a parking lot at 9am?

And of course, none of that happened.  They were perfectly nice and really, we were only fifteen minutes late.  Which to Pete is actually close enough to on time but I was nervous right up until the nurse handed us his bracelet and directed us to the waiting room.  She did not lecture or even look disapproving.

They did make us wait FOREVER, though, while Eli got increasingly bored and every other kid went ahead of us.  Which, yes, we totally deserved but it still sucked.  Especially when I realized that I'd somehow packed a diaper bag with only one diaper and two wipes.  Mother of the Year, I am not.

Anyway, the visit was quick once it actually started and on our way out, we read through the pamphlets and guides that outlined what we should expect for the future.  Pete lost feeling in his legs, which is his de facto response to medical jargon.  I'm expecting him to be a complete mess on the day of the surgery.  I will probably be, too, though, so who can fault him.

On the way out, we passed dozens of kids, some who appeared healthy, others with obvious ongoing issues - wheelchairs, scaring, IVs.  Outside, as we drove down the block with our son safe and sleeping in his carseat, we passed a father pushing a little boy in a stroller.  I couldn't tell you the kid's age - was his small size because he's young or because he's sick? - but I'd guess four.  His face was pale and he had a naso-gastric tube.  His dad was talking to him enthusiastically about who knows what, and the boy was listening, a half-smile on his face as they plodded along, headless of the gloomy day.  They both looked like they were enjoying the brief respite from rain, the fall air, the chance to just be together. 

I don't know what that family is dealing with.  I have no idea, can't even conceive of what it must be like to have a critically ill child.  But I do know that Sick Kids is there, to help, to heal, to support.  I'm incredibly grateful that I can bring Eli there, hand over a card issued to him at birth and get access to the best possible care.

I don't know what it's like to really need the doctors and nurses at a hospital like that, not the way that boy does.  I hope we never do.  But after today, I realize how much better it feels knowing they're there, just in case.

(I'm not including this as a way of putting pressure on anyone but I felt it was important to provide a link in case someone out there is wondering about donating to Sick KidsEvery penny counts.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Mum's The Word

Eli is nine months old now. He's officially spent longer in this world than he did inside me and if that doesn't blow a person's mind, I don't know what will. The progress he's made is nothing short of amazing. If you think about the person he was then - a tiny, curled up creature who did little more than sleep, poop and whip his head frantically back and forth before dive-bombing my breast, earning himself nicknames like Motorboat and Sharkbite - and then look at the whirling ball of energy he's become, it's hard to reconcile the change with the timeline. For God sake, I haven't even managed to get out of my fat jeans yet and he's practically evolved into a higher being.

On Sunday, he started making his first moves toward walking. He's almost ready; he'll let go of furniture for one solitary step to bridge the gap between couch and chair. We bought him a walker today and he raced across the living room, barreling past at full speed, often hanging on with only one hand. Then he'd crash into something, sprawling clumsily onto the floor in the process, where he'd sit and yell until we got the toy turned around so he could do it all again.

He's a good eater with a big appetite. He's eating more solid foods and has decided that purees are only for fruits, rarely veggies and never meats. He'll happily gum down whole green beans, bites of chicken, hummus on whole wheat pitas. He loves French fries and English muffins and pizza. He still only has two teeth.

The only thing he's not doing is babbling. He makes vowel sounds and the 'm' sound (sometimes as "um", sometimes "mmm", and occasionally "mum" but never repeated like "mama") but that's it for consonants. No googoos or babas or dadas. And to be honest, I'm not worried. That's the wrong word. It implies a certain feeling of dread that I don't have. What I do feel, in my gut, is that he will eventually be diagnosed with a speech delay. I'd bet money on it. And you know what? That's FINE. We'll look into getting him evaluated if nothing changes in the next month and we'll do whatever needs doing. It's something I feel oddly at peace about. He'll get there, wherever "there" is.

I actually find it annoying the way people seem to assume that if and when that should happen, it will be a huge issue, that it's something that would somehow lessen him. Often, when I've mentioned to friends or family that he's a bit behind, I've been told not to worry, that there's nothing wrong with him. As if a speech delay is something truly horrible, like a terrible illness. But I'm not worried because they're right; speech delay or not, there is nothing "wrong" with him.

In fact, he's perfect.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Moving Day

So, new blog.  Well, same blog, new site.  I wasn't being very good about updating.  Okay, I was completely and utterly negligent about updating and then I'd feel guilty for wasting money on Typepad, which made me anxious about going anywhere near my dashboard and so I'd put off posting some more and blah blah blah vicious-cycle-avoidance-cakes.  It's extra special when my need for ongoing therapy pops its head up to say hi during activities that are not only supposed to be fun but also my idea in the first place.  I mean, really, who gets worried about what her blog hosting site thinks of her?  A crazy person, that's who.  Possibly one who got an iPhone and therefore had a partner in avoidance because how am I supposed start a new, free blog from that and oh, look, FourSquare!

(Confession - I don't play FourSquare.  I don't even know what it is, really.  I mostly use the phone to take blurry pictures of my always moving baby.  I also have a crossword app but I suck at it.)

Anyway, that brings us to here, to the new blog, the (I'm hoping) Fresh Start, where I will (try my level best to) update more frequently than, say, Halley's Comet is likely to pass by. 

... yeah, I'm not exactly tingling with confidence in that last statement either.  We'll just give it a shot and see how it goes. 

And now, onto the blurry iPhone baby pictures.

There are actually about fifteen more pictures in the Feeding Himself French Fries series, so count yourself lucky that I didn't subject you to them all.  Especially the ones after he noticed the camera and kept trying to grab for it, which most prominently feature a grainy, blurry hand speckled with bits of potato.