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If you are a 20 month old baby boy and you have decided that drumming is your passion – to the point that you weep openly when mommy takes your drum away for nap and bedtime and to the point the she now allows you to drum during meals because she can only stand to break your heart twice a day – it’s possible you should seriously consider not putting said drum (and its stick) into the potty. Ever.

I’m just saying.

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Apparently, a baby can have GERD that is silent. Not silent as in quiet or absence of noise, but silent as in no vomit or spit up. I think at this point LP had spit up maybe 5 times in 4 months. So, spitty he was not. However, if a baby throws up inside his own throat and then swallows what he regurgitated, you hear the sound.
The sound of
episodic,
high pitched
(high pitch = baby in pain)
crying.
And it doesn’t go away by 4 months. It doesn’t go away at all, unless you treat it. He will just cry more and more, because of the pain and because of the hunger. Only, he won’t know it’s hunger because in his very small, still developing brain:
eating=pain.

I imagine now he might have spat up a bit more, you know, if he’d been eating at all. Truthfully, I don’t think he had been eating well all along – remember poor latch, upcoming growth spurt, building milks supply, that had been around 10 weeks – and probably he had not eaten anything close to well for 2 months and most likely he had been surviving on sips of milk from my breast and water from my cup in the preceding two weeks. He was growing taller, being stretched out. There was not an ounce of baby fat on that child. He had a pointy chin, pointy elbows. It was easily masked in the fall weather with fleeces and hats. Even I did not see him naked all that much in our old drafty apartment.

I called my pediatric office on that day to say he had skipped three feedings in a row. That was a gross underestimation. 2lbs can’t be lost in three feedings. His diapers had been light for weeks. I had just been too sleep deprived to really absorb what that meant. It’s all so foggy now. The doctor asked the nurse practitioner to try a bottle. They eyed me suspiciously. Like many well meaning souls they respected my right to breastfeed and supported it as the healthiest choice. But, like all breastfeeding mothers I was suspect – was I going to insist on it event to the potential detriment of my baby? – No, I wasn’t. At all. Even so, he refused the bottle. The back arching, screaming, shrieking baby appeared. When not having an episode, LP was the sweetest, mildest tempered baby on the planet earth. I was completely in love with him and he with me. When presented with food, he was absolutely unrecognizable. The whole office came to the door. It was horrid. I was crying. Administrators were crying, the nurse was crying. In any case, the pediatrician called the hospital, the gastroenterologist at the pediatric hospital. It sounded like silent reflux. It had to be. If the Pepcid helped, it was GERD. If it didn’t help, it wouldn’t hurt him. No, they didn’t need to see him. Just weigh him, get the right dose and call it in.
Getting the dose right seemed like higher math. Still, I was assured it would be called in. Also, formula. Please put the baby on hypoallergenic formula. Just to be sure it wasn’t a milk protein allergy. Here is some to take home. We can revisit after we’ve seen him eat for a few days. After he sees the specialist.
Suddenly all the rules had changed. Now willingness to put baby on meds without a real diagnosis and willingness to wean suddenly = good mother. Okay

Let me be very honest here. I want to say this kindly, but I was broken-hearted. For me and for him. I wanted to nurse. I wanted nursing to be okay again. I hoped it might be one day. And I mixed up bottles of formula. For the first time ever. I had to read up on it, seriously. I was using tap water at first, unfiltered and unboiled. I also want to say that I am deeply aware that I had a hungry, sick baby, as well access to medicine and food to make him well. So, yes, I screwed my head on straight and did the next right thing. And I did need some talking down by my nearest and dearest. But, I was basically at peace.
Speaking of peace, after we managed to acquire our very own bottle of baby Pepcid and the teeniest dropper ever – And after we gave it to him and waited the requisite 30 minutes before feeding, oh the peace. He drank, burped, drank burped. For the next several weeks, our biggest problem became helping him through the 30 minute wait time, because he finally could eat. He could eat exactly three times a day happily. That’s how many times a day he had baby Pepcid. And 30 minutes was meaninglessly long to him. A totally different type of crying began and it was lovely to hear.

Yes, you are right, 4 1/2 month old babies do in general need to eat more than three times a day. Ours could not. Nor could he poop. Our very special hypoallergenic formula was causing bit of a back-up and baby oatmeal and pears were not powerful enough to help, nor pureed prunes.

Take a look though:

Our brand new pediatric gastroenterolgist was great – only she wasn’t actually a doctor. She was the nurse practitioner in pediatric gastroenterology at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. The doctor had an opening in January if we wanted to wait. It was October. We’d like to see the nurse practitioner, please. And she really was great. Baby Pepcid was working. He was poked, prodded, meausured and weighed with super accurate equipment, again and again.

He was gaining. His blood work was great. He still couldn’t poop. Before I knew it, I had to swallow my pride and pour pear juice into bottles for him to drink. He drank the specialized formula three times a day, 30 minutes after baby Pepcid. He ate as much baby food as he wanted (doctors orders!) and in between he was to drink juice. Out of a bottle. Yep. So, when I was out and about – you know not waiting around at home for 30 minutes to pass, or sitting up in his bouncy for and endless parade of puree, he’d drink a bottle of juice. in his stroller – to tied him over to baby Pepcid/meal time. And to help him poop.

And let me tell you what you must already know to be true. All the places I went, I could just tell that people thought I was the most wonderful, responsible mother ever. No, not really. They told me about tooth decay, baby bottle mouth, empty calories, failure to thrive and sugar addiction. It was really dreadful. Truly. There was nothing gracious for me to say. Should I tell them I’d only just gotten out of a horrible scrape with this kid and had saved his life by letting all my good parenting paradigms call to pieces? Should I just run away crying? Should I tell them to mind their own damn sugar addiction? I have no recollection of how I handled this. Only hating it and surviving it. And also not giving a damn what they thought. Because my baby was starting to gain weight. So now suddenly, unrestricted solids at 5 months and bottles of juice = good mother. Weird how that works out, huh?

More tomorrow on how I kicked motherhood’s ass with my super powers of juice filled bottles, arrowroot cookies and playing with antacids. Also, how early weaning kicked me around the room a bit, but I was the last woman standing.

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Things I have not asked google:

What it may mean that he dislike tags on his shirts, have hair cut, faced washed, fingernails cut, mouths objects, plays with mouth open, likes being hugged tight, dislikes loud or unexpected noises, avoids eye contact, cannot dress self, cannot pedal trike or car, holds neither pencil nor scissors, has difficulty making family members understand him, has difficulty expressing thoughts and ideas and mixes up pronouns.

I have not asked; I’ve been incredibly disciplined this past week while filling out pages and pages of questionnaire about LP’s developmental progress. Those are all the questions that I interpret LP as having the wrong answer to at this moment in time…I don’t really know that. I’m just terrified. The ones that worry me the most are the ones we clicked yes to that are all grouped together. Alarming. My brain is making all kinds of meaning. The random tick by the YES here and there troubles me not at all; the groupings do. Brain, please turn off, you don’t know jack.

Today is my chance to unravel. This week will bring Olympic size challenges; I’ll be eating my Wheaties and braving it out as we go through the week’s chores:

Monday – neurologist to assess if he may be having seizures – we probably won’t really find out, we’ll just talk about how we could find out and if we need to, etc. In other words the nice doctor will decide if I’m just a nervous mother, if he just likes to day dream or if we are doing an EEG.

Tuesday – first day of preschool – only the drop off and the potential potty accidents will be horrid (because, literally, this is not hyperbole, he won’t go potty – he’ll hold it and be cranky, then pee.) the rest I expect him to like quite a bit.

Wednesday – visit to local public school speech pathologist for more testing. I am considering the possibility of crying in this very nice woman’s office. It may be okay to do that, and such a relief.

Thursday – second day of preschool, the drive there and drop off and potential potty accidents will be horrid – I expect he’ll be on to me by Thursday and start the separation crying as soon as we are en route. Mercifully, it is a short drive.

Friday – collapse day. I have it all planned out, how to be brave and strong, representing mothers everywhere in my quest to do everything I can for my kid, Monday through Thursday. Then at the end of the week I shall collapse into a small heap and watch television and make cookies.

Somewhere in there I will need to parent my other children, extend general love and care to friends and family and hopefully drive the Thinker to Chess club at the library on Tuesday after school.

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by the dread of moving, by fear of things working out okay with our finances, by confusion about where to put our PackRat container, by indecision about whether I want the school to bring back the dumpster or not because I have a horridly old washing machine that needs to go into a dumpster, by my fear that we haven’t planned this well, won’t have enough help, boxed or packing paper, by anxiety that my client will go into labor on the only day I can’t find a babysitter for my kids, by the great wide unknown of LP sleeping in a bed next week, by the fact that this bed is in a storage locker 10 minutes away, but we have no idea how we’ll get it home.

Home.

This is what I’m like when my home unravels and isn’t a proper home. The home we’ve had these last few years has been a combination of public and private space, neither a rental nor private home, a space whose peace can be turned upside down in a moment’s notice – and whose peace I have now disrupted permanently. I’ve unsettled every bit of dust in this place and it’s un-rooting me – and my children – at the core. Every dust mite floats, my keys, wallet, sunglasses in some uncontrolled telekinesis escape their places. We look forward to a week of transition in a home of friends and then creating a new place to call home, moving into a home to rent for a while.
This is the very first time in my life I have wanted to own a home, to be done with the shifting of things from one spot to another; this is the first time I’ve needed that stability to come from the outside – and we’re not there yet – Our next home will not be owned by us, but it will bring stability, it keep us covered in a peaceful space. My life will become much simpler in this space, with no doorbell ringing and one less phone to answer (with easily 80 fewer people likely to call me too!)

Joy, peace – my own faith teaches me that these things come not from my circumstances, but that they are gifts received from above; is that a tinge of guilt that circumstances have overwhelmed me, that I’ve been “tossed back and forth by the waves?”

Honestly, yes. I wish I had been more at peace in this place, that I could have more patience now with myself, my circumstances, my kids. Even today I am wishing that, having lost my temper about something so mundane as a diaper change on my three year old (very lame, I know.)

And also, no. As I look back I’ve had only a few choices all along the way. Most of this path was carved out for me and as I walked along it I came to know that I needed change and that I had to be brave to have it. Bravery is also kind of a gift. I’m glad we are making this move to a place more “home.” I am grateful for the things that opened my eyes to this need for change, even the crazy painful things – like having a child who has been either sick, sick, pre-verbal, sick or in the throes of a very challenging toddlerhood, or sick. That’s life with LP, and we can’t live it here. In his very own way he is both perfect and sweet. New things scare him, change scares him, not understanding things scare him, owls “supplies” him and so do cows (we’ve come down that ladder two rungs from screaming, to “Scary” to “supplies!” accompanied by hugs.) What will life be like when he’s playing with a puzzle and the doorbell doesn’t ring to “supplies” him 8 times. What will it be like? (good, right?) And when I think about that, how can I be overwhelmed, when I need to be brave?

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Girls For Glaciers

Please welcome to the blogosphere, Shelly and Jenni: “two gals in big cities on opposite coasts try to go green and save some glaciers without turning their lives upside down.”

Jenni is my smart, sexy sister; she lives on the same coast as me and my crew. My kids love her black curly hair and her willingness to play baseball. Shelly is her lovely red-headed friend from high-school and lives on the other coast. Going green can’t be easy in the big city, but if they can do it, maybe I can too?

Recent green resolutions in the Needs New Batteries Household:
resusable grocery bags – I have conquered this one
housecleaning – weaning myself of the chemicals, and all the plastics bottles that are used to contain them, returning to basics: white vinegar, baking soda, lavender oil.
bath time – all three boys in the same tub from here on out, unless illness prevails.
laundry – kicking my fabric softener sheet addiction, seriously. I will.
kitchen – recently acquired glass storage food containers for the frig (thank you IKEA and Sarah)

Things I would like to know:
What is Borax and where does one acquire it?
How can I overcome my fear of West Nile Virus and stop using commercial mosquito repellent? – I’m not really afraid of getting it myself, just that my very small children will get it.
Who do I have to bribe to get a good public transportation system going in my state?

If you have any answers or ideas, let me know or better yet, tell Jenni and Shelly.
Thanks!

*********
More keeping of promises soon, like that BlogRhet meme! I’ve been working on it (good times) whenever I am not being wrestled to the ground by moving boxes or old crafts my children made that are angry at being put in the trash.
(the crafts, not my kids, they get angry about being put to bed. As a policy, we do not put children in the trash here.)

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I had some big plans. In my fantasy world of way more free time than I really have I was going to overcome my overstimulation and nominate writers for all kinds of awards. I have made absolutely no progress at all on my blogging learning curve and am annoyed at myself.
Also, I now have more bloggity blog homework, which will be fun, in a thinky kind of way, once I have time for fun again. Which I don’t. have time. for fun. at all. Do you remember in March when I whined about my crazy job? – okay also in all the other months too, but this time was special because I got that song stuck in your head. Yep, that one, from Annie; sorry, I did it again. Well this time, the sun will come out one week from today, making this week my last week to wait for vacation to begin. And when the thump thump thump of suitcases being dragged down the stairs meets the parking frenzy out back, I will no longer live with anyone except my very own three boys and my man, which is really a full enough life.
Thus one chapter of my life ends and I look forward to having some space, time and quiet to reflect on it. I look forward to the new path I have picked, a little house, a little town, three boys, and the world of childbirth calling me out in the wee hours every so often, tying loose ends together to make ends meet but having our own space to work it out in for the first time in three years.
This is also my last weekend with two children under three, LP turns 3 on Sunday, a day I have look forward to since he was about 19 months old, and now I’m feel all weepy and nostalgic about it. It helps not one bit that my last baby started for real today – not the two – three step tumble we have had for two months, real walking from room to room. Which brings us full circle to my blogging learning curve:
overcome evil powers of google/picasa/blogger and learn to upload deliciously cute video of Little Bear walking!
I know, I should be packing…

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happy: We have our move date, July 15th. I’m tempted to get a ticker.
stressed: Busiest time at my current job, lots of extracurricular commitments, increased need for daycare, very tired of having to stay up super late.
bummed out: Raining. more. again.
fearful: Matt’s busiest time at work coinciding with my busy time, plus moving, plus expenses going up and costs going up at the same time. not. good.
bee in my bonnet: Birth in America – long story, whole other post, comment please…
all fired up: Starting up the doula and childbirth education business with my best mommy friend, wistfully wishing I could spend 8 hours a day on that instead of changing any diapers. so not happening right now.
missing: What currently functions as my place of spiritual encouragement and connection, skipped a month and now I’m all disoriented…
proud: Baby talk(okay) , toddler talk(octagon!), big kid talk (composting and learning bird calls)
the upshot: too many balls in the air, decreased analytical and verbal skills, more hibernating, creative energy flowing in disparate directions, trying to practice good self-care. chocolate counts.

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