Sunday, January 30, 2011

Friday Night Fever

LO came down with a fever last week and now, four days later, I'm finally coming up for air.  It's amazing how one fever can completely hijack several days of your life.  Before baby, I never would've thought this possible.  And of course, it started on a Thursday afternoon, which meant calling the pediatrician on a Friday, then waiting to see her on a Saturday.  Hours spent in a room full of little coughing phlegm machines.  With a miserable baby of my own.  I learned a little pediatrician's office tip the hard way which I'll share with you now.

Always take the appointment.

I called Dr. K's office on Friday and spoke to the nurse.  She said to wait one more day and if the fever didn't break to come in to see the Dr.  Did I want to go ahead and make an appointment now and cancel it tomorrow (Sat.) if need be or would I rather call by 9am on Sat. to come in.  We'd have no problem getting in, she said.  I took the reasonable approach and said I'd call in the morning of we needed to.  What I didn't realize is that we wouldn't be getting an appointment at that stage, we'd become walk-in patients on a Saturday.  This entails no less than an 1.5 hour wait.  The waiting area was packed -- standing room only.  We sat there while everyone else with an appointment waltzed right in and the other walk-ins impatiently waited.  It was like showing up to the most popular restaurant in town on a Friday night without a reservation.  You wouldn't do it, right?

The receptionist grew tired of everyone asking where they stood in the queue.  Every time we asked, she upped the time, a tactic clearly designed to get us to leave her alone.  I got the impression if she even saw me come near her desk one more time, she'd do something sinister like misplace my new insurance information or, God forbid, add me to her blacklist, which I'm certain she keeps hidden in her top drawer.  Overall we waited a little over 2 hours.  I think we were the last patients to be seen.  We don't know what caused LO's fever, we're doing some tests, but thankfully she's feeling better today.  It's good to see the spark back in those big blue eyes.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Definition of Sleep Deprivation

If you Google "methods of torture," the first result that comes up is a Wikipedia entry.  Under Psychological Torture, you'll find Sleep Deprivation.  It has been ruled inhumane according to the European Convention on Human Rights and has been used as an interrogation method by government agencies worldwide.  The good news is that DH and I would be excellent recruits for undercover agents since, if caught by an enemy and subjected to sleep deprivation, we would be unbreakable.

Back to Wikipedia.  If you click on Sleep Deprivation, it goes on to list all sorts of maladies that can be attributed to lack of sleep.  There's plenty of mention of sleep disorders, even war, but nowhere does it refer to new parents.  I'm not a Wikipedia contributor, so I'd like to take this opportunity to write my own definition of Sleep Deprivation:

SLEEP DEPRIVATION, n., is the condition of not having enough sleep, mostly found in parents, particularly new parents.  Symptoms include bags under the eyes, irritability, arguing, yawning incessantly, forgetfulness, inability to form complete sentences and trouble understanding basic concepts.  Onset begins with peaceful slumber interrupted by a baby's siren-like cry on the baby monitor.  Sleep is achieved in 3-4 hour blocks maximum over prolonged period of time.  In simpler terms, it's when you finally get baby back to sleep at 4am and then you can't sleep, so you make a cup of tea and figure hey why not wash the cabinets?  It's that foggy-headed feeling like you've just been struck with a 2x4 and haven't gotten your bearings back yet.  It's having no recollection of the middle of the night feeding, just seeing evidence of it the day after.  It's when you're at the grocery store and "Paper or plastic?" is so overwhelming you can only mumble, "I don't know."  It's getting pulled over for drunk driving when you haven't even had a drink.  It's wanting to drop kick the next person who asks "Is she sleeping through the night yet?"  It's getting ready in the morning and forgetting what side you part your hair on.  It's when your eyelids are so heavy they shut without your approval and you can't get them back open.  It's finally getting to take a long nap...only to wake up and feel even more tired than you were before.  

I'm sure Wikipedia would welcome a new parental perspective on their listing.  I'll get right on that.  One of these days when I get enough sleep.


Monday, January 10, 2011

Preschool Panic

Ok, I'm not really panicked but I feel like I should be.  Apparently, getting your child into the right preschool is the most important thing you can do in your child's life.  The schools are exclusive, highly selective and expensive as hell.  It's also going to determine whether they end up at the local community college or Yale.  I say bollocks, but I did cave in and start calling around to schools in the area, most of which told me to call back when she's one year old.  Pshew, I thought.  I can delay the panic for a few more months.  But one school near us said I better get in for a tour and get on the waiting list.  So I did.

I was told to be there at 8:30am.  I rushed to get there on time only to find that the tour didn't actually start until 9am and I should just have a coffee and bagel and peruse the brochures on the table.  As someone with very little time to spare, this waste of my precious half hour was torture.  While I waited, pacing, trying not to look pissed, the schoolkids were doing some kind of weird religious (this isn't a religious school) ceremony in the courtyard.  As I observed, I started to get a massive headache.  I started relaxation techniques in my head to release the tension.  Then I noticed two kids waiting at the entrance with goblets of burning incense.  Bingo.  Every time they came back and stood in the doorway, my head throbbed.  Only twenty more minutes to go.

This school, which I won't name, is based on a very unique philosophical approach to learning.  Head throbbing and jaw clenched, I was excited to see such nice facilities and teachers whose gentle positivity made me feel like the world was happy and carefree.  The tour started in the Nursery.  We parents were asked to sit on the floor in a circle, hold hands and go through a typical activity with the teacher.  Teacher sang a song which basically spelled out everything she was doing with her hands, from building an imaginary snowman to buttoning our coats.  She passed around tissues, which we balled up into "snowballs" and were instructed within the song to throw at our neighbors.  I sat there, thoughts flooding my aching head, "I'm bored already.  I don't really want to hold this guy's hand.  What about phonics?  THIS is gonna cost me 13 grand a year?!"

The tour continued and we sat in on grades 2-7.  Envisioning my baby this old freaked me out.  I wanted to run out of there.  They had already lost me at "Everyone hold hands," but they really lost me when the athletics teacher had us play tag.  Yes, the adults.  I let a guy get me and excused myself.  I'm sure this place is perfect for some people, but I knew it wasn't right for us.  What I did learn is that I eventually want LO to be exposed to the real world, not a school that's an incubator where nobody is competitive and woodworking takes the place of mathematics.  For now, she's a baby, and I think I'll enjoy her baby-ness while it lasts, thank you very much.  Save the preschool panic for another day.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Going Up?

I took LO with me to a department store yesterday.  Now that I travel with a stroller, I've learned where the elevators are in every store in town.  We waited patiently for it to come, along with the other mommies, old ladies and general lazy women that usually collect there.  From behind me, I hear, "How old is your baby?"  It's another new mommy with, let's just say, a very rotund baby.  "Ten months," I say.  "Oh, so her first birthday is in March?"  "No, it's February.  She's almost 11 months," I reply, caught once again rounding down LO's age.  The mommy shared that her baby is 5 months and she started solids at 4 months.  She loves to eat.  We started LO on solids at 6 months per our doctor's advice, but it seems like there's no real rule to this feeding thing.

I wish there was a definitive baby feeding manual.  I have a handout from a local expert detailing in not so much detail how to introduce your baby to solids through the first year.  A friend lent me a Beaba Babycooker and to prove my mettle as a mommy, I've tried to make most of LO's meals myself.  I started with basics -- pureed apples (her fave), pears, yams, etc.  The first time we gave her solids, I made her pureed peas and strained them.  A whole freezer bag yielded two tablespoons of peas.  There has to be an easier way, I thought.  So I bought it in jars.

In effort to develop LO's pallete, I consulted my trusty expert's handout for tips.  Avoid high nitrate foods such as homemade carrots, turnips, beets and other root vegetables as this could poison your baby.  I quickly put away the turnips I was chopping and rummaged through the fridge.  Pasta!  I always see cool moms at restaurants giving their kids pasta and veggies, so why couldn't LO try it?  My natural cooking disabilities mean I naturally over-boil pasta, so this would be perfect for LO.  The pediatrician said avoid wheat, nuts and shellfish, so I boiled up some rice pasta, chopped it up and set it before LO.  She stuffed it in her mouth and made the humming sound she does when she likes eating something.  Then she started choking.  She expelled the offending rice elbow and the world was good again.  We tried again a few days later with corn elbow pasta and she ate an entire bowl with no problem.  I feel like she needs more flavor, more variety.  A friend in the UK recommended baby cookbooks by Annabel Karmel, but if anyone has recommendations for other (easy) baby cookbooks, please let me know.