Friday, August 31, 2012

Dad: No, we are not hippies

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What if I told you that for the next five months, you were going to eat the exact same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner? What if I told you that every single one of those meals would come from a bottle? Unless your name is Charlie Sheen and your drink of choice is Tiger Blood, you’d probably tell me to go away. Well, since Susan can’t form words and has yet to master the Heisman stiff arm, she hasn’t really had much of a choice when it comes to what we feed her.


For the first five months of her short life, every one of Susan’s meals has consisted of formula in a bottle. Because that’s all she really knows, she hasn’t gotten tired of it (yet). In fact, every time she sees the bottle, she opens her mouth and lunges for it like Gollum biting into a nice, juicy, live fish. If we don’t give Susan the bottle immediately, she freaks out and starts crying. That’s led to a lot of panicked “OMG JUST THROW THE BOTTLE IN THE MICROWAVE AND SCREW THE BOTTLE WARMER AND THOSE DAMN SCIENTISTS WITH THEIR RESEARCH AND CONCLUSIONS” moments on mom and dad’s part. 

Like this, but cuter.
Nine ounces of formula four times a day was Susan’s only source of food for those first five months. Whatever’s in it is obviously working because at the doctor’s office last week, she checked in at a solid 19 lbs. and 27 inches long. The problem is that four 9 oz. bottles aren’t keeping her full anymore. So on her five-month birthday about two weeks ago, MJ and I decided to feed her her first dose of solid foods. We were wary at first if it was the right time to give it to her, if she was ready, if it would increase the risk of allergies, and all the other uncertainties that come along with EVERY DECISION YOU WILL EVER MAKE FOR YOUR CHILD. Luckily, it turns out we were right this time. Not since Steven Segal discovered all-you-can-eat buffets in the late 90’s has a human being taken to food so well.

We made the decision before Susan was born to make her food ourselves instead of feeding her the jarred stuff from the store. No, we are not hippies who cultivate our own organic vegetables in the back yard and then hawk them at the farmer’s market to the other semi-hippies who for two hours every Saturday morning walk around and squeeze squash and zucchini like they know what a ripe squash or zucchini actually feels like. (We are actually the latter). In actuality, we wanted to make her food ourselves because a) it’s cheaper; b) it’s more nutritious; and c) it’s a hell of a lot of fun (and therapeutic) to throw something in the Baby Bullet and just grind the shit out of it until it’s so pulverized that you can suck it through a straw.
 
So far, Susan’s eaten bananas (good), peas (not so good) and pears (jury is still out). You would think by how she lunges for the bananas that they were liquid gold. Remember Gollum and the fish? That’s Susan and bananas, too. The peas, however, are a different story. Let’s recap: bananas = sweet. Plain peas = flavorless mush. Have you ever seen a frozen pea smoothie? You probably won’t. Ever. Who would want to eat this?

It looks like garbage juice. And the bubble is a nice touch.

Here’s a picture of Susan eating peas. 

These are NOT bananas.
 And here’s a video of Susan voicing her displeasure in regards to eating said peas.

video

And here's Susan eating bananas like it's the last meal she'll ever have.

Still trying to teach her that snorting the food up your nose is
not an acceptable way to eat at the table.


Next up is squash. It's yellow like bananas, so maybe we can trick her into thinking it's actually good. We just have to pick out a good one from the farmer's market on Saturday, or at least pretend like we know what a good squash feels like.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mom: It's Hard Out Here for a Baby

A few years ago, there was a movie about a pimp who was struggling to make it as a recording artist.  I never saw the movie,although I do remember that Terrence Howard was nominated for an Oscar.  I also remember the song "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp" by 3 6 Mafia (Sp?) won the Oscar for Best Song.  Now, I am sure that the song has a serious message, but the title has always struck me as funny.  So since the song's release, there have been various times in my life where "It's Hard Out Here for a 1L" or "It's Hard Out Here for a Pregnant Lady."  Well, as of late, it has definitely been "It's Hard Out Here for a Baby."

It is a tough life.
Many of you may be thinking, Gosh MJ, why has it taken you so long to post?  Your husband, the extremely talented and hilarious writer, has managed to write no less than THREE posts since y'all returned from Florida.  Well, Chris also failed to mention during his posts all the things that have taken place since that fateful afternoon at Target.

First, the day after we returned home from Florida, Susan woke up at 6 a.m. (a little early for her) due to an explosive poop.  This was weird because 1) she had almost always slept til 6:30 or 7 a.m. and 2) she really only ever pooped with her bottle.  What followed was a four-week long stomach bug.  The first week was actually the worst.  She pooped about 7 times a day.  That first week, we had to give her a little pedialyte to make sure she didn't get dehydrated because she even had a little diarrhea.  How did she seem?  Happy as a lark!  You wouldn't have known she had a stomach bug except for all of the extra poop.  By the second week, her poops had toned down but she got a MAJOR diaper rash.  We have always been really cognisant about slathering her with butt paste before all naps and  nigh time sleep.  And when the bug started, we slathered her with every diaper change.  It didn't matter.  By week 2, she had a pretty bad rash.  So bad that we had to put Lotrimin plus butt paste and let her play around on towels naked from the waste down.  We have some pretty adorable pictures.  The rash cleared up by her 4 month visit (which Chris chronicled in a previous post), and she had quit pooping quite so much.  But the early morning wake up poops did not clear up until Monday, July 30. Four weeks to the day that the bug started.

We were so excited!  Finally, it was over!  On Tuesday, I stayed home with her and worked from home.  It was Chris' first day back to work and my Dad was coming the next day to watch her for a week and a half.  That day, she secretly, ninja-style rolled over back-to-tummy twice.  I never saw her do it, but she did.  On Wednesday morning, before work, she showed her new trick to both of us.  And I looked at Chris and said "She is going to start doing that in the crib."  Oh yes.  On Wednesday, August 1, Susan became the back-to-tummy rolling champion.  She was a back sleeper.  That day, my poor Dad's first day baby-sitting, she slept maybe 30 minutes at each nap because she would roll to her tummy in her crib and was pretty ticked off about it.  It was like she couldn't control herself.  Now that she could roll over, she had to do it at all possible occasions.  And we didn't care if she slept on her tummy.  Once baby can roll, you can't really worry about "Back is Best" and SIDS as much because they are going to roll whether you like it or not.  But Susan was not loving tummy sleeping.  It didn't affect her at night, just naps.  By the following Monday, she was sleeping on her tummy some of the time.  By Tuesday, I put her to sleep at night on her tummy because she was rolling around the crib like a rolling pin.  And then she was fine.  She was comfortable sleeping on her tummy.
I love being on my tummy...except for in my crib.
However, her naps still seemed a little "off."  Some days she would nap great with Dad, others not so much.  We all just chalked it up to getting used to sleeping on her tummy.  HA!  My mom came over one afternoon (Thursday, August 9) to hang out with Susan and Grandaddy.  Susan put mom's finger in her mouth and mom felt something. 

SIDE NOTE:  Susan has been drooling heavily since she was two months old.  Of course, everyone in the older generation (our parents and grandparents) said she was teething.  In Naples, over the 4th of July, she learned how to reach out and hold things.  As soon as she did, she put EVERYTHING in her mouth.  Of course,  anytime they saw her, our parents and grandparents said again that she was obviously teething.  We did our best not to roll our eyes (sorry y'all).  Susan wasn't teething.  She may have been showing signs that teething was close, but all babies put stuff in their mouths and all babies drool.  It is just what they do.

And I mean everything.
Anyway, that Thursday, Susu (what Susan will be calling my mom) felt something in Susan's mouth.  My dad called that afternoon and said "Susan might be teething."  I rolled my eyes and said ok.  Pretty sure my dad heard the eye roll on the phone because when I came home, both of  my parents said "we felt a tooth."  Well that was pretty exciting.  Susan was napping but as soon as she woke up, I stuck my finger in and BOOM.  Tooth.  She was 4.5 months old.  Yep.  It was her right lateral incisor.  I called Chris and told him the news.  He felt it too!  We are pretty sure the tooth "erupted" (which is the name some terrible person gave it for when the tooth breaks through the gum) on Wednesday, Aug. 8 (one week to the day from becoming the rolling champion) but honestly, we don't know.  We thought must of her fussiness and bad naps were the result of sleeping on her tummy, not teething. 

By that Sunday, the tooth was really poking through.  And when the tooth erupts, the baby is supposed to feel better.  The part that makes baby feel so yucky is how swollen and tender the gum is right before the tooth erupts.  Well, still Susan seemed a little unhappy.  So, I put my finger in her mouth, and next to current Tooth 1 was a tiny swollen bump.  Yep, Tooth 2 is currently on its way.  It still hasn't erupted, but her gums are pretty swollen. 

So, yes, its hard out here for a baby.  There is just so much happening!  It is  also hard out here for a parent.  But so so so worth it.  On Sunday, August 19, she turned 5 months old.  We decided to start solid foods that day.  It has been great so far.  I'll let Chris really break it down because his version will be far more entertaining than mine.

I freakin LOVE bananas!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dad: The ALL IS WELL Alarm


SIDS is a serious thing, and it is easily my biggest fear as a parent. The trouble is, marketers of baby sleep products know this. And they will exploit your fear so you buy their products. Case in point: baby monitors. For the record, I think it's a good thing to own a baby monitor as long as you don't run into the nursery at every little peep the baby makes. There are several types of baby monitors; some come with a video camera; some with motion sensors; some made by Skynet come with a robot nanny who soothes your child to sleep, so long as your baby isn't named John Connor.

Just as a general rule, I don't buy anything made by Skynet.

The one we use is called the Angel Care monitor, and I highly recommend it. I also highly recommend reading the instruction booklet. Let me explain why.

The Angel Care monitor has a motion sensor that you place under the baby's mattress that responds to the baby's breathing. In theory, if said baby stops breathing, the monitor lets you know. But it doesn't do it calmly, like "Oh hey guys, I think your child might have stopped breathing. Probably a false alarm, but you might wanna go check it out. Just a suggestion."

No, the Angel Care monitor freaks the eff out. It's like the sound of your alarm clock, if your alarm clock were forged in the fires of Mordor. And if you don't know how to adjust the monitor, you're going to be in for a lot of false alarms, like we were.

Angel Care's corporate headquarters.

The problem lies in the motion sensor's sensitivity control. Turn it up too high, and you can swap your baby out with a stuffed animal without the monitor catching on. Turn it down too low, and Susan could be springing backflips on the mattress and the monitor would still think she's down for the count.

As it turns out, we had ours turned down too low. Waaaaaay too low.

Picture this: mom and dad sleeping in their warm cozy beds, dead to the world since they get far less sleep than they need. Mom is dreaming about Susan. Dad is dreaming about dinosaurs because (as his wife tells him to make him feel better about the fact that he is really a five-year-old at heart) he has a "vivid imagination." The dog is in the middle of the bed dreaming about owning a pet lemur named Larry. It's 2:00 a.m. It's quiet. It's dark. It's peaceful. And then this happens:

BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP

Mom and dad jerk awake, and before mom can even yell "OMG SHE'S DYING!!!!!", dad has jumped out of bed like Usain Bolt from the starting blocks in the 100 meter. He cuts left through the hallway, right into the living room and bolts up the stairs, bounding up to the second floor in just four steps with a level athleticism that is completely absent in any other endeavor of his life. His adrenaline is pumping, and he throws open the door to the nursery expecting to find his baby blue in the face. He tries to remember if infant CPR requires 20 chest pumps or 30, and how many times you're supposed to blow air into her mouth. Or no, do you blow air first, and then start the chest pumps? And when should he call Addison Shepherd?

Except when dad looks in the crib, baby is sleeping peacefully. And breathing. She just shifted off the motion sensor pad. By this point, mom has made it up the stairs. Even the dog came along to check on baby Susan. Everyone's relieved that things are OK, and now they can all go lie awake in bed for the next two hours.

In summary, none of this is conducive to a good night's sleep.

So what was the beeping about? Apparently the Angel Care monitor's sensitivity control ranges from "YOUR BABY IS DYING" to "ALL IS WELL" modes. As we had it set, our monitor, instead of telling us when there IS a problem, told us when everything was OK. When it went off in the middle of the night, what it's really saying is this:

ATTENTION COOK FAMILY. ALL IS WELL. I REPEAT: ALL IS WELL. 
YOU HAVE NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT. SUSAN IS SLEEPING. SHE IS NOT DYING. DO NOT PANIC. I REPEAT: DO NOT PANIC. IF SHE STOPS BREATHING, I WILL LET YOU KNOW BECAUSE I AM THE ANGEL CARE MONITOR AND I GIVE YOU PEACE OF MIND. CONSIDER YOUR MIND EASED. YOU MAY NOW GO BACK TO SLEEP. I REPEAT: GO BACK TO SLEEP. SHOULD YOU NEED A LULLABY, I WILL CONTINUE BEEPING. PLEASE TURN ME OFF ONCE YOU ARE ASLEEP. THANK YOU. 

On the plus side, I've gotten really fast at running up the stairs. I can consistently go first floor to second floor in under 4 seconds, which is probably an Olympic record if they keep track of such a thing.