Growing a Critter

We’re growing him on the outside now

4th of July July 4, 2008

Filed under: family,health,holidays — crittermama @ 9:52 pm
Tags: , ,

Happy Independence Day, everyone! I hope you’ve all had a terrific day, full of family and friends. This is just a collection of semi-random thoughts on the holiday – thank you for indulging me.

One of the best ways to start this day is to read to Declaration of Independence. I love it so much that NPR hosts read it out loud on the radio every year. It helps get me in the right frame of mind. I missed much of it this year (including the part about “the merciless Indian savages”) since I had to get some new pants for the critter during that time, but still.

We had a big breakfast this morning, but not quite as big as the 4th of July breakfasts I grew up with at the lake. Lots of extended families would be out there, and we all got together in the meadow for the biggest breakfast you’ve ever seen. HUGE amounts of rich, southern food. And of course this is after the adults had already fortified themselves with bloody mary’s and milk punch (I still cringe, just considering the fact that such a beverage exists. blech.)

We were invited to two parties today, one in the afternoon and one in the evening, and we each made it to one of them. The critter woke up with a fever this morning and hasn’t been doing so well today. The highest the fever got was 102.7, even with Tylenol – kind of scary. He slept a lot and was cranky when he was awake and didn’t eat very much. So I went to the afternoon party and Dave went to the evening party, so the critter could rest and also not infect any other critters.

I did make some deviled eggs for each party. Gotta love some deviled eggs. It turns out that neither Dave nor I actually ate any however. The critter woke up from his nap while I was at party #1 and I had to leave before getting any. When Dave was at party #2, he put the deviled egg plate (yes I have a couple of deviled egg plates now!) down and they were all GONE before he had any. Hee!

Fireworks when I was little were a smallish (but fun!) affair at the lake, usually shot off by whichever adults had had the least amount to drink. Kids shot bottle rockets and sparklers (sometimes at each other, but not many fingers were lost). There was also a fireworks display that the city did from the Rec Center, and our neighbors down the street had the best view from their back porch. It’s a crazy cool house that’s been on the market for years because few people want such a funky house (with an elevator!). The view from our side yard was pretty great, too, but lacked seating other than a blanket on the grass. Tonight’s fireworks were viewed from our couch, due to sick critter and rain. But we did see some of our town fireworks out our bedroom window. We’ll take the critter out to the mall sometime in the years to come.

Now we’re finishing the day off watching the end of Jaws. I need to get Dave to do a write up of the shark fishing expedition that he, Daddy and Brandon enjoyed while we were at the beach. He loved it, unsurprisingly.



Window shopping at the bookstore at Easter time March 20, 2008

Filed under: development,health,home training — crittermama @ 9:03 am

I stopped by Union Station this morning before coming to the office to get a coffee, and happened to walk by the bookstore. Easter displays were up front, of course, and I glanced at a few books to see what I might get for the Critter’s Easter basket. There were a few about the story of Easter and God’s love for us, and I’ll probably get one of those for the Critter.

…And then there was The Velveteen Rabbit. And Puff the Magic Dragon. Oh my. I’m a big ol’ sap these days and am quick to emote, especially when babies, dogs, cats, wildlife or any other thing that doesn’t have the power that grown-ups do are involved. But MAN. Those stories just really get me. The rabbit is REAL. Little Jackie Paper doesn’t come back and Puff is LONELY. I had to leave the store lest I start boo-hooing in front of hundreds of commuters.

On a happier note, the Critter got his second tooth yesterday! We could see it coming up, but it hadn’t broken through until yesterday morning. CHOMP.

Here he is, exploring the cherry tree we planted for him last fall. It’ll be in full bloom within a couple of days!



You say it’s fine, but really its snot February 22, 2008

Filed under: body weirdness,health — crittermama @ 6:36 pm
Tags: , , ,

A friend and neighbor was checking in with me on how we were all recovering from the icky sickie week we’ve had, and she asked the following question “How’s the mucus factor going at casa de Bailey Eubanks?”

Herewith, my reply:

The mucous around here is THREAT LEVEL SNOTTY. Not as high as it was last weekend (THREAT LEVEL OHMYGOD), nor as much as earlier this week (THREAT LEVEL GEEZEELPETE) but still significant. When you can blow bubbles with your snot, that’s an issue. I’m counting the days until the little guy can blow his nose!

Also, rectal thermometers? Not as scary as you might think. He barely notices. But [I initially wrote “butt” – hee!] the story of our inability to find a single functioning thermometer is epic as well as pricey. The winner was a $5 piece of digital crap that we picked up at the Grocery Store/Co-op. Of course.


Sickie February 18, 2008

Filed under: health — crittermama @ 8:26 pm
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Poor little critter. We’ve both been sick for more than a week now, but he’s had a rougher time of it recently. On Saturday, he got his first fever, and while Dave was on the phone with the doctor, the Critter coughed. The doctor said it sounded pretty bad, and advised us to go to the ER to get tested for RSV. The test came back negative, but they did give him an albuterol inhaler and a nebulizer breathing treatment while we were there. He was so unhappy all day on Saturday, but was a bit more cheerful after a long nap.

To make matters worse, before he got feverish, on Friday night, I followed the advice of his GI specialist and “challenged” his dairy sensitivity. I had cheese! And I was surprised to discover that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. What I did enjoy was the chocolate chip cookie I had on Saturday (after I waited for a messy diaper to see if there was any blood). The ER docs said that dairy didn’t have anything to do with his symptoms. However, later in the day, we discovered a big bad rash on the Critter’s back. So, no more dairy after that.

On Sunday, he vomited a lot several times, which worried me. We called the doctor again, and she advised us that babies can vomit if they cough really hard and gag themselves. She also said to bring him in today. I had the day off, but Dave didn’t, so I took him in. He had a fever of 99 (and that’s after Tylenol), and the big news is that he has ear infections in both ears. Both! Poor baby. The doctor said that normal eardrums are smooth and grey, like wax paper. His eardrums reportedly looked “like raw chicken.” Poor little guy! To make matters worse, the doctor tested his messy diaper and it tested positive for blood. So no more dairy for me for a while.

So he’s now on the following medications: amoxicillin twice a day, albuterol inhaler every 4-6 hours and tylenol every 4-6 hours. He’s had some happy moments today, but has also had some really fussy, upset moments. Dave’s staying home tomorrow, and I’ll stay home Wednesday. If need be, Dave will stay home on Thursday and we’ll take it as it comes after that.

The little guy’s going to be fine, but it’s kind of rough for him right now. We’ll keep you posted on developments. To end on a happy note, here’s the little one enjoying his feet.

portrait of a critter and his feet


Merry Christmas! Have food poisoning! December 19, 2007

Filed under: body weirdness,family,health,holidays — crittermama @ 10:59 pm

Several years ago, a friend and colleague gave me a pair of socks for Christmas, and the tag read, “Merry Christmas! Have socks!” And I still say that every time I pull on a pair of Christmas-themed socks. (Yes, I have more than one pair.) And I’ll maintain for a long time that getting a pair of socks for Christmas is sooooo much better than the case of food poisoning that the deli around the corner gave me on Monday.

In my quest to find a lunch place that I could trust not to put unwanted dairy products into my food, I visited a couple of local delis and such around my office. I wanted to read the labels on the bread, since some bread does have dairy added to it. The first place had no labels on the bread (no labels?!? what’s that all about?!?) and the only writing on the tortilla packages was instructions on how to fold a tortilla. So I moved on to the deli in the liquor store behind my building. They let me read labels on the bread and, triumphant, I ordered a turkey club sandwich.

I will NEVER eat there again. Around 5:00 or so, I started to feel a little funny. I cooked dinner, but couldn’t bring myself to eat any of it, and lay down on the couch to rest while Dave took care of the Critter and put him to bed. I started to vomit around 9:00, and it just kept coming. I’ve never barfed so much in my life, even with morning sickness, even with hangovers, even with migranes. It was at least every 45 minutes for the next 12 hours. I had nothing in me and couldn’t keep anything down at all. I could feel the fluid leaving my body as I fed the Critter overnight, and I got really worried about being able to keep up my milk supply.

We called his pediatrician and my primary doctor, and they both told me to go to the ER to get some fluids if I couldn’t keep any fluids down within the next hour. After hanging up with doctor #2, I threw up immediately. Dave took the Critter to day care, and then we went to the ER. I only barfed once in triage, but it was bad: I was seeing bright lights and thought I would pass out. The upside is that I learned about the handy-dandy barf bags that hospitals have. It’s a plastic ring with a baggie attached to it. Portable and easy! Woot!

Another thing I learned: our closest hospital has three separate waiting areas before you actually get into the ER. In waiting room #3, I couldn’t sit any longer and just had to lay down on the floor. Several people passed by, worried about me, but it wasn’t until a very authoritative woman came by, and called the ER to get a place for me to lay down that I cared that I was laying on the floor. Turns out that she was the director of the ER. Nice timing!

Long story short (too late): I got 2.5 bags of saline, my BP was really low for a long time (sounds familiar), my blood tests came out ok, my urine tests came out ok (including the negative result on a pregnancy test, thank GOD), and an abdominal x-ray came out ok. I was released just in time for us to pick up the Critter from day care.

Since then, I’ve had a gallon of gatorade, a bunch of sprite, some chicken broth, and even a few pieces of bread. I got some good rest last night and felt much better today. Of course all of our Christmas prep is now two days behind and I’m worried about getting our gifts to family before Christmas day, but I’m able to walk, so it all works out in the end.

Yay for IV fluids!


My new best friend, the snot sucker December 9, 2007

Filed under: body weirdness,health,profession — crittermama @ 4:50 pm

All hail the bulb syringe! We’ve got three of them, but the only one worth it’s salt is the one we stole from the hospital. The little guy and I both started getting stuffy last week, and I had hoped that it was just a side effect from the cold weather.

And snow! We had snow! Here’s the critter with his Pa:

sNoah and Pa

And with me:

sNoah and Mama

Sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures, but of course our GOOD camera had a dead battery. Bother!

Anyway! Back to my baby’s nose and nasal discharge! We’ve used a humidifier in the room for a couple of months now, since he’s always been a little snurffly, and we’ve had to clear his nose a time or two in the past. But wow. We’ve never gotten anything like what we’re seeing now. It is SO SATISFYING to clear his nose. And he can tell a difference, too. At first, he’d cry and scream, but this morning, he actually SMILED at me as I went after him with the bulb syringe. Crazy kid.

We’re keeping him home from day care tomorrow, which means that we’re each giving up a half day of work. I’ll take him to the pediatrician tomorrow morning, and Dave’s going to come home in the afternoon so I can get some work done. It’s not a whole lot of fun for the little guy to be all stoppered up, and we want to make sure that we’re doing the right things. It’s probably just a regular old cold, but we just want to be sure.

On another front, we’ve found the Sleep Lady’s book, and we’re both making our way through it. I hope this one helps!


Parenting Hurts December 3, 2007

Filed under: body weirdness,health,holidays — crittermama @ 6:19 pm

I knew about the lack of sleep that would come with being a new parent, and the possibility that many days would come and go without my benefitting from a shower. I knew that there would be late nights worrying about something or other. I knew that we’d struggle with setting the right boundaries, and that someday, we’d be up all night waiting for the teenaged critter to come home. What I didn’t realize is that parenting is one big repetitive stress injury waiting to happen.

Both Dave and I have tennis elbow and creaking knees and NOW I’ve got some sort of strange tendon thing in the first knuckle of my left index finger. What is THAT?!? And how did that happen? When I rotate my left wrist, I can feel a popping in my left elbow. I know this is because of how I’ve held the critter while nursing him and that I tend to hold him in my left arm when we’re bouncing, dancing or swaying. But what the heck is going on in that joint and how do I get it to go away? I suspect that the critter will continue to require food, comfort and mama-induced motion, so… now what?

In his (HIM!) health news, we had our follow up with the pediatric GI doc today. I’m to continue with the dairy restrictions, especially since we saw a spot or two of blood last week in his diaper following my inadvertent consumption of some whey-containing bread. But the doc said that I should “challenge” it again before we come back for our next follow up in 3-4 months. He also said I could probably have a piece of cake if I were at a birthday party but… yeah, I’m not going to do that. So no buttery, creamy holiday goodies for me! Unless they’re vegan. Got any vegan goodies for me?

Of course you all want to know about his stats, right? Here you go:
Head circumference: 16.75 inches
Length: 24.5 inches
Weight: 16.5 pounds

Oh yeah!