Monday, July 31, 2006

A Day in the Life...

Over the last 11 months, this blog has kinda turned into Emma's baby book. Yes, I plan to fill out her actual baby book one of these days, but for now, this works really well and forces me to stay up-to-date.

As my peanut nears the 1-year mark (sniff, sniff), I wanted to get a few logistical items in here before I write her letter, which I want to be more poetic than informational. I'll try to stay away from too many bullet points so I don't bore you to death, but I also want Emma to know as much detail as possible.

One of the hardest things for me to figure out the first few months of Emma's life was the whole "schedule" thing. I tried to find a happy medium between my anal retentive self and throwing caution to the wind, but Emma wasn't really adjusting to my "plan" so well. That meant many frustrated meltdowns and calls to my mom, but also many lessons learned. Everyone kept telling me, "Read your baby, Lisa. Forget the books." Yes, yes, I know, but how the heck am I supposed to know what she is saying? It's not like she's talking people!

But as the days and weeks turned into months, I started to get it and POW! We arrived at a schedule. It was so great. I was in heaven... for a week, until the next "schedule" kicked in. Always keeping me on my toes, Emma knew exactly when my mommy ego was getting a bit too big and quickly put me in my place with a minor change here and there. Eventually, I got used to that too and was excited to see how she was developing in everything from sleep habits (thank God!!) to eating.

Right now, I have to say we have a pretty good thing going. I try not to be a hyper scheduler, but honestly, Emma responds to schedules really well and seems to be happier when we are organized.

So here is a normal day in the life of Emma (at least for now):

6am: Wakes up in her crib, chatting to herself and her stuffed animals until she finally lets out a "num num" for her bottle. Sometimes I can get her to cuddle in bed with me for a few minutes, but not for very long.

6:30am: First dose of Prevacid (1 oz) and a 6-oz bottle

8:00am: Breakfast time! Some organic oatmeal and fruit (either chunks of banana or a jar of pears). If she's still hungry, some Cheerios.

8:45am: Morning nap (usually 1hr and 15 min, although once in a while it's only 45 min)

10:00am: Wake up chatting again and greets me with a huge grin.

11:30am: Lunch time! Some veggies (either a jar of squash, sweet potatoes, peas & rice or grn beans & rice -or- the same foods cooked and cut up), some carbs (pieces of whole wheat bread or organic pasta), and a 5- or 6-oz bottle, depending on how hungry she is. Once in a while she gets some fruit too, but I usually save that for dinner.

12:45pm: Afternoon nap (usually about 2 hrs)

3:00pm: Snack (watered down pear juice and some Gerber sweet potato veggie puffs or Cheerios)

4:30pm: Second dose of Prevacid

5:00pm: Dinner time! Same as lunch, but usually a fruit too. We save the bottle for a little later.

6:00pm: 7-oz bottle

6:30pm: bath time, books and singing

7:00pm: bed time

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Needles Schmeedles!

So I took Emma for her allergy blood work yesterday, and I was prepared for the ultimate meltdown. I had two binkies, her blankie, finger foods, and a sippy cup all ready to go in the event of total drama -- I was prepared. I even warned the tech and her helper that Emma is a bit, uh, vocal, so this might be worse than normal. And because the doctor requested they test for 11 allergens, they needed to fill two vials...

Okay, breathe, mom, breathe, here we go...stretchy rubber thing tied around Emma's skinny little arm, tight enough to pinch her skin, strange woman holding her arm in place, another strange woman poking her with a long piece of metal...the needle is in and...

NOTHING. Not a peep. Completely unphased. THE.WHOLE.TIME. I am watching two tubes fill up with my baby's blood and she's acting like they're tickling her arm. No wiggling, no complaining, just the suck, suck of her binkie, which she probably didn't even need. "Oh, is that a needle piercing my skin and sucking out my blood, Mom? I didn't even notice. Now how about that sippy cup?"

I was so proud of her! When I called Jeff, he even admitted that it made him want to cry. So funny what makes you proud -- and how your child can completely surprise you.

I have to remember that Emma is just as complex as any adult -- she doesn't fit any preconceived stereotypes or moulds. No, she is Emma and she is developing her own unique personality every day. Yes, she is a busy little girl that loves to move around, but she also loves to sit and read a book. She isn't afraid of sticking her face in the pool, but is scared to death of her doctor. She will kiss anyone who asks, but doesn't like to be held by anyone but her mama.

I think as parents we are so excited to "figure out" what our child will be like, that we almost want to make them something they really aren't. Every time I try to describe Emma to someone who asks how's she's doing, I end up contradicting myself after every sentence because she really isn't one "type." Will she be anal like her mom, but athletic like her dad? Who the knows! Only time will tell, and that is the most exciting part. I know Emma has many more surprises in store for me. I'm also aware they may not all be as pleasant as this experience. But, heck, I'll take this one!

I'll finish up with some recent photos. I realized I haven't posted any for a while, but the flu kind of interrupted our usual photo sessions. Still, here's a few of Emma enjoying her summer at Grandma and Grandpa's pool!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

She's Worth It!

At least that's my excuse for giving in and buying that dress that you all "tried" to talk me out of... um, thanks! :o) My other excuse is that she will actually get three uses out of it -- she'll wear it for her 1-year photo, wear it on the party day, and hopefully wear it to church the Sunday after her birthday. Oh yeah, and it's our birthday gift to her. What else do you buy a 1 year old who has everything she needs? A personalized birthday dress of course!!!! (And yes, we put "Emma" on the dress!)

Besides, who can deny such a little cutie? She is just too darn adorable -- and pretty smart too. Here are some of the recent developments in Emma Land:
  • She has officially kicked the flu and is more than making up for any lost ounces -- she LOVES to eat!
  • She now walks everywhere and can get into the standing position without pulling herself up on something.
  • She waves hello and goodbye on command and on her own (at the right times).
  • She is starting to repeat words I say, although they all start with the letter D. She even tried to sing a tune I sang to her: "La, la, la" ("Da, da, da"). There is hope that she has Jeff's singing voice -- she was pretty in tune!
  • Some of her real words include: Dada, more (mah!), num nums, nye nye, doggie, baby (dady), pretty (ditty -- this is what she calls my earrings) & all done (ah dah).
  • She dances by bouncing her knees when she hears music or when I sing, "Dancin', Dancin', Dancin'!!"
  • She rediscovered her love of clapping and is very proud of her accomplishments.
  • She will kiss you when asked and will sometimes kiss you if you say, "I love you." She blows kisses too, but it's more like a lip smack in the air without the hand throw.
  • She retrieves her stuffed doggie when asked and then tries to carry it around with her even though it is just as big as she is.
  • She points to my nose when I ask her to -- a VERY recent development.
  • Her appetite is ENORMOUS lately, so I am assuming she is going thru a growth spurt.
  • She is almost done getting her two front top teeth, at least I hope, as it has caused us all to be a bit cranky.
  • She likes the water and enjoys putting her face in it. Strange, I know...

    So there's a quick glimpse into our little pistol's life at 11 months. She sure is fun, but also a bit intense (um, like her father??) and keeps me more than busy. But as those tired, weak, horrible sick days only further proved, I would NEVER want her any other way!
  • Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Convince Me, PLEEEEASE!

    Okay, so please give me some reasons why Emma does not need this $40 dress for her 1st birthday:

    Sure, we're saving for a house, have only one full-time income, and she'll only wear it once, but give me some REAL reasons.

    Didn't I learn my lesson from the Easter dress??? And since when did I become so girly? I mean this thing has bows... BOWS people! I distinctly remember removing those from my own wedding dress...

    Thursday, July 13, 2006

    Round Two

    How can a child get the stomach flu a mere 5 days after recovering from it? Not sure, but we've managed it. Except now it's pouring out the other end (her mouth).

    Yes, as of Tuesday morning, Miss Emma's tummy throws everything back at us, including formula and Pedialyte. The only time she can keep anything down is if it's in quantities of 3 oz or less, yet she is crying because she is thirsty and hungry. To be honest, I am absolutely stressed right now. Not that this is about me - because of course it isn't - but I just feel like MY stomach is also in one big knot.

    I really don't feel like going in to all the details (like I usually do), so I'm just going to give you the summary (which come to think of it, may actually make many of you happy...). Anyway, fever hasn't gone over 99 and there really isn't diarrhea, so this is different than the other flu, yet it seems too close to not be related. But after sitting through a 2.5-hour doctor appt yesterday (another story all together), my pediatrician thinks it may be allergy related...

    Um, WHAT??!!! As if we haven't limited her diet enough, now she may be eating something that is causing her stomach to completely reject everything. Wonderful.

    So he's ordered blood work for her to test every possible food allergen out there. Of course, these test are rarely conclusive in children this little, so it may be one big waste of time, but I remain hopeful. The only new thing she's eaten in the last two weeks is a chicken & sweet potato dinner. That would make chicken the most likely culprit, but come on -- can she really be sensitive to this much stuff? And other people had the first round of the flu -- heck, my mom caught it from Emma -- so isn't a strange coincidence that she got it too? Or that she got it right after getting over the flu?? Meanwhile, she has lost weight since her appt. a mere week and a half ago.

    Do you see why I AM SO STRESSED??!!! What the heck is going on with my poor little bunny? SOMEONE TELL ME! Is she just sleepy because she's exhausted or is she starting to dehydrate? Do I wake her in her sleep to give her fluids or let her get the rest she needs? Is she crying because her tummy hurts, or is she hungry? Or thirsty? Or just plain ticked off that she can't go out and enjoy the sun?! As you can see, this is what the inside of my brain looks like: ???????????????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    Okay, now that I've made myself look like a total crackpot, rest assured that I am in regular contact with her doctor, so don't worry too much -- just pray. I know nothing is seriously wrong with Emma -- and for that we are very blessed -- but that's all relative when you're a parent. It's all stressful, no matter what the situation.

    Thursday, July 06, 2006

    Firecracker, Firecracker BOOM, BOOM, BOOM!

    Well, our first 4th of July with Emma was certainly, uh, explosive. But not in the firecracker way... more like in the never-ending dirty diaper kind of way. 'Member that fever I casually mentioned in my last post? Well, that was the start of a week-long battle with the stomach flu. And need I tell you how much fun that has been??

    Well, okay, if you insist:

    The first indication something was up was the fever last Wednesday and Thursday. I was hoping it was just that fourth tooth coming in (FINALLY!), but there was no drooling or runny nose, so I was a bit suspicious. Then there was that fountain of peas and pears Emma's stomach decided to give back to us after dinner on Thursday. Friday was better, but she was gagging when eating and had VERY smelly diapers that I won't describe (just in case you're eating, thinking about eating, or will be eating sometime today...). She was also very exhausted, which meant some lovely, long naps during the day, but constant night waking in the wee hours. I took her to the doctor on Friday and he confirmed the stomach flu. He said to keep her on a liquid diet and to just watch her closely.

    Saturday seemed like she was on the verge of recovery, so Sunday we went to church and then made a stop to Gram and Gramps after her afternoon nap. It was there we got the lovely gift of regurgitated peas again. (Note to self: DO NOT feed peas to a tummy that might be even a bit sour. Yes, this seems obvious, but she has a limited diet and had been eating sweet potatoes and squash for days... Excuses aside, lesson learned.)

    That's when the explosions began...and never stopped. Day, night, you name it, there was always a present waiting for me in that little covered butt. And trust me, the smell was enough to let the neighbors know that Emma's diaper needed to be changed. When I wasn't changing diapers, I was throwing Pedialyte down her throat. It felt a little like when she was first born -- feed, change, feed, change, feed, change, nap and so on.

    And then came Tuesday. The day when the impossible happened... Emma slept in until 9am. This child has NEVER in her entire life slept past 7am, and most of the time is up at the crack of dawn, so what should have made me the happiest mother on the planet totally freaked me out. Finally, we woke her up (yes, you read that correctly), and she was so limp it was scary. Thinking she was just exhausted from the virus, we brought her in our bed for cuddling, which to our surprise, she actually cuddled. This also NEVER happens. Not good. She was so weak that when Jeff lifted up her arm, it fell straight down with a thump. Uh, let's get this kid some fluid NOW!!!!!!

    So we did formula and she seemed better, but was back to limp noodle in 45 minutes. Then we did Pedialyte and the same thing happened -- so we called the doctor. He told us she sounded dehydrated and to get her into the emergency room. "If we start IVs now, we probably won't have to admit her." I'm sorry, you say that like that's GOOD news! Needless to say, I was a complete basket case on the way to the hospital. Total melt down. Poor Jeff -- I was NO help at all. I just felt so responsible...

    Anyway, we gave her some more Pedialyte on the way there and she zonked out until we went to Triage. Here, Emma decided that she did not want to have her rectal temp taken, so instead decided to pee all over the nurse while screaming and thrashing for the whole hospital to hear. Not that I blame her, the poor baby had the worst diaper rash in the world. It was so very sore, I could hardly look at it. The only good news was that the pee meant she was probably better than we thought. And it was a good thing she did it because it was the ONLY thing keeping me from killing someone since we didn't see a doctor until TWO HOURS after we got there. Yes, it was a holiday, but it was 11am and empty when we arrived. Um, we're here because our daughter might be dehydrated and you have a sit around for hours while she could be at home DRINKING FLUIDS?! Don't get me started.

    By the time we saw a doctor, Emma was flashing her famous grin and was getting back to her wiggly self. Still tired, but definitely active enough to make us look like we were crazy for bringing her in. But trust me, I was glad they sent us back home. I was not looking forward to seeing IV tubes coming out of my baby. Basically, she was probably on the verge of dehydration, but that last bottle of pedialyte on the way to the hospital may have pushed her back to normal. We also gave her more in the hospital and by the time we got home, she was fine. Still tired, but the diarrhea stopped, which was good, but that also brought on 2 days of constipation that had Emma screaming last night from 11:30pm until 3am. That was NOT fun. Emma certainly is vocal and will complain, but she's never been a big crier and has never been inconsolable. I guess there's a first time for everything!

    Today, all functions seem to be back to normal and the spunk is back in her step. In fact, in the midst of all this, she has managed to advance her walking skills (she can now walk clear across the room) and she got that fourth tooth. I think she also added a few words to her vocabulary -- she's been able to say "more" for a while now, but I swear she is saying "baby" and "bottle," and I am telling you this girl says "nye, nye" at nap time. She is also starting to follow directions. Today she was looking at a baby doll at Grams house, and I told her to give it a kiss, and she picked it up and kissed it. She amazes me.

    She also frustrates me. Yes, today I was arguing with my 10-month-old, who was CLEARLY telling me that she wanted to feed herself. And so it begins...

    Well, that should about do it for now. This past week has certainly been a long one for this mama, but I get a reprieve this weekend. I'm going to a Christian women's conference with my mom, my mom-in-law and two sister-in-laws, so I'll be getting plenty of "me time." Jeff's on 72-hour daddy duty, so it should be interesting. I can't wait to hear how THAT goes! I know he'll do great, but I will be interested to see how he likes the 24-hour shift. :o)

    In closing, I'll leave you with some photos of our little firecracker -- right before the explosions began. Hope you all had a happy, safe and HEALTHY 4th!