Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Danny at 2 Months

Danny had his 2 month visit to the pediatricians on Monday, which was stupid planning on my part. I really could have done with NOT watching my child get 4 painful injections on my birthday. Poor lad.

The doctor was very happy with him and how healthy he is. I think he feels a bit guilty about the whole pyloric stenosis thing though because he keeps telling me that he's looked back over his notes and is sure he couldn't have caught it sooner. He said that he's never diagnosed the condition before as early as he did with Danny. I tried to reassure him that he did a great job and that everything is okay but I think doctors in America are worried about being sued for malpractice or something. In England I'd have still been on a waiting list to get it seen to. Anyway, let's not get into the health care differences between the 2 countries as both have good and bad points*.

Here's Danny's 2-month statistics:

  • Weight = 14 lbs 15 oz (97 %-ile) (1.5 lbs heavier than Jack at this stage)
  • Height = 24.5" (95 %-ile) (same height as Jack as this stage)

So nothing too different from last time to report. Looks like he's going to be tall like his brother but maybe bigger? Jack is such a skinny bugger but Danny might not be. He has rolls of baby fat on his legs, neck and arms, which means I have to clean his creases as if he were a British Bulldog!

I realise that I haven't posted any videos of him yet but he hasn't been doing anything too interesting until now and let's be honest - only grandparents and close family really want to spend their time watching baby videos.
Here's a 40-second video of him doing his morning jig ....

* The difference in UK versus USA health care was addressed on Pond Parleys recently.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My 40th Birthday Weekend

I just got back from a fabulous weekend away at Hocking Hills State Park which was my birthday treat from Craig and definitely one I'll remember. It was just my cup of tea. A rustic cabin in the woods. Some mild hiking thrown in that made me feel refreshed without making me beet-red and gasping for breath. Pitch-black skies at night so we could star gaze. And good company of course.

Here's some pictures ...

Our cabin. Jack spent the first hour unpacking his bag into different drawers, organising his teddy-bears on his bed and running to tell me every two minutes that he had a new bedroom. I just liked the quiet and the fact that we didn't take the laptop or use our cell phones for the whole weekend. It was such a relaxing time that we didn't even know what time it was.

Jack loved it & cried all the way home "I don't want to go home!" I said "me neither!"

Danny's first hike. What a little champion he is.

Jack found a cool stick to play with. Cody got to wee on big rocks. I would have liked to have partaken in similar activities but I'm 40 now and have to act responsibly.

This certainly beats trawling around Walmart at the weekend.

First taste of chocolate ice cream. I think he might like it ..

Oh, what a lovely time I had. The knot in my chest disappeared the further we drove out of the city. By the time I was drinking a glass of Merlot and star-gazing with Craig I felt like the luckiest woman on the planet. I partied far too hard of course and ate far too much but it was a big birthday so I'm allowed. I don't feel depressed about being 40 like I know some people do. This weekend has just reiterated how much I absolutely love my life.

Thanks to family & friends who sent cards and pressies. XXX

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Mad but Magical Life

Years ago a work colleague told me that he would get home from work exhausted and his wife would meet him at the door holding the baby out to him and saying "okay, your turn". At the time I thought she must be selfish to ask her husband to take over baby duty when she'd had all day at home not 'working". Ha! What a fool I was. I have more sympathy for the wife now than I did. It's not that I don't love my kids, or begrudge spending time with them, or even get too stressed out taking care of them. It's that I have to have "me" time each day. Adult time. Quiet. Time to think. Time to ring another adult on the phone and have an adult conversation. If I'm honest I do feel a bit peeved that Craig gets to languish in adult time all day, while I spend all of my day entertaining and caring for children. He gets to drive alone in his car, listening to music and daydreaming while I spend my time in the car with a screaming baby that only stops crying if the car is in constant motion and a toddler that talks my ear off.

That is why, at 8pm tonight I ran from the house like an escaped convict and I drove to the local supermarket, even though we don't need anything. Time alone in the car. Ahhhhh. Time to meander around the food aisles looking aimlessly at tins and things. Ahhhhh. Quiet. That's all it took. An hour of QUIET and I'm back home, fully recharged.

And to really put things in perspective -----

Last night Jack watched Peter Pan for the first time. He sat on my knee and I had my arms wrapped around him. I got a sneaky hair-sniff and kiss in too, when he wasn't watching. Anyway, when Peter sprinkled Wendy and the boys with fairy dust so they could fly out of their bedroom window, Jack turned and looked at me pleadingly and said "I want to fly too mummy. Can I? Please?" and he really meant it. He truly believes in Peter Pan. It made me think that toddler hood is going to be much more magical than it is hard work.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bargains, Kids & Footballers Legs

When I went on maternity leave I had "extra" plans to do stuff around the house & garden, namely: (1) build a patio, (2) make new curtains for the basement and (3) paint the living room. I also wanted to spend hours in the garden, toiling away like Gertrude Jekyll while my beautiful baby slept soundly in his pram. Fat chance. I'm over half-way through my leave and not a sausage completed, or even started.

I'm not complaining. I get to spend precious time with my new son and I have picked up a couple of useful habits like cooking and couponing. Talking of which ... I got this little lot ($175 value) for $73 today. I was so pleased when I got the last of the 10 blocks of cheese for $10 at my local supermarket that I had to ring Craig at work and tell him. What a sad woman I am.

Errrm, yes, I know there's a 5-liter box of Vella wine in the picture. I could say we offer that to guests as we drink only the best Chardonnay but that would be an enormous porky.

Anyway, onto more important things ...

Our lad Danny had two milestones this last week - he's started smiling and he slept through the night. Just once. Then I told people and jinxed myself and he hasn't done it since.
He's a big boy - only 8 weeks old tomorrow and already nearly out of 3 month clothes. He is such a sweetheart though and I love him madly.

We took Jack to see some cows this week. One licked his shoe and he hasn't stopped telling me about it.

My mum sent him a Thomas backpack and he won't take it off. Tonight he got into his car and said "mummy, I'm going to shop to get lavilowly (ravioli). I'll be right back".

Craig's had a cold this week but otherwise he's a happy camper. He got his CCW today from the Sheriff's office and it's warm enough now to wear shorts. As soon as he gets home he legs it into the bedroom to get them on and he'll not wear long pants now till the winter. He has lovely footballers legs though so I don't mind. I however have another 30 lb to drop before summer or I'll have to wear a kaftan to work. Eating like a thoroughbred horse for 10 months has done me no favours and very few of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit yet. I did finally retire the maternity jeans though, thank God. Putting those things on 6 weeks after giving birth was a real downer, even if they did allow me to eat 6 puddings.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Birthday Party from Hell

Last Friday we went to a 5th birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese and I still haven't fully recovered. It is a hideous place. Hell on earth. A nightmare to behold. McDonald's on acid.

It's toddler heaven of course. It's a room full of kiddie rides and playground equipment, hosted by a giant mouse that puts on shows. There's pizza and cake too. Needless to say, Jack has been asking repeatedly to go back and I say "okay love, maybe when hell freezes over we'll go back" and he looks at me confused.

Anyone over the age of eight would detest this place. It's full of rambunctious, screaming toddlers which are very cute if they belong to you but strangle-worthy if they don't. They do hideous toddlers things like double-dip their dirty spoons in the salad bar, which means you have to eat the house pizza. And everyone there looks fed-up & exhausted, even the people who work there. I was watching Chuck E. Cheese do a sloth-like shuffle as he moved about the kids having his picture taken. As I was stood in line waiting to buy Craig a diet coke and me a plastic cup of cheap wine the man next to me turned, looked me right in the eye and said "I hate this place" and all the other parents in line nodded in agreement.

We didn't have places like this when I was a kid. We had indoor activities like roller skating, disco dancing, youth club and bingo. Activities that didn't involve making parents absolutely miserable. And without a doubt, if I'd have stuck my spoon in the buffet food my mum would have given me a crack around the head, loaded me up into the Morris Minor and sent me to bed in shame.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Satnav Witch

I've got something big coming up at work and even though I'm on maternity leave for another 5 weeks I must get prepared, so I planned to go in today and take Danny with me.

Danny isn't sleeping through yet but it's okay. I can do a 3 am feed and still go to work I reckon. Jack however woke up at least 5 times crying for me and by this morning it was obvious he was sick. Turns out he has an ear infection and a blister in there. I tried to look tonight and even poked a cotton bud down there. Yes, I know you're not supposed to put anything bigger than your elbow in your ear but for heavens sake, until they come up with an ear cleaning device as big as your elbow that works I'm sticking these things in my kids ears. Anyway, I'm not going to complain about it as it's his first ear infection ever in nearly 3 years.

Where was I? Oh, yes. Supposed to go to work today. So I can't go to work and now I'm having panic attacks about not being prepared for my big thing. Danny's a newborn and needs attention all day. Jack's sick, daft dog Cody got his collar stuck on our bed rail and nearly choked himself to death this morning. Cats meowing all day as per bloody usual. To top it all I'm having blonde moments just about all day.

Such as:

Leaving supermarkets and having no clue where my car is

Being in the shower and having a big dollop of goo in my palm and not remembering if it's body wash or shampoo or conditioner

Calling husband, kids and animals all by the same name

The final insult is that the Satnav Woman in the car is playing up and until I say "Okay" in a sexy American accent she will not stop asking me questions. I say a lot more than "okay" to the annoying witch but hopefully Jack doesn't hear me. How have I got to the point in life where this computer woman is annoying me like a real person?

Anyway. My hubby Craig came to the rescue as usual and planned time off so I can go in to work and see to things. I'm now sat with a glass of Chablis, both kids in bed and life is good. If Ms Satnav was here right now I'd get her drunk and try to persuade her to say rude things to lost drivers.

Last but not least. I think there's just the slightest chance that these two little fettlers might be brothers ...

Taken at 7 weeks old

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ugly Feet

I just got my feet out.

They've spent 5 months hiding in woolly socks, ignored and left to get dry and hairy.

I wish I had nice feet. Dainty toes, pink, moist skin.

Instead, I have tall person feet. Clonking size 10's with toes long enough to play the piano should I end up in strait jacket one day. Toes so long I look like a chimp wearing lady shoes. Heel skin that gets hard and cracks. The odd rogue hair on my big toe that means I have to shave my toes for goodness sake.

So, I just spent an ungodly amount of time pumicing and scrubbing and cutting my nails and polishing them a nude color so as not to draw too much attention.

Now I can put my Tevas on and go out for a walk with Danny in this 70 degree weather. What a glorious day!

But oh, I wish I had nice feet.

Monday, March 16, 2009

2 Worth Sharing

Two things that made me laugh today:

  • And the phenomenon that is Charlie ...

Monday Mutterings

I'm taking a break from housework while Danny sleeps to get on here and post a blog. I hate housework with a passion, especially hoovering. Having 2 cats and a dog, hoovering up pet hair is paramount to painting the Golden Gate Bridge - as soon as you finish you have to start the whole laborious chore again. I love my pets but wouldn't have any more, though I suspect the kids will try and wear me down on a dog later on. Now I completely understand why parents say "no" to pets - they aren't being mean they just know they will be the ones stuck with picking up poo, clipping nails and hoovering up hair. Now I think about it, clipping cats nails is right up there with hoovering on the crap job scale.

I have to share my new passion with you all. Couponing! Sorry to say it, but I have joined the ranks of women with bulging coupon books that you get stuck behind in supermarket queues. Yesterday I got $112 of food shopping for $45 and I feel so smug I just had to come on here and tell you about it. I'm new to the game but thankfully there's women who are so smart at it they get everything virtually free and they have websites. There is something so refreshing about getting things at half price or free but I never thought I'd be getting excited about coupons. It makes me feel old.

My gripe of the week is going to be angry women drivers. A few days ago I went to an affluent part of town where people generally drive about in Hummers or beemers or Audis. I was just overwhelmed by how rude and aggressive the women drivers were. Nobody would let me out of junctions and they were cutting me up and driving right up behind me. Has anyone else noticed this trend - that young women are extremely aggressive and rude drivers? And are posh drivers worse because it seemed like this part of town was worse than any other. Maybe having tons of money makes you so arrogant you drive that way.

Okay, my gripe is over. Anne asked me how Danny was doing so I'm going to post a couple of kid pictures. Both are doing great and enjoying that we can finally get outside now that the weather has picked up. I feel like I've been in hibernation for 6 months!

My little American Jack

Danny Boy

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Memorable Birthdays

My attempt at cooking last night was okay I think. I made chicken breast with Dijon mustard sauce, oven-baked potatoes, veggies and a side salad. And loads of wine of course. Too much actually so I'm a bit rough around the edges today and I'm on my own with both kids so it's been a tough day. Craig has tootled off to do his concealed carry licence.

One part of last night was memorable for all the wrong reasons. In the space of an hour I had to leave our guests to go and get more wine, then on returning our Danny was being really fussy and Jack, who has a cold, coughed to the point where he was sick all over himself, me and his bed.  Our poor guests must have got in their car at the end of the night and thanked the heavens they didn't live our life. It's no wonder I drank too much wine.

Talking of partaking in  merriment - I'm 40 in 2 weeks and I have no plans! For my 18th and 21st birthdays I had big crazy parties organised by my family. I have wonderful memories of dancing to Duran Duran, chucking back Pernod & blacks and playing silly games where 21 men had to line up and kiss me. My mum & Tom got me a Ford Escort for my 21st and I loved it, until it got stolen 3 times. You could break into those cars with a feather duster couldn't you. On my 30th me & Craig went to London for the weekend and had a fabulous time although it was a horrible shock when we got home because we found out that a friend had died that weekend skydiving. 

SO, my 40th. What to do? I don't want a party or a posh dinner really. My favourite singers aren't touring in Ohio, there's nothing worth seeing at the local theatre or Funny Bone club. Ideally I'd like whatever I do to involve friends, alcohol, good food, good music and a hot tub. Oh, and definitely eight hours sleep after. 

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dinner Help & New Alphabet

I am starting to enjoy cooking, which is a whole new world to me. Being home more I have been watching Gordon Ramsay quite a bit and he's inspired me, not only to swear more but to try my hand at something a bit more daring than beans on toast or "skinheads on a raft" as Craig calls it. My culinary disasters in the past have become legendary. I once cooked the padded paper that comes with chicken breast fillets (origami chicken), left calamari in the oven for several hours (calamari a la charcoal) and two weeks ago I burnt a tin of peas, which made the house smell delightful. I have been successfully cooking dinner so far this week but my first real test will be tomorrow as we have guests coming over for dinner and I am going to try something healthy and not too complicated. Any suggestions folks?

For grandparents, family & bloggy friends: Here's a 22-second video of my boy genius. He has developed a new version of the alphabet! I think his version is great and we should all end it with "wiggle wiggle wiggle".

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Cheeky Chaplain

We went for an ultrasound on Tuesday morning to see what was going on with Danny's relentless throwing-up and they determined straight away that he did indeed have pyloric stenosis. The ultrasound was amazing - the nurse showed me the muscle in his stomach that was blocking the passageway from his stomach to his small intestine and it was so obvious why he couldn't digest any food. I was both relieved and nervous at the thought of surgery so I tried to talk with the nurse about it but she was busy telling me how much she liked my accent and where she's been to in England. This is par for the course wherever I go and I usually find it a huge compliment but sometimes it gets in the way, like this time. Anyway, she finally let me go and by that afternoon they had us checked into Nationwide Children's Hospital.

At hospital admissions I was in the queue with a woman who's daughter was about 8 years old and in a wheelchair. Her head was bald and she had a big red scar that ran from ear to ear, over the top of her head. I felt really bad for her but she was such a trooper, reading a comic book and laughing. It certainly put our Danny's problem into perspective. I also met a woman who had two kids there on different floors and she spent her days going up and down the lift so she could be with both of them. What a nightmare.

Tuesday night they took Danny into surgery and did keyhole surgery on his belly. Craig and I sat in the waiting room and stared intently at the telly screen that shows you what stage the surgery is at. Next to another telly there was a big sign asking parents not to watch programs in the waiting room that might upset other people and it specifically cited Jerry Springer. Makes you wonder what kind of parents would want to watch Jerry Springer while their child was in surgery.

I spent the night in Danny's room while Craig came home and saw to Jack. I have to say, the night wasn't a joyful experience. I had a tiny plastic pull-out bed that squeaked when I moved and Danny was just miserable from not eating all day and having had surgery. Nurses came in every hour to check his vitals and every 3 hours we fed him tiny amounts of formula that just wet his appetite and left him screaming for more. By the next morning I looked and felt like death. About 9am the hospital chaplain wandered into my room. I think he was lost because neither of us were dying and don't you normally ask if you want to see a chaplain? Anyway, he tried to engage me in conversation and I tried to be evasive, hoping he wouldn't try and get me to go to church. Then he dropped a big one and said "are you his grandmother?" It was the first time in my life I've wanted to strangle a clergyman. I'm trying to tell myself he had bad eyesight but am thinking it's more likely that I looked like I hadn't slept for 5 weeks and had laid on a farting matress all night listening to my child crying.

So, we are now home and our boy is like a different baby altogether. He is eating and keeping it down. He is awake more and is producing wet nappies for the first time in his life. What a fantastic relief to get this sorted out.

Now all I need to do is find some miracle face cream that can take 10 years off ...

Monday, March 02, 2009

Wish us Luck at the Hospital

Here's a picture of our lads taken this week. If you are wondering what happened to our Jack's face, it's amazing what happens to skin when you subject it to sub-freezing weather. Fresh air is wonderful but I do wish he was kept indoors a bit more at day care because trying to rub moisturizer on his face each day is like trying to bath a cat.

Danny had his 1 month check-up today and his second Hep B vaccine. Here are his statistics: Weight = 11 lb 9 oz, height = 22.75", and head = 38 cm. By comparison, Jack at this point weighed 10 lbs 15 oz, was 24.5 " tall and had a similarly large noggin at 39.5 cm. Basically, Danny is 2" shorter than Jack but weighs more, so he will inherit hand-me-down clothes that are a bit funky. Hopefully tight pants with turn-ups will be back in fashion by then!

The bad/good news today is that the doctor wants to send Danny to Children's Hospital to try and diagnose his manic spitting -up. He suspects it might be Pyloric stenosis so I am taking him for an ultrasound. If it is Pyloric stenosis, then he'll need minor surgery (the bad news) but at least it'll get sorted out and he'll be able to eat (the good news). This morning he ate half his milk, then threw the whole thing up and was so miserable he looked up at me and he had little tears running down his cheeks, which just breaks my heart.

Wish us luck please.