Friday, October 22, 2010

Happy Birthday Miss Monica!

Two years old today...hard to believe it was that long ago that we met our little girl for the first time! The days are long the years are short...

We love you Monica, and we pray that you have many more healthy, joy-filled years ahead of you!

On another note, we no longer have two kids under two! That's kind of comforting...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Anne of Green Gables Steered Me Wrong

Do you know what croup sounds like? My impression of croup, until a month ago, was that it is a deep rattly cough that sounds like it's originating in the lungs. Why did I have this idea? Was it from asking our pediatrician, my mother, or even random internet chat rooms? Nope. I extrapolated this false assumption from Anne of Green Gables.

If you've ever read or seen Anne of Green Gables, you may recall that she saved Diana's sister from croup by giving her syrup of ipecac, which basically makes you throw up with the intent of ridding your lungs of mucus. That's the last time I take any medical advice or treatment cues from Anne Girl. Croup has nothing to do with mucus clogged lungs. It's the swelling of the throat and central airways which produces a tight barking cough...which is exactly what James had when he caught his first cold. I remember very vividly sitting at the dinner table while he was barking in his bouncy seat and saying to Kevin, "What is croup anyway? Isn't more in the chest? James' cough is tight and in the throat. In Anne of Green Gables, Anne gave Diana's sister syrup of epecac to save her from croup and that wouldn't help a cough like this. So, this must not be croup." Looking back, I can't help thinking how ridiculous that was. Why would I take medical treatment cues from a children's fiction book written a century ago?

Needless to say, that night was really bad for James, so bad that we rushed him to the ER at 2am. From about 9pm on, he was up every 40 minutes or so coughing. I would go into his room, give him the pacifier or rock him to sleep, only to be back in there not long after that. By 1am, I was laying on the floor in his room trying to get some rest in between comforting sessions when I realized that, if I wasn't hearing him cough, I wasn't sure if he was breathing. That is when I picked him up out of his crib and went to Kevin, knowing we had a serious problem.

I threw some clothes on and put James in his car seat to go to the ER. Kevin stayed behind until he got one of our neighbors to sit in the house with Monica. That drive to the ER was probably one of the scariest times of my life. As I drove through town at over-the-speed limit listening to my little guy cry and cough, I could only thank God that he was crying because then I knew he was breathing. Kevin followed about 15 minutes later. We went to the university hospital in town and Kevin, not thinking completely clearly at 2am, took the longer route through campus. Mistake. As some of you may remember from the old days, 2am is last call at the bar, and just after 2am is when all of the bar crawlers stumble home. So here's Kevin, trying to get to the hospital to comfort his wife and son while weaving through the winding one way streets of campus and dodging drunken students. Fortunately no one was injured!

By the time Kevin reached us, James already had a dose of steroids (to reduce the inflammation) and a breathing treatment (to open the airways). We ended up having to be admitted since James needed two breathing treatments within two hours. We ended up waiting in the ER exam room until 7am, when we were finally taken to our room at the children's hospital. We only had to stay for about 12 hours, which was long enough for me to be truly thankful that we were only dealing with croup, and not the other long term health issues that so many of the other children on the floor were experiencing.

Suffice it to say, I'll never forget what croup sounds like, and when in doubt, I'll give the doctor a call instead of relying on faded memories of my favorite children's novel!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This Dairy Free Life

James has already taken us on some domestic adventures, one of them being a huge lifestyle change for me: living completely dairy free. When I say completely, I mean it. James, like Monica, has a dairy intolerance, meaning that he cannot digest casein (the protein in milk) properly. So, anytime he gets casein in his system (via breastmilk) he gets abrasions in his colon and blood in his diapers. Oy.

I cut down on dairy about two weeks before his due date in preparation for such a situation. Monica was also dairy intolerant as an infant, and once you have one child with that condition, it is more likely that you will have another. Even the little bit of dairy I was getting right before and after James was born (via occasional cheese and small amounts of dairy in dressings and prepared foods) was too much. By three weeks, he had colitis symptoms. So, I have been completely dairy free for over three months. Milk is in so many things...cake, cookies, brownies, nougat, cereals, granola bars, pretzels, chocolate, sherbet, some deli meats and sausage, bread, salad dressings and the list goes on.

Many people may ask why I am even doing this. Why not just switch to formula? Believe me, it's a tempting option. However, James is a really good nurser. He is growing very rapidly (as evidenced by recently posted pictures) and he is happy. Monica had the same issue as he did but she was NOT a good nurser. She was fussy and miserable and therefore, I was pretty miserable. There's no morale buster like a baby screaming at your chest 8+ times per day. We also found out that she was having a hard time eating and getting enough food for proper weight gain. For Monica, switching to bottles was a stab at achieving sanity once again.

Dealing with Monica's dairy free life helped prepare me for my dairy free life. I learned a lot of shortcuts for getting the calories I need without relying on milk, cheese and ice cream. Using rice protein powder, adding extra oil, feasting on potato chips and treating myself to coconut milk yogurt and coconut milk ice cream have been essential. I also did a lot of web research for Monica's dairy free diet and found MSPI Mama. She has a great blog with tons of recipes for people dealing with Milk and Soy Protein Intolerance (MSPI).

Though I totally miss pizza, and that will be the first thing I eat when I can have dairy again, I am at peace with my current way of life. James will not be nursing forever, nor is it likely that he will be dairy intolerant forever. Monica has grown out of her intolerance and enjoys cheese, cookies, cake and the like with the best of them.

I've decided that living dairy free is a sacrifice I'm willing to make for James. Yeah, it means skipping out on dessert (most of the time), pizza, and eating out at restaurants as much as I would like. But, living dairy free will not be forever. There will be a time, once again, when I'll get my cheese and eat it too!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Ready for the Game

We got ourselves and the kids all decked out for the football game today. Now we hope our Wolverines deliver a big win!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Attempted Re-Entry

Here is my attempt at a re-entry into the blogosphere. It's not that I have been all that much more busy or stressed out. "Whelmed" would be an appropriate term for my day-to-day status. Not OVERwhelmed, just whelmed. But whelmed still didn't seem to leave a lot of time for blogging.

However, there have been so many times lately when "I should blog about this" has run through my head, and yet I've done nothing about it. So, today is the day. I'm back.

My latest bloggy moment was one of joy and silliness. I put on some music and Monica started dancing, which looks like she's trying to launch into the air, but sadly, her feet are stuck to the ground. She throws up her arms and laughs hysterically, and that laughter is totally contagious. When she starts "dancing", how can I keep from dancing? So, Monica is doing her Monster Mash around the room and I'm dancing with James, who is also giggling and making a funny growly baby noise. It was the kind of moment that would look really strange to Joe Shmo on the street, but bring tears to my eyes when I think of it. Those are the kind of silly, heartwarming moments a mom of 2 under 2 needs.

The other blog-worthy happening was not quite so joyous, but funny, now that it has passed. I often take the kids to a near by park when the weather is nice to pass some of the morning. James is still in the "I can't be awake for very long without getting cranky" phase so I try to get out the door quickly when he wakes up from a nap. I try to feed him before we go, if at all possible, since nursing on a picnic bench while Monica roams free at a large, fence-less park is not ideal. However, James is the kind of baby who will only eat when he's ready. Yesterday, we really needed to get out of the house, so I took my chances with having to feed him at the park and I was reminded why I don't normally like my odds. James did eventually want to eat, at the exact same time Monica wanted to climb up the big climbing wall. I told her not to get on the wall because I couldn't help her, which only made her mad and so she decided to take off toward the parking lot. So here I am, running after her with James nursing under a cover and yelling at Monica to stop right there and "Listen to Mommy!!" Another parent was there with his toddler and he looked at me like I was a bit crazy. To tell you the truth, I felt a bit crazy. I can laugh now, but I'll probably just let Monica play in the backyard next time I'm hit with this situation.

Here are a few choice photos for you:

Snuggle Bug

Mmmm...Spaghetti (I know, I know...we really need to regrout the tub...)

Mr. Jowls

Swimming anyone?