Friday, September 30, 2005

Weekly Wrap-Up

AngelBaby had his 15 month check-up this am, and we found that:
  • He remains in the 5th percentile for weight
  • He remains in the 10-25th percentile for height
  • His head remains in the 75th percentile
He looks like a Blow Pop.

The nurse practitioner has been concerned because he's had fluid in his ears at every visit, plus two ear infections last spring. But we took him for a hearing eval a couple of weeks ago, which he passed with flying colors, so we thought the issue was settled. But today she noted fluid again (no, really?), and wants to check with ENT about tube placement.

I think this could be described as elective surgery for nurse practioner distress. We're not biting.

In other news, I've been talking with my brother's girlfriend and her dad almost daily. Her mom has a pretty bad cancer, it turns out. They're wonderful people. Of course. Sucks.

In more other news, I'll be on call from 4:30 pm today until 8:30 am Monday. Fortunately one set of TrophyHusband's parents are coming for the weekend to pitch in with HellBoy. I am very lucky in the in-law category.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

How to Succeed in Co-Sleeping Without Really Trying

I never thought I'd be a co-sleeper. In fact, I didn't know it even had a name. I'm pretty sure I used to be one of those childless people who are shocked -- SHOCKED! -- to hear that people sleep with their babies.

Then HellBoy arrived.

At first he was all AngelBaby. I had him in a little sidecar bassinet, which worked well enough. He slept a couple-three hours at a time, woke to nurse, and went back to sleep. He was so light (5lbs 14oz at birth) that it was nothing to pop him in and out. Plus, I needed to arrange myself elaborately with the nursing pillow, the glass of water, etc., etc., so there was no chance I could sleep through it.

Then he got a couple weeks older, and started to protest at being put back in the bassinet. But I was terrified that I would smother him if I kept him in bed. So I just nursed him more often. And got more and more sleep deprived.

Finally I did it -- I let him stay next to me (with a roll guard to help prevent smothering). And he was soooo happy. And I got sooooo much more sleep. But I felt sooooo embarrassed about it. So I did what I usually do when I feel uneasy: I studied the issue. I learned that this had a name, and fierce proponents and opponents, and some (crappy) data -- but basically that it was a perfectly reasonable option. Meanwhile, I got addicted to the extra sleep, and to the nice feeling of a cuddly baby in bed. TrophyHusband was perfectly happy to have the baby there, so that wasn't an issue.

Then we learned how to nurse lying down, and it was all over. NO WAKING UP TO FEED THE BABY. SLEEP!!! I was the best-rested new mother on the planet. But oh, the reactions from other people. The horror -- the horror! It was actually kind of fun to taunt people with it. I took the baby in to work to show him off, and the first question everybody asked was, "How's he sleeping?" To which I would reply, "Oh, he sleeps great. Just wakes up to eat and goes back to sleep ..." at which point the listener would be smiling happily, until I added, "... of course, he sleeps with us." Three-quarters of the time the smile would morph into a look of alarm. "Oh, you can't do that!" was the typical response. "Why not?" I'd ask. "Because ... because ... eventually he's going to have to learn to sleep by himself!" was the best that anyone could come up with. OK -- so he can learn now, or he can learn later. I pick later.

But I still felt strangely ashamed. I'm still not sure why -- perhaps because I was taking the easy way out. But it just felt so right for us. Plus, our two enormous cats slept with us every night, and it seemed absurd to kick the baby out of bed and then turn around and invite the cats up.

Finally one night I sat up and said, "We're getting a king-sized bed." TrophyHusband immediately recognized this as a turning point, because up until then I had always viewed king beds as an outrageous excess. No one needs that much room! Which is kind of funny, because I really need my space in bed -- I'm always shooing TH, aka CuddleMonkey, away from me.

So now here we are, over a year later. Our typical routine is that around 8:15 pm I sit and nurse AngelBaby until he rolls over and falls asleep, then I put him in his crib. TH and I get to have the bed to ourselves (plus a cat or two) until about 1 am, when the baby wakes up and hollers, at which point TH fetches him into bed. Then we all sleep happily until about 5, when the baby wakes up to nurse a little more. Usually after that he sleeps till 7 or 8. And we all feel pretty rested most of the time.

Does AngelBaby need this, or do we? I think it's both. He's an intense baby; he never fusses, he becomes apoplectic. So we have to choose our battles. But also, we work full time; I feel comfortable having him in daycare, but when I'm with him, I want to be really with him. And he's not a cuddly baby most of the time, so it's gratifying to have our fill of snuggling, even if it's while he's asleep.

Works for us.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Now I Know How It Feels

The other evening, while TrophyHusband was making dinner and I was distracting HellBoy from playing with knives, TH's cell phone rang. I took over stirring the pasta while he went to answer it. You should know that I have a little problem with telephone phobia. I get anxious when speaking to someone I can't see. So TH will often let me in on his phone conversations by repeating whatever is said and then passing along my comments. (Another post sometime re this.) But this time, he got a funny look on his face and sort of wandered away, out of easy earshot. By straining my ears and picking up HB to keep him from whining, I managed to pick up something along these lines:

"... very narrow staircase ... 15 months old ... jerry-built ... cats need to be able to get through ..."

And I quickly figured out that he was talking to someone about installing baby gates on our staircase. So did I think, oh, how nice that he's taking care of this? No, what I thought was, that cheating son of a bitch.

See, I wield all the power tools in our house. I install shelves, fix faucets, replace electrical outlets -- and put up baby gates. We have a 100 year old rowhouse with a narrow staircase that has a lovely carved newell post set at a slight angle to the stairs. This created a bit of a problem when it came time to install baby gates. Most gates were too wide for the space. In addition, there was no way to fasten the latch to the slanted newell post without damaging it in the process. And, we had to make sure that BadCat would be able to get by (he's too big and clumsy to leap over). So a couple of months ago I spent most of a hot and frustrating day fashioning a solution to the problem. And I think I did a beautiful job, if I do say so myself, but you be the judge:

I realize that we can't allow HB unsupervised access to these contraptions, but then we can't allow him unsupervised access to anything.

So I start following TH around, making angry faces and gestures. Finally he hangs up and confesses that he had seen an ad for someone who custom-babyproofs houses and had wondered whether there was a better solution for our stairs.

He was cheating on me.

I did get some satisfaction from the fact that the guy told TH that it sounded like I had already come up with the best way to do it. "Jerry-built" indeed!

TH says that he now realizes he can't get away with anything.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Making Amends, and Walking

I have made amends. I put four Choco Tacos in the staff refrigerator and an anonymous note:
Soon thereafter an addendum was written below my note:
Thanx U Rock!
So I think I've been absolved. And I do feel much better. Apparently somebody has been stealing Snapples too, but I swear I didn't do it this time.

AngelBaby decided to become a true toddler yesterday -- he started walking for the hell of it, rather than as a party trick to amuse us. More things to worry about now, but I'm overall glad about it -- his knees are a fright and his hands get filthy because he insists on crawling on the sidewalk. And now he can move up to the toddler room at daycare. Right now he's the oldest kid by far in the infant room. 15 months old, and already held back.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Those Penguins Sure Have It Tough

TrophyHusband was really lobbying for the penguin movie, while I was holding out for the Aristocrats or Broken Flowers. In the end, the babysitter was a little late, so the only movie time we could catch and still have dinner was the penguins. Dinner was great. But as I expected, the movie is littered with the fluffy corpses of baby penguins. There were penguin babies dying of neglect and predation and 100 mile per winds at 80 degrees below zero and because their mothers get Jawed by a terrifying leopard seal (who knew there was such a thing as a terrifying seal?). I'm glad it wasn't the first movie I ever went to while leaving AngelBaby with a babysitter. Movies should really have ratings based on the circumstances under which one should not see them. Case in point: I went on a first date to see Happiness. We got through the first half of the movie ok because we'd done tequila shots at the bar next to the theater, but as the alcohol level in my blood sagged I began to realize what a terrible mistake I'd made. Mostly in the choice of date, but the movie was a problem too. So Happiness would be rated NFD (No First Dates). The penguin movie would be rated NAFTP (No Anxious First-Time Parents). And most action movies would be NALMSS (No Annoying Literal-Minded Spoilsports), so I wouldn't be allowed in.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I Am the Choco Taco Thief

I have already managed to do two really spacey things today that may have bad consequences.
  1. The tech support guy left a message saying he wanted the fancy digital video camera I checked out months ago back. I was supposed to be using this for taping student conferences, but I just haven't managed to get around to it. And when I looked on my shelf for the camera, it was gone. I have no idea when it disappeared or how. And he is one of those horrible noodgy people who will be absolutely hysterical about this for months.

  2. There is a conference that I am in charge of that takes place every Thursday at 11. Everyone in the department is supposed to come to it. Today at 12:15 I realized that I DIDN'T GO TO MY OWN CONFERENCE. My department chief did, though!
So now I'm off to see patients. Let's hope that I don't kill one of them with my ineptitude.

(And the other day I had to stay late and I was starving and I found a Choco Taco in the staff fridge and ate it ... and today there's a huge sign on the fridge bitching and moaning about how someone stole the Choco Taco. I didn't own up to it. I just snuck away. I am a space case and a Choco Taco thief.

If the person who owned the Choco Taco reads this, I can only say: It tasted good.)

Update: The hysterical noodgy tech guy just came by and found out about the missing camera, and said ... "Oh, don't worry about it. Maybe someone borrowed it, or maybe not. I'll get you another one!" He recently started dating one of the administrative assistants in our office, so the only thing I can think of that is making him so relaxed is, maybe he's finally getting some? Whatever it is, I'm not complaining!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Why I Call Him GoodCat

Impatience with Patients

I'm on call tonight. That means I have to keep my pager on until 8:30 tomorrow morning and answer pages from: outpatients from 10 different doctors; nurses at 2 nursing homes; and residents at the hospital who are admitting patients. I only have to do this a couple of times a month, plus about every seventh weekend, but it can be a real pain in the ass. My least favorite calls:
  • Calls from the lab about stat results. Usually the results are just mildly abnormal. The tech always asks if I want the patient's home phone number, and when I say "No" in a really bored voice, they ask how to spell my name.
  • Calls from the nursing home about new admissions. They have to read every order to me over the phone so that I can verbally ok each one. This takes a long time and I don't know the patient from Adam's off ox and have to keep myself from reading a magazine while the nurse blathers on and then I realize that I may have just ok'd a lethal dose of laxative.
  • Calls from patients trying to scam narcotics. Actually I don't mind these so much; it's kind of fun to hear what they have to say when I tell them no. Except when they're really agreeable and mournfully say they'll just call their usual office in the morning. Then I feel like a mean asshole.
  • Calls from patients who have a sore throat and/or cough and their doctor "always gives them antibiotics" and "it takes care of it right away." There's no winning with those folks. I have to either try to explain to them that their illness is viral and isn't helped by antibiotics (which is almost never successful because I'm basically telling them that their usual doctor is wrong, wrong, wrong), which takes forever, or I just take the easy way out and order the antibiotics even though I know it's the wrong thing to do. Then I feel like a wimp.
  • Calls at 4 am.
  • Calls from patients in the emergency room wanting me to speak to the People in Charge so they won't have to wait so long. Because they must have something much more serious than the other fifty people already waiting.
On another front, the tiles are going up in the bathroom today, so we're that much closer to living in the modern world again. You might think with all of this that we're getting a really fancy bathroom, with a heart-shaped Jacuzzi and a Japanese toilet that weighs you and checks your stool for blood, but actually it's as simple as can be. Except that TrophyHusband researched shower fixtures for days and toilets for weeks, and we'll have a shower control that automatically adjusts the hot & cold water for you and a toilet that only requires one flush. This last thing is very important to TH. I had no idea it was such a problem. Everything must go down and stay down with one flush. I don't know what he's putting down there -- all our junk mail? bricks of maryjane? small woodland animals? -- but whatever it is, it apparently puts up quite a struggle.

Monday, September 12, 2005

There Is a Water Service Which Will Solve an Agony

I had noticed that someone already had the website, so I went to investigate. Turns out it's a Korean OB/Gyn's address. I used the handy Google translator, and this is what it came up with:
There are to women and is not a place which is an obstetrics and gynecology certainly it will not become it is a place which is necessary but it wants hiding, when it distinguishes the place which is shy the place where the women of most good season dislike most because of point rightly it is an obstetrics and gynecology hospital.
It is like that but it uses a recently internet and it does not distinguish a confidence not to be, it stands but as much as there is a water service which will solve an agony and there was a water service which will find the medical treatment knowledge which is necessary and. Is caused by with the medical treatment knowledge which it is knowing but by mistake and there is also a case which ruins the health of the oneself with the own diagnosis which set it calls rather ... the agony which it will not be able consultation of cool solution and disease it led in order to everybody wild side more nearly, this space polyvalent good season it prepared. Thank you.
I haven't a clue what all that means, but I would like to try the water service which will solve an agony, and the doctor seems like a pretty fun guy:

The weird thing is, the photos at the top are of white babies. What is it he's promising, anyway?

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Why I Call Him TrophyHusband

It started as a joke, because he's six years younger than I am. He's also cute, in an intellectual/hipster/crunchy way. But mainly, he's much nicer than I am.

For instance: in the middle of all the craziness with having to get out of our house, he made time in his day to go and donate blood. Now, I know a lot of people donate blood, but I don't think anyone has had to work harder to do so than TH. A long time ago, before they had figured out how to test for HIV, my husband went to donate blood and was faced with a bewildering questionnaire. He's very smart, but he tends to over-think things, and he answered one of the questions wrong. Not wrong as in he was actually at risk for HIV; wrong as in he misunderstood what they were asking when they asked about his previous sexual contacts. (Let's just say that he had sowed some pretty wild oats, and that he's geographically challenged and didn't know exactly where in the world sub-Saharan Africa was, and ... oh, never mind.) So they politely told him thanks but no thanks. He was astonished, but didn't argue. But then the next time he went to donate, he found out that he was on the Blood Donor Blacklist. That's right, they will ban you for life if they think you might be tainted.

Now, many people (including me) would have said, phew, don't have to feel guilty about not donating blood anymore! But not TH. No, TH went on a campaign to clear his name and be allowed to donate blood once more. Which was NOT an easy task, let me tell you. And one fine day, he received a pardon and was restored to Approved Blood Donor status. And he has tasty and useful Type O negative universal donor blood, so they now want him a lot.

Of course, I got annoyed because it meant that he was spacey for the rest of the day and wasn't quite as useful as he usually is. But that's because I'm not nearly as nice as TH.