Sunday, June 17, 2012

Airing of the grievances

I've been mentally composing blog posts for the past two weeks, but never quite getting to it because of the many things in my life conspiring to prevent me from typing. In no particular order:

* Alec has been out of preschool for the past two weeks. We had known about last week, because his preschool year ended a week before his summer program starts. However, he wasn't able to go to his last week of preschool, for absolutely infuriating reasons. For the past couple months, he's had molluscum, an utterly harmless virus that causes painless bumps on your skin. There's no real treatment for it, except for unpleasant sounding things like freezing or scraping the spots, or medications that may or may not work after a few weeks. So unless there's a problem, you just wait it out. It's really common, and as I said, he's had it for a couple months. Unfortunately for us, it's on his face, and the preschool called us concerned about a couple of the spots the next-to-last week of preschool. We humored them and took him to the doctor (K had it in preschool as well, so we recognized it right away), who wrote us a note saying that it was harmless and there was no reason he couldn't attend school. But the preschool director saw that it was contagious and refused to let him attend, even after talking to our doctor on the phone. I would like to take this opportunity to point out that he almost certainly caught the virus at preschool, but as far as I know, there was no effort made to inspect any of his classmates to see if they needed to be sent home because they had this terrible virus. Just Alec, because he was unlucky enough to get the spots someplace visible.

So we need to find a new preschool for next fall, because aside from being nail-spitting mad, molluscum can last for months and it's entirely possible he'll still have it in September. I'm hoping that the drive to his summer program won't be too bad and we'll be able to send him there in the fall. It would have the advantage of removing the time pressure of getting him potty trained before the fall.

Meanwhile, he's been home for two weeks, and he's developing an advanced case of Three, mostly in the form of finding it funny to defy us. Summer camp starts next week and it can't come soon enough.

* I'm still working on the stupid homeschooling portfolio. It's turned out to be more complicated than I expected, because I stupidly didn't read the stupid guidelines closely enough and discovered that while I had been keeping a stupid book log, it was supposed to be a dated stupid book log. I feel dumb now. And I've been a bit busy fudging reconstructing the stupid book log.

We're meeting with the evaluator on Monday, so I have to have it done by then. I should, in fact, be working on it now.

* I'm beginning to suspect that James has reflux. It took a while, because he hasn't been doing the classic arch away during eating, although he's starting to get fussier during feeds. Instead, he's falling in a pattern of eat for half an hour, fall asleep and sleep for 10 minutes, wake up when the acid makes it too painful and want to eat again to soothe the pain. Repeat on endless loop throughout the day. I can usually get one longer nap in the middle of the day where he can be put down, and he's getting pretty consistent with an 8 hour stretch at night, which is saving my sanity. But other than that, it's me pinned to the couch all day long, feeding him endlessly and I find it difficult to type around him. I know he's getting plenty of milk, because he does an excellent Vesuvius impression (in addition to the copious emissions from the other end). Meanwhile, I'm going slowly crazy sitting trapped in one place while my two older children engage in spirited attempts to kill each other. He's getting fussy enough that I feel justified in calling the doctor on Monday instead of waiting until his next appointment, nearly two weeks away. I might develop bedsores if we wait that long.

* This isn't actually preventing me from typing, but it's weighing on my mind: shortly after getting home from the hospital, I got a call from my mother's main health aide saying she was in the hospital after a period of atrial fibrillation. As it turned out, one of the smaller arteries going to her heart was 80 percent blocked, and she was placed on medication to break it up. But she's been very low energy ever since, and when I discussed it with her aide when they were visiting that one doctor at the hospital said she was showing signs of the early stages of congestive heart failure.

So yeah, that's super fun. I've known for a long time that people in wheelchairs often live shorter lives. If nothing else, Mom has a perpetual UTI because she has a catheter. It's sent her to the emergency room a couple times, and I'm sure at some point she'll get sick with something else and it will rear up while she's weakened and make everything far more complicated. But being prepared for the possibility of my mother starting to develop life-threatening problems doesn't make it suck any less when it happens.

* Oh yes, did I mention I have a cold? That's super convenient right now.

So to sum up: I'm busy and stressed. But I'll try to find more time to type after the stupid portfolio is in.

Monday, June 4, 2012

James at one month (and two weeks)

At the doctor on Thursday, James weighed in at 9 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 23 inches. Since he came home from the hospital at 6 pounds, 1 ounce, that's a gain of three pounds in a month. Not too shabby. It's good to know all that nursing is doing some good. In other physical developments, he's lost all of the hair on top of his head, giving him the same hairline that his great-grandfather had, and has developed a raging case of baby acne. This isn't the most attractive phase of infancy, but he's still cute.

What can you say about the developmental accomplishments of a one-month-old? He's having more alert periods where he's awake without wanting to eat. He's fascinated with the contrast between light and dark, which makes him enjoy staring at the woodwork, our hairlines and ceiling fans. He's making eye contact more often and has given me a couple smiles (although he gave his best one yet today to the ceiling fan. I guess the person who gave him life just can't compete). He's taking interest in dangling toys and has started trying to hit them. He's pretty good at holding his head up. All just about exactly where our other two babies were at at one month.

One thing that distinguishes him from his predecessors (and I have to touch wood, cross all my extremities and spit to ward off curses when I say this), is that I think this one is a sleeper. He usually sleeps for a 6-8 hour stretch every day, and at least one long nap, usually more. Mind you, the long stretch isn't always at the most convenient time, like 4pm to midnight, but the fact that he's capable of sleeping that long bodes well for when he's more clear on the difference between night and day. I've actually had to decide to break my cardinal rule of not waking a sleeping baby and not let him sleep more than three hours during the day. Trust me, that's a decision I never had to even think about making with his brother and sister. We can also put him down when he's asleep. At this age, his siblings were living in the sling, because it was the only place they would sleep. We use the sling with him, but it's not essential. We actually forget it sometimes when we go out, and it's never a disaster.

Another thing I hesitate to say is that breastfeeding is really going very well. He's obviously gaining well, and it's entirely on breastmilk. We've introduced bottles, although he's not a huge fan, but it hasn't even been one a day. He generally gets one to give me a break in the evening, but because he sleeps so well in the evening, it's often not necessary. We're still using a nipple shield, but today, in about hour 7 of cluster feeding (hurrah for the six week growth spurt. Blargh), I experimentally offered him the breast without a shield and he latched right on. I can't say breastfeeding a newborn is easy, but I can see a day in the future when breastfeeding will be the convenient experience everyone touts, as opposed to the draining, all-day-on-the-couch experience it is now.

So that's James so far: easygoing, loves his food, loves his sleep. I really can't complain (except during all-day cluster feeding days like today. I reserve the right to complain bitterly about those).