Tag Archives: daycare

She Says… Food Allergies x2

Remember the months I spent entrenched in The Great Allergy Experiment in 2011 trying to figure out what was causing Owen’s eczema cheeks? Sadly we seem to be back there again. Different kid this time, but the cheeks are just the same. And Emmett has some little patches of itchy, dry eczema on the insides of his elbows and on the center of his stomach as well.

Sigh.

At least this time around I noticed it THE DAY it started, knew exactly what it was and was prepared to treat it and begin the investigation much earlier than I did with Owen.

Let me back up a minute, though. Because I’m not sure I ever actually wrote the blog post I promised you about Emmett’s possible allergies that led to me having to stop breastfeeding and starting him on hypoallergenic baby formula. Here’s the very short story.

  • When Emmett was between 2 and 3 months I began to realized that his poop was super mucus-y. In the very beginning I couldn’t tell the difference between “normal for a newborn” and “troublesome mucus”, so I waited with a watchful eye. Around 3 months I googled for some pictures (yes, of other peoples’ baby poop… don’t judge) and was slammed with pictures that looked EXACTLY like Emmett’s (stringy, mucus-filled, watery, abnormally green/dark before starting solids, etc.) and every one linked to a website about identifying food allergies, specifically cow’s milk protein allergy.
  • At his 3 month doctor’s visit I showed our pedi. He immediately confirmed that was “not normal” and that I should go on a strict milk and soy-free diet. He also indicated that Emmett was dropping in the weight charts and didn’t seem to be gaining weight appropriately. I had already started this diet per my own research, but I tightened up and eliminated anything that could even possibly include milk/soy and did not “cheat”. I saw little improvements here and there.
  • A couple weeks later when I hadn’t seen any real improvement overall, I also eliminated chocolate (I had been having some dairy-free chocolate, but some breastfeeding mothers noted on discussion boards that chocolate upset their babies’ tummies, so I figured it was worth a shot).
  • A  week after that, shortly before his 4 months appointment, I also eliminated eggs (as one of the top 8 allergens and also something I noticed flare-ups after eating). No dairy, soy, chocolate or eggs for 8 weeks — it’s no wonder I found it so easy to return to my pre-pregnancy weight!
  • Given that our family has had a lot of experience with celiac disease and maintaining a STRICTLY gluten free lifestyle for Benjamin and Owen, I am quite good at the “are you sure you’re REALLY eliminating these things entirely” game. I asked my doctor if I should also avoid wheat/gluten, given the family history, but he assured me (and some other research has supported this) that gluten does not pass through breastmilk and this isn’t necessary. Especially given that I had already eliminated so many foods, I think he was also trying to help me from going crazy. In retrospect I question this decision, but hindsight is always 20/20, eh?
  • At Emmett’s 4 month doctor’s visit I asked the doctor to test his mucus-filled diaper for blood. Test immediately turned positive. I also noted that he had started arching, crying and fussing more while eating, and I was seeing a lot more spit-up than previously. Ahem. ALL THE SAME THINGS I saw with Owen at the exact same age. Doctor noted that Emmett had actually lost weight since his 3 month appointment. I always told myself that with Baby #2 I would not pressure myself about breastfeeding like I did with Owen, and the minute the child stops gaining weight appropriately I would do whatever it takes to get them eating again.
  • We decided to take breastmilk out of the equation, despite my elimination diet, and do a test of 5 days of hypoallergenic formula (Nutramigen) only. I pumped during this time thinking I was still going to return to breastfeeding once we figured out the culprit.
  • By Day 3 on the formula I saw a huge improvement in his attitude and stomach comfort. By Day 5 his poop had NEW, VISIBLE BLOOD (!!!), but no more mucus. (We have since confirmed that the visible blood was the tail end of the allergens getting out of his system, but that shit is scary!). On Day 6, relieved and able to see the light at the end of the long tunnel, I stopped breastfeeding. Tummy discomfort went away, poop became normal, Emmett seemed happier and more full. He started gaining steadily, hence the deliciously chubby cheeks you see today.

Oh… you wanted the short story? Sorry. Once I started I figured that I might as well get this out there so others who are in the midst of this hell hole can learn from my experiences.

So all was well after we started the hypoallergenic formula at 4 months. Until we started solid food.

Started with avocado. Then added homemade sweet potato. Green beans. Peas. Apples. After his 3rd or 4th time eating apples with a smidgen of rice cereal (WHEAT FREE rice cereal), though, I noticed a little bit of prickly red dots on his cheeks. Just like with Owen, people said to me, “Oh, it’s just from drool.” or “Oh, it’s just the cold”. But I knew better. I could feel it in my gut. I stopped the rice cereal. When it happened again, I stopped the apples. From what I can tell, an apple allergy is pretty rare, and it’s more likely that I’m seeing a reaction to something else, but in the absence of that answer, I’m willing to put apples on hold for the moment.

Then we added broccoli. Butternut squash. Pears. After eating pears for 2 days I noticed the same red cheeks. No more pears until I figure this out.

I’m currently investigating a “Birch Pollen Allergy”. This is interesting because Benjamin has oral allergy syndrome, which means his mouth gets itchy when he eats apples. It’s not anaphylactic and isn’t something that gets worse the more times you challenge it, so he just eats apples rarely and deals with a little itchiness. I know peeling and cooking foods in the birch pollen allergy family can help, but both the apples and the pears that Emmett ate were organic, and peeled and steamed at home.

So I don’t know. I’m trying not to let it overwhelm me. We’re going slowly now adding new foods and I’m keeping notes of what is eaten when so I can maybe shed some light onto the issue. Going to discuss in depth with our pedi on Monday.

Two days ago at school his teacher called me and said that, all of a sudden in the middle of the afternoon, Emmett’s face blew up with a red rash. She said it didn’t seem to bother him, and seemed to happen without warning. He hadn’t eaten solid food since the morning, he’d only had his normal bottles. I asked if maybe someone had a new perfume or ate a peanut butter sandwich for lunch or anything, but she really couldn’t think of what could have caused it. She sent me this picture.

Emmettrash

An hour later when I picked him up, it was mostly gone. I put some lotion on at bedtime and by morning his skin was clear again.

Has anyone had this happen or know what this might be? I hesitate to think food-related because it came on suddenly outside of anything he had eaten… but I really don’t know.

Welcome to The Great Allergy Experiment x2.

 

She Says… Hugging it Out

While we’re on the subject of my 3 year old being, well, “particular”, I’m going to let you in on the tug-of-war I’ve been having inside my head for the last few weeks.

Pulling In vs. Pushing Away

Owen is in the midst of a particularly difficult period. The mitten-based tantrums are one part, but he’s also been struggling to express his frustration in other situations. At school this shows up in uncharacteristically aggressive reactions to friends taking a toy from him, or teary meltdowns over things that didn’t use to bother him at all, like any answer to the question, “What are you makin’ for dinner?”. Being around him is a bit like walking a minefield. You never know when you’re going to step on a bomb.

He didn’t used to be like this. It feels like it’s not really “him”, but I can’t get him to snap out of it.

There are a lot of potential reasons why this behavior might be flaring up right now.

1. He’s 3 1/2. I remember reading somewhere that the “half-years” are often far more challenging than the time surrounding actual birthdays due to developmental leaps and struggles. I remember a chart of a spiral of child development that showed common behaviors for each year/half-year and the year behaviors were often “mastered” and the half-years were “developing”. And, on top of that, there’s the omnipresent dichotomy between being a baby and being a big kid — needing your parents while simultaneously wanting to do everything for yourself. Which is stressful for a kid. So there’s that. And to be honest, maybe I could just stop there. Because 3 1/2 is hard, no matter how you slice it.

2. Emmett. I know he’s been around for 5 1/2 months, but now he’s getting bigger, and cuter, and he’s beginning to do things that Owen does too (like eat food), which might make him seem more like a “threat” to Owen. I almost hesitate to add him to this list because Owen has never, not once, showed any frustration or anger or ill will towards him. He is the sweetest, kindest, gentlest big brother. Even more than I ever thought possible. His bad attitude has never been directed at Emmett. Still, I understand that realizing he is not the center of attention in our family all the time is a long and arduous process for Owen.

3. Increasing/high expectations. Owen recently night potty-training himself. His night pull-up had been dry for 5+ months, but I wasn’t going to pull the plug on the pull-ups just yet, as I’ve read that kids (boys especially) aren’t generally physically ready for night training until 5 or even later. I didn’t want to stress him out. As with the rest of our potty training journey, though, Owen was insistent, and once he decided he wanted to be dry all night, he was. So once we finished up the pull-ups we had in our house, we supported his decision to sleep in underwear. Boom. Done. In the mornings when his magic clock turns green, Owen LOVES getting up by himself, going pee, getting dressed for the day and coming in to our room. It’s glorious, and the best part is that he is so proud of himself. The kid can write letters and wipe his own nose and put his dishes in the sink and work the CD player on his own. He is so capable and eager that we just keep teaching and he just keeps learning. Accepting responsibility. Asking for it. But then sometimes he wants to go backwards. And NOT do all of those things. And it’s confusing for us, and sometimes we push him. “You’ve done it before”, “You know how”, “You’re a big boy”.

4. Illness. Acting out on the outside when he’s feeling bad on the inside has always been a common thread for Owen. It’s generally in retrospect that I can identify that an ear infection was to blame for his whiny tantrum or a brewing virus was behind a hitting rampage. Right before Christmas Owen had a nasty respiratory bug that coincided with the stomach bug. Then he seemed to get better. Then a few days later his fever resurfaced. He complained of stomach pains and a headache. I told myself I would take him to the doctor in the morning, but in the morning his temp was normal and he said he felt fine again. Then over the weekend his temp spiked again, all the way up to 102 even after a dose of Ibuprofen. Doc said if it was still high the next morning to come in. Next morning it was back to normal and he said he felt better. Since then no fever, but he’s still acting under the weather and complaining of his stomach. I know illness can’t account for bad behavior for months upon months, but it’s possible that there’s something going on health-wise that I just haven’t identified yet.

And then of course there’s always the theory that bad behavior is a cry for attention. For love. And that’s probably also the case.

Given that it has felt like these behaviors were getting worse recently, Benjamin and I scheduled a meeting with his teacher and the psychologist on staff at his school. She routinely visits the classrooms and knows the kids and I wanted to get her opinion (reassurance?) on if his behavior was normal or if she thought there was something bigger going on. The bottom line is that both his teacher and the psychologist feel that his behavior is well within the range of normal (which we were relieved to hear). He’s 3. It’s hard being 3.

They both offered solutions for dealing with his behavior, many that I had heard before and that we already use on a daily basis (offer choices, give him power when possible, praise good behavior and don’t give attention to bad behavior, help him verbalize his feelings, etc.). The psychologist also talked a bit about hugging it out, or pulling him in rather than pushing him away when he’s acting out.

It feels uncomfortable to say out loud, but that’s not my knee jerk reaction when my kid is acting like a wild animal. My usual response to that behavior is “I can’t hear you when you talk like that” or “I don’t want to listen to you cry. If you need to cry, go do it in the other room” or “Come back and talk to me when you’ve pulled yourself together”. It’s not necessarily pushing him away, but it’s a general avoidance of his emotional outbursts. To be honest, it’s treating him like an adult who has the capability to pull themselves together without help. Which a 3 year old doesn’t necessarily have. And, while we’re being honest… it’s not really helping. While shutting down and closing the door to him might feel like the right thing to do to me (“I’m teaching him a lesson!”), it might not be what he needs to get through it.

The psychologist made a very strong case for the fact that, during these outbursts, Owen probably wants them to stop as much as I do. He wants to pull himself together. He wants to stop crying. He’s not manipulating me; he’s sad. And he needs help. And when she said it like that… well, then I just felt like a jerk.

So we’ve been trying this tactic recently. Instead of walking away from his tantrum, I take a deep breath and hug him. I just hug. Eventually I talk softly and try to put words to what he’s feeling, but it starts with a hug. (Benjamin is way better at this than I am, but I’m working on it). It’s not all rainbows and unicorns — sometimes Owen REALLY doesn’t want to be hugged. Sometimes it backfires. Sometimes, even when it helps, I feel like I’ve giving attention to bad behavior and it will turn him into a spoiled brat.

So I’m still figuring things out, like when and how to use this. And I’m still learning how to reconcile bringing him in vs. pushing him away. And to make it my instinct rather than something that’s difficult for me to do. But it certainly feels nice to have something in my parenting toolbox other than ignoring my kid until he can get his emotions under control.

She Says… Snow days and schedules (or lack thereof)

Happy New Year!

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Apparently I needed a little vacay from the blog as well as work since I haven’t blogged since Christmas. We had a wonderful week “off” from our normal schedules (presents! sicknesses! family! more presents! short school days! SNOW!) but now we are anxious to get back to normal. Well, Benjamin and I are. Owen has no idea, but he is too. Dude gets all out of sorts when his daily routine is messed up (read: our “wonderful” week, while undeniably wonderful, was rife with uncharacteristic tantrums and whiny/sad ‘tude).

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Yesterday both boys went to school and Benjamin and I clicked away at our computers, working working working. And then the weather channels went craycray talking about the impending blizzard.

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By pickup time the snow was coming down really hard, and this morning we woke up to this.

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Lots of snow, yo. 12+”. And it’s still coming down. Daycare is still open (HALLELUJAH!), but not until 10am. So we’re having another weird schedule day that will involve a lot of shoveling as soon as Emmett goes down for a nap.

I love snow. I do. I don’t even mind shoveling (until, like, March). But my work inbox is overflowing and I have more to do than I can possibly get done in a short day. So, umm, Happy New Year?

My blog friend Meg over at Phase Three of Life has a really nice tradition of picking a theme for the upcoming year every January. I’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions (except that every year since having Owen, Benjamin and I always resolve to go out more!), but I like this idea of thinking of a theme that can help guide your behavior throughout the year. Meg’s choice, Patience, totally struck a chord with me. I could easily just say, “Hell yeah, sister” (as I do almost every time I read her blog posts) and be done. What mother of a preschooler DOESN’T need patience? But there’s another word that I think I may need to hear even more than Patience.

Calm.

Work feeling crazy? Be calm.
Owen screaming his head off? Calm your voice before you talk to him.
Emmett STILL not sleeping through the night? Calm down. He will. And you will miss these days.
House a mess? Behind on laundry? Floors covered in crumbs? Take a deep breath. Be calm. It will all get done.
Mind racing with all of the things on your To Do list? CALM. Start with one.

We all need a little calm in our lives, no? I hear myself saying to Owen all the time, “Calm your body.” “Calm your voice.”. The truth is, I should take my own advice sometimes.

May 2014 be the year of Calm.

What’s your word?

She Says… LICE

There are very few things that I’ve encountered so far since having children that truly gross me out. Vomit is close, but as a mother I’ve been able to handle it so much better than I ever could have when I was younger.

But I just got an email that sends shivers down my spine.

SOMEONE IN OWEN’S CLASS HAS LICE.

A little buddy who has likely shared dress up hats and hugs with my kid. Who probably sat next to him and itched his or her little bug-infested head right over my kid’s snack.

Lice.

Ick.

Gag.

Little itchy bugs embedding themselves in my kid’s scalp. Or mine. Or my dog’s. (Can dogs get lice?).

Tell me everything you know about lice. What do I do now? How do I check for them? How long are we in danger (his school is taking measures to clean the classroom and obviously the kid has been sent home until he/she is nit free)? What do I do if, God forbid, he actually has lice? Is there any possibility he WON’T?

HELP.

 

She Says… A Rough Patch

I hope those of you with little ones survived the sugar rush of Halloween yesterday. I am excited to share pictures with you from our trick-or-treating escapades, but we’re still in the process of downloading and editing. I’ll post as soon as they’re ready.

In the meantime, though, I need your help.

We’re having a bit of a challenge with Owen that we are struggling to address.

He’s been having a bit of a rough patch with his behavior. Maybe it’s just being 3. Who knows. The so-called “terrible twos” were really not so terrible for Owen. Sure, some frustrating times and a little trouble learning how to use his words instead of his body, but nothing we couldn’t handle. In general he was a gem. Or maybe that’s just the wisdom of retrospection talking. Either way, we’re past those days.

But this almost-3 1/2 stage is a whole different beast.

jumperoo

I’m sure some of it has to do with Emmett joining our family (the bad behavior has emerged since Emmett turned 3 months, and, though I ignored them at the time, a few friends told me that it takes about 3 months for the “new baby” stuff to set in). But in our day-to-day life Owen ADORES Emmett. None of the bad attitude is directed at Emmett and he’s never verbalized anything about not getting enough attention or wanting to take Emmett back to the baby factory. In fact, Emmett is almost always the key to getting him to snap out of his bad attitude. Owen showers him with love, teaches him, talks to him and is remarkably gentle whenever we’re all together. Still, the psychologist in me knows that this huge shift has to have impacted him in some way.

Some of it likely has to do with just general growing up. He’s in preschool now and he has a lot more “responsibilities”. We expect a lot of him. He’s wearing underwear all the time. He is beginning to question some of the rules he has blindly followed for so long. He is smart enough to see through our language to the truth of what we’re saying even when we sugar coat it. Too smart at times, it seems.

And I think some of it comes from watching (and imitating) his peers like a hawk. Sometimes he’ll come home from school with a new phrase or a not-so-nice name to call someone and I’ll ask him, “Where did you hear that?”. So-and-so said it at school. He’s started getting up out of bed at night since he saw his little buddy doing that on our trip to New Hampshire last weekend. He’s figuring out how to push buttons or get a reaction, and he’ll copy behaviors he sees others doing to a T, for better or for worse.

He’s started talking back in a bratty tone of voice. “Nnnnnno!”, he’ll yell. “STOP IT, MOMMY”, he retorts when I tell him that’s not how we talk in our house. He demands things “now” and throws surprisingly emotional fits when I tell him that’s not a nice way to ask and I’m not going to give it to him until he asks politely in a non-whiny voice. His lifelong issue of “gentle hands” flares up when he’s angry as well. He throws things out of frustration. Pushes. Smacks my body. He’s just not listening the way he used to. He’s testing. ALL THE TIME testing.

Benjamin and I are standing our ground. Not giving in. I feel like we’re reacting the way we “should” but sometimes it feels like it snowballs until we’re all exasperated and angry (not to mention that I would prefer to just be rather than teaching lessons all day long). In general I’m really good at staying quiet and calm while he tornadoes around me, but it’s hard. It’s HARD.

We do give time-outs when warranted, but I try to save them for behavior that could hurt someone’s body (either his or someone else’s). Generally I’m a punishment-fits-the-crime sort of person (oh, you threw a toy? the toy gets taken away) and prefer positive reinforcement and rewards to punishment or taking things away. We’re all learning, right? But I’m at a bit of a loss when it comes to the verbal attacks and general not listening he’s doing now.

Time-outs and rest-your-body times are pretty powerless against vocal infractions or just not following directions. He can still yell and scream and cry even if his body is in time out (that’s why I usually save that tool for when his body needs calming). There isn’t a toy to take away or a logical punishment. I can’t yell back (or of course I shouldn’t), and it wouldn’t help anyway. I just want him to hear my voice (or his teacher’s!) and do what I’m asking him to do without saying “but” or “I don’t want to”.

And it’s not just at home either. His teachers have noticed it at school as well. And while it’s all incredibly, totally, positively age-appropriate, we don’t want to let it spiral out of hand. So we had a meeting yesterday to discuss potential strategies for helping him through this rough patch.

We currently use a sticker chart for “good days” at school. In the past this meant keeping his hands to himself and recently it has been expanded to listening to his teachers as well. Over the last few months this has worked brilliantly. Stickers have amazing powers over the 2-3 year old set. Over the last few weeks, though, he hasn’t gotten very many stickers and it seems like not getting stickers breeds more not getting stickers. We may stick with it or may institute another positive tool like putting pompoms in a jar for good listening or nice words/attitude. Has anyone instituted something like this at home?

One trigger we identified for this bad behavior seems to be his morning routine. Instead of fighting the same fights every morning, we’re going to try using this little chart that Benjamin and I made:

morningroutine

I put it in a picture frame so he can use a whiteboard marker and check off when he’s done each thing. Each night we’ll wipe it off and start again the next morning. Our intention is that we will essentially leave him alone to do all of the morning steps, and hopefully at night it will help us get from flossing to brushing to bath to pajamas without fussing in between. I’m hoping the physical act of using the marker will help move us between steps and will also act as a little reward (hey, we all like checking things off of our To Do lists, right?).

What are your tricks for helping your little person do the things they need to do without a lot of reprimanding on your part?

Don’t get me wrong, Owen is still SUCH an awesome kid. Most of the time he listens and responds in hilarious and adorable ways. Most of the time he is in control of his body and is so much fun to hang out with. Most of the time he is sweet and funny and precious. It’s just the other times that I’m learning how to react to in the best way.

She Says… Work It, Girl

The last week has been a rocky one. Both kids have been battling nose/chest/ear congestion and a hacky cough. No fevers to speak of and really nothing to do but wait it out, really (while of course hydrating, humidifying and treating the asthma kid). But it has meant extra night time wakeups and extra fussiness and whining during the day. We’re all a bit worn down.

Ahem. Especially me.

This past weekend we went up to Benjamin’s parents’ house in New Hampshire with some friends who have a son in Owen’s class. Perhaps not the best timing to let the boys try their first sleepover, which of course resulted in NO SLEEP for most of us, but it was a really fun time nonetheless. Another post to come with the whole story on that.

Now I have a new deadline looming. No, not Halloween (though I do still need to finish up Owen’s costume — eek!).

My return to work.

DUN DUN DUNNNNNNN. (Do you hear the ominous music playing?)

I go back next Tuesday.

I know, I know. How did that come so fast?

I am feeling surprisingly ok about going back. After Owen was born I took some unpaid time off and didn’t go back to work until he was 5 1/2 months old (in January). And I was still kind of a wreck. My brain was still very much in motherhood lala land and the transition back was hard. In planning my maternity leave this time around I yearned for that extra time, but ultimately we decided that paying for Owen’s daycare meant that we couldn’t swing more unpaid time. And since I got a promotion right before I left back in July, I have a LOT of work to do when I get back. However, now that I’m here, only a week from going back, I feel so differently than I thought I would.

My brain is back. My body is back (of course I wish I had more time to exercise and most of my pants are still a little tight around the waist, but for the most part I’m back to my normal size and feel relatively fit). While of course I’ll miss Emmett’s sweet little face during the day, I absolutely adore our daycare and know he will be in great hands while I’m working.

We’re all going to be ok.

So this week is my “practice week” sending both kids to daycare all four days, all day long. Benjamin is traveling again (yes! again!) and I couldn’t totally get everything organized this morning to do a double drop-off, so I opted to take Owen at his normal time (7:15am) and bring Emmett back to have a nice, long morning nap in his crib with his humidifier on. Poor guy is still snorting and shnuffling quite a bit. I’ll pack him up and take him to school when he wakes up. But for the rest of the week, it’s double everything, and Emmett’s longest days at school yet.

Oh, and time for me to practice pumping. As I mentioned, I’ve been pumping at my bedtime since Emmett started going to bed early. I’ve been using those extra ounces to help me tank him up at the following night’s bedtime as needed (I seem to run out of milk and he seems to want to eat, eat, eat) and then I’ve started a small (very small) freezer stash with the extras. But this week I’m going to be pumping all day long Tuesday through Friday! Here’s hoping I can pretty much keep up with what he’s drinking at school.

Aside from pumping, I’m trying to figure out how to best use these 4 days of freedom. I’d love to fill them with manicures and shopping (ha!), but in reality there are so many little projects at home that I’d really like to wrap up before I go back to work. Papers to file. Baby clothes to sort and put in the attic. Deep cleaning in all of the nooks and crannies to do that I’m sure I won’t be doing once the work schedule picks up.

Lame. I know.

I’m going to do another post all about pumping (apparently I have lots of posts that I’m planning on writing “soon”…), but leave me your best pumping at work tip to get me pumped (get it? pumped?) for work next week!

She Says… Boogers x2

It was inevitable.

Emmett was bound to get sick earlier than Owen did. He’s constantly accosted by his brother who can’t keep his germy little hands off of him. He’s gone to daycare once a week for 3 weeks. It’s the beginning of fall when all of these lovely illnesses come out of hiding.

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Still, though, I didn’t think it would happen SO SOON. The day that Emmett hit 3 months last week (monthly post to come… someday…) I started to hear the telltale grunting/snorting/snuffling when he nursed like his nose was stuffed up. Owen had the same. The next day it had migrated to both of their chests — a thick, mucus-y cough. Red around the eyes (“sick eyes” as we call them). No fevers and they were both pretty happy and playing normally, so really nothing to do but wait it out.

Since Owen’s asthma diagnosis we’ve kept a close eye on any and all respiratory bugs, as in the past they almost always got super serious and morphed into bronchialitis, pneumonia and an ear infection very quickly. Now we have an asthma action plan that includes starting up his inhalers at the first signs of a cough. It has helped IMMENSELY and dramatically cut down on the number of illnesses he had last winter. So last week when the cough started, I knew exactly what to do. After 2 days of “puffs”, he’s cleared up and feeling fine. Magic.

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Having one asthma kid has put me on high alert for similar symptoms in Emmett. With Owen, now I know the sound and rate of his breathing and when/how to intervene. But I have no experience with a 3 month old getting sick, and Emmett is a completely different kid with a completely different body that I just don’t know as intimately yet.

By Monday Owen was still complaining of ear pain (he said, “I have an ear ninfection”, and he’s always been right when he’s said that in the past) and Emmett’s cough was still pretty thick, so I felt it was the right time to head to the doctor. Unfortunately I didn’t make the call until afternoon nap time so the only appointment they had available was 6:15pm. RIGHT AT BATHTIME. And I was home alone since Benjamin was traveling again. Of course. Still, I wanted to make sure both kids were ok, so we made it work.

The doc said Owen’s ear was dull and inflamed but not infected, so there wasn’t really anything to do except some Motrin if needed. His lungs were clear. Similar situation with Emmett — gunk seemed to be all in his upper respiratory area, not in his lungs, so no sign of his brother’s asthma (yet). Tylenol if needed and lots of hydration and humidifying.

I had already started humidifying over the weekend, hence the fire alarm scare. Since I couldn’t use the humidifier overnight for Emmett again, I decided to get out Owen’s old nebulizer from when he was a baby (he has since graduated to an inhaler and spacer) to give Emmett some saline-only treatment.

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Guess who wanted in on the “fun fish face”? The kid who I used to have to wrestle to the ground to administer his treatments. My how times have changed. Unlike his brother, Emmett sat totally calmly and quietly while I held the mask in front of his face. Like he was at the spa or something.

Owen is feeling almost all better again (thank goodness for asthma medicine!) and Emmett won’t be far behind.

I think we’ve made it through our first double illness. While I’m sure there will be many more, I’m proud of (and exhausted from) handling two sick kiddos all by myself for several days. Sickness + fire alarms = NOT a lot of sleep for this mama recently, but we’re on the up and up.

She Says… Daycare x2

Emmett started daycare. Last week, actually. Without so much as a picture and definitely sans blog post.

Second child syndrome to the max, y’all.

He hasn’t started full time yet, so I’m waiting until then to actually acknowledge it. But in the meantime, while I’m in full-on denial mode, he has started daycare. Today is his 2nd day.

You see, I’m going back to work in early November. So my plan was to have Emmett start in daycare the week before that, so I can work out the kinks in drop-off/pick-up (before I’m actually wearing heels and rushing out the door to make my train). But then the daycare director let me know that the infant room is full on Wednesdays for the month of October, so if I want Emmett to be guaranteed a spot on the date I requested, I have to pay for the Wednesdays prior to that as well. Now, since I’m paying no matter what, I’m using Wednesdays to get us both used to being apart prior to his actual start date at the end of the month.

Last week I left him for 3 hours while I went to the doctor. Side note: Saw the endocrinologist for one last diabetes check-in. I had to take the glucose tolerance test AGAIN (for the 4th time this year) prior to the appointment to make sure that my gestational diabetes hadn’t stuck around as “real” diabetes. Though I really don’t have any of the risk factors other than PCOS/gestational diabetes, I was pretty nervous. Thankfully the test went very smoothly (no bonking like in the past) and the results showed perfectly healthy blood sugar levels. Hooray! No diabetes for me! Now I can eat all of the candy corn! Anyway, back to Emmett. While I was gone he didn’t eat (he didn’t NOT eat, he just didn’t need to while I was gone) and he didn’t sleep more than 10-15 minutes. Oof. He was fine when I picked him up, just really, really tired. They said he was pretty happy, but as soon as he would fall asleep someone else would start crying and his little eyes would pop open. I guess he needs some practice sleeping with so much noise!

This week I knew I had to leave him long enough so that he’d HAVE to eat and he’d HAVE to sleep. Boot camp style. I dropped him off at noon and he’s still there now. Benjamin and I took the opportunity to go out to lunch (SO NICE) and run a few errands, and now I’m at home catching up on laundry and computer stuff (ahem, blogging, which I haven’t gotten to do much lately!). I’m really not worried about Emmett at all; he’s such an easy baby that I’m sure he’ll do just fine.

Did you see that last sentence? I’m really not worried at all? No, aliens have not invaded my body… there’s just something SO different about this whole process than the first time I dropped Owen off at daycare. When I dropped Emmett off last week there were no tears (for either of us). I gave him a quick kiss and smiled and waved. I didn’t worry for a second that he would miss me or wouldn’t be ok without me.

Maybe it’s because I’ve done this before. Maybe it’s because he’s going to the same daycare where Owen is now, in the classroom right next door, and I already know almost all of the teachers and caretakers. Maybe it’s because Emmett is a totally happy, totally easy dream baby. Maybe it’s because I’ve adopted this new zen ‘tude.

Who knows.

All I know is, this transition doesn’t even feel like a transition at all. It’s… awesome.

Here’s hoping I can master the double drop-off and pick-up just as easily!

She Says… A Very Healthy Sick Day

On Tuesday at 4:30pm I got “the call” from daycare. Apparently Owen had a fever. It was borderline on their must-send-kid-home cutoff, but it meant that he couldn’t come back to school on Wednesday. Boo.

I was so thankful that this didn’t happen last week (while Benjamin was traveling and I was working in the office leading a training for 40 people singlehandedly) that I was more than happy to bring him home and figure out how to cover both a day’s worth of work and a day hanging out with my favorite 3 year old on Wednesday. Even better, Benjamin was working from home as well, so we tag-teamed the whole day. And, to make it even more fun, Owen wasn’t even sick in the slightest (his fever was non-existent) so it was kind of like an extra weekend day. It went great, and by the time we got in bed at night Benjamin and I both felt like we had successfully done a good job with both work and home responsibilities.

We patted ourselves on the back. Then I dropped Owen off at school this morning ready to get a lot more work done today.

But at 9:30am, a mere 2 hours after dropping him off, I got the same call. Apparently his fever was back. Borderline, but enough to get him sent home (especially since there were 5 cases of fever in his classroom, 2 of which came along with stomach bugs).

Of course I understand the school’s rule. And I understand being cautious when other kids are sick as well. But seriously. Owen is FINE. He’s more than fine! His fever is 100.1 under the arm. For my kid, that is really not a fever at all (or at least nothing to worry about if he’s acting totally normal).

Currently he’s out for a scooter ride around the neighborhood with one of our neighbors right now so that Benjamin and I can each squeeze in a couple hours of focused work before doing another tag-team day.  He’s been blowing bubbles and swinging on the swingset and running around like a maniac. Not exactly a picture of sickness.

Of course I’ll eat these words if he starts puking in an hour or two. But until then, I’m stuck wondering how in the world I’m supposed to wrap up my last few projects at work before I have this baby while my other baby is at home making it impossible to get anything done.

She Says… Picture Day

I know I just posted a bunch of vacation photos and I’m sure most (all?) of you are tired of looking at pictures of my kid. But we just got Owen’s school picture back today and I have to share it.

WHEN DID MY BABY GET SO DARN OLD?!

owen_picture_day_2013

Also, really REALLY wish we had gotten his hair cut prior to the picture being taken. But, you know, life happens. And my little boy was rockin’ a surfer dude style for picture day.

Oh how he’s grown since last year’s pic:

SchoolPicture_OlderInfants

He looks so much more… serious. And thoughtful. And mature. And while I definitely see that same devilish look from 2012 these days, there IS something more grown up about him.

We’ll be fighting about laser backgrounds for these pictures in no time.