27 February 2012

Ye olde oscars

all i kept hearing was "old hollywood" on the red carpet, and indeed it was a night of old things.

i must say that this years show went back to the oscars roots of making it about the movies and movie stars. recent years past (hosts: james franco/anne hathaway, hugh jackman, etc) seemed to have been all about attempting to drag in ratings and felt very superbowl gimmicky. this year, apparently word got out about the "old hollywood" theme so everyone made their attempt at "old hollywood" fashion. the dresses wanted to be rita hayworth, lauren bacall, bette davis and the like however most of the sequins and glitz came off very 1990s for me. ack. nice try ladies, but no thanks. the group who fared the best, fashion-wise, was again the older ladies. go girls! just as with the golden globes i was most impressed by the 40+ crowd. also, the many faded stars on the carpet (bo derek, nick nolte, james earl jones, tony bennett, jane seymour, lea thompson) were a bit of a shock. havent seen you guys for a few decades...

as for the show (what i was able to watch), i found billy crystal to be super cheesy but harmless. the several nostalgia-about-the-movies clips throughout the show and general vibe was pretty pleasant. they didnt fully pull it off, but i appreciated the gesture and hope they can stick more with this formula in the future. many of the winners and nominees were "blah" to me, but i wont truly be able to discern those opinions until i can watch all the films (this should only take me until next years oscars).

notable moments from the show:
- tears in my eyes from octavia spencer and christopher plummer acceptance speeches.
- bret mckenzies (one half of music group "flight of the conchords") win for best original song was cute, as well as that awards comedic presenters.
- colin firth was charming, absolutely charming as presenter (as always). more please!

notable fashion:
(glenn close...va-voom! you are no man. i think she was my fav celeb fashion of the night; colin and his lovely wife; this was actually my favorite oscar look, but it was worn by someone ive never seen before, a "louise roe", i think she was on british next top model. whatever, this dress is gorgeous)
 
(ugh, i really, really dont like jlo. if you chopped her hair and face off, i would actually think this dress is stunning, probably the best "old hollywood meets new hollywood" of the night; penelope cruz never impresses me fashion-wise, and this dress wouldnt be impressive on someone else, but i actually paused when i saw this pic of her. she looks good.)
 
(ive never been a big cameron diaz fan either. her oscar dress was pretty and feminine and fit her well, but it wasnt very daring; i really like the tangerine one she changed in to for the parties though)

25 February 2012

X files - 22 Months Old - Master and commander of language

could probably report this every month, but her command of language this month was impressive, from using long sentences, properly using expressions in context, to singing correct song lyrics. she is go go gadget talker. i love it.

amusing/amazing phrases: raisins all gone. go to grocery store to get more, [toy cheetah sniffs toy monkeys butt] cheetah: "woooooo-eeeeeeee. you go poo poo. i want to change your diaper."
obsessions: her dog puppet, new river train song, giving her animals a bath, talking about (and reenacting) being poked by a needle, pig meat (ham, bacon, pork), stickers
new food: mustard, lunch meat ham, hemp milk, guava juice
good books: can you make a scary face?, alphabet tree, baby beluga, dodo doo-doo, red sled, the best nest, fred and ted like to fly
fun videos: dolphin show, david letterman jumping dock dogs, shamu show

(the dog reading to X while she rides on papa; reading on the kitchen floor; playing animals)
(the bow actually stayed in for a few minutes; mama and X)
(papa and X; wearing mamas boots; mama and X again)

X-citing developments:
1. dr appt. got her final shot until school age years(!!!) and discussed the second blood work. X cried as soon as we got off the elevator to the dr office. i calmed her down only to have her go ballistic when the dr called us into his office. she freaked out all the way up until he actually poked her and then, go figure, she was quiet (while being poked). hopefully in the future we can convince her she doesnt need to be afraid. as for blood work, she still has low iron so the dr referred us to a pediatrician for a second opinion (our dr is a family physician) because the additional tests didnt show him anything. the pediatrician will look at the blood results and talk with us about further tests (stool samples or possibly more blood tests, though im not really interested in that) and where to go from here. from looking around online, i doubt its a diet issue (she loves foods high in iron), i think its a digestive tract problem of not absorbing the dietary iron properly and/or of losing blood in the stool (we havent seen any, but that doesnt mean its not there).

a sidenote about iron, it helps to eat iron-rich foods with vitamin C (to aid in irons absorption), so weve bumped up our cantaloupe consumption and the guava juice is new. these are basically the only things on "foods high in vitamin C" lists that X can/will eat.

2. eye appt. finally had our eye dr appt (the referral took a while) but thankfully all looks good. i guess X has extra skin around her nose (this is normal) that can make it appear like her eye turns in but everything checked out and she is fine. i cant believe how patient she was for the almost 2 hour appt.

3. weaning. i had had it with recent random night wakings. often she wasnt even getting at the milk, just making me sore for comfort while getting a bunch of air in her tummy in the process. then she'd be up whining about the gas pressure that that caused. no thanks. i was about to embark on a regimented plan to get her weaned (which would likely involve nights of crying)...and then i figured out i could work with her when she woke up and get her back to sleep without nursing by offering her other comfort and being firm and consistent and in a few nights (and staying patient with the 45 minutes it would take her to go back to sleep) she was fine giving up the middle-of-the-night nursings with little or no crying about it. now we just have the nursing at bedtime. this is very doable for me. not sure how long she will hold on to the bedtime nurse, but this is fine for now. i had really wanted to do it as minimally abrasive as possible and i guess i got my wish. and she gets to keep the mama antibodies through the bulk of the rest of cold/flu season.

4. wonder week. the last one? ha, i doubt it, but its the last babydom documented one i could find. as i mentioned, this wonder week started while dave was starting to get sick. joy. i love fake out bedtime. the start of the wonder week looked like this: finally down at 11p. up at 8a. back in bed at 10:30p! up at 8:30a...and it slowly returned to normal over the week until dave was mostly better. nearly 15 hour days with her, straight. no break. gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! thank goodness she was in a good mood for the most part.

5. fear crying. she has gained a new behavior (seemed to be florida/in-a-new-place triggered) where she cries intensely and inconsolably due to fear. they arent tantrums. they are triggered by seemingly nothing sometimes and she will wail uncontrollably for long periods of time (sometimes 45+ minutes) without being able to be consoled. at all. often she is wailing about some silly, unintelligible thing (sleeping in the car at night [!? shes never done that], seeing a boy named austin [he was a boy from florida], grandpa walking past her) and cannot be talked out of it or calmed down. this is our first situation where we havent been able to assess a situation, figure out what is causing her distress and find a way around or past it quickly. as with any foreign-to-us parenting phase, at first we were flustered, frustrated, confused, etc. and we had a hard time keeping our cool with her while trying to figure out how to make the wailing stop. i found myself talking to her about not crying, that there was "no need to cry", etc. and then i stopped and thought how terrible that is. she needs to know that crying is okay. i cry to release stress sometimes. things that make me mad or sad or happy can make me cry. crying is fine. so now i need to figure out the language to convey crying isnt for wimps while letting her know she was safe and doesnt need to be to scared of whatever it was that triggered her crying fit.

as an update to this: since weve been home from FL, she has had one crying fit for her babysitter, and a few fits for me. i would say these crying spells are related to the FL ones, but not the same. they arent fear-triggered so much as they seem to be something else. for me, her fits have been around snack time or from being tired and needing a short nap. it starts by her not answering my question, or if she says "no" and i comply with her "no"...she crumples and fixates on this question/interaction. again, these arent tantrums, they are like intense emotion storms where you cant get through to her. i saw she was hungry for a snack, so we were trying to remedy that, the situation deteriorated and derailed. or, i saw she was tired, and was trying to help her take the nap. it took 45 minutes to calm down in order to take the nap she would normally be fine with taking. ive been stumped about dealing with it. if it breaks down to the point where i cant deal with her nicely anymore, i tell her i am going to go take care of myself for a minute and she will need to wait until i can get back to her problem. and actually, this has been the thing that works the best (for me, and actually for her too), probably because im taking care of myself and lowering my stress level so that she cant feed on my stress and use it to build up her outburst.

6. physical. she seems to be really relishing the thrill of climbing these days. more so than any other time in the past.

7. personality. she has been saying "you dont want to go to..." A LOT these days. ugh. so now its about not framing it in the language of choice. i give her lots of choice in her day, but not about where we are going anymore. according to her, she would love nothing more than to stay in the play room from sun up to sun down. no thank you.

she also loves having her puppets read to her. she loves her puppets in general. she also loves to supply them, her animals, and us with scripted lines that we are supposed to say to her. her favorite thing is to hide somewhere and say "wheres X. cant see her. hear voice but cant see her. where could she be" one line after another without break. if you dont then repeat her exactly as the script goes, she will patiently repeat your line, once, maybe twice, and then she starts getting testy. i guess she would make a good director, she tells us who, when, where, and how to deliver our lines.

8. learning. she has on hand 2-3 dozen songs that she knows the lyrics to and wanders around singing to herself. i would say there are also another 2 dozen songs you can remind her of and she can sing. also, she can hear a song once or twice now and sing it even if we havent talked about the lyrics (heard her do this with "ive been working on the railroad" and was floored). the kid loves music.

she is talking, and talking, and talking. she is basically thisclose to just conversing with us like older preschoolers. its wild. she hears things from the tv, radio, computer, other people, us in the other room and she repeats, repeats, repeats. she can say anything and is remembering longer and longer phrases and the context that they belong in. i didnt fill out much in the "amusing/amazing phrases" section this month (see above) because everything she said was a bit mind-blowing, so i didnt run over to the computer and record much.

anecdote: dave was sick in bed one day. she climbed up and dave said "dont squeeze me. papa doesnt feel good". X said "take me to doctor" ("me" referring to dave. lol) and dave said "no, papa is okay, he doesnt need to see the doctor". then she came over and put her hands under him and said "scoop you up, take to doctor". haha. i think i will have a partner in crime for forcing dave to see a doctor in the years to come. finally, two against one will be better.

9. patience-testing updates:
- physical aggression. shes on to another round of bullying (friends now). similar to her last bout, it mostly comes out when she is hungry. she will grab and squeeze people (their skin or their clothes), occasionally she will push. often this is accompanied by her "scary face". may this pass quickly...
- her "expletive" use. this issue seems to have died down considerably by just not highlighting it when she tests out her expletive. we will just say "i heard you say X", if she presses us to acknowledge it.
- throwing food on the floor. she knows our food rule (no throwing food on the floor), so we simply tell her after the first food-on-floor incident "its not okay to throw food on the floor. its looks like you are done eating. [we push her chair away from the table] climb down now and lets wipe your hands. dinner is over." it took a very short time (a few days) for her to modify her actions.
- getting her winter gear on to go outside or getting a diaper change. we are still working through this one. for diapers, it seems to help to allow her to bring an animal or toy with her while we change her, or to engage her by talking about a book, a song, an incident that recently happened. with winter gear, we will get her essentials on in the house and then bring her coat and hat out the door into the hallway with us and talk to her about putting them on before we actually get outside.
- "soothing" her after a fall or scary event. in some ways this is much better, in some ways this is WAY worse (see above note #5).

momma mentionables:
1. just a few parenting articles/finds:
- the website for the dr mckenna sleep lab. he is out of notre dame and studies the science of mother/infant sleep. its really interesting and compelling. i particularly liked this video.

- more infant sleep info, with some science behind what is "normal" in infant sleep and why cry-it-out and controlled crying arent okay.

- benefits to co-sleeping beyond infancy.

- french parenting article. ugh, the new "tiger mom" parenting style. im sorry, i saw nothing about the french parenting of young ones that was impressive, nor did i find any of the college-age products of said parenting style to be impressive or desirable (at least in the kids i taught in rennes). so, no, i do not buy this latest ode to a parenting style. i did smile though when i saw this because the woman investigated moms who lived in ohio and moms who lived in rennes. go figure.

- insight into what happens to the brain when we "lose it"

- community play things. the website of a great made in u.s.a. wooden toys/furniture company that makes extremely high quality, creatively designed things and offers free shipping (in the u.s.). cool!

18 February 2012

Enough already, im taking action

based on new information, i made today a take-action-for-health day. 

arsenic:
we dont really drink apple juice around here, so that "arsenic in apple juice" stuff never really mattered to me. a few weeks ago i had found an article about arsenic in rice milk. i was startled but from what i read i wasnt feeling pressure to change things up immensely, since we are kinda painted into a small corner already with Xs food sensitivities. 
excerpts from arsenic in rice milk article:
- "research examined 60 samples of rice drinks and found low levels of arsenic in all of them"
- "as a precaution, toddlers and young children between 1 and 4.5 years old should not have rice drinks as a replacement for cows’ milk, breast milk, or infant formula. this is because they will then drink a relatively large amount of it, and their intake of arsenic will be greater than that of older children and adults relative to their bodyweight."
well today, i saw more about arsenic and rice (brown rice syrup as sweetener this time, but still rice). the bulk of the article had to do with infant formula, so it didnt pertain to me, but it still continued to send the message that rice is a natural sponge for arsenic and i should really think about modifying our intake.
“consider the frequency of your consumption. if you eat [products with brown rice syrup] all the time, you might want to cut back, but having a product with brown rice syrup occasionally probably won’t cause any harm.”
on a whim, after reading this stuff i typed in "arsenic" and "iron levels" into google. lo and behold, iron is used to treat arsenic-laden drinking water. iron apparently binds to arsenic and takes it out of the system. mmm, interesting. maybe this is related to Xs low iron levels in her blood? i went to pubmed to look for some evidence of iron and arsenic relating to each other like that biochemically (ie in a living system) and i was able to find a few animal (rat and pig) studies suggesting that, yes, that does happen. alright, i need to take action...

arsenic action item: finish off whatever products in the house have rice ingredients (rice flour, rice sweetener, etc) and our rice milk cartons and seek out products and alternative milks that dont have these things. we will not be throwing out anything, nor will we stop having wild rice with our meals on occasion. im not going to go crazy here, just start making more thoughtful decisions. i bought oat dream and hemp milk today to see what we think. ive had both before (oat dream was fine, hemp milk made me cringe, but this time i got the vanilla flavor, so hopefully it will be palatable for X), but i wasnt interested in the non-enriched coconut milk that they offer at our grocery store. its too fatty and non-nutritious to really be worth it.

BPA:
and, so, while i was already changing up our food products and thought processes, i thought back to BPA. i looked up an article i had saved and decided to get that issue back up on my brain. BPA concerns have been rampant for a couple years now and i just didnt know how much i was going to stress about it, aside from doing the easy thing and avoid plastics when i can.

excerpts from the BPA article:
- "evidence that eliminating canned foods and plastic food packaging from your diet can dramatically reduce the concentrations of bisphenol A (BPA) and DEHP metabolites in your urine"
- "over a 3 day period, the families ate food that was prepared and stored with minimal canned foods or plastic food packaging...study results showed that while the families were eating the 'fresh food' diet, their BPA levels dropped on average by more than 60%."
soooooo, this was a pretty compelling push to add this to my list of action items. we dont eat that many canned or plastic packaged foods these days, but we do still eat them. mainly these are canned beans and chickpeas, squash purees, and tomato things. ive already been starting to move away from things in cans (buying dried chickpeas and soaking and cooking them as needed. thinking about what it would take to do our squash purees for X another way), but now i need to actually make a strong move.

BPA action items: buy more dried beans in bags (the ones we use most frequently). find good ways to prepare them. this may mean finally buying a slow cooker. also, this will require more fine-tuned weekly dinner planning, but we already meal plan on a basic level so that shouldnt be hard.

as for purees, X likes sweet potato, butternut squash and pumpkin purees from an organic company ive found here. these are extremely convenient since its not really easy to find fresh or frozen squash (and sweet potato) chunks around here. of course i could grab sweet potatoes and possibly (occasionally) butternut squash from the grocery store and start entirely from scratch and somehow make a HUGE batch in the tiny arsenal of pots i dont have here in halifax, but that is not likely to be a sustainable practice for me. im going to hit our health food store soon and look in their frozen food section to see what squashes they might have so that i could just steam a bag and blender it up every so often and freeze the end-product in some (soon to be purchased) glass containers. 

as for the tomato-in-cans issue, i think we will have to just buy fresh tomatoes, sharpen our lame knife and factor in a bit more time for tomato-based recipes.

14 February 2012

Frosty in florida

went down to good ol florida for my moms wedding. we were looking forward to a break from cold weather, this we did not really find...

tuesday (2/7) - a 2 hour flight (to philly), a 1 hour layover, and a 2.5 hour flight (to orlando). not our desired way to do it (money chose for us, in the end), but it probably couldnt have gone any smoother than it did. X didnt nap but she didnt ask to nurse on the flights (a win since she has been day-weaned at home for a while, but i was wondering what she would do on the plane...she didnt even ask. weaning seems well on its way to completion).

our second flight was absolutely packed! it boggles the mind the amount of people who flood in to florida in the winter. the girl in front of us was 12 years old and from the UK. she was on her first trip to the u.s. headed to disney on holiday. she was very sweet and excited. to balance that loveliness, behind us we had two self-absorbed parents of teenagers talking about how gifted their kids were in sports. i wanted to slap them.

we landed in orlando, got our rental car and got to our hotel (we stayed at a hotel by the airport that night because we got in at dinnertime and didnt want to do anymore traveling). after X went to bed, dave went out to chipotle for dinner for us but we tried to feed X with just the food we had with us (brought from halifax). she went to bed easily, but woke up at 5a hungry (asking for banana bread. lol). thankfully we still had some pasta and shoved that in her face and she went back to sleep.

wednesday (2/8) - ate breakfast and drove out to indialantic (where my mom lives). hung out at moms (and als), and daves parents came over (they had traveled down to attend my moms wedding too, and to see X). X took a few minutes to adjust to all the people and the new surroundings, and then was her normal self. we had sandwiches for lunch. muenster cheese was bought and i was unable to resist. i crammed 3 slices into my face (and thus i embarked on my experiment to see how long lactose stays in breast milk...). for dinner, dave made pork tenderloin for several people (other wedding guests were already coming in to town) and then he went off to play a local pick-up game of ultimate frisbee. X went to bed easily (despite telling me her tummy hurt) and slept the whole night in her own bed, in a hotel! wonders never cease.

thursday (2/9) - hung out with daves parents, then dropped X at moms so dave and i could have a date. went for sushi, a new-to-us place called thai thai 2. i got sushi with cream cheese (more dairy!). and i also had a wine cooler. blah! fowl. never again. i just thought i could maybe get a tiny buzz and relax a little. nope. also, having dairy on my taste buds again has been pleasant, but im not at all feeling an urge to gorge, which is probably great.

after our date, we walked from moms to the playground down the street. X climbed like a maniac. then we walked on the beach. it was breezy and cool and X wasnt as motivated to run in to the water as last time. she was curious about the sand moving under her feet when the waves went back to the ocean. i forgot that it would be a good idea to hold her hand (last time we were here, she wasnt solo walking yet, so we definitely were holding her hands), so she fell in water, but we had a fun time (though she may be a little spooked of falling in the water now). she also learned to spot pelicans.

(X climbing at the playground; standing in the water)

back at the hotel, we had Xs first red butt poop of the trip (aka, we gave her something that hurt her stomach), but this was still considered a pretty big success for us, normally everyday of a trip shows us some error of our X feeding ways. we made it two days in to this trip without being meanies this time.

friday (2/10) - ugh, more food issues abound. we got bagels this morning, which seemed to piss her off. we spent a bit of time with daves mom in the hotel room and then headed over to my moms house to change the scenery. we had lunch there by ourselves (mom and al were out) and then tried to get back to the hotel and take advantage of the unexpected sunshine. wrong. it started raining as soon as a toe was dipped into the pool. :( we got X dressed and went to a local indoor play place. she was hungry from not eating a good lunch (this happens when her stomach gets too irritated) so she was a little testy while playing with other kids at first, but she seemed to really like the space and we were happy to have found it on a rainy day. upon leaving, she got dozy in the car on the way to the grocery store and was a bit grumpy (yet she hasnt actually been taking short naps here, even if we provide the time and opportunity). but, we made it through the grocery store and got back to my moms house with food for dinner. by now, she was raging hungry and acting bratty. it was all i could do to wrangle some food in her without losing my shit. she ate a small dinner after all was said and done and then proceeded to crumble like her stomach hurt again. what the hell had we given her? she pooped a million times, most of those making her butt red and i was tired of feeling like a failure, and definitely tired of hearing her whining. we barely made it to bed time alive, but we finally heard some silence at 8p. a really early bedtime. today was a pretty big fail.

(she didnt seem annoyed by the rain. she had her feet dipped in to the hot tub and was happy as a clam)

saturday (2/11) - X had a morning cry fit due to a memory of grandpa (daves dad) being "scary" (the fit lasted 30+ minutes). as the fit was winding down, we got in the car to go to the zoo with grandma and grandpa. while boarding the zoo train, i saw a girl i swam with in high school and her two kids (random). after the train, we did half of the zoo: the aviary and african animal areas. fed nectar to some parrots and seeds to some cockatoos (dave got pooped on). X liked seeing the birds land on people. then we saw the cheetah and rhino and giraffes. she loved that. and then it was lunch time and we headed back to my moms.

dave went to get groceries for the rehearsal dinner he was cooking/catering and X and i went to the playground, the beach, back to the hotel and back to my moms in time for people to start arriving. i helped dave cook while X mingled. she had another cry fit from another memory of a boy at the party having previously scared her (ugh, this seems to be a new and lovely thing she has started: strong cry-inducing memories that cannot be calmed down). dinner went well, we met lots of als friends and family. dave cooked too much food, but at least it all tasted great.

(happiness on the zoo train!; feeding nectar to the parrots)

(climbing at the playground again; beach walking, she would only get close to the waterline if i drew a line in the sand to follow)
 

sunday (2/12) - wedding day. my mom and others got ready in our hotel room. not surprisingly, my mom was emotional (she didnt have a real wedding wedding to my dad, this was her first crack at being a true bride), but everything went off smoothly from my point of view even though the weather was the chilliest day the florida winter had yet seen i think. the guests were in coats in the covered tent for the ceremony, but the vows were sweet enough to warm the cold bodies (i think my favorite part was al expressing the sentiment that they were in the autumn of their lives, etc). we threw some ceremonial seashells into the ocean and ran back inside to get warm.

(the blushing bride and happy groom; dave and X)

the reception room was nicely decorated, the brunch was fantastic and i gorged on cheese and desserts as far as my eye could see. i even had a mimosa (the dairy and booze consuming felt a little like what someone who "fell off the wagon" must feel like. i was compelled to continue through sheer momentum, not even through desire. it kinda made me cringe afterward). if dave ever dies on me (please dont though) i would want to get remarried in a laid back brunch wedding like this. X ran around like crazy with the other kiddos and then we came up to the room for some much needed quiet time. later we hit the grocery store, where X actually took a nap (a 5 minute nap). then went to my moms for a leftovers dinner. we didnt realize that half of the wedding guests would be back over there too.

monday (2/13) - had our last visit with daves parents. last visit with mom and al (X gained a nice scrape on her forehead). then we packed up and headed back to orlando (stayed in an airport hotel again). X went to bed early. we seem to have tired her way out on this trip and messed her sleep up so much that she was going to bed early, which was fine tonight especially because we had to get up early for the flight.


(cuteness on the playground)

tuesday (2/14) - got up and to the airport no problem. our flight to philly was packed again but went smoothly. we had a few hours in the philly airport, but we passed them successfully. then we got on our halifax flight. the flight went well, but whenever we take these smaller flights, we seem to get all the safety sally flight attendants who explain to us that X needs to be belted in at all times during the flight because "if we hit a bit of turbulence, she could fly right up to the ceiling and bump her head". yes, i understand that, but you do realize the child would scream the entire flight if she was restrained like that for 2 hours? while she regaled me with safety tips throughout the flight, i also had to listen to dip shit numero uno in front of us asking the flight attendant (repeatedly) which state we were flying over, asking about the weather in halifax, lamenting the policy the u.s. has of only allowing canadians to stay in the u.s. for 180 days out of every year before they have to go back to canada, asking which caribbean island would be best for people who "like nature", and chatting the flight attendant up about her recent ukelele purchase (and then strumming said ukelele for a bit!). i wanted to punch the guy.

travel reflections - the hotel room with fridge and microwave, plus a rental car and close proximity to a person with a kitchen proved to make this the smoothest food trip yet. it would have been nearly perfect if i hadnt tested out my capabilities of eating dairy (note to self: lactose doesnt seem to filter out of breastmilk like alcohol does [one drink per hour]. i stopped eating dairy 5+ hours before bedtime and it was still bothering her).

closing remarks - congrats mom and al. we had a really nice visit, and i know X did too. we were happy to be able to travel down and join you on your special day. its wonderful that you two were able to find each other and know happiness again. im glad to have you in my life and i know X is a lucky girl to have your love.

08 February 2012

Home home-o[n] the range of medical opinions

had two health-related appointments today. one for me, one for X. 

i got up early to have my first dental appointment in 4 years. eeks! this is a very traumatic admission from me. previously, in my (stable) life, i had gone to the dentist no less than once a year, normally every 6 months. i always felt a silly pride after leaving those visits with glowing reports and a mouth with no cavities. i had my last appointment sometime in july 2008 (as i recall), before france prep really got underway. well, once in france, i wasnt about to locate and attempt a french dental visit. i should have a made a quick dental visit between france and halifax, and i would have, if id been thinking. once in halifax we had so much going on: moving, set-up, a roadtrip to boston and new york, finding out i was pregnant, horrifying nausea (the idea of having dental equipment in my mouth at any point in my pregnancy made me gag just thinking about it actually), the birth of monster/X, and the mind-boggling exhaustion of taking care of newborn X all kept me away for (i consider) good reason. and then later my reasons were: "should you get x-rays while breastfeeding? seems sketchy", "i can barely find time to shower, why do i want to take precious time away from myself to go to the dentist?", "eeeeeeeeps, its been an embarrassingly long time since ive been to the dentist now. my teeth are more and more sensitive these days...im afraid. im a wuss", "we dont have dental insurance. i dont want to swallow that whole bill myself", etc.

anyway, with the sign "fenwick dental centre" staring me in the face every day that we walk down our street, i could no longer kid myself. i needed to just make the damn appointment. forgo the x-rays until X is weaned, but get your ass in the damn chair already.

my hygienist was intense, thorough, and very serious but very attentive to making me comfortable and avoiding irritating sensitive spots in my mouth. she was also pretty non-complimentary (yes, i lamely felt a bit of wounded pride) and caused me a lot of bleeding (something new for me). she scraped and scraped my teeth, she ultra-soniced my teeth. she fluoride-treated my teeth. she spent so much time that i had to make another appointment to come back and actually get checked by the dentist! my bill was ~$200 and im now a bit dismayed for the future of my oral health (actually, im pretty sure im going to be looking in to this book to try and stop the dental downward spiral). :( i need to force dave to make his dental appointment now...that should be interesting...

our next appointment of the day was to a homeopath, for X. i think this is about as "out there" as im going to be getting on the alternative medicine pathway. i have regularly been hearing the crunchy moms talking about it around here and Xs food sensitivities arent lessening as shes approaching two. i hate to see her writhe around in her sleep on nights when weve accidentally given her something bad. in fact, there is almost nothing we can give her as a night time snack anymore that doesnt bother her stomach to some degree, while sleeping (her stomach seems much more tolerant of things during the day. i think this is due to the fact that gas and cramps are easier to deal with in the vertical position). plus, after her blood tests showed low iron, i thought it was worth it to dig one last time into my bag of options to see if we cant get on a better path.

we went to the top homeopath in town and had a 2 hour appointment. she tries to get a really clear picture of the issue and the personality of the person with the issue so she can treat the person (rather than just the disease/condition). basically this is the exact opposite of modern medicine which spends as little time with a patient as possible and typically treats symptoms rather than the root causes of things. i dont pretend to know the ins-and-outs of homeopathy, or its philosophy, nor can i attempt to be its cheerleader, at present. on the outset, it seemed legitimate enough to me to give it a go, and the lady seemed to ask enough of what seemed like the "right" kinds of questions to make me feel like she was competent in whatever skills she may possess, so we shall see.

in a week or so she will have a remedy ready for us to give to X. remedy is misleading though, because one size doesnt fit all so she has to figure out exactly what combination of things will best serve X and her particular issue(s). it could be a few weeks before weve found what is going to work for her, and im not even exactly sure how far we can expect to get with homeopathy (aka, im not sure what a remedy that "works" would look like...no more food sensitivities? iron levels restored? nothing? we shall see).

side notes on digestive issues:
- a scientific american article i came across talking about babies and gut bacteria that adds to my understanding of things in general and X and her tummy.
- a research finding dave had sent me about gut bacteria in autistic and non-autistic kids. fascinating, and i believe this was the starting point for that vaccine controversy getting wildly out of control (ie. vaccines CAN affect gut bacteria...which, through whatever thought process, led that researcher to conclude that vaccines cause autism).

07 February 2012

Disease of the decade

dave got sick. like life-comes-to-a-screeching-halt sick. this happens approximately once a decade. thus, i gained a (temporary) second child to take care of for a week or so.

the breakdown
sunday: fatigue, headache, and general foreboding set in. i happily took over X duties thinking this would be a quick thing. wrong.

monday brought a crippling fatigue, backache, and a monster stuffy throbbing head. dave was incapacitated to the point of hardly leaving the bed all day. any fluid he tried to ingest (no food was even thought about) made him nauseous. it was a single parenting day for me. no break whatsoever. dave kept to himself mostly though, so while he wasnt a good patient, per se, he also wasnt a horrible one.

tuesday was another crap fest for dave. the headache had worn off but serious fatigue was still very much on the scene. by mid-afternoon dave thought he could attempt the rest of the day in a vertical position. this was good, now the mucus could start its exodus. by now i was getting a bit stressed about the full-day monitoring of X needs, the added dinner prep, and other house chores. toward the end of the day, the image of a pack of cigarettes flashed through my brain.

wednesday brought coughing and an over-abundant use of tissues. by now dave was ragingly pissed off that his body hadnt fought this shit off yet (translation: i had a happy camper on my hands...) and i had plastered a "just keep swimming" bumper sticker over as much of the color red i was seeing in my brain as possible. the idea of the pack of cigarettes was now taunting me, consuming more and more space in my brain...

thursday: dave still didnt get out of his pajamas and was coughing and blowing his nose like a madman. the day pushed on for me and i tried not to get hysterical in the part of my brain that prides itself on getting my work (like work-work, paid work...of which i was able to do none of) done in a timely fashion. thankfully my boss is very patient, and i knew i would eventually catch up. also at this point, the lack of sleep (X decided to start a wonder week [staying up late, waking up early] AND she had a night of crying and writhing around about something that bothered her stomach), the lack of local help, the frigid depression-inducing winter (i think i made it further this year, compared to last year, before these thoughts arrived though), Xs stuck-to-mom-like-glue behavior, and my threadbare patience were making me a bit crazed. i wanted a cigarette and an alcohol buzz. hell, lets just call it an urge to run away from my responsibilities and be a dumb ass. i didnt want to think about being a soldier, a leader, or anything else that involves staying strong, making hard decisions, and motivating yourself and others despite the grim situations being faced.

friday: more coughing, coughing, coughing and fatigue. dave FINALLY consents to letting me go look for alka seltzer cold & flu. alas, they do not carry alka seltzer in canada. i buy this crap called neocitran, a warm syrupy medicinal tea concoction that made me gag just smelling it. at least tonight he was able to watch X (and she was FINALLY done with her wonder week stuff) while i did work after dinner.

saturday thru monday still involved coughing and nose blowing but energy levels were vastly improved and dave was basically at near functional capacity. hooray! (*coughing continued for another several days beyond this!)

yes, i realize this is a very, very minor thing to deal with compared to other global hardships. in hindsight, i can berate myself for feeling like a petulant child, but it doesnt make my feelings go away during the stress. i just wanted a break!