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Parenting FAIL November 22, 2008

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 6:50 pm

We were able to get Squidgey into PT on Wednesday afternoon, and they did confirm that he has mild torticollis on his right side.  This means his muscle on that side is tighter/shortened, like if you fall asleep with your head to one side and your neck tightens up.  Like that, except it’s been going on for a while so it’s kind of stuck that way (probably since the womb). 

His range of motion is limited; he’s unable to fully turn his head so that his chin is over his right shoulder and he’s unable to keep it upright with his chin in the middle of his body-it sinks so that the his right cheek is down towards his chest with his chin and his gaze going to the left.  He will be going to weekly PT sessions for the next 4-6 months to strengthen and correct this.  I also have a series of stretches I need to do with him 3 times a day.  And of course, all the tummy time he will tolerate.  The good news is that it is mild-he can turn his head pretty far to the right, just not all the way.  He can hold his head up straight, just not all the time. 

The flat spot is something that needs to be evaluated by a plastics or orthotics specialist to determine if it is bad enough to warrant a helmet or if it will likely mold itself back with increased tummy time and positioning so he’s off of it.  At first I couldn’t get him an appointment for that until mid-December, but I went through the other hospital network and found him one next week. 

They told us to basically discontinue using anything that puts pressure on the back of his head-swing, car seat (except, obviously, in the car), bouncy seat, play mat, etc.  (He’s still too floppy for bumbos and exersaucers).  Of course, he doesn’t want to be on his stomach 24-7, nor can I be watching or holding him all that time. I do have to put him down to sit somewhere occasionally-to pee, wash bottles, and just take a freaking break.  But I’m intensely paranoid about every second I do, worrying that it is making his flat spot worse. 

I am also kicking myself for not noticing it sooner.  Now that we’ve been to PT, all I can see is how his head drifts down to the right side, and how flat the back of his head looks.  At his 3 month appointment, his doctor did say, “make sure he is getting lots of good tummy time.”  And I wondered, “Is that a general warning he gives everyone, or does he see something off about Squidgey’s head?”  I’ve been returning to that question more and more over the last few weeks as I eyed his head, and resolved to bring it up at his 4 month appointment, if the doctor didn’t.

I don’t remember if I actually thought it when the doctor first said it and if I did, why I didn’t press him.  Did the question get lost in all the other things I was stressing about-his eating, etc.?  Did I subconsciously let it slide because I didn’t want to hear the answer?  Did I self-edit because I didn’t want to be *that* mom-the over-protective hypochondriac?  I don’t know.  But I feel guilty all the same.

So, the helmet…I can’t decide how I feel about that.  Do I want my baby to be the different, weird, helmet kid that everybody points at? Not really.  Do I want to do what’s best for him and make sure this is corrected before it starts affecting his facial features and making him lopsided? Yes.  The added benefit of the helmet is that once he’s in it, I can stop stressing about making it worse when he is sitting with his head against stuff or sleeping in bed, because the helmet keeps the pressure off of that spot.

And I’m having a little bit of a pity party-like didn’t we go through enough with weight gain, the allergies and eating, now we have to deal with this?  I would have liked a little bit of a honeymoon period where we could just enjoy Squidge, without this nagging concern in the back of our minds.  And to everyone who is all “Welcome to parenting, it’s always something, if they’re not teething, they have a cold, etc.,” I say um, fuck you.  Because it’s not like Squidge won’t also get teeth, colds, etc., it will just be on top of the other shit.


Two Steps Forward, One Step Back November 19, 2008

Filed under: Schmooper — booksunread @ 2:35 pm

Seriously, if it’s not one thing, it’s another with poor Squidge.  When are we going to catch a break?  Several weeks ago, he was discharged by his GI specialist.  They were happy with his weight gain and the amount of calories he was getting for his weight so all was hearts and flowers and I resolved to stop freaking out over how much he was eating.

Three days later, he suddenly went from one dirty diaper a day to 6 or more of a very different consistency.  (Ewww, I know, sorry. This is what my life has become-absolute obsession with what one tiny little pair of buns is producing.)  So great, now he has diarrhea.  So we went back and forth with the pediatrician and GI specialist who both said it was probably a virus to run its course.  As long as he was eating well, and not dehydrated, it might take a week to clear. 

A week and a half later, he was still having 3 or so dirty diapers a day and it was kind of hard to say if something abnormal was going on, or maybe his body had just recalibrated to the hypoallergenic formula.  As babies mature, their digestive enzymes do too.  Also, the hypoallergenic formula is known for some sloppiness in that department.  Since the proteins are broken down to start with, the digestive process renders them pretty diluted. Anyway, we tested his stool for blood, just to be on the safe side, which came back negative yesterday.

Yesterday was also Squidge’s 4-month check up.  He weighed in at 12 lbs even-a gain of just over a pound in a month-YAY!  AND, he rolled over from his tummy to his back for the first time on the doctor’s table-YAY!  But, that flat spot in the back of his head I’ve been eyeing with trepidation for the last month?  The doctor agreed that it was becoming a concern and referred us for PT-BOO!  But also kind of a YAY, I guess, since his doctor is being proactive about it.

My nephew was diagnosed with plagiocephaly (misshapen, asymmetrical head) and torticollis (weak neck muscles) and went through two helmets to reshape his head as well as a year of PT to get his neck strength up.  I don’t think he ever managed to crawl (would scootch along on his butt instead) and was also significantly delayed in walking.  So I’ve been kind of keeping my eyes peeled for this. 

However, Nicky always seemed to have a floppy neck and was always curled up into a little bean, whereas I’ve always been very impressed with Squidgey’s neck strength.  When burping him over my shoulder, from very early on he’d stretch his head back and swivel his head around.  He’s never shown a preference for keeping his head to one side or another.  And when doing tummy time, he’d do a good job of turning his head back and forth and has been able to push himself all the way up on his arms to look ahead of himself.  The past couple days, he’s even army crawled forward some (on his face, but still, forward locomotion!).  I thought we were pretty on track as far as all those milestones, so while I noticed the flat spot, I thought it was kind of a normal amount of flatness that would resolve itself naturally as he became more mobile.

But apparently, he should be able to hold his head up for longer in the middle when you pull him up into sitting position, instead of it drifting down to his chest to one side or another. And he should be doing the other stuff with more frequency and a longer duration.  He didn’t actually use the words brachycephaly (uniform flat spot in the back), or torticollis, but did refer us to PT.  I know my SIL’s pediatrician kept pushing her off, saying that it would resolve itself, so I’m hoping catching it early will mean that with a little PT we can reverse the trend and avoid him having to wear a helmet. 

So all in all, just like with the eating/allergies, it’s not the worst thing that we could be dealing with. He’s otherwise happy and healthy.  It’s just so frustrating that it’s always something.  I’m hoping that there’s some kind of cosmic tradeoff with this and it means he will be awesome teenager who is never sullen or rebellious.


Gift Horse, I’m looking at you November 18, 2008

Filed under: Daily Grind,Schmooper — booksunread @ 3:24 am

After Squidge was born, Miguel bought me a little token to express his gratitude at my having gestated and then delivered his child through a very tiny orifice.  I believe this is known in some circles as a “push present.”  And while I think that the concept, and that name, is kind of tacky-to expect some extravagant gift like the only reason you got pregnant was as some huge burdensome favor to your husband-I fully expected Miguel to mark the occasion with some sort of trinket.  A piece of mommy jewelry with Squidgy’s birthstone or name, certainly nothing terribly expensive.  The expectation was for something more sentimental than mercenary.

Miguel missed the mommy jewelry memo and bought me a watch.  A very, very nice watch.  A watch that almost doubles the net worth of my left hand when added to my engagement ring.  And as a very, very nice watch, it’s all fancy schmancy and it is “self winding” instead of having a battery.  The upside of this “perpetual motion” is that it works forever and ever and you never have to face the nearly insurmountable task of replacing the battery.  The downside is that you must be in perpetual motion for it to wind itself.  And if you don’t wear it for more than a day, it dies, looses time and then you have to wind and set it to get it going again.

And since I take off my watch and ring the second I walk in the door, because both are Squidge scratch hazards, it often sits all weekend without being worn.  So every Monday, I’ve got to stop and reset the stupid watch. Is it ungrateful that I kind of hate that watch and miss my Timex Indiglo?


Every Day is a Bad Hair Day November 5, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — booksunread @ 1:42 pm

Before I went back to work, I had my shoulder length hair cut shorter, to facilitate quick morning prep.  My hair long is thick and takes a long time to dry.  And then still needs some kind of intervention with a curling iron, straight iron or round brush blow out to tame the irregular waves and keep the ends from looking fuzzy.  I hate showering the night before; I need a shower to wake up in the morning, plus I have even less patience for doing my hair in the evening.  It ends up all crinkly and bad if I let it air dry. So…short hair.  I’ve had it before and liked it, so I decided to go back to a similar style.

I’ve been going to the same woman for at least the last five years now (except for one disastrous bit of adultery when she was on her first maternity leave-a sin for which I paid dearly…).  When I first started going to her, she worked at the ultra hip yuppie salon that was only hair, no spa or nail services, strictly excellent cut and color.  Even when we moved half an hour to the north, I would make the drive back down to the old neighborhood for hair appointments.  And then she went out on maternity, and I decided to grow my hair out so I started going to the salon around the corner from my house for quick trims. 

But as I do, I got bored with the grow out and decide to go short again.  With an untested hair dresser.  The result was extremely short, and very unflattering.  Luckily, while I was in the process of growing that out, I ran into my old hairdresser and found out that she was at a new salon.  She was able to shape up the disaster hair so that it looked better in the short term and grew out well.  And so we continued on together for many happy years, alternating long and short, layered and not layered, bangs and no bangs as it struck our fancy.

When I went in for my first cut after Squidge was born, I brought with me pictures of myself with one of the short cuts that she had given me.  The style could be all flippy and piecey, or I could use a round brush to make it smooth and turned under.  I brought pictures of both, one taken one day and another the next, so I know it was two cuts in one. She barely glanced at the pictures, and gave me basically a chin length layered bob that could go either way.  It was a little longer and less styley than before but the basics were thare so I let is slide.

But inevitably, it started bugging me as it grew out, looking worse and worse and requiring more fiddling, so I went back to the salon with the same pix in tow last week.  While I was waiting, I found a cut in a book that showed a little bit better what I was looking for so I asked for that, just not quite a short on top.  Again, she barely glanced at it and then went to town on my head. 

Right now, she is pregnant with her third child and I think she has just given up entirely trying to do good hair.  When she was done, and I examined the pieces framing my face, I had to point out that there was significantly more hair on one side than the other.  And then I found several long hairs that had been left completely uncut by the razor sticking out randomly around my head.
It looks soo soo bad and I hate it with a passion.  Right now, it is three bad haircuts in one: I can do it flippy and it looks all frayed like I was set upon by bandits armed with weed whackers; I can do it smoothed under and have the Dorothy Hamill, or I can try to work with my natural wave, scrunching it so that it is both flippy and partly turned under for two bad looks in one.

Gah. It’s been a week and I don’t feel any better about it and haven’t found a way to style it to make it work.  I’m extremely tempted to have someone else take a run at it, but I don’t know anyone and am worried it will make it worse. Especially considering there’s not a lot of hair to work with.

I’m keeping my eyes peeled when out and about for someone with a short haircut that I like so I can ask them where they get it done.  This alone should tell you how desperately I hate this haircut.  I do NOT talk to strangers.  When strangers talk to me they generally get a smile and polite reply, and then I busy myself elsewhere to avoid being drawn into conversations.  I’m that person on the seat next to you on the plane wearing my headphones with my nose buried in my book, refusing to make eye contact.  So for me to say “Excuse me, I really like your hair, who does it?” to a total stranger unprompted is a big deal. 

I hope to god I find somebody to accost soon.


Worst Parallel Parker, Ever November 3, 2008

Filed under: Daily Grind — booksunread @ 12:44 pm

The local Panera is located in a teeny strip mall, with a correspondingly teeny parking lot.  It wouldn’t be adequate if the strip mall only housed a few retail establishments; for a large multi-seat restaurant AND a Starbucks, it is ridiculously small. 
Yet I love me a you pick 2 combo so approximately once a week I head out and join the parade of cars circling the building, hoping for a spot to open up.  Yesterday, I was lucky enough to find a spot open when I arrived.  Unluckily, it was one of two parallel spots on the side of the building, and not the one on the end you can just pull into. No, it was the one wedged between another occupied spot and the iron railing fencing off the outdoor patio.
Gamely, I pulled past the spot, turned on my blinker and started trying to back into the spot. I had to  pause each time another car searching for a spot squeezed past me in the narrow lot, trying to gauge by my uncoordinated maneuvers whether I might be coming or going. 
I SERIOUSLY suck at parallel parking.  I grew up in suburbia, land of a million parking lots.  On top of that, I could not keep the car in a straight line in reverse if you put a gun to my head (as the lawn to either side of my driveway can attest).  So backing up while turning the wheels this way and that is usually beyond me unless the spot is ridiculously large to accommodate my inching forward and back, making minute adjustments for ten minutes before abandoning the car a foot from the curb (or parked on top of it).
I tried the pull past the spot maneuver three times, then I backed all the way up and tried to nose my way in, no dice.  All of this was witnessed by the other parkers, circling like sharks, rolling their eyes and waiting for me to just give it up already.  Fortunately, someone exited a regular spot then and put me out of my misery.  When I came out with my to go lunch, I saw that someone else had managed to jam their Ford Explorer into the spot.  Talk about feeling inadequate….