the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Oh, the HEAT

Been a while since I posted, so here's what's been going on here since the Max busted his head open.
  • It hasn't rained for THREE WEEKS, and it is HOT. As in record-breaking heat. Hottest my backyard has been in the past week: 107 degrees. It's been over 102 every single day for a week and a half. Officially, temps in Mobile have been 100-101. Holy crap, that's hot for June.
  • Yesterday our air conditioner up and died. While we are experiencing record-breaking heat.
  • Seeing my in-laws 4 days in three weeks is TOO MUCH. I need a break.
  • I shouldn't complain, though, since one of those times was helping move our new (to us) dining room furniture. And another time was them bringing a second little window air conditioner for our bedroom when our central air died yesterday. We have one window unit in the kitchen in case of hurricanes.
  • But I can't help it. I cannot stand the constant negative comments pertaining to Max not talking or still wanting a pacifier or the implications that Chad and I are getting this parenting thing all wrong. You don't go to someone's house and make snide remarks to their child or ask him questions like, "Mommy made you mad?" or "Daddy didn't do that right?" followed by something that may as well be, "I can do it better." Just thinking about it gets me all worked up.
  • So what if I piss my toddler off when I take away his riding toy because he refuses to sit down on it? What is the alternative? Let him have his way and stand up on it so he can bust his head open again? What's better? A couple of minutes of full on, pissed off, red faced screaming? Or the consequences of him falling off and getting hurt? I'm the parent for a reason. I know better than Max does when it comes to that sort of thing.
  • I can't stop baking. Apparently, it's my new favorite hobby. A couple of days ago I made oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies, and they are awesome. Max gets mad at me when I only let him eat one. Today I made some banana muffins, and they are pretty much the best muffins ever. We'll see if Max, who has never liked muffins, will eat one.
  • I'm almost finished with my cardigan! I'm working on the last piece, and hopefully it won't be long before I have a finished product to show you.
  • I really need to stop reading blogs by crafty people. They always make me want to take on new and exciting hobbies that I have no time for. Like sewing. I have never used a sewing machine, ever. But suddenly I find myself wanting to give it a try. I mean, it doesn't *seem* like it would be that difficult. But I'm sure it's more involved than I am envisioning.
I'm sure there's more, but you probably don't want all the details. So now I'll go back to editing my graphs and waiting for the AC repairman.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Panic! At the Homestead

Whew. Is anyone else out there actually *glad* it's Monday? No? Just me? Oh well. It was a terrible weekend here in LaTinaLand, and I'm sort of looking forward to a mundane week. See, to start things off, Max had to go and bust his head open Saturday morning, so that pretty much ruined the whole weekend right there. I made yummy lemon muffins and scrambled eggs for breakfast on Saturday, so that was good. But Max ate one bite of eggs and refused to try the muffin, which is to be expected with Max. His breakfast of champions? A bowl of Cheerios and some fruit.

Anyway, after breakfast I took a shower and had just finished drying my hair when I heard Max start crying, and Chad yelled from the living room, "Where's the first aid kit?" So I dropped my hair brush and ran into the hall (Max wasn't crying anymore), where Chad was holding Max, who was bleeding all over Chad's shirt. From a gaping wound on his forehead. So we went into the hall bathroom and got a damp rag to wipe the blood away so I could see what we were dealing with. Then I whipped out the giant variety box of Band-Aids and the antibiotic cream, along with gauze and medical tape. When I tried to clean the wound a little, Max wiggled and screamed, and we had to lay him down on the couch so I could get a giant-sized Band-Aid on him. Meanwhile, Chad explained that Max had been playing in the kitchen, tripped over the wheel of the high chair and fell face first right into the corner of the cabinet. Ahhh!

It was decided that the cut would need stitches, so I called Max's pediatrician's office (they have a little emergency room there, and we thought that would be faster and better for Max than taking him to the big emergency room at the hospital). The branch of the medical group where Max's pediatrician is based was CLOSED. The one time we *really* need them on a Saturday. Ahhh!!! But they have another office about 10 minutes away, so I called there and found out exactly where it was (behind IHOP on Airport, FYI), and we were off. Actually, I called while we were in already in the car. Because once we decided this was an EMERGENCY, I grabbed Max's (conveniently pre-packed) diaper bag, threw in a juice box, a paci, and his shoes, snatched up my purse, and we ran out the door. Chad drove. I was a little shaky.

Max totally kept his cool while Chad and I were busy panicking. As long as we weren't trying to fix his head wound, he was fine. There was a giant Band-Aid over it, and it was still bleeding (duh, it was a big gaping gash that wouldn't stay closed on its own). Max didn't even have his paci, and he was cool. I strapped him in the car seat, and he was fine. A real trooper. He just kept looking up to try to see the enormous Band-Aid on his head.

Anyway, so we were ushered right into the ER when we got to the doctor's office, and Max just sat on Chad's lap and looked around. No tears. His forehead was busted open, and he was bleeding, but he was fine with it. Then the doctor came in with a nurse, who took the Band-Aid off Max's forehead. Then we laid him down on the exam table, and all hell broke loose. Max was screaming and flailing, despite the paci I retrieved from the diaper bag (not that I blame him, poor baby). Chad held Max's legs, I held his arms, and the nurse held his head while the doctor cleaned and examined the wound. He decided that stitches wouldn't be necessary. The cut was a perfectly vertical line (when the nurse held the edges of the wound together; it was a big gaping marquis shape otherwise) almost an inch long right above Max's left eye, so they decided they could glue it closed instead of stitching it. So we held Max down for a couple more minutes while the doctor produced a vial of purple Derma-bond and glued the wound shut.

Then the doctor peeled off a little wound care instruction sheet and told us how to care for Max's injury: don't do ANYTHING. Don't wet it (though a little blot in the bath would be fine), don't put any ointment on it, don't clean it, don't put a bandange on it. Just leave it alone and let the glue start coming off on its own (which would start to happen in a week or so). But we'd have to be careful not to let Max rub his head vigorously against anything or pick at the glue. Which as it turns out, is easier said than done with a toddler who has completely forgotten that he busted his forehead open two days ago.

Chad and I were really jumpy all weekend, freaking out every time Max stumbled. Which happens a lot, especially considering Max's propensity to spin around in circles until he can't walk straight. We jumped every time Max fell down and were constantly telling him to be careful. Yesterday Max started wanting to rub his face on the furniture and do this head-butting thing that he does, and he's making us crazy. Because he does not respect his head wound. He doesn't really try to touch it with his hands, though. I'm guessing it still hurts like hell.

Dressing and undressing the Max is also a little more difficult than usual. Because I try to get his shirt on and off without rubbing it against his forehead. Easier said than done. Yesterday morning Max got impatient with me and whipped his pajama shirt over his head while I was positioning the neck hole so it wouldn't touch the cut. I freaked a bit, but he was fine.

Anyway, so this morning I had to explain the head wound to the director of Max's daycare center (we saw her on the way in) and then to his teachers. They told me that another little boy in Max's class had to get stitches under his chin over the weekend when he fell off the bed. So it was a bad weekend for the toddlers at Max's daycare.

So now I'm ready for a week without drama. You hear that, Powers That Be? NO DRAMA.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Playground Etiquette

So, Max and I braved the 90-degree heat this morning (but at 9 a.m. it was only 93 degrees, now it's 97 degrees) and went to the park. Big deal, right? I don't usually bother to tell you about our trips to the park. I push Max around in the stroller for 30 minutes or so (depending on how tolerant he is of being strapped down and how tired I am) then we hit the playground. Boring, boring. Although a couple of weeks ago, Max did find an empty beer bottle in the jungle gym. I freaked out a little about my 16 month old carrying around a glass bottle (and then I was all "who the hell leaves beer bottles in jungle gyms on the freaking BABY PLAYGROUND?!"), but I got over it. He climbed out of the jungle gym and immediately handed the bottle to me. Good boy, Max.

Anyway, the Max and I were chilling at the playground, blowing bubbles, sliding down the slide, climbing in the jungle gym, the usual. Then we went over to the swings, which Max doesn't particularly like, but I always put him in a swing for a little while despite that (surely he will LEARN to like the swings).

ANYway, Max was busy enjoying his first 10 seconds of swinging then begging to get out when this little boy comes over to me, wanting me to push him in a swing. This kid is maybe 2 years old, and his verbal skills aren't so good. Because most small children can only *really* be understood by their parents.

I'm not really sure what the proper etiquette is for this particular situation. Is it ok to put some other person's kid (whom you have never so much as seen before) in a baby swing? Are you allowed to play with a stranger's kid at the park? I mean, I wouldn't want some random stranger playing with my kid without permission.

Anyway, so I asked the little boy where his mommy was. Response: *stare* *point to swing* *hold arms up* I looked around, saw one guy with a little girl playing nearby. No resemblance AT ALL to the little boy and paying no attention to us. Not the kid's dad. I looked around some more. And saw NO ONE on the baby playground. There were a few parents and children on the adjacent big kid playground, but none of them were paying attention to the kid or seemed to be looking for a missing 2 year old.

So I rescued Max from his swing and put the stranger kid in a swing and pushed him for a little while. Max seemed to enjoy watching the other little boy having fun in the swing. As I mentioned before, it was 90+ degrees outside, and we'd been out in it for about an hour and a half at this point (but slathered with suncreen, wearing sunglasses, and with plenty of water on hand). Max was getting sweaty and irritable and wanted to be held. The stranger kid wanted to be pushed in the swing and did not want to get out. But it was *really* time for me to take Max home. By that time the guy with the little girl had come over to the swings, and I was trying to persuade the little boy to let me get him out and go find his mommy. Max was squirming and whining, and the guy was like, "I'll get him out." So I shrugged, and said ok. So that guy took the stranger kid out of the swing, and an older little girl (meaning she was about 6), perhaps the kid's sister, came over and led the stranger kid over to the big kid playground, and I assume, their mom/nanny/grandparent/other guardian.

That whole situation was weird. Who takes a toddler to the park and lets him wander off completely by himself? Not at all within sight? And lets him talk to random strangers without supervision? Well, try to talk, anyway. I mean, I've interacted with plenty of kids at the park, but until now the parent or grandparent of the kid in question has been right there, ready to pounce should the interaction between our kids turn nasty (e.g., should Max try to hold their kid's hand or should their kid poke Max in the tummy, both of which have happened before). It's weird when some random kid comes over and wants you to push him on the swings. And weirder when you can't figure out who he belongs to.

Monday, June 08, 2009

If Only I Were Independently Wealthy

Here is what I want to do today:
  • Read The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde.
  • Nap to my heart's content ('cause I've been sick since Friday, and I'm super tired).
  • Finish the second sleeve of the cardigan I'm knitting (see a few posts ago, I'm too lazy to link it). And possibly start on the front pieces.
  • Frolic with The Max, possibly at the beach.
Here is what I'll do instead:
  • Read the paper we'll be discussing at tomorrow's lab meeting.
  • Hit the post office to mail off a book I sold on Amazon.
  • Read the manuscript I'm reviewing and make some notes on it.
  • Work on editing the two chapters of my dissertation that are finished. And then edit them some more.

Friday, June 05, 2009

Thursday, June 04, 2009

You Are Getting Sleepy....

I may have mentioned this at some time in the past, but the Max has some sleep issues. We had four or five blissful months between the ages of three and eight months when Max slept through the night faithfully. We decided on Max's bedtime based on his last feeding before bed. When he was teeny tiny (i.e., younger than three months), we went to bed around 11:00, and Max would wake up around 2:00-ish then again around 4:00-4:30 to eat. Eventually, he started only waking up once around 3:00 to eat, then at the magical age of 3 months he stopped waking up before 6:00 a.m., and I was in heaven. I got sleep from 11:00 to 6:00, uninterrupted. As he got older, we gradually stretched the time between feedings and started putting Max to bed a little earlier every week. By the time he was 5 months old, Max's last feeding before bed was around 7:30-8:00, after which he went directly to sleep. Thus, his 8:00 bedtime. And he'd sleep until 6:30-7:00 in the morning. He slept well through his first two teeth (I think we had a couple of nights when he woke up once but went right back to sleep), and Chad and I thought we were out of the night-waking woods. Well, we did have a few nights when Max was 6 or 7 months old when he'd wake up with his pajamas and his sheets covered in pee. So I'd have to get up and change the Max's jammies and his bedsheets. Then I'd put Max back in the crib, he'd talk to himself for a few minutes and go back to sleep all by his lonesome. After this started happening a few times a week, I discovered Huggies Overnites. They didn't have them in Max's size, but I bought the bigger ones anyway, and they did the trick. He still wears the same size Huggies Overnites now, more than 9 months later (but he is close to moving up a size). And I no longer have to change wet sheets at 3 a.m.

Anyway, then something crazy happened when Max was about 8 months old, and suddenly he was waking up several times a night and refusing to go back to sleep in the crib. I thought maybe teething was to blame, but his next tooth didn't appear until Max was 10 months old (after getting his first two at 5 1/2 months). So, Max spent a month making me crazy by waking up three times a night and spending most nights in our bed when I was so tired I couldn't take it anymore. I eventually got him straightened out again. Well, sleeping in his bed, anyway. He was still waking up a couple of times a night.

Then we went on vacation for 9 days. The first night, Max slept like a baby is supposed to sleep - all night without a peep. And that was the end of good sleeping habits for three months. The rest of the trip, Max woke up every 1-2 hours at night and wouldn't even sleep well in the bed with Chad and me. When we got home, he wasn't waking up as often, but he still slept with Chad and me. Because I can only take so much incessant screaming. I eventually convinced Max to sleep in his bed again around his birthday (though he still woke up once or twice at night).

Then he got bronchitis. And an ear infection. At the same time. Two weeks after his birthday. And then? The amoxicillin he was on for the infections gave Max hives. For a month. Good-bye sleeping in the crib. I felt guilty about letting my sick and itchy baby scream in his bed at night, so once again he started sleeping with us. Every night. Because after 30 minutes of screaming I give up. That 'let them cry it out' business is for tougher mothers than I. I tried. I'd let Max cry for two or three minutes, go check on him and calm him down, then leave. Repeat. If after 30 minutes, Max was still crying, he won. Sue me.

Anyway, after the hives finally cleared up, Max wasn't crying so much and stayed in his bed longer every night before he woke up demanding to come back to bed with me. A couple of months ago, he finally started sleeping in his bed again. But now he's waking up obscenely early. Meaning before 6 a.m. If I take him back to bed when he wakes up at 5-something he'll usually sleep for another hour to an hour and a half. But really I wish he'd sleep in his bed until after 6:00. Like he used to.

I've started trying to make Max's bedtime earlier. Supposedly, that helps. So the Max has been going to bed around 7:30-ish for the past few nights. No luck. He's still waking up between 5:00 and 5:30. Next up: a blackout curtain. I'm hoping that will at least convince him it isn't morning yet so he'll go back to sleep in his bed when he wakes up at 5:00.