Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Four Months

Dear Hazel,
Today you turned four months old. FOUR MONTHS!!! Unbelievable! I cannot believe how fast time has flown by. I almost don't remember the first few days and weeks with you when I was beside myself with fear that I would accidentally break you, or beside myself just because I couldn't figure you out and you were crying all. the. time.

Four months later and I have a whole different baby. And really... are you still a baby? Or, are you a little girl with a little personality starting to emerge? I guess it depends on the day.

Right now, everything is going into your mouth. EVERYTHING. Including mommy's ear, mommy's hair, the burp cloth, any toy in the vicinity and your shirt. And the slobber... good grief the amount of slobber. There's gotta be some sort of scientific use for the amount of slobber you produce. You never know, right? It could be the cure for athletes foot, Hazel!

I suppose this means that shortly, we should be expecting your first tooth. Which we're really looking forward to... since you've been sick for the last three weeks and are just finally starting to feel better. That's right... we've weathered excema, a stuffy nose, an ear infection and a case of RSV back-to-back-to-back - which also means that you're like the Typhoid Mary of the nursery at day care - and now we get to fun of teething. I mean, really... who would want to be a baby through this crap? Certainly not me, but again... you have more grace than I do so maybe it won't be a big deal. Babies go through it every day and seem to come out on the other side only slightly scarred.

Just this week, you've started demanding to be held while I go about my daily routine. And no longer is me holding you while you look over my shoulder sufficient for you. Oh, no. You're a big girl now and you want to watch what I'm doing. Going to the fridge.... opening the door... getting out your antibiotic (with which I mean to ruin your life)... filling the syringe.... ALL FASCINATING.

You're also fascinated by new faces. Especially other babies and kids. Your favorite faces lately are not mommy and daddy. Oh no. In fact, we bore you. But you do love your Auntie Kaylene and your honorary big brother Gavin. When they come over to visit, you can't take your eyes off of either.

You've currently discovered your hands. And your tongue. And that you can use both to battle bottle or the binkie. You have also discovered standing. Which you love to do with help from mommy and daddy. You really like to stand on our laps and look around... as if to say: Wow! The view from up here is soooo different!! To help with your new-found joy, we bought you a jump-a-roo this week, and O.M.G.!!! It's Disneyland in our living room! Only without the lines. And the need to wear pants!

This last month, you've started to grab things at will. Usually, the end result is putting them in your mouth, as I've already mentioned. Yesterday as I held you in my lap, I held your favorite teether above your head and you would reach up, grab it, put it in your mouth... and then look at me and let it go. I'm convinced you did this so that I would put it above your head again and we could start the routine over. This went on for what seemed like hours. It was awesome.

You are smiling so much these days. And every once in a while, you'll throw out a giggle. Usually it's when daddy has done something to you. You've also taken up delighted shrieking. And you sure like to talk... and boy do you tell some stories. I have a feeling that you're gonna be a talker. You have such a happy disposition, Hazel. In fact, all of your reports at day care say that you are happy every day... and you've only ever had one report that you weren't happy and that was the first day back from your RSV quarantine, and I think you were just a little discombobulated.

I also have a feeling that you've already figured out how to manipulate me and daddy. You have been known to fake your crying. Be it when we're suctioning out your nose (which, okay... I admit, it's a bit disturbing to have that shoved up your nose), or when you're playing in your jump-a-roo and we happen to turn away for a moment and you sense that you're not the center of attention for a split second. I'm thinking that we're going to have to let you cry it out in your jump-a-roo... just to show you that you can be by yourself with us in clear sight and be okay.

Another new thing this month is your absolute hatred of your car seat. This is different from the last couple of months where you found solace in your car seat and loved to take little nappy-poos whenever you were in it for more than 10 minutes. In fact, when we first started taking you to day care, you usually fell asleep in the 8 minutes it took to get to day care from the house. Now? Not. So. Much. What you prefer to do now is cry from the minute I pick you up from day care and put you in the car seat aaaalllllllll the way home. Day trips on the weekend used to be a lot of fun since it allowed us to get out of the house and the motion of the car lulled you to sleep. But something fundamental has changed in you in regards to the car seat and now if you're in the car seat, you're awake. And if you're not crying... well, it's just a matter of time. I'm truly hoping that this, too, shall pass. Soon.

You're growing like a weed, Hazel Bird. In the last two weeks, you've gained 19 oz. And you're now comfortably wearing 6-month old clothes. Not that we don't try to still fit you into your 3-month old clothes... since we have a ton of those and they're soooo cute. You're still in the 100th percentile in both height and weight and weigh over 16 pounds already. So... basically, in less than four months, you more than doubled your birth weight. I really need you to start leveling things out, baby girl. You're getting awfully heavy and I'm worried that you're gonna outgrow your swing. Which is the only thing we've been able to get you to sleep in since you got sick. And if you get sick again... well, the swing has a weight and height limit and you're knocking on both of those doors. Plus... that car seat that you loathe right now? Getting awfully heavy!!!

You still need to be rocked to sleep for your naps and for bedtime. Something that used to really stress me out. I didn't have the "touch" like your daddy has and whenever I stayed home with you, or had to put you down when daddy wasn't there... well, I had a special anxiety about that. But, being home last week with you while you were sick gave me new confidence. I have, in effect, conquered The Daddy Special and have experienced first-hand how lethal it is. You have no defense for it... and it's really boosted my confidence as a mommy.

You also still are really fascinated by light and love watching the Olympics on the tv.

Since we've had you sleeping in your swing at night (due to the ear infection) you've been throwing down 10-11 hour sleeps. You've also begun to self-soothe by sucking your thumb. In fact, the other day I put you in the swing just for a minute while I did some thing around the house. Next thing I knew, you were sucking your thumb and were out like a light. I didn't even have to bring out The Daddy Special. However, the binkie isn't working well for you anymore. In fact, I'd say that you only want or need it 3% of the time. The other 97%, your daddy and I have to figure something else out. But, I'll tell you... that 3%? When you will allow it? GOLDEN.

I've been having a hard time keeping up with breast milk production. So we're giving you more formula than we really like to. My hospital visit last month didn't help production at all and whenever you feed, you pull off at about 4 minutes and look at me as if to ask: Sersly? That's it?

The good news is, now that you're 4-months old, you can probably start rice cereal. When we go to the doctor (again) on Friday for your next round of immunizations, we're hoping to get the go-ahead from him.

You have brought so much joy to our lives, Hazey. We can't imagine life without you and every day we wake up, we're so excited to start our day with you. You are an amazing little girl and we are so blessed that you are a part of our family.


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paying For It

Dear Hazel,
Well... you've been in day care for about six weeks now. And have been sick for about four of those weeks. Sometimes, I feel like I'm working so that I can pay for your day care and then pay for the doctor's visits and medications for the illness's you pick up while at day care. It's a vicious circle, Hazey. One that has me pulling my hair out. Literally. I mean, have I mentioned that not only has my hair started to turn gray, but that it's falling out in clumps these days? Ah... the joys of post-partum.

But, I digress. So, you've been sick for a while. First it was with the rash. Thankfully, changing your bathing patterns and the detergent we use on your clothes seems to have cleared most of it up. However, your left arm continues to give us problems and you really have a case of exczema on it. You also get small rashes on your neck where the car seat straps rub on you. But, there's nothing we can really do about that, so we just try to keep you lotioned up with some Eucerine and you don't seem to bothered by it. Not that you've ever been bothered by anything... except when dinner is late or I haven't picked up on your clues that YOU NEED TO GO TO BED RIGHT NOW. Luckily, I'm getting better at both of those and your cries are just not necessary now. Which is a blessing.

We went to St. George again for the long holiday weekend last week. We headed down Thursday afternoon and you slept about halfway there before you woke up and needed to be fed. We pulled over at a gas station in Fillmore and got your tummy situation taken care of and played with you for a bit before we put you back in the car seat for the remainder of the trip. For the next couple of hours, you and I had a great time. And then... when we were about 30 minutes outside of St. George, you lost. your. ever. loving. mind. I think you were tired. And you were tired of being in the car seat. And since I'm not producing as much milk as I used to, you were probably a little hungry. What followed was a LOT of screaming and crying until we got you to the house and were able to get you fed. By the time we got you down, you'd been up for four hours, and we really thought you would sleep through the night. I should mention now that although at 2 months old you were regularly pulling 8-10 hour night sleeps, the last week or so, it was hard to get you to sleep for more than three hours at a time. That, I guess, should have been our first clue.

Before we left for St. George, I'd taken you to the doctor because I'd noticed a slight cough. The doc said that everything looked okay and your lungs sounded clear, but that you did have a slight ear infection. We put you on antibiotics and hoped for the best. The first night down in St. George was awful. You were up and ready to party every three hours. You weren't unhappy or anything. Just awake. And it was KILLING me. Hopefully one day, you'll understand... feeding a baby ever 2-3 hours is really draining on a mommy. Especially one that's been used to only having to feed ever 3-4 hours during the day and not having to feed at all at night.

The second night in St. George was more of the same. We'd get you down. You'd be out. And then 2-3 hours later, you were up... chatting up a storm. The third night, Aunt Natalie mentioned that you might be waking up because of the pressure in your ear from the infection, and that maybe letting you sleep in the swing upright would help. At that point, I was willing to try anything. And that night, baby girl, you threw down a 10 hour, 45 minute sleep.


The following night you slept for 9 hours and have been sleeping through the night since then. All in your swing.

We noticed a few days ago, while we were still in St. George, that your cough was getting a little worse. A little phlegmy. But, again... you didn't seem too bothered. Plus, you were having too much fun getting to meet Aunt Natalie and make faces at Aunt KC... you couldn't be bothered with being cranky.

Coming home from St. George was not a lot of fun. First off... I mean, who wants to leave Southern Utah and go to Northern Utah in the middle of February. It's illogical. And secondly... well, let's just say that when you're over the car seat... YOU ARE OVER THE CAR SEAT, mkay?

The next morning, I took you to day care and mentioned that you had a bit of a cough. When the day care workers said: "She can join the club!", well, I shoulda taken you to the doc right then. Because every baby in that room was coughing.

When we got home that night and I tried to feed you, I knew something was wrong. You were screaming and crying in a way I haven't seen since you were five weeks old. You wouldn't eat and you were coughing up a storm. I took you to Urgent Care at our pediatrician's office where you were diagnosed with RSV. Lovely. The one disease I tried to avoid with you because I know how awful it can be. I keep trying to explain to you not to put your mouth on the toys at day care... but do you listen? Guess I should learn this early on, huh?

They sent us home with a nebulizer and a medical grade nasal suction machine (which by the way, you DO. NOT. LIKE.)(Probably because it feels and sounds like we're trying to extract your brain through your nostrils). They also upped your antibiotic since your ears are not getting better. And other than that... well, we just have to wait this thing out.

The good news is you're still sleeping through the night in your swing. You cough every once in a while but you stay down. Which is nice, I guess. I still keep going in and checking on you to make sure you're still breathing, but honestly, you're handling this whole thing remarkably well. For a baby with RSV, you're full of grace and even though I know that you don't feel that great... you're still full of smiles and happiness. You still like to talk and you've recently taken up happy shrieking. If we can just get you feeling better, you're going to be even more incredibly happy.

But, I guess will just have to wait for that.

I'm shooting for sometime in April.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

The Rash

Dear Hazel,
As I write this, you're having a party in your gym. At 8:15 at night. No one has yet told you that the gym closes at 8 on Saturday's.

So, this week has been interesting. When we went down to St. George last weekend, we noticed a little rash on your left arm. This, on top of your head cold, prompted us to call the doc. He assured us that the rash was probably just an irritation or possibly heat rash and that it should clear up shortly.

Boy, was HE wrong. So, so, SO. WRONG.

In the last week, that little rash on your arm moved up to your neck, then to your cheeks and then down your back and onto your stomach.

It didn't seem to bother you in the least. But Mommy and Daddy had serious concerns. So, we took you to the After Hours Clinic on Wednesday to see if it was something we should be treating. The doc who saw you didn't seem too concerned that it was anything like you developing an allergy to the formula, or even exzema. She didn't really know what it was other than just a rash. Lovely. She gave us some advice that we shouldn't be bathing you every night as your skin was probably getting dried out, and that we should be moisturizing you with Eucerine during the day. She also prescribed HydroCortisone. When she did, your Daddy and I both had a raised eyebrows moment. Steroids? On our little baby? FOR. REAL???

So, being stupid and willing to try anything to fix you, we got the hydrocortisone and put it on you that night. And twice Thursday and Friday. And during just those three days, our little happy, energetic girl turned into a lethargic CRANKY PANTS. And not just a cranky pants, but a cranky pants who eats CONSTANTLY. And not just constantly. Seven ounces per feeding. And sometimes with only 2 hours between feedings. You're already 15 pounds 's baby girl. But these last few days... you've likely put on a couple of extra poundaroos because honestly, we must be starving you to death with as much as you demand to be fed! I know it's probably just the steroids messing with you... but it's rather quite disturbing. We're two weeks out from giving you rice cereal. And trust me when I tell you that day cannot come soon enough!!

But, I digress. After a long Saturday of crankiness and us wondering where our sweet, happy child went, Mommy went for a long run and decided that the hydrocortisone had. to. go. We hadn't really seen much improvement in your rash since using it and just didn't feel good about it. I'm hoping that in the next few days, you can get it all out of your system and we can return to our regularly scheduled programming.

I think it's already working, as we haven't put any on you since 7 a.m., and you are just chattering up a storm over there in your gym. Well... chattering when you don't have the pink puppy dog's foot in your mouth, that is.

We've also changed your laundry detergent so that it has no dyes and no fragrances... just in case that's also causing problems. It's never been a problem before, but you can never be too careful, right? The plan is now just to keep you moisturized and hope for the best. The rash on your face seems to be clearing up somewhat.... I don't credit the steroids, though. I credit the Eucerine. And the lack of baths.

Ah... the lack of baths. It's been such a bummer that you can't take baths. I love bathing with you and you absolutely adore bath time. It might just be the greatest thing in your world. Seriously. We may be training the next Olympic gold medalist. You love bath time THAT. MUCH.

Well, I just put you down and I'm hoping for a long night of sleep. As usual, you can be counted on for 8-11 hours of sleep. If only your internal alarm clock went off at 7 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. That would make... well, my life!