February 28, 2005

Playin' with the Big Kids

Dorothy began her transition to the next age group at daycare today. She'll be part of a group of "waddlers" (not quite toddlers), roughly age 12-18 months. She spent two hours over in that room today, and apparently had a ball. In fact, she had so much fun playing with the "big" kids" that she tired herself out enough to fall asleep in her high chair at lunchtime. The teacher extracted her from the chair and put her down for a nap, which then lasted almost three hours!

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

Escape Vehicle

Said by me the other evening while playing a game of "I'm gonna get ya!":

Oh no! Dorothy's escaping on her get-away hippo!

Yes, that's right folks: Those cowboys who robbed banks and then escaped on horses should instead have been using hippos.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:44 AM | Comments (1)

February 27, 2005

Cobalt is a Goof, Reason #43

Cobalt (our male cat) is a goofball. Sometimes he seems like a dog stuck in a cat's body. The latest reason for our calling him a goof has to do with water.

Cobalt, like all cats, hates getting wet. If we drop a couple drops of water on him, he'll shake it off and go lick himself dry. And yet, water fascinates him. This evening while running the water for Dorothy's bath, he came in and peered over the edge of the tub at the running water. Then, when Dorothy was in the tub, he was sitting up on the edge, leaning over and peering down at the water. Elizabeth and I were (as always) sorely tempted to give him a nudge over the edge. But we refrained. At one time I did use one of Dorothy's bath toys to pour a small stream over his head, but he didn't even run away - he just moved further along the edge of the tub.

Some day, Cobalt's fascination with water will get him pushed into a bathtub, and then we'll see how he likes it.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:58 PM | Comments (4)

February 25, 2005

Being Good Enough

More than a week ago, Elizabeth sent me a story titled "The Good Enough Mother". It basically talks about not being a total control freakazoid with your kids, and instead trying to just relax and spend time with them, let them enjoy childhood. I'm sure I'll be stressed out and be somewhat pushy with our kids, but philosophically I'm certainly more aligned with the "let them be themselves" school than the "let's cram as much 'enrichment' in as we can" school.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 11:20 PM | Comments (0)

Value For You

Just to satisfy our customers who were becoming upset at the reduced frequency of Dorothy photo postings, I just put up a new set of photos, barely three days after the last posting. How's that for high value for your subscription dollars?

Speaking of which, where are your subscription dollars? You better send them in, otherwise Dorothy "the Enforcer" will come a-knocking at your door...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:28 PM | Comments (1)

A "Gift" of Sperm?

I'm pretty much left speechless by this story of a woman who, during an affair, stored sperm from oral sex with her lover, and then impregnated herself later. The man knew nothing about it until she slapped him with a paternity lawsuit two years later. Read the whole story for the details of the actions and the lawsuits (e.g., you can learn why I chose the title I did for this post).

I'm not sure what you can say about the whole thing, other than "That's some fucked up shit!"? In so many ways, it's just weird.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:28 PM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2005

Photos

More photos are now online. Captions and descriptions will likely be posted tomorrow. In the meantime, submit your own captions! :-)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:35 PM | Comments (1)

Bug Update

I don't want to jinx our chances by saying that we're actually getting better, but the indications seem to lean that way. Dorothy's been eating relatively well since Thursday or Friday. I was feeling like crap again over the weekend, but seem to be a bit better today. I'm hoping to attain a reasonable amount of energy and a lack of coughing within a couple of days, barring any further illnesses.

Elizabeth's mom came out to give us a break (thank you!). She helped watched Dorothy while we got some extra sleep over the weekend, and she's been helping us finish unpacking, since that task went by the wayside when Dorothy got sick three weeks ago.

In any case, thanks to all for well-wishings and suggestions. Now it's time to start preparing for a little girl's one-year birthday party, which is less than two weeks away! :-O

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

February 18, 2005

Upgraded to 'Lousy'

Today I'm feeling only "lousy" which is a big improvement over the last two days, when I was going through the states of "miserable" and "death warmed over." The funny thing is, despite feeling nauseous and diarrheal, nothing really happened. I'd make my way to the porcelain altar, and eventually leave without having left any sacrifices (as it were).

Whatever got me, it sure took all my energy and stuffed my head full of cotton. I owe a big debt to Elizabeth for staying home yesterday to help take care of Dorothy (who's finally getting better), because I couldn't have done it myself. I was able to keep Dorothy alive, and even entertained, for most of today, since I was feeling so much better ("better" being a relative term).

Thanks for the suggestions in the comments on previous posts! Dorothy didn't poop at all yesterday, and today she had her first non-diarrhea poops in a long damn time, so I'm thinking that she either doesn't have C. difficile or else she's over it [knock on wood]. She's been eating pretty darn well for the last day or two, as well, so hopefully her weight will be returning to normal as well.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:22 PM | Comments (0)

February 16, 2005

A Not-So-Promising Sign

The good news is that Dorothy continued to eat better today, finishing three servings of yogurt, a container of strained bananas, and a little bread.

The bad news is that she was sent home from daycare with a temperature of 102. Tom took her to the pediatrician again - one of her ears is looking a little worse. They gave him a prescription for another antibiotic, but told him not to fill it right away - we may want to let the ear infection take its course while we try to get the diarrhea under control.

The worse news is that Tom is now having severe nausea, as well. I will be staying home to take care of both of them tomorrow. My ear infection is not going away yet (and in fact, my other ear is starting to hurt, too), and I'm continuing to cough up half my body weight in mucus every day, but I'm still the healthiest one here.

Posted by Elizabeth Nugent at 07:42 PM | Comments (0)

February 15, 2005

A Promising Sign?

Today, Dorothy ate three full servings of yogurt (two of which were "active culture" to help re-introduce digestive system bacteria, i.e., acidophilus, back into her gut)! One day isn't enough to indicate that we've turned the corner, but tonight she took her last dose of antibiotic, and we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope her appetite keeps heading back towards normal.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:01 PM | Comments (2)

Misery Loves Company

They say that misery loves company. Since Elizabeth and Dorothy have been so miserably sick, my body must have decided to cheer them up by getting sick as well. :-P

Last night I woke up at 3am feeling like I'd been hit by a Mack truck. I had a very sore throat/roof of my mouth, was congested, and my neck & shoulder muscles were amazingly achy and stiff. I have no idea what caused the muscle problems, but luckily those were gone this morning. The sore throat etc., however, decided to stick around.

I tried taking Dorothy back to daycare today, since she hadn't been there since last Wednesday and she didn't seem to have any active problems. She was tired and inactive, but not constantly crying or anything. I got a call from daycare around noon telling me to come get her because she was 'uncomfortable' and was being clingy and fussing even when being held. Argh. There went my hopes for getting something halfway useful done today.

I have this crazy dream that, one day, we'll all be healthy and be able to finish unpacking our house and start to enjoy this new state we've moved to.

In the meantime, I can at least take solace in the fact that we have company in our misery (MetroDad and Trixie's family among others)

Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:30 PM | Comments (0)

February 14, 2005

More Weight Loss

Dorothy's been sick. One thing I didn't mention before is her weight loss due to the diarrhea (now going on for over a week, with loose stools for weeks before that) and refusal to eat almost anything.

Dorothy has been refusing to eat almost anything (except a bit of yogurt in the morning) for at least a week, maybe more (it's hard to remember through the haze of the last two weeks). She'll nurse fine, and has been chewing on her water-filled sippy cup (and getting a small amount of water in the process), but she's not really getting any nutrition beyond breastmilk.

Back at her nine month check-up at the beginning of December, she weighed 20 lbs 12 oz. Sometime in January, we weighed her on our home scale and she was roughly 22 lbs. She's been tracking along in the roughly 75th percentile for height and weight since she was one month old.

On February 1st, when we first took her to see the pediatrician (because of what turned out to be a virus, likely RSV), they weighed her at 21 lbs 8 oz. That measurement was taken on an old balance scale, and Dorothy was squirmy, but I'm sure it was close enough. Last Thursday (2/10), when we took her in for the follow-up that became a diagnosis of double ear infections, they weighed her (this time on a modern, digital scale) at 20 lbs, 10 oz. Today, only four days later, she came in at 20 lbs even (a bit below the 50th percentile for her age). She has lost almost 10% of her body weight in two weeks. The doctor didn't seem too worried about the weight loss because she's not yet showing any serious signs of dehydration. But it's been stressing us (me in particular) out to no end.

The good news is that her ears are looking much better, and she'll finish her antibiotics tomorrow. We've started giving her active culture yogurt and some acidopholus (on the recommendation of the doctor), which should help her innards get back in order, and hopefully stop the diarrhea shortly after she stops the antibiotics.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 08:35 PM | Comments (1)

February 13, 2005

New Car

We went and bought (well, leased) a new car today. The weather forecast had been for rain, which you'd think would mean cloudy all day. Although it did rain around 5pm, at noon the drive to the car dealership looked like this:
20050213-driving.jpg

We got a 2005 Toyota Camry. Apparently, saying that you're just doing test drives now, and having a sick, tired baby as an excuse for wanting to leave the dealership helps motivate them to give you their best offer without mucking around. Based on all the research we'd done in advance (thanks to Edmund's and LeaseGuide.com for guidance), we knew that it was a good deal they were offering us.

Anyway, Dorothy is still not eating much, and still has diarrhea. But she was amazingly well-behaved all day long, and actually ate an entire thing of yogurt (which she hasn't done in maybe a week or more) at the car dealership. Here she is with Elizabeth, waiting for some paperwork from the car salesman:
20050213-Toyota.jpg

We now have a car for Elizabeth to commute in and which can carry Dorothy in her car seat. Yay.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:38 PM | Comments (0)

February 12, 2005

New Tricks at 10+ Months

[Note: This entry was written by both Tom and Elizabeth, starting almost two weeks ago. So it's not completely up to date, but we're too busy with a sick baby to get this entry perfect.]

Moving across country has distracted us from posting regular updates on Dorothy's development, but holy cow has she been advancing. When she hasn't been coughing or vomiting, she's been crawling up a storm, standing and sitting, and generally being a whirlwind of activity. Here's a breakdown on what's been happening lately.

Since she started crawling back in early December, Dorothy has quickly progressed to a speed demon on knees. She can't quite catch the cats, but she's really working on it. One afternoon a week or so ago, she crawled after Cobalt in the kitchen, around the island in the middle of the floor. She'd go after him, he'd walk away and lay down. She'd catch up to him (with an occasional break to sit and watch him), and he'd walk away. They went around the island (which is probably 10 feet or more long, and maybe 3 wide) at least two or three complete circuits. Once she can maintain an even higher speed, she'll be a true cursorial hunter (which also explains her persistence; see below for more).

I don't know if the time spent in the hotels and then in the big open spaces of the new house had anything to do with it, or if it's just the passage of time, but she's really got the whole "I can go get something I see" thing down pat.

Another skill that's improved by leaps and bounds is her ability to pull herself to standing, and then sitting back down. At first she required something solid to pull up with, such as a low table, or jeans on a person's leg. But she can now stand up by pulling on my very stretchy pajama legs, or just by leaning against a wall. Or by leaning against the windows (yes, we'll have to clean the windows regularly, or just accept complete hand-print coverage). She also loves to use the edge of the tub to stand up in (or out of) the bathtub, and rarely slips on the bottom, even if she's not standing on the nonskid mat.

As before, she loves to walk by holding onto someone's hands. Over the last week, she's started to take at least a few steps holding on with only one hand. She's also quite good at stopping, squatting to pick up a toy, and standing back up, all holding on with only one hand. (Usually once she's got it, the toy is then clenched in the teeth so she can hold on with both hands to continue walking.) As of Friday, she will also take a couple of "falling steps" with no hands at all to get from one person to another. (Unfortunately, she slipped and gave herself a bloody nose doing this the first time, so she's a little more cautious about it now. We were passing the time in the pediatrician's office while waiting for the doctor to come in - we said that if she was going to hurt herself, at least she picked a good place.)

She also can sit in her little chair (and think's she's just the cat's pajamas when she does), although she hasn't mastered actually sitting down on it for herself - she still has to be set on it.

In addition, she's really trying to vocalize and communicate more. We've been working on teaching her sign language, and she has one very reliable word, "ball." She will use it correctly both verbally and signing, although neither is "pronounced" exactly correctly: the verbal sounds more like "bah," and the sign doesn't quite have the cupped hands of the adult version. Once she gets excited about us understanding her, she also starts applying both the word and the sign to everything in sight. She's also starting to make the sign for "more," although it's not clear what she thinks it means.

We can also really see all kinds of learning of more specific stuff going on. For instance, before we got our furniture, we were sleeping on an inflatable mattress on the floor. Dorothy has always tried to crawl off the edge of the bed with no seeming understanding of caution, and we let her do it when the bed was only six inches high. The first time, she picked exactly the wrong spot to exit and banged her head on the leg of her playpen - lots of screams and tears. The next time, she sort of slithered forward with her hands in front of her, landing on her face, but gently enough that it didn't hurt. By a few more tries, she was turning sideways, extending a leg to the floor, and easing herself down. Climbing up onto low places followed shortly thereafter. The bed was a little too squishy to climb onto, but she's quite good at climbing onto the ledge of the fireplace, which is about six inches off the floor.

She also has started playing with toys in a slightly more sophisticated way than just banging them together to hear a noise. She has a toy birdhouse with stuffed birds, and she loves to take the birds in and out (and will do so on command, usually). She's starting to put her geometric shaped blocks (her very first toy - thanks, Uncle Tom!) into the correct "sorter" holes (at least the circle). So she can stick a round peg into a round hole. I'm sure the nonconformist tendencies will reemerge, though.

Not only does 'D' stand for 'Dorothy,' but 'D' is also for 'determination.' Dorothy has developed a very strong sense of determination and persistence, and is generally capable of being very strong-willed. If she wants something (let's call it the "Object of Desire"), it is no longer so easy to distract her by waving some new toy in her face. She may pause in her crawling towards the Object of Desire, but she'll pause just long enough to remember that she's not interested in this distraction. She'll then continue on towards the Object of Desire. The bathtub is another obsession with her. There's a bathroom across the hall from her room, so when changing her, we often have to chase her across the hall as she goes to see if she can climb into the tub. And if she's just finished a bath, she'll definitely try to go back and see if there's still water. And if not, or if we've been smart and closed the bathroom door, she knows there's another tub in Mommy & Daddy's room! So she'll truck on down the hallway and try to make her way to the big tub in the master bathroom.

Mealtime is getting a little trickier, as she is often not content to just open her mouth and let us spoon in food. I think we've encountered a combination of reduced appetite due to her getting older plus being sick, along with a decreased interest in being spoon-fed. Many meals recently have consisted mostly of Mommy or Daddy waving some food near Dorothy's face while she waves her head back and forth "no!" and/or thrashes around like some head-banger. She'll also try to grab the spoon.

Even before she was sick, she loved her sippy cup, although she also loves shaking it to fling water everywhere. She's usually very good at picking up Cheerios, pear chunks, crackers, bits of bread, and most anything else that she can fit in her mouth. But if it's something she doesn't want to eat, she will pick it up and drop it off the side of the high chair. And being sick, she does that a lot. She also wants to hold a spoon and try to dip it in the food, but often gets excited and waves it around instead of sticking it in her mouth, flinging her sweet potatoes everywhere. Giving her a spoon for each hand and using a third to feed her will sometimes work, but she's been getting wise to that trick.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 07:44 PM | Comments (2)

February 10, 2005

Smallpox to the Indians

We stopped giving Dorothy the Albuterol on Tuesday because her cough was getting much better, and she wasn't wheezing anymore. But she's still been very lethargic and hasn't been eating much at all. Today she felt hot and I measured her temperature at 101.6 (the thermometer hadn't quite finished rising, but she chose that moment to pee on the thermometer, so I took it out to deal with more urgent matters). Conveniently, she had a follow-up appointment for last week's illness. The pediatrician determined that Dorothy has a double ear infection, even though D's been able to avoid that particular bane of childhood before. So we got an antibiotic, and I'll be staying home with her again tomorrow.

Michael (who I work with on LiftPort) said that we were in a similar situation to the Native Americans hundreds of years ago: When the Europeans arrived, smallpox decimated the Native American population. Now that we've arrived in Washington state, the local bugs are hitting us hard. Unfortunately, we can't blame anyone but ourselves.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:42 PM | Comments (0)

Government Forcing Scientists to Lie?

Today DadTalk brought up the problem of government researchers being pressured to change their reports for political reasons. Here's his final point:

When it comes to research, we donít pay taxes to be lied to; we rely on research to be pure and clean so we can make intelligent decisions. If politicians donít create a level playing field for researchers to reveal honest results, this nation will sink into a mire of lies that will be difficult to escape.
I'll admit I'm way too distracted to research the topic more, but I agree that it's a disturbing trend (and it's been happening since before the Bush administration). And the "mire of lies" problem is real - trust of the government is already low, and large sections of the public already seem to have a distrust of science in general. Being lied to will only exacerbate these problems.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:26 PM | Comments (1)

February 09, 2005

BIDS strikes again!

BIDS has struck our home again. Last week, Dorothy got a mega-cold that the doctor thought was RSV, although we don't have tests to confirm it. Well, over the weekend Elizabeth and I both got sore throats, runny noses, and a cough. Today, I'm finally starting to feel better. Elizabeth is in the unfortunate position of not being able to take Sudafed because it would dry up her milk production. Lack of symptom relief along with less sleep (due to night-time nursing) has probably kept Elizabeth from recovering as quickly.

Being sick has, of course, slowed down progress on unpacking, and just about everything else. Hopefully we'll all be healthy by the weekend, because we need to start shopping for a second car (oh, joy).

Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 08, 2005

Wet Photos

The latest batch of photos seems to include multiple baths, and includes some heinie shots !

Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

February 07, 2005

Blue Poop

This morning, while changing Dorothy's diaper, I noticed what appeared to be a small piece of blue tape in amongst the more normal diaper contents. I'm not sure where she got it; perhaps it's one of the labels (about 1/2 inch by 1 inch) that the moving company used to inventory all our stuff. I do know that this is almost certainly the first of many odd things that will come through Dorothy's digestive tract. :-P

Posted by Tom Nugent at 03:05 PM | Comments (0)

He Can't Drive 55

On the lighter side, also from CNN today, a story about a four year old boy in Michigan who drove his mom's car to the video store. From the story:

Although unable to reach the accelerator, the boy managed to put the car in gear and make his way to the store, a quarter-mile from his home, about 1:30 a.m. Friday, Sand Lake Police Chief Doug Heugel said. Finding the store closed, the youngster began a slow trip home.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:44 AM | Comments (0)

Down With Juice!

I'm starting a new category today, devoted to research related to pregnancy, birth, child rearing and child development. We'll start it off with a report from CNN on a study in the February issue of Pediatrics suggesting that juice consumption is linked to obesity in pre-schoolers. Go read the article for all the details.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

Can We Kick The Scoundrels Out?

There is a problem when the turnover in the United States House of Representatives is lower than it was in the Soviet Politburo.
Said by NATHANIEL PERSILY, an election law expert at the University of Pennsylvania Law School. You can see the whole story, which discusses efforts at reforming the way districts are drawn, at http://www.nytimes.com/2005/02/07/politics/07reform.html?th
Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:27 AM | Comments (0)

February 04, 2005

A New Parenting Book

It seems that so many parent blogs (I'll admit to reading mostly only daddy blogs) want to write a book centered on "things about becoming a parent that nobody ever told you or wrote about." It's a good topic, and one that can probably be mined multiple times. But I suspect that continued propagation of the human race is the reason that non-parents are never told half of these things...

Posted by Tom Nugent at 09:54 PM | Comments (0)

February 01, 2005

Washington, The Unhealthy State?

First we all got the flu shortly after arriving in Seattle. Now, Dorothy's sick again. Is Washington just a festering hole of diseases?!?

Dorothy woke up this past Saturday with a hoarse, raspy voice and a cough (oh, and some nasty diaper rash, too). Her nose started running profusely on Sunday, but her temperature stayed under 100 degrees over the weekend. She was a bit cranky, and had some trouble sleeping, but it didn't worry us too much.

Monday morning, when I took her in to daycare, I discovered she wasn't alone -- it seemed that every other kid in her room was coughing and had a runny nose. Apparently one of the kids had the cough the previous week, and allegedly got bronchitis afterwards. Well, Monday night we measured Dorothy's temp at 101.7, which is starting to get high. Sunday and Monday night she was extremely difficult to get to sleep, unless she was cradled in our arms. And she would wake up if we tried putting her into the crib before she'd been out for a while.

Tuesday morning, she seemed to be better, with a temperature down at 98.6 and the rash looking better. But throughout the day, daycare reported that her temp was creeping up into the 99 range, and she wasn't very active or hungry. She eventually got bad enough that we had to take her home a bit early. Today (Tuesday) was the day that Elizabeth got information on her medical coverage in the new job (that she just started yesterday), but we didn't have insurance cards yet. But we called the pediatrician's office that we were planning on signing her up with, and they told us to bring her in. So, we headed off at 6pm to the doctor's office.

After checking out Dorothy and listening to the recent medicial history, the pediatrician decided that Dorothy probably had RSV (a common, but potentially dangerous infection in children under 3), and decided to check if Albuterol (a broncho-dilator often used by asthmatics) would help reduce the wheezing. It did, but it was a pain to find that out. The Albuterol was administered by inhalation, which meant we put the solution into a cup, which was connected at one to a ventilation mask (the kind that covers your mouth and nose), and at the other end to a little machine that aerosolized the solution. Dorothy screamed and struggled for almost the entire time, requiring both Elizabeth and I to wrestle her, and even then we weren't able to keep the mask on her face the entire time. But afterwards, the wheezing was gone, the coughing was much reduced and even sounded better. The doctor said that this will let her devote her energy to fighting the infection, instead of having to expend extra energy just trying to breathe.

If we're lucky, the Albuterol will last long enough that we only have to give it to her twice a day. If we're not lucky, then we can give it to her up to every four hours, which should be a ton of fun if I'm doing it by myself at home. Wish me luck!

To be fair, I don't think it's anything particular about Washington. I think Dorothy being sick twice in two weeks is more due to the change in time zone, the "stress" associated with moving our house and changing her schedule every other day, and being introduced to a new set of germs at a new daycare center. Hopefully she'll acclimate soon to our new house and new routine, and get and stay healthy.

Posted by Tom Nugent at 10:25 PM | Comments (1)