Tuesday, May 29, 2007

A wonderful idea

You know how I was all grateful last year that more and more places now offer family restrooms and nursing rooms? Well, add the children's play area to that list. After several long hours of wrangling a squirmy baby on an airplane yesterday, it was with much relief that I discovered the children's play area in Terminal B in the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport.

Let's give a big old woohoo to the concept of creating a space for kids to run around and blow off some steam. I'll even ramp up the volume and make that a WOOHOO because it was in an airport where I had a layover. William barely slept on the flight from Palm Springs to Dallas yesterday, and he was oh-so-wriggly when we finally deplaned. I glanced up and saw the play area sign, and it was like seeing a sign advertising the holy grail or free shoes.

We raced through the terminal to get there, knocking little old ladies and overloaded college students out of our way, in our zeal. Okay not really. But I did push the stroller really really fast, which is saying something when you're loaded down with an enormous backpack and purse the way I was. It was just a small area carved out of a waiting area, but it was perfect. Soft cushiony floor, several of those big molded plastic models to climb on, and some games on the short walls enclosing the space.

At first, William just sat there, uncertainly. "Go on, crawl!" I encouraged him. He looked up at me, and then looked out at the other two slightly older toddlers tearing around. Finally, he seemed to realize that, hey, he too could tear around! So he crawled around and pulled up on things and giggled and had a grand old time. We hung out for about 30 minutes, then grabbed some lunch. William then slept the entire time we spent on the second plane, even when we were sitting on the tarmac in a delay. No squirmy baby that time!

For future reference, Gate 13, Termimal B. If you have small kids, it's your friend.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

About to leave town

I couldn't leave town without posting just a couple more pictures of William.

Here he is, drinking milk with his monkey:

He's wearing the monkey that we bought for him on his birthday when we attended the Angels baseball game. When the team is losing, the Angels flash this movie of this crazy monkey jumping up and down on the Jumbotron. They dubbed him the Rally Monkey, and he led them to a World Series victory in 2002. So of course I had to get William his very own Rally Monkey, and here he is with it. He also will hug the monkey if you ask him to.

Back to his old tricks

Thank goodness. William is back to his old tricks once again!

Here's how you know William is feeling better:

1. He begs for Big People food again. Yesterday, he wanted Mama's ice cream and Daddy's sausage pizza. He pulled himself up on our legs and smiled that winning smile, trying to persuade us to give him a bite or two. (And you get a big gold star if you guessed correctly that I gave him several bites of ice cream and that David refused to hand over the pizza.)

2. He sings and screeches loudly, only to sing and screech even louder when you try to shush him.

3. He happily crams an entire piece of cheese into his mouth and grins widely so that you can see that he managed to fit the entire piece of cheese into his mouth.

4. He dances. And dances. And dances some more.

5. He tries to bounce up and down on the bed when his daddy is trying to wrestle him into his pajamas.

Yes, by Saturday morning, William was really back to his old self (see above). I feel much better too. David kept saying, this is just a virus, but I think it's the prerogative of any mother to worry about her sick baby.

Tomorrow, we head to the Palm Springs airport bright and early to begin our big trip to Natchez. David's going to Nashville to close on our new house. So we're both frantically trying to pack today. I'm trying to figure out which toys and books to pack to entertain William during the course of a long day. I'm a little nervous about flying with him this time around because he's so much bigger and more active. No more long naps in his carseat or in my arms. I have a feeling that we're going to have a much more active experience this time around...

Friday, May 25, 2007

Fevers fevers fevers

Would it surprise anyone if I wrote that William's been sick again this week? Nah, I didn't think so. This time, he's had high fevers all week. It started on Tuesday, around mid-day. David had Dr. Perkins look in W's ears and do a throat culture that afternoon, and we started giving William regular doses of Tylenol and Motrin to keep the fevers down. We found out later that the strep test was negative, but his throat was red and had some white patches on it.

I was pretty surprised, however, that the fevers continued beyond 24 hours. Usually, when William gets a fever, it lasts a day, and that's about it. Poor little guy. This time, the fever would spike, I'd give him medicine, he'd cling to me and shiver in my arms for awhile, and then the medicine would kick in and he'd perk up. But it didn't stop after 24 hours. I've even had to give him Tylenol and comfort him in the middle of the night, and I never have to go into his room in the middle of the night.

In the wee hours of this morning, I was summoned by a pitiful cry--around 4:30. He was sitting with his back against the crib rails, holding Natty and sobbing. His fever was 101.2, which I took as a good sign because it's soared over 103 several times over the last few days. I coaxed some Tylenol into him and read Good Night Moon to him while I waited for the medicine to take effect. Luckily, his eyes were already shutting, so I was able to put him back down again.

I'm cautiously optimistic now, though. He didn't seem to have a fever when I woke him up for the day. And he ate breakfast without a protest, which was very reassuring (he didn't even want to eat his beloved cheese the last couple of days, so I knew he was not feeling well at all). And he gave me a bunch of hugs earlier...all together now....awwwww. He's napping now, but I'm taking him back to see Dr. Perkins at lunchtime, just to make sure nothing else is wrong. We're headed to Natchez on Monday, and I really hope he's back to his normal self by then.

I hate it when William's sick. He's just not himself. You can tell by the way his eyes look sunken in and the way that he will sometimes just sit on the floor and cry, rather than crawl off to find toys. And of course the lack of interest in food. William loves to eat, so when he pushes my hand with a spoonful of yogurt away, there's definitely something wrong with him. I bought him a big helium balloon at the grocery yesterday morning because it made his eyes light up when he saw it, and I was desperate to find something to cheer him up. I wrapped him in a blanket and held him to my chest yesterday afternoon and turned on the Braves game on TV. When David came home, he joked that I must enjoy it when William is sick because I actually get to snuggle with him. I do love the snuggling, but not if it's because William doesn't feel well.

Besides, I will take the hugs any day!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Flash cards for William

In the neverending quest to find stuff to entertain William, I picked up these really cool flashcards at Barnes & Noble on Saturday. Yeah, yeah, mock me if you want to for buying flash cards for my proto-toddler, but check this out:

He so loves them. Watching William studying his cards this evening on the living room floor, David remarked, somewhate ruefully, "My Type A son. It's already started."

Okay, they may be flash cards, but they are really cool flash cards. They're the kind of cards that have stuff you can rub or touch. You can rub the teddy bear's furry tummy or feel the texture of a sweater. The "jelly" card is the best because it has a little swatch that is tacky-feeling, just like something might feel after an encounter with a PB & J.

Don't worry. I won't get too much more Type A myself yet. I don't plan to start quizzing William on his multiplication tables anytime really soon. I figure, this will satisfy my Geeky Mom quotient for awhile. We can start on the periodic table next week.

Monday, May 21, 2007

BBS intensifies

Busy Baby Syndrome here has really intensified over the last few weeks. I didn't realize that William could get busier, but I clearly was wrong.

My son the musician, busy with the drum:

I think that William is well on his way to...dare I say it...becoming a toddler. A toddler in attitude anyway, if not a toddler in actual toddling.

But he's even close to achieving that! He'll take a few steps if you hold his hands.

At first, he'd only let you do this for a few seconds. But he's gradually developing more confidence, so you can actually help him walk in this manner across an entire room now. David calls it "wiki walky"-ing. You hold his hands, he takes a few rubbery-legged steps, and you say "wiki walky, wiki walky, wiki walky." Then when he decides he's had enough, you clap and say "Good job!" And he does, too. Clap, that is. He hasn't quite managed to spit out "good job" yet. :)

William has also discovered that he can motor across the length of the living room and kitchen with his walking toy, too.

When he first realized that he could stand up and push the toy, he took these hilarious straight-legged steps. He's gradually getting more graceful. It's amazing how babies learn to do this!

And yes, he's wearing his jammies and a Spider-man backpack in those pictures. I picked out the backpack at Target, and he seems to enjoy wearing it. I love it because it makes him look like such a big boy. It also makes me laugh to see him gleefully padding around the room with his little backpack on. There's nothing in it. Maybe when he starts walking for real, I'll put some of his stuff in it for him when we go places. Important stuff, of course, like some of his books and a binky and maybe Natty.

Despite the fact that his main mode of transport is still crawling, William is into just about everything these days. I can't imagine that he could possibly get into more when he does start walking. Nothing is safe now!

The refrigerator is one of his favorites. If I open the fridge, I can't shut it because magically, there is a baby, pulling himself up on the shelves, grabbing gleefully at whatever he can reach.

He knows there are CDs and remote controls inside the drawers of the coffee table, and he is determined to liberate them:

Also, he wants to eat whatever food that David and I are eating. Last night, he had the same dinner that we did, and I made sure that he could see that. We all had chicken fingers and broccoli. And that made William very happy to see that he was eating the Big People Food. Otherwise, he points at my food, clearly demanding that I give him whatever I'm eating. Or he pulls up on my chair, smiles a big smile at me and casually reaches for my plate. It's like having a dog who begs for food. Except that William's persuasive techniques are second to none. He looks at me with this winning smile on his face, and I swear he bats his eyelashes at me, trying to wheedle some Big People Food out of me. Sadly, I'm a great target. He gets cinnamon bread and ice cream this way more often than I'd like to admit.

Bottom line, William is active with a capital A these days. But you know, even though it's sort of exhausting, trying to keep up with him, I have to admit that I'm enjoying it. Yes, part of me sometimes gets all nostalgic and says "oh, my little baby is becoming a big boy." But the reality is...those early baby days were hard, hard hard. I didn't get nearly enough sleep, and I was nursing all the time. Now, I do get a decent night's sleep most of the time, and my son thinks that goldfish crackers are one of the seven wonders of the world.

Honestly, it's really fun to watch William becoming more independent. It's exciting when I say something to him and realize that, hey, he actually understands what I'm saying some of the time. He'll wave if I ask him to wave, clap if I ask him to clap, and--this is the latest, courtesy of a song we sing at the Y--he'll wiggle his ears if I ask him to wiggle his ears. Well, he grabs both his ears, but he clearly understands that the ears are involved. (And I think it's funny every single time.) If I say, "William, where's your water?," he often crawls off to find his sippy cup. And when I put him in his car seat, he waves and says "bye bye" because he knows we are going somewhere. In fact, I told David that I may have to resort to that time-honored parent tactic of spelling certain words in front of William because he knows what they mean now. How many "n-a"s are in the word "banana" again?

And he always cracks me up. Luckily for me, I can usually make him laugh pretty easily, too. That way, I get to hear his laugh all the time. Little silly guy.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bye bye, Corky and Smokey


We put the kitties on a plane to Nashville yesterday morning, and now we are cat-less until we move. I don't know what made me more sad: the thought of the kitties on a big scary plane without us or the thought of them arriving in Nashville to be picked up by strangers (my in-laws).

But it had to be done. We are moving in July, and we could not justify putting the cats in the car for a three-day cross-country drive. Heck, I can barely justify putting William in the car for a three-day cross-country drive! Especially in July. Especially when we'll be driving across some of the hottest, most miserable parts of the United States.

It also made me sad to put the kitties on a plane because it means William won't have his cats around him for a long time. "Cat" was William's first word, as you all know, and he loooooves the cats. He joyfully crawls around after them, grabs their tails, splashes in their water dish, and hugs them when they consent to being hugged. It just seems wrong that he won't be able to do that for a month and a half. (Well, all except the part about splashing in their water dish.)

But it's warming up, and the window for shipping the cats via airplane was rapidly closing. At least we can check one big thing off our "To Do" list. And at least William will get to play with JC when we visit my parents later this month. But I will sure miss hearing him say "cat!" and taking off after Corky or Smokey. I hope that Corky and Smokey will look at the next few weeks as a vacation away from the eager little baby and not hate us for it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Happy Mother's Day 2007

Motherhood. Not such an easy gig. Very rewarding, yes, but also very exhausting. Very exhausting, yes, but also very rewarding. Bottom line, I may be tired, but I'm glad that I embarked on the adventure.

So with that in mind, happy happy Mother's Day to all the mothers and mothers-to-be out there. A special happy Mother's Day to my own mama and to my mother-in-law. Thanks for being there for me, always.

By the way, today is a lovely Mother's Day here. Warm, but not too warm, and sunny. David and William took me to eat pancakes at the Crossroads Cafe in Joshua Tree--and y'all know how I feel about pancakes. William also "drew" a picture on a card for me, and I am enjoying a lovely vase of flowers that actually arrived on Friday. I have such nice boys in my life!

Here is a memory of me and William on our first Mother's Day together.

And here we are about fifteen minutes ago:

William is about, oh, three times the size that he was in the first picture. He also has a lot more hair and teeth. And attitude! Hee hee.

Last year on Mother's Day, about all he wanted to do was nurse and be held. This year, he insisted on using his own spoon to feed cereal to himself for breakfast. Last year, he cried because he was a new baby and that's what new babies do. This year, he cried because I used a baby wipe to clean cheddar cheese bits off his face and hands. When I wrote on this blog about Mother's Day last year, I'd had about three cumulative hours of sleep in the previous two days. This year, William and David came in to give me my Mother's Day card at 9:15 a.m. What a difference a year makes!

Also, I think William actually said Mama this afternoon. I was walking down the hall, and he was sitting there at the edge of the hall when he said what sounded an awful lot like it.

More Mother's Day photos...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The next installment of Rash of the Week

You know, sometimes you just can't win, for losing.

William has ANOTHER rash. It started popping up late Thursday, and it was very noticeable by Friday morning. It was even worse this morning. At first we assumed it was a reaction to his vaccinations from last week, since he's also had some fevers over the last coupleof days. Then the rash got worse, so David pulled out the AAP's Red Book and pored over some entries on rashes.

The tentative diagnosis right now is roseola. Apparently, roseola is a very common rash that shows up in young children. By the time a child is about four, he's almost certain to have had it--or be "seropositive" in the jargon of the AAP. So the good news is...David and I don't have to worry about catching it. But the Red Book says that it's characterized by high fevers--William has broken the 102 degree mark two days in a row--which usually lasts three to seven days. The "erythematous maculopapular rash" lasts hours to days. Of course it's lasting days here. Of course it is! William's a pediatrician's kid. It's always going to last as long as possible.

Ack. We cancelled our trip to the Grand Canyon this weekend, but I hope that he will improve enough to justify letting us all leave the house and at least go to Palm Springs next week. In the meantime, we're giving him regular doses of Tylenol and/or Motrin. He's been eating and sleeping pretty well, so that's a relief.

So that's the Rash of the Week here. Poor little guy looks like he's got the measles or something. I'll take a picture and post it later.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Saying goodbye to a friend

We said goodbye to Mason and Beth today.

Beth and her husband Randy are moving to San Antonio, Texas, on Monday, so Beth and I arranged to get our little boys together one last time today. We met up at Dinosaur Park on base to eat lunch and hang out. My friend Jennifer came, too, along with her two children.

Look how serious Mason and William look here!

I'll really miss Beth. It was so nice, having a friend around who had a little boy who was the exact same age as William. We traded notes often, since we were going through a lot of the same things at the same time. Luckily for me, Mason usually did everything first, so then I got to benefit from Beth's newfound expertise. Having friends has made the last year a lot easier for me. It was lonely at first, being a new mom, living up here in this hot remote little town. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, and when David went back to work, I really felt adrift for awhile. When I found Beth, and Jennifer, and Amy, I felt a lot better about my situation. I had people around who understood some of what I was going through. I wish I had known them before I had William, in fact! It would have made those early weeks so much better.

Here are some photos of the kids, playing today at Dinosaur Park:

Jadyn, who's coming up on her first birthday at the end of May:

Here's William. Check out his bottom teeth:

Mason looks like he's fending off the paparazzi here:

I'm glad that we're moving back to Nashville this summer, but I will miss all these people. They've made my first year as a Mommy a lot easier. William should probably thank them, too! Hopefully we'll see them again.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Friday was our last day of breastfeeding, and it went just fine. I nursed William on Friday morning, reminding him that it was the Last Time. Then on Saturday morning, David picked him up out of the crib when he woke up, carried him in to our room to say hi to me, then we took him out to the kitchen to eat cereal, and that was that. William doesn't seem to miss nursing at all, and I guess I'm glad about that.

He does, however, seem to have a newfound affinity for spaghetti...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

The end of nursing


Tomorrow is our last day for breastfeeding.

William turned one on April 22. I was determined that I would breastfeed him until his first birthday, per the recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics. We made it. We reached the milestone, and it's time to finish.

I actually didn't realize that it would be hard to get that far. William began to start self-weaning a couple of months ago. Our daily breastfeeding sessions dropped from four to three, then from three to two. I gave up the ghost of the third feeding when we were in Nashville. At eleven months, he was nursing twice a day, but I doubt he was getting much even then. He nursed, yes, but we gave him sippy cups of formula, too. And he eagerly took the sippy cups; after all, he could hold the cup himself and be a big boy. He just seemed to endure the nursing. So on his first birthday, I told him that we were giving up the second nursing. He never looked back. I figured, we'd keep the morning feed for awhile longer, until it was time to give it up.

Well, I guess it's time. I think it was actually time awhile ago, but I was reluctant to admit it. William's so active and hyper now that the nursing session is more like a wrestling match anyway. He'll nurse but only for a few seconds. Then he pops off and crawls off my lap, and I have to haul him back. Lather rinse repeat. So he really seems to be ready to move on, but it makes me sort of sad to really finish nursing. I know it might sound silly, but I feel very wistful. This really does mark the end of an era. I nourished my child with my own body for a year. And it was successful. William is healthy and happy and sturdy and beautiful. He eats table food now, and he drinks regular whole milk with no problem. It really is okay for me to give up the nursing now. He doesn't need it anymore. But for me, it is sort of like the symbolic farewell to my baby William. On the bright side, I have this wonderful toddler William. But it's still evoking some nostalgia in me--even though I realize that I don't miss the baby days when he was clamoring to eat at 2 a.m. and at 4 a.m. and at 6 a.m., etc. etc.

So I'm feeling a little sad, just for the few days leading up to the last day. I'll be fine. By next week, I doubt I'll even be thinking of it anymore. In fact, this morning, when I was trying to nurse William, he kept trying to crawl off my lap and dive over the side of the bed. I had to keep lunging for him, grabbing him by one leg, as he giggled wildly. I thought, "Well, I won't miss this." And at point, he tried to bite me. I won't miss that, either. It is time. It is time. It is time. But during the interim times he would nurse quietly, I'd smell the top of his little head and think, "Oh, my little boy is growing up." I just need to remind myself how wonderful it is that William is growing up and turning into this wonderful hilarious little boy. Because he is. And I am so relieved and proud of that. And I'm lucky that I'm not having to force the weaning on him.

So, we go on. Tomorrow is the last day. Then there will be a first day. And we go on.