Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Gus is at Grandma's house today while Dan and I spend the day staring at spreadsheets (me) and going to countless meetings (him).  

Well, sometimes she sends us little updates.  I absolutely love them, love getting a little insight into his day, love to think about something other than sales forecasts and financial reports.   

This is today's update that she sent Dan, I hope my mother-in-law doesn't mind me sharing...
Gus is seeming to have a great day. He’s playing, happy, ate, adorable. THEN he pulled some little photo albums off the end table shelf and looked at pictures. One is a picture of you holding William when he was a baby, and it made Gus CRY. The lip, the crumple, and he came and got in my lap, weeping. I thought is he missing you? He’s so little, and he’s seemed perfectly happy! So we came in here to facebook, and he stared at the picture of you and Alicia and got all depressed again. I think we should go find a cooky and see what James is doing. Diversion time. Who knew??? Love, Mom
Oh my goodness, the sweetness.  I am verklempt. 

What a great kid.  Oh I love him so. 

A few pictures from this weekend...  It was lovely. 


It was so sunny out on Friday, and Gus was finally feeling better after so many weeks of being sick.  So we ventured outside to check out the neighborhood.  It was colder than I thought.  Unfortunately our little outing didn't last long. 


So we went inside, had a snack, and watched some Curious George.  And played peek-a-boo.  And had a tickle fight.  I hadn't seen Gus giggle and laugh like that in months.  So happy to have our boy back.


Dan bought him that hat when he was just a tiny little thing.  Came home from Target with it one random evening, proud papa, and we tried it on the little dude.  It was massive then, still a litle big now, but gosh I can't believe how much life has changed in a year.


Blurry, because they are having a blast!

Babies in jammies

Trekked out to Midtown Global Market for lunch on Saturday.  Super fun place for a toddler to explore.


Oh jeez.  Look at the way his hair wings out, I just can't get enough.  Never cutting it.


Family self-portrait.  Sorta.  (Yeah, that's Dan's blurry face up there.)

Gus and mama

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

TMI Alert! Gus is Regular

I know I’ve mentioned here before that Gus had some constipation issues, and I wanted to update on that. I know. A whole post about poo? Gross. When did I become THAT mommy blogger?

I swear I’m not.

The thing is, we solved our problem, and I just want to put it out there because if, through the power of Google, I can help out anyone else that’s going through what we did, it’s worth it to talk about poo for a few paragraphs.

Just thinking about those dark days makes me stressed out. For months, from the time he was about 11 months old, until sometime after 15 months, Gus was pretty much chronically constipated. He would go about 3-7 days between. Sometimes he’d have to work so hard that he’d cry and sob. A few times we had to help him out, rub his tummy, put him in a warm bath while he screamed and grunted. His poos were like big hard rocks. Oh, and sometimes there would be blood in his diaper. Yeah.

It was really really really stressful.

We tried everything diet-related we could think of. Cut out anything that’s binding. No carrots. No bananas. We limited his dairy. We loaded the kid up with fiber, and at the same time kept him super hydrated. We even gave him about 6 ounces of prune juice every day by mixing it with his milk. He ate tons of green vegetables, fruits, kidney beans, you name it and we tried it. We got to the point where we were afraid of giving him even a bite of cheese or white pasta. Our life revolved around getting our kid to poop. I was constantly counting the days between. It was always in the back of my head, I looked at everything through the scary “Toddler Constipation” lens, and it made for really stressful mealtimes.

We had people tell us to give him Miralax, but we were pretty adamant that we wanted to treat the problem, not the symptom. We try to avoid giving him drugs if we can, I mean Dan and I are both the kind of people that, for the most part, stay away from over-the-counter cocktails. Tylenol is pretty much the extent we go to for treating our own illnesses.

So I started really doing some heavy research, and found articles talking about evidence that linked cow’s milk with constipation in babies and toddlers. It seems to be a very common problem for young children to have intolerance to the dairy protein found in cow’s milk, and usually most grow out of it by the time they’re school-aged. There were hundreds of comments on these online articles with parents just like us, who ditched the cow’s milk with their toddlers and saw an immediate change.

It was worth a try. Gus was drinking less than 12 ounces of cow’s milk a day, which our pediatrician thought was perfectly acceptable, but it was the only thing we hadn’t changed in his diet. And coincidentally (duh), it was the only thing that we had introduced into his diet at around 11 months old, when this mess started.

Then I started researching all the alternatives to cow’s milk. Soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, hemp milk… Wow. It’s sort of overwhelming how many alternatives are out there, but it’s pretty evident that Soy is the closest alternative to cow’s milk. It has loads of protein and calcium, just not as much fat as whole milk, so you have to compensate for that lack of fat in other areas of the diet.

We thought we’d give it a week.

Holy crap (literally). It was an almost IMMEDIATE fix. I am not exaggerating. Within a week we had a whole new “regular” kid. And we didn’t even realize it at the time, but he was so blocked up you could see it in his big tummy. He went from having a protruding baby pot-belly to a flat toddler’s stomach within just a few weeks.

Craziness. The most frustrating thing is that it took us so long to figure out. And now that we have, people in my life are coming out of the woodwork left and right with opinions in agreement with the research I found. My mom is a nurse, and she’s talked to a number of doctors now that shun the cow’s milk, especially for little ones, and will go on and on talking about its detractors. I guess I live in a bubble, we just always drank milk, in mass quantities… does a body good right?

It all just goes to show that we know our kid best, and we need to trust our instincts instead of waiting for someone else to solve our problems. We had consulted with our pediatrician, but she just kept telling us to do the same stuff that we were already doing. Give him more juice? First of all, juice isn’t good for kids, and I’d rather not give it to him at all, and secondly, we were already giving him up to 8 ounces a day! Then she said 6-8 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. Umm… he pretty much was only eating fruits and vegetables at that point because we were afraid to give him anything else. The kid ate broccoli and green beans and pears like he was stranded on a desert island and hadn’t eaten in weeks… shoveled the stuff in. It wasn’t until I really started to put things together, the time-frame, the fact that we had given up all other dairy yet the kid was still chugging 12 ounces of cow’s milk a day. So dairy like cottage cheese and yogurt is constipating, but whole milk is fine?

Ugh. Now I’m rambling. Anyway, there you have it. Problem solved! I have to admit, as a parent of a toddler, I don’t usually get to say that. We never seem to actually solve problems, usually solutions are only temporary, or they’re of the, “he’ll grow out of it” category. We zig, he zags. One little issue sort of dissolves over time and a new one pops up. It all sort of runs together.

But this problem, I declare, has been solved. And it is awesome. For the first month or so after we made the switch to soy, I was excited when Gus would have an uneventful, normal poo, nearly every day. This is what we were praying for during those dark days!

So the definitive sign that we are really done with that horrible problem? I now dread poopy diapers, like any normal mother who does not analyze and obsess over her kid’s bowel movements. That normalcy is extremely comforting.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

17 Months

So I haven’t written for a while because if I had, it would have probably sounded a little something like this:

Wah wah wah, my poor little baby is sick again, or still, or whatever… blah blah blah, I hate winter and don’t know if I can stand one more -15 degree day… whine whine whine, my life revolves around scrambling to figure out what to do with a sick toddler and still somehow make it into the office… woe is me, in the last month I have slept in the nursery’s rocking chair more than in my bed… my life is so terrible, I have been vomited on (we’re talking insane amounts of puke) more in the last two weeks than in all four years of college.

I have tried to write here on a number of occasions, but I have just been so invested in moping about how spectacularly crappy we have had it with The Sickness (yeah, it is so bad it requires capital letters) this winter, I never got around to it. I’m just a big ole Debbie Downer these days, and I don’t want to bum everyone out. Or at least, I’m trying not to dwell on this “rough patch” that we’ve been wading through.

Now that all of that is out there, hopefully we can just MOVE ON.

You hear that universe? We are MOVING ON from this past month of boogers and missed play dates, 103 degree fevers and projectile vomiting, child care scrambling and endless streams of apologies and excuses to my boss.

Moving. On.

So my kid is 17 months old (CRAZY!) and despite being sick all the time (not his fault) he is pretty cool, and that is what I’m choosing to focus on these days.

Gus is still head over heels for books. He flips the pages, and ever so slowly and deliberately, he absorbs himself in everything going on in each page. His eyes go from the left, to the right, back left, up, down. He points at certain things, and babbles about what’s on the page. If we ask him where George is (Curious George is still just the best thing ever) he points to him and grins and giggles.

Of course he knows all the animal sounds, the typical Moo, Baa, Ooh-Ooh-Ahh-Ahh, Wow-Wow (that’s a dog), Rawrr (for a Lion, Tiger, Rhinoceros, and pretty much any animal that looks big and foreboding). When you ask him what a llama says, he does this little spitting/blowing raspberries thing. He just started saying “Me-Oww” when he sees a cat, and he does it in just the most adorable little person voice. It makes my heart flutter and soar and go ker-plunk all at the same time.

We have books stashed in every room of our house, there are piles of them in our car, in the diaper bag, he’s even got a bath-time book that he loves. He cleans the little animals with his washcloth, then washes his own body. The chicken on the last page of the book is deliberately upside down (“Silly Chicken!”), but Gus has to turn him right-side up before chicken gets the scrub down.

So yeah, he’s our little reader, and an endless supply of books keep him happy in the car, in the stroller at the mall, eating out at restaurants, everywhere.

He loves to play fetch with Bella, yells at her to “Rop” (drop) when she brings the ball back. If we ask him if he wants to play hockey, he runs over to the basket and pulls out his hockey stick and a ball. He brings Dan the little toy microphone he has, and in his own way, orders him to sing “Down by the Bay” (daddy rocks the old-school Raffi), and proceeds to dance and hop around the room, beaming from one ear to the other. The only way Dan is able to stop singing without eliciting a meltdown is if he switches to a “boring” song, like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. Without fail, Gus promptly loses interest and moves onto something else.

17 month old Gus is also very affectionate. He hugs and kisses his little stuffed animals, he loves his doggy and tries to give Bella snuggles. (She’s not too fond of the toddler hugs, but she tolerates them, probably because it usually means she will get some love and attention from Dan and me as well.) I come home from work and he just wants to hug and love on me forever. All of a sudden he is all about giving me big wet sloppy (snotty) open mouth kisses. He holds tight on to my hair, and rubs it between his thumb and pointer finger. I think he is definitely going through a bit of a mama’s boy stage, and while that can be difficult on me, it’s also very sweet.

My little Baybee can now reach doorknobs, and can successfully open doors when he chooses. So we may be entering into a whole new ballgame of baby-proofing. Things Future Alicia and Future Dan were going to deal with are all of a sudden on the forefront. Last Friday I was in the kitchen cleaning up after breakfast, and it was suspiciously quiet in the next room. No monotonous “Beep Beep!” coming from his toy train, no sound of Gus running around the room, terrorizing the dog with a plastic bat. So I peaked in to check on him and he wasn’t there. I look in the spare bedroom. Not there. The bathroom? Nope. OMG! Then I noticed the door to the staircase was open. And I definitely closed it when we came downstairs this morning. PANIC! I ran up the super steep, slippery, wooden staircase and heard his favorite little buddy singing one of his songs. Yeah. He’s just sitting there on the rug holding Scout, reading a book, and he gave me a real nonchalant look like, “Hey mom! What’s going on? Yeah, I’m just hanging out in my room, playing with my toys, it’s allllll good.”


So yeah, he can open doors. And he can climb really dangerous stairs. We definitely need to get that carpet guy out, like NOW, to install a runner on that staircase.

Food! Gus has become quite the little eater, we’re constantly trying to find new things for him to try, broaden his palate if you will. It is so easy to get in a rut with mealtimes, Dan and I do, so it’s no surprise that by extension that happens with Gus. We finally have just started to venture into the “raw” veggie territory, cucumbers, zucchini, bell peppers. That probably could have happened quite a while ago, but now that he has 12 teeth, including 4 molars, this first time mama feels a lot more comfortable with his food being a little more “crunchy”. He’s also finally getting better at eating things like sandwiches, which is nice, makes for finding meals that we can all eat together much easier. The kid still pretty much shuns all meat, but what can you do? I keep offering, he keeps refusing, we sneak it in there every once in a while, but whatever.

We’re still nursing. It’s usually been just at nap time if I’m home with him during the day or after work on days when I am at the office, and of course bedtime. However, over the last month or so since he’s been really sick, he wants to nurse much more. Sometimes it feels like I have a 3 month-old again, because he’ll be having a spectacular meltdown, for no discernable reason, and the only thing that calms him down is nursing. Poor little guy, The Sickness has just really taken a toll on him physically and emotionally.

I actually have been feeling some regret lately about tapering off my supply too soon, because I wonder if getting more breast milk would have helped him have a more healthy winter. If only he was being pumped with more of those breast milk immunities! I don’t know, I’m sure that’s me just being a crazy psycho guilt-ridden control freak, thinking I have anything to do with whether or not my kid gets sick.

The transition to breastfeeding a toddler has been pretty seamless actually, so I don’t have a lot to complain about. It’s a little bittersweet though, because like I said, Gus is so much more interested in nursing now than he was six months ago, and the whole thing is relatively relaxed and lovely, but I just don’t make nearly as much milk anymore and I know he sometimes gets frustrated with that. I guess it just makes me wish I hadn’t let myself get so worried about every little breastfeeding-related setback in that first year. Hindsight is 20/20 though. It IS a lot of pressure to have an infant completely rely on the milk you produce for their growth and nutrition, to be unsure of what going just a few extra hours without pumping or nursing might do to your supply, to feel like you need to be constantly offering yourself to your super distractible 9 month-old because he can’t seem to stay focused enough to nurse for longer than 2 minutes at a time. All of that pressure is just not there anymore, and it’s really awesome.

I still pumped once a day at work up until about mid-January, and I dropped the session after we went to Colorado. I have to admit, THAT has been GLORIOUS. Love to have given up the pump, being able to walk into work with just my purse and my laptop… for some reason it is just liberating! It feels like I’ve gained an entire arm or something.

While nighttime still has its challenges, I love our bedtime routine. First it’s a bath, then we brush his teeth (if he allows it), and Mama rubs him down with lotion before getting him into his bedtime diaper and jammies (usually this is somewhat of a wrestling match). When all of that business is taken care of, Daddy and Gus do “One for the Money” and/or “Rocket Ship” to get into our bed for a few books. I keep telling myself I need to videotape their little ritual, because it’s one of those perfect things that I just want to fold up and keep in my pocket to remember forever. It basically involves getting Gus sort of hyped up, right before bedtime, so yeah, maybe some of those sleep “experts” would have a problem with it. But whatever, it just pure childish fun that ends with Bella barking like a maniac and Gus soaring through the air and landing on our bed giggling and rolling around amongst all the blankets.

I have no idea when or why that all started, but it’s a perfect example of how different Dan’s relationship with Gus is from mine. I swear, dads come at this parenting thing with a different viewer on that moms do, I definitely see that with Dan. Thank goodness for Dads.

Ok, see? Life is good, when I let it NOT be all about The Sickness. Gus is as wonderful as ever, watching him become the little boy he is has been amazing.

And we are more than halfway through winter. It’s 40 degrees out there today, and we got to spend some time outdoors this weekend! Things are good.