Thursday, August 28, 2014

Living La Vida Leper

This picture pretty much sums up the last week. Lots of tears and lots of Mommy holding Baby.

We experienced our first real baby illness as well as our first after hours doctor visit this past week. Claire had Hand Foot and Mouth Virus. It's pretty much the equivalent of baby leprosy. We were in quarantine for a week.

Ok, so it's not baby leprosy and we didn't have to live in a cave wrapped up in cloths like lepers. You got me. It did however time itself to be when Joey was out of town for a few days (had to leave the day after she developed symptoms) and following two weeks of myself getting over strep throat and being in a quarantine of my own.

By the way, because the name of the virus grosses me out so much, I will be referring to it as 'HFM' from here to eternity or at least to the end of this post. What is it about the name that is just so nasty? It brings to mind images of the plagues in the Dark Ages or Mad Cow Disease.

Something that I have found absolutely funny is people's reaction. Ok, I don't remember anyone having HFM when I was young, but I have heard of several kids having it now. It seems many families of littles that I know have had it. A common response has been a horrified "Well, where in the world would she have gotten something like that?" (See? It's totally the name.) You would have thought it was Dengue Fever. Yup, we took Claire on a tour of the Amazon last week to pet the piranhas and we think that's probably where she picked it up. The library, people. I think we picked it up at library story time. But it's so contagious that it could just have been from the shopping cart at the grocery store. Who knows?

It all started last Monday with a little spot next to Claire's mouth, followed by another two or three spots within an hour or two. And then the real fun began. Blisters developed over her feet, legs, hands, arms and a few on her torso. We're talking dime-sized blisters. It should be called Hand, Foot, Face, Mouth, Leg, Arm and Somewhat All Over Virus. I would have had no idea what it was except that a friend of mine posted that her daughter had it on Facebook a few days prior to Claire showing symptoms.

I called our pediatrician and got an appointment for the next morning. The virus has to run its course so there really isn't anything you can do except bring the fever down. Our child is not really one to be still for long and isn't a snuggler, so when she laid in Joey's arms under a blanket with her lovie and then fell asleep, we knew she was not feeling well.

Sure enough, her fever had spiked to 104. Off to the after hours clinic we went. We received confirmation that it was HFM and also found out Claire still had an earache from the previous week. We also learned that after hours pediatric clinics can sound like child torture chambers. I seriously almost had to check on the kid next door and the other kid down the hall. What was going on in there?

Joey left the next morning and boy was he lucky. Things got rough. Word of advice, unless absolutely necessary do not Google 'HFM' and click on the images. I suppose these pictures are posted in online medical journals or something, but I didn't need to come across that in my GMS (General Mom Search). Unless you are that child's mother or nurse, nobody needs to see that. Honestly, what really got me was when someone told me that their child lost a toe nail. Anyone who knows me well, knows that losing a toe nail or finger nail is a perfect way to send me over the edge. Somebody get the smelling salts.

Anyway, the sad thing is that there isn't really anything you can do but sit it out and make sure they continue to drink their bottles and fluids. They get blisters down the throat so it can make the latter tough. Claire had a really bad case. She cried for about two days straight and refused food for three days. Poor baby. I had her in long sleeve pajamas and socks for an entire week and bathed her once in the morning with coconut oil and once more at night with Dr. Bronner's Soap. I was so paranoid about her blisters getting irritated and infected from crawling on the floor. Her little blistered body made me want to cry!

Once they are fever free for 24 hours they are supposedly not contagious, but who can take their child out and not be publicly shunned (see previous leper reference)? She looks like she's had the pox! Parents would have picked up their children and run from us. I would have. So we stayed inside for a full week for good measure. It took at least five days for Claire to return to normal behaviorally, although the blisters are still healing and peeling 11 days later.

Somewhere around Day 4 both she and I developed Cabin Fever. It's commonly found in both HFM child and caretaker. We looked out the front window a lot. Thank goodness the neighbors across the street were moving so we had some form of entertainment.

It was also during this time that I tried to develop a love for TV in my child. I know, bad and desperate parent moment. Up until this point, it's been a rare occasion that we have kid's shows on and I have made it a point not to sit her in front of the TV. But...

Nothing would make her happy because she felt so bad. I would hold her while she cried and she would want down. I would put her down and she would cling to my leg and cry with her hands up. This went on for at least two days. So I thought, what we need is some education on what you do when you're sick. You lay on the couch under a blanket snuggled up with Mommy watching cartoons. This is what all the other sick kids seem to do on Instagram. She wasn't having any of that. Ironically, I ended up finding comfort in Doc McStuffins and Little Bear myself so I just left it on. I needed to be reminded that there was a world out there. Even if it was a world where toys come alive and talking bears have fully furnished houses. (An aside, as much as I like Alaskan reality TV I would never make it secluded from civilization for more than a week. Obviously.)

I'm sure Joey was a bit alarmed when he returned from his business trip. His daughter was wearing mismatched pajamas and socks and looked like she had gotten into a bout with Tracker Jackers. But she did smell like coconut. His wife meanwhile was just shy of crazy having been on a steady diet of baby tears, blisters, oodles of laundry, work and Doc McStuffins overload. Thank goodness for my neighbor, Seresa, who braved plague exposure to bring this Momma a yummy dinner and let me see another adult face during the week!

Things are thankfully back to normal around here. Claire is still healing, but seems to be doing great! She is also taking four or five steps at a time. So much fun! We are excited to have been able to get out this week and be social. Ok, by social together we've really only gone to the grocery store and to lunch with Daddy. We are taking a break this week from the library and the Amazon just to be safe. Speaking of Amazon, do you think they make an inflatable bubble that I could put Claire in from now until she graduates college?

If you would like to add 'Claire not losing a toe nail' to your church's prayer list, this Momma would be forever grateful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

She's 10 Months!

I can't believe our sweet girl is 10 months! It's been flying by. Joey and I are constantly surprised to find a little girl in the crib each morning instead of a little baby girl. She's too big! Ten months crept up on us, but a lot has happened during this time. She's so much fun!


It was just a teething biscuit. No more teething biscuits.
Last month Claire decided that purees were for babies. Since that time we've been doing all finger foods. She loves chicken, turkey and steak and the girl can't get enough green beans. The green beans must be from a can, none of the fresher frozen variety. However, canned peas are out and frozen peas are in. It's trial and error around here. I have to limit her cheese intake as it disappears immediately from her tray. Her favorite fruits are mandarin oranges and pears. She also loves scrambled eggs. Oh, and she still doesn't like avocado. I do not understand this. It's the basis of guacamole!

We have also discovered that she loves dog food. Doesn't like avocados, but loves dog food. Oh, and beets. What the heck is that about? Beets are to be forced upon children, not welcomed! Again, I don't get it.


Well, we've officially lost the third cat nap (insert Mommy Dinner-Making Tears here). There are pluses and minuses to this development. It enables us to leave the house for as long as we need to after she wakes up from her afternoon nap and she goes to sleep right at 7:00 PM. The only negative is that she can get pretty tired around the old nap time, but refuses to close an eye. I'm sure she'll catch up to it soon. (please oh please!) She is still sleeping a solid 12 hours each night.


I stand on this and fall forward with it to the ground
She took her first steps last week! She's only taken two at a time and then will crouch down, but she does this a few times each day. I'm thankful she's showing some timidity because she's been pretty kamikaze in the area of physical development.

She pulls up on everything and walks around with support from one hand. She will stand unsupported during these sessions for a minute at a time.

We think she may be a climber. She tests everything out for foot and hand holds like Cliffhanger. For instance, she pulls out the bottom of the oven and tries to climb up on it to reach the knobs. She will also try to climb anyone who's holding her. I'm a little concerned that the next step after walking will be running up a wall to do a back flip. I guess there are some positives: that would be YouTube gold and maybe we'd be on the Today Show...

Claire loves to dance. This may be because she watches So You Think You Can Dance with Mommy while drinking her bottles. She hears music and starts doing the Cute Baby Bouncing Up and Down Dance. So precious! Joey and I have also learned the moves to this dance so we can help encourage it. Baby dance choreography is tough.


Just knocking down a few of Mommy's towers

She loves to knock down the towers of blocks that Mommy builds. She will cross a room to knock down a tower. It's core to her No Tower Left Standing mission. We will have to work on this before we play with older children. I could see this becoming a point of frustration.

This little girl loves to play with her Daddy. They're favorite game of late is Claire-o-saurus Rex. Daddy stands up and puts her right in front him like a mask and they turn into Claire-o-saurus Rex and stomp around the house sneaking up on people. It's a family favorite.

A little standing action, dress up with a basket cover and giving Giraffe some love
Lately she likes to crawl under things almost as much as she likes to climb. Claire is the queen of peek-a-boo and also loves to put things on her head or shoulders. Yesterday morning she spent half of it with a pair of pajama pants draped around her shoulders and gravitates toward accessories. She may have watched a few episodes of Project Runway with Mommy in the early stages of life.

Her favorite books are those with action items for the reader such as Sandra Boynton's Tickle Time or Ann Dewdney's Llama Llama Hop where Mommy tries to illustrate the action words while reading. She thinks this is hilarious. So does Claire.

Light and Fan Obsession
 She is obsessed with lights and ceiling fans. Her Grammy let her turn the lights on and off at her house and since then she's been hooked. I let her turn off the light in her room when it's time for bed. She loves this! Her obsession can appear creepy to the casual observer as she just stares at the ceiling every so often and raises her hand to it. (insert Twilight Zone music here) Ironically, 'Light' was my first word as a child and I'm wondering if she might choose it too.

Despite choosing stuffed animals over dolls, Claire is a people person. She loves being out. If she is in a fussy mood, we need to get out of the house. As long as there are people to watch, she's good to go. She will stare at someone and smile until they smile back. Sometimes I think to myself "Oh honey, that person looks like they may not be in the mood to smile.", but it never fails - they always smile back. She'll make you feel pretty good about yourself.

Growth and Development

Claire is 19 lbs 11 oz and and 30 inches. She is currently wearing 12-18 months.


She's had the bottom two teeth since three months and has been working on the rest for a while. At her check up the pediatrician checked her mouth and said "Wow, she's going to have a mouthful of teeth in no time!" And sure enough, the upper tooth to the right of her middle tooth area is out. It's seems odd the order that they have come in, but oh well! We can see another bottom tooth and her upper middle teeth are on their way as well. I'll kind of miss her smile with only the two little bottom teeth though!

Fully aware that this is "a no"
That's a no

I feel like she's been sincerely testing me for the past two months and I go back and forth on what she understands about the word 'no'. These are the no-no's in our house: the fireplace, trash can, electronics, eating books, standing in the bath tub, getting into the dog food or chewing or his kennel, crawling into the dishwasher and pulling up the outer pieces of the play mat and chewing on them. This is typically the daily stuff.

I distract a lot, but it only goes so far and I want her to learn as we go. I'm pretty sure she does understand that she's not supposed to be doing some of these things. When she gets mad she will go straight for the books and chew on each one or she will rip up the edges of the play mat and chew on them. All while looking at me with a scowl on her face. I shudder to think about the teenage years. I don't know where she gets this strong willed trait from.


She is also showing more distinct signs of affection. She puts her head to yours or on you. It's her version of a hug or kiss. It's precious. She also shows affection toward her stuffed animals. She will crawl up to her bunny, monkey or frog and bury her face into them. How many times can I say "It's so precious" in a post?

A side note, we bought her first doll a few weeks ago and while she loves to play with her tiara, bow and the ruffles on her dress, she does not show any affection toward her. Princess Doll has been scooped and outnumbered by the native Stuffed Animal Posse.


Her sense of humor has definitely developed. Making funny faces always results in her little laugh. Equally entertaining is watching Mommy or Daddy yawn or sneeze. She cracks herself up as well. Usually this happens when she's talking to herself in the car or in her high chair like she's practicing her stand up routine and she'll just break out a funny face and laugh.

Have I mentioned that this girl is awesome? Each day is more fun and I can't wait for the Fall when we get to be outside more and don't even get me started on holiday fun! Oh and it's her birthday season too! I'm excited about it and sad about it all at same time. Love each new stage, but also a piece of me that wishes I could freeze time. I don't think Claire feels the same way. She's ready to go. So...we are too! Bring it on 11 months!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

All In A Day's Work

Some of you may already know that I am working part time from home and working in the same job, but from my dining room table. I am so thankful that I work for a company that will allow me the option, but from time to time I do question my sanity. I guess I'm a working stay at home mom. (although truly all moms who stay at home are working - no doubt!). It's been a challenging hybrid to make work!

Here are the things that make my work day a little...different:

There may be a pea on Friday.

I am constantly telling the piles of laundry or dishes to "talk to the hand" while I'm working. They're literally staring at me over my right shoulder. I can feel them.

The high chair doubles as extra work space. I'm sure Google will implement this for all their employees once they see this. (Note for Google - it only works sans-baby)

There is a good possibility that I must dance and/or widely mouth phrases to a curious audience while on a conference call. (These people have no idea what's on the other side of the line.)

I'm ok with my co-worker falling asleep on the job.

Although, this same co-worker is a bit of a brown-noser.

I have a second job in surveillance at all times.

I truly may whistle while I work. Or sing You Are My Sunshine. Or make raspberries. Or suddenly burst up from my chair while saying "No, no, no, no!" in an effort to re-locate my co-worker to an area that has less problem potential.

Spin toys and paci's are the new paperweight.

There is a good possibility that spit up is on my shoulder. Or maybe it's yogurt. Or banana. The possibilities are endless.

By far, the best thing about my new job is the view.

Who needs a corner office?