Sunday, February 28, 2010

Problem Solved

I have made an effort on this blog not to talk about poop. Lydia's poop, my poop, Robin's poop... we just don't talk about it. Today, I am making an exception. So if you don't want to read about poop, stop now.

I'll give you a little cushion in case you were subconsciously skimming.


Poop talk ahead.

Okay. For the past few weeks, we have been dealing with a little conflict in our household. Lydia has taken to pooping in the bathtub. I had heard about this before, specifically when Lydia was on her poop strike and my friend told me about her friend's son who would only poop once a week, and then only in the bathtub. Lydia poops a lot, but she has pooped in roughly 80% of her baths during the past three weeks.

It is disgusting.

For the record, in our house this means the bath is over. We do not forge ahead as if it didn't happen (yuck!), and we are not ambitious enough (or hygenic, apparently) to drain the tub, scrub it out, and start over. It has been very frustrating.

And disgusting.

I went to my trusty reference: Baby Center. I was pleased to find that we are not alone in this problem. I was also happy to find some normal suggestions--nothing too drastic. Participants in the "My Baby Poops in the Bathtub" forum mostly suggested saving bathtime until after the baby poops or moving it to mid-day rather than right after dinner and watching the baby for signs of an impending floater and quickly placing them on a potty or on the toilet. Our bathtime is pretty set, so we opted for the toilet trick and voila! Not only did we not have to fish poop out of our bathtub, Lydia used the toilet for the first time! Now we have to purchase a training potty so that she starts associating it with pooping. Maybe this little problem will be a headstart to potty training.

Just to balance it out, here's a picture of Lydia *NOT* pooping in the bathtub.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

On the Way Out

Lydia will turn one in thirteen days. While it is hard to think of our lives without her, it amazes me that she was born almost one full year ago.

I will do a post closer to her birthday with thoughts and musings on such a big milestone, but one part of her birthday that is already at hand is my decision to wean her at one year. That's right, kids, we're cutting her off, and the experience is already more bittersweet than I ever anticipated it would be. The thought of having my body back to myself, hopefully having a little more energy, being able to do an evening yoga class during the week, and bras that provide support without opening like barn doors are all driving the decision, but I'm realizing that it's not quite as cut and dry as I thought it would be.

My original goal was six months, and I set one year as my dream. As the year mark grows closer, I have become painfully aware of all of these women who nurse beyond the year mark (yes, I'm competitive, get over it), of the stupid Kelly Mom site that tells me I should wait until Lydia weans herself (college?) or until I can explain it to her so she doesn't feel abandoned, and of women who want to nurse but aren't able to. Stopping while I'm still able and Lydia still wants breastmilk, I feel incredibly guilty.

On top of that, Lydia loves to nurse. While I know she'll be okay and we'll continue to cuddle and have bonding time, I feel like I'm depriving her of something she enjoys. I know my friends who don't have kids--the ones who didn't stop reading as soon as they realized this post was about breastfeeding--do not understand this, and until a month or so ago, I didn't understand it, either. One of my favorite parenting books is a collection of essays about breastfeeding, and the section on weaning just didn't register with me--until now. The pros of weaning definitely outweigh the cons for me, but it is a much more mixed bag than I anticipated.

We are down to two feedings a day and introduced cow's milk with her snack a few weeks ago. Yes, (gasp!) before her first birthday, which I realize goes against the one year recommendation most doctors give, but I wasn't getting enough milk from pumping, and we didn't want to transition her to formula and then to cow's milk a few weeks later. One of these days, I'll do a post about all of the rules we've broken. Poor Lydia. If she gets rejected from Harvard, you can blame us for giving her cow's milk before she was one year old and rice cereal before she was six months, while I blame that crazy lady who gave her chocolate cake a few months ago.

Also, let the record show that Lydia loves cow's milk, and other than a few digestive, uh, events during the first few days she had it, she's doing well and is showing no sign of a milk allergy or intolerance. She only gets a few ounces a day until we pull back on the last two nursing sessions.

So here we go. One of many, many times when I will let go of something that makes Lydia just a little more independent, a little more grown up... that's what it's all about, right, this parenting thing?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


Don't tell me this isn't the happiest thing you've seen in awhile.

Kids in the courtyard looking at snow--some for the first time!!
-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, February 22, 2010

Couch Potato?

On Thursday, both Robin and I were under the weather. He has been dealing with a sore throat and cough for a week or so, and I had a weird 24-hour fever. Lydia is home on Thursdays, so between the two of us, we just weren't up for active parenting, and honestly, the Olympics proved a little two tempting. I think we took it a little too far and Lydia got a little too comfy in front of the TV.

The Changing Face of Romance

Robin has always been great at romance. He is a fantastic date-planner, he's a creative gift-giver, and he's really good at making romantic gestures. Let's remember, this is the guy that managed to get me down to San Antonio believing we were there for an interview for him and walk me into a beautiful, candle-lit room with champagne and flowers, only to get down on one knee and propose. He even roped in some friends, leading me to believe that we had to get back to Austin to meet them for dinner and a show to get me off his tracks; I knew a proposal was coming, but Robin managed to make it an amazing surprise.

Since 2002 when we spent our first Valentine's Day together as a couple, we have spent February 14th dining at the Most Romantic Restaurant in the Twin Cities (according to City Pages), scoping out our first wine bar together, eating fondue over candlelight in my apartment living room in Austin, and even going to see the Vagina Monologues at the University of Minnesota's Coffman Union.

This Valentine's Day, though, Robin told me I could lay in bed while he made breakfast. Lounging and reading my book, I looked up to see him come in with breakfast for me, only this time there was Lydia on his arm, munching on one of the biscuits. Ahhhh, life. This is where it has taken us.

We spent the day as a family (after enjoying Friday the 12th out and about, thanks to some friends offering to take Lydia for the night), walking up to the park,

playing in the backyard,

and enjoying an absolutely amazing homemade pizza, complete with ricotta cheese we made ourselves and topped it off with homemade strawberry shortcake.

We drank a bottle of wine we had purchased on our honeymoon and toasted to all of the romance the past eight and a half years have brought to us.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Due a cup of Coffee (at least)

Even though a lot of the posts say they were posted by Robin, this one actually is (The vast majority are, of course, posted by Laurie). I'm sure you've noticed the dwindling number of clever blog posts. Posting a video is about as much effort as either of us have in us at the moment. After all, it is February. TAKS season.

I wanted to take the opportunity to give some serious props to Laurie for holding it together through January and February in the midst of a very challenging work environment. As most of you know, The school at which Laurie teaches has a variety of challenges: Low socio-economic status by any standards, a majority of kids do not speak English as their first language, very high teenage pregnancy rate... yet per 'No Child Left Behind' they are measured by the same standardized test scores as any other school. This basically creates a work environment reminiscent of Glengarry Glen Ross. And yes, coffee is for closers.

Of course, Laurie is a closer. Her TAKS (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) scores would be impressive in most schools, but given that so many of her kids are language learners with difficulties beyond most of our comprehension... well, she's a closer. Consequently, she gets loaded up with as many responsibilities as she can handle; then a few more. She's mentoring, and teaching new teachers, and tutoring and still being a Mom. Needless to say, this time of year brings with it insecurities, fear of failure, and a lot of pressure to succeed while at the same time feeling the weighty impossibility of the perfection she constantly strives for.

This is just a note for everyone who reads, to drop a note to Laurie. She needs the support to stick it out until the mid-March TAKS test. Many of you fully understand and are going through the same thing at this moment, and my thanks and support goes out to all of you! Laurie (when you read this), I think you're doing an incredible job and I guarantee none of it is as bad as you think it is at this moment. It never is. You're a great Mom and Lydia is lucky to have you as a role model. I am lucky to have you as a partner. All of your students are lucky to have you in their lives. You deserve more than coffee.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It's here!!!

I am coming out as an American Idol fan, and I've decided this guy is my current favorite.

Morning Chatter

Thanks, Ganser Grandparents!!!

Robin's parents visited last weekend, and we had five fabulous days with them. Amongst the highlights was Lydia's early birthday gift, a membership to the Austin Children's Museum. We are so excited to go to the museum any time we want, and we are especially pleased that the membership allows us entrance into over one hundred children's museums around the country, including those in Minneapolis and Madison. When we're visiting family in the Midwest, you'll know where to find us! Here is Lydia, enjoying her time at the museum with Grandma Mree!!!

Lydia Pulling Up In Her Crib

Monday, February 1, 2010

Just Call Me M.D.

Lydia has had a cough for a week or so along with a stuffy nose. She will cough really violently and then gag a little bit. It's not her most becoming behavior.

On Saturday evening, I felt like it was getting worse, so I called our MedLink line to talk to doctor, so I would know what to watch out for and at what point we should be concerned. They patched us through to a nurse, who asked us to check Lydia's respiratory rate--how many breaths she was taking in a minute. She told us that 20-25 was normal, and if she was above 35 breaths per minute, we should take her to the Emergency Room. She wasn't at 35, so she went to bed and slept well.

On Sunday, she was still coughing, and after talking to the nurse, I was checking her respiratory rate and found it to be in the high 30s and low 40s. Granted she had been playing and was a bit worked up, so I called the MedLink line back, hoping to get a different person on the phone. I have gotten sketchy advice from a nurse over the phone once before and was able to call back and talk to a doctor, so I was hopeful that I could get some more clear, less extreme advice.

No luck. The same nurse gave me the same information, basically telling me that we needed to take Lydia in to Dell Children's ER. After looking in our handy copy of Baby 411 (only the best baby resource book ever), I started to doubt her advice. According to Baby 411, a normal respiratory rate for a child between 2 and 12 months old is 24-38. Lydia was showing no signs of being uncomfortable or a struggle to breathe. She was smiling and playing, but all I could hear was the nurse on the phone: "RSV is going around, RSV is going around, RSV is going around." (My one real freak-out during this whole thing was when I was trying to convey all of this to Robin while looking for information about respiratory rates and signs of RSV on the computer. He asked me what RSV was. Big mistake. "RSV?!?! Haven't you read the books?!?! Why am I explaining this to you? You can read them, too!) I was under duress. Consider this my public apology to Robin.

I called the person I always do when I just don't know what to do with Lydia--my doula, Kristin. She affirmed my hesitation of bringing Lydia in to the ER, but didn't have specific advice about normal respiratory rates for a baby her age, so she suggested I call Dell Children's and talk to them over the phone. As she pointed out, they wouldn't want me bringing a perfectly healthy baby in to the ER and using up their time, just like I didn't want to bring Lydia in and expose her to the for-real scary stuff that is in hospitals.

The nurse at Dell Children's seemed a little confused with what I was saying. Granted, I was spewing numbers and may have forgotten to tell her what I was talking about. She was like, "So is your baby showing any other symptoms?" "Ugh, no..." I felt like a bit of a fool. She told me that if Lydia's Respiratory Rate got over 50 breaths a minute to bring her in, but otherwise she was fine.

I was so glad I listened to my hesitation. We brought Lydia in yesterday just to get her checked, and she has a cold. Today she coughed twice. I told Dr. Bell about the nurse and she was incredibly apologetic that we were not put through to a pediatrician. So apologetic that she gave me her personal number to call if we ever are in a similar situation. (She told me she knew we wouldn't abuse it, and this made me feel like a cool, calm, collected mom. I used to search for coolness in record stores, clothing boutiques. Now my mark of cool is the pediatrician giving me her cell phone number to call in case of emergency. What does this mean?) I doubt we will ever have to use the number, but I was pretty amazed that she went that far. I wasn't even upset that we talked to a nurse; I just wanted a not-crazy nurse.

So next question: when do I get my honorary MD? I think I'm doing pretty well so far, right?