Archive | October, 2012

Sound Advice

18 Oct

There are 2 precautions I have read in several baby books that have surprised me. In both cases, at first I thought the advice was just insane and frankly a little over the top. I wondered why they even bothered to write it down. It seemed pretty obvious to me. I soon found out this precautions are not only right on the dot. They (thankfully) once in a while come to me in time of need.

1. Don’t shake the baby

2. Don’t tie or glue the pacifier to his/her mouth

I’ll go about this separately:

1. Don’t shake the baby: Duh, Right? That’s what I thought. I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams hurt Peter. So when I constantly kept reading this advice, it got me wondering, how bad does it have to get to reach this point?. In case you haven’t heard, if you shake your child strong enough they could develop Shaken Baby Syndrome (Which could cause long term disabilities or even lead to the death of your child). Thankfully I have never reached the point were I have felt like shaking or hurting Peter in any way. But I can see how a scared, sleep deprived, exhausted parent could loose it.

I can picture it in my head. One second in your life. Your baby cries for the 50th time, you pick them up. Look at them and ask (While shaking them): What is wrong? Boom. You hurt your child, your life will never be the same. It gives me chills. I finally understood why this advice is given in every book: If you feel like you are loosing it walk away. Better to let your child cry than to hurt them. If you are aware of this advice, when the moment comes it will ring in your head and you will know what to do.

I thankfully have never reached this point. But I remember when Peter was about 3 weeks old, he had been crying all day because of gas. I had done everything in my power to burp him. But the kid was not collaborating. It was about 1 in the morning after a difficult day. I had just fed Peter and was trying to burp him by gently patting his back, when he suddenly started crying. I knew it was because of the gas. I didn’t want him to cry anymore. I suddenly found myself patting a little too hard. I stopped immediately. Wow. I understood.

2. Don’t tie or glue the pacifier to his/her mouth

Peter got a pacifier when he was 3 weeks old. At first I didn’t want him to have one, but Peter had such a strong sucking reflex that we had no choice. He cried, cried, cried until the day we bought him his first at the advice of his Dr. As soon as he sucked on it, the crying stopped. I was in heaven. Then came the night: You see, up to this day, the baby won’t sleep unless the thing is inside his mouth. This means that if the pacifier falls 20 times, that’s 20 times Peter will wake up. If you remember from my last post, up until 4 months, every time Peter woke up I would have to walk him around in my arms. So I quickly cursed the day we gave him “The Thing”.Then came the realization of why this advice is also constantly repeated in books. I can clearly see it happening, and can completely relate to anyone who has been in this position.

Friends (who have no children) have actually suggested that we tie it around and/or glue it. It sounds so logical. But since it shouldn’t be done, we don’t. We keep walking in and placing it in it righteous place, until Peter knows when. I have tried weaning him off. I screamed of joy the day Peter found his thumb. The joy quickly went away went he pulled his thumb out and it was bloody red (Extremely strong sucking reflex and biting). So I have decided to let it be. If I have to keep getting up to replace it I will. I choose a healthy baby thumb over a nights sleep. I’m grateful I read this advice before the situation began. I think my “creativity” would have led me to glue it to Peter’s mouth with tape. And  would have probably have felt like a genius. So thank you books, for popping that balloon and keeping my baby safe.

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In other news…

I really believe that the person who figures this one out will make a fortune. Lets create a mothers think tank and solve this collectively. So far I have come up with the following (an idea quickly killed by my husband): A pacifier with milk inside a capsule so that after a certain amount of time the baby sucks a little milk and therefore will feel the need to keep on sucking. Hey this was my first! I’m still thinking. Ideas welcome, we’ll split the money (probably).

Unsleeping like a Baby

15 Oct

Oh Peter. Long gone are those few weeks you so preciously decided that sleeping through the night was something you were willing to put into practice.

Here writes your tired mother.

When Peter was born I read a book that told me babies had to be taught to fall asleep. Certainly the author  hadn’t seen the little sleeping blob I brought back from the hospital. This little human who I had to undress constantly because he kept falling asleep while eating! What nonsense! Who had ever heard of teaching a human to sleep? Well, apparently everyone, except me. Reality hit hard when Peter started showing signs of his now well known 40 minute naps. When we came close to the 2 month mark, my dear sleeping angel, the one I had to wake up to eat, was now refusing to sleep. It’s now been 5 months of trial and error. I’ve read the books, I’ve done the training. Sometimes in the middle of the trial (mostly when Peter is crying) I’ll stop and think to myself: I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing to this poor child. But I guess all mothers go through this, or at least that’s what I want to think.

It’s been a long long long (long) process. Please, enjoy my misery:

1. Walking it out

When Peter was about 2 months we resorted to walking him to sleep. If we didn’t he would not go to sleep. This is a baby that up to a month ago would not sleep in his stroller. I personally had never heard of such a thing. I used to envy those mothers who at least had the opportunity to strap their babies to the stroller, go for a walk and come back with a sleeping bub. He would not sleep in the swing either. So the only solution we had was to walk him around in our arms.  We carried him for up to an hour. Sometimes, if he cried we would walk around and lift him up and down (like weights). I was terrified when after and hour of walking I looked at him and his eyes were still open. I felt like crying and pulling my hair out.

I read many books, and although each one had a different method they all agreed in one thing: Put your baby down while drowsy not while sleeping. Sounds easy right? Ha, ha, ha.

2. Placement in the crib.

As time went by (close to four months) the walking was reduced to a few minutes. Then came the most nerve wrecking moment of the day. Placing the infant inside the crib without him waking. It was like this never ending game of Jenga.  Any false move and off you were to do some more walking. Phillip was so much better than me at this, I used to loose control at the end and Peter would wake up instantly. Needless to say it drove me nuts (the part were Phillip was so much better than me). I wanted to cry right along with Peter.

When Peter was close to 5 months, it became clear to me that the walking had to stop. You see, Peter is a big baby. When someone first meets him, they always comment on how big he is for his age (So either he is really big, or really ugly (and people find that commenting on his size is the most appropriate thing to say)). So as he started gaining more weight, it dawned on me that if I kept this going on, I would be carrying this huge baby around for a year, and my back was asking for a break. That’s when the real training began.

3. Pick Up, Put Down : What the Hell am I doing?

I had been told by Peter’s doctor that I could not let him cry it out before 6 months. And since I was loosing my mind by 5 months I decided to try another method. This is actually what worked for me so if I seem cynical at any point, that’s because I’m a cynical person. But the method worked, so I couldn’t be more thankful.

The Method goes like this: You place the baby in the crib while saying your “sleepy words” (mine are: Go to sleep: genius I know). Anyway, as soon as the baby cries you try to soothe him in his crib with out picking him up , if he cries (CRIES) you pick him up, and as soon as he stops crying you put him back down. You do this as many time as you have to until he gets the point and falls asleep. I think I was into my third day with the training, when I stopped, looked at a crying Peter and thought I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. The more I picked him up and put him down, the more he cried. At one point he would cry if he saw his crib during the day. I felt like a terrible mother. I was using Peter like my guinea pig. He was crying because I had taught him the only way to fall asleep was to walk it out, and now I wanted to change it. It took me a whole month. But we finally did it. Peter falls asleep in crib. He still wakes up at night, but at least the walking stopped.

4. The long arm goodnight.

Peter slept in our room for 4 months. I didn’t want him to sleep in the other room. I was/am terrified of something happening to him and being so far away (10 meters). But Phillip convinced me it was better for him. Before he moved away, I used to sleep with my arm inside his crib. Whenever his pacifier fell out or he was fussing about, my arm was there, ready to take over. So it was like he was never waking up. Sometimes my arm would get caught between the rails. Most nights it would fall asleep and hurt the next day. But we were able to sleep. Oh sweet sleep.

5. Crying it out

This I wish I had the courage to do. I don’t.

Although Peter knows how to fall asleep on his own. Apparently he only wants to put this knowledge to work one time per night. So even though he falls asleep by himself the first time. The next 10 times, he needs his mother to come in. Sometimes at 3 A.M when I’ve been up 5 times to place the pacifier back or to give him a rub so he settles back. I dream (maybe I’m still asleep?) that I had it in me to let him cry it out. I can’t say I’ll never do it. But I do know right now I’m not able to.  But give me a month and I’ll check back on that one.

So this is Peter’s sleep diary so far. Hopefully my little boy will find out soon that sleeping through the night is the new big thing. It will certainly make for a saner mother.

Off Topic Friday The Colombian Stigma. A Rant

13 Oct

This weeks Off Topic Friday, comes with my first rant. Enjoy

Ever since I started this blog I have been thinking about what people might think, and how the way they imagine me might change according to the place I tell them I’m writing from. Lets try it out: If I tell you I’m writing from the States, you’ll think of me differently than if I tell you I’m writing from, lets say India. Even the clothes you´ll see me wearing in your head will be different. You see, we all have this preconceived notions of how people look like, sound like, act like depending on where they come from. We carry the weight of what others have done for our country (good or bad), and that is the way the rest of the world ends up seeing us. Hollywood has done more than anyone I can imagine by  creating stigmas for different countries. Who can think about the Russians without thinking about some guy called Vladimir in a black leather jacket? How about something closer to home? Think about Colombia and what has been portrayed in the movies. It’s no wonder when I told you last week I was Colombian, I got all this messages asking for the good stuff. I presume it means you want me to keep writing? To keep the good stuff coming right?

I had planned to keep my nationality hidden from the readers. I didn’t want the label that comes with citizenship. But now that my Colombian is all out, I just have to say it pains me to see and read what people think about my country just because of what is shown in the media. I mean, have you ever seen the first few minutes of Mr and Mrs. Smith? They wake up in Bogotá (The Capital City) and the man (Brad Pitt) tells the skinny one (the woman) that the village is empty, people apparently left during the night.  Really? A city of 11 Million People, just decided to get up and leave? I guess we have better roads than we were aware of. Then the skinny one looks at the man, and a goat goes by, followed by a few chickens. I´ll keep this one short: No goats or chicken in the city. Ever. Have you ever seen a goat while walking through NYC? Nope? Same here.

I don’t want in any way to hide the reality and the struggles my country has and is going through. Believe me when I say that we are completely aware of the drug problem we have (which now the Mexicans have started to inherit). The thing is, we are producing it, the rest of the world is consuming it (but the war on drugs is another subject, another rant, another week). Just let me tell you this: I once saw an interview of Bruce Willis, where he said that to end the drug problem in the world, the solution was to invade Colombia and then all would be solved in a short amount of time. I guess Mr. Willis forgot the fact that we are a country with 40 Million citizens, and maybe invading us would take more than a few weeks. Just saying. It saddens me to think that anyone who saw this interview could have thought this was actually a possibility (or worse of all, a real solution to such a terrible and complex problem).

The point I’m so poorly trying to make is that we are all guilty of having preconceived notions of what to expect of other people. We believe what we see, read, and hear in the media. We don’t question what we are told. I’m guilty of doing it myself. So today I’m inviting all of us, to do some research of our own. We have this great tool now called the internet (yes, you are using it as you read). And we should use it to empower our selves. To verify the things we are told. To teach our children to be curious, to think on their own.

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In other news…

1. If you couldn’t tell, we Colombians are a little (a lot) sensitive about how our country’s image is portrayed abroad. I guess we have struggled so much, overcome so much, seen so many bad things happen in the hands of very few. That we have become a little touchy about it.

2. This clip of Ace Ventura portrays exactly what this post is all about. And this one we are all guilty of…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKpXDlcHmas

3. Yesterday was the Birthday of one of my readers. He is a red head (Married to my best friend; still managed to find friends and a wife. Who knew that was possible?)  Here´s a story he told me that fits this post perfectly. They moved to Madrid about 5 years ago. On his first day at the job. People were anxiously waiting to meet “the Colombian”. They were expecting this little brown skinned fellow who would be working with them (What they had seen in the media). When he arrived, they saw this 6 Feet tall, Red Head, White as a Ghost Man. They couldn’t believe their eyes. They started yelling to each other: The Colombian is a red head!! The Colombian is a Red Head!! His hair is RED!! And while we all know red hair is a no-no for everyone. It was a bigger surprise for them. Happy Birth Day J!!

The Dr. is In

9 Oct

I bet after Saturdays post you are all waiting anxiously for me to tell you what was wrong with me. Maybe you have a rash of your own and you want me to tell you what I had so you can compare. Before I tell you what the diagnostic was, I feel I have a little “I love Doctors” explaining to do.

I´m a Hypochondriac. A BIG one. The worst kind (In that not only do I think I have every disease possible, I have had my share of weird illnesses, which just adds fuel to the crazy). I can’t remember the amount of times I have said to myself: This is it. Say goodbye. I have it. Google says I do, he (she?) must be right. On the bright side I am fully aware of my craziness, and of the fact that there are faceless victims (Phillip), who have to deal with the array of illnesses I think I might have on any given day. Since I’m aware of how insane it can actually get, when I got pregnant with Peter I made a vow that I wouldn’t pass this side of me on to him.  So I have done my best to stay away from Google when it comes to Peter. I only read what I can from the Baby Pages I subscribed to while pregnant. And anytime I feel something is wrong all I can do is call his Doctor. I refuse to speculate with Peter like I do with me. I can’t even imagine the anguish I would feel while searching and reading the possibilities (which who are we kidding, are almost always cancer). So I refrain.

You might remember in one of my previous posts I said that I liked going to Peter´s pediatrician almost as much as I liked my Birth Day. And I meant it will all my heart. Since I don’t allow myself to Google Peter’s symptoms, going to his Dr. for me, means unloading a month’s worth of worries. Every time he asks me if I have any questions, I take out my monthly list. My face turns red as I begin to read a list composed of: 2 smart/relevant questions, some 20 are you really asking him that? questions, and some 5 or 10 I had written down, but realized just then how crazy that would made me sound which I ultimately skip. I can feel the pressure as the Doctor waits for the questions, and he can clearly see I’m scanning to find the most reasonable ones, toning the crazy down. Still he answers each and everyone of them. And when a crazy one escapes me (and we both know it), he smiles, the warmest smile, and says, no (or yes, but mostly no). 

The last time we went there, I told him of two “medical” solutions to some of Peter´s symptoms that I had though of by myself. He told me to call him the next time. Really? You’re opening that door? I don’t bother you enough? (I have him on Iphone Messenger, and I write to him (constantly)). Call me. What beautiful words.   

Anyway, my love for Doctor’s doesn’t end with Peter’s pediatrician. I’m also in love with all of my mother’s doctors (Phillip: father/daughter love). My dream is for my mother to marry one of her Doctors (any specialty will do), then we (my brother and I, since he is also a Hypochondriac) could call him all the time, and since it would be in his best interest for us to like him he would have to hop on the family crazy train.    Ok. I just read that last paragraph and that’s a lot of crazy (even for me). But hey, can’t a girl dream?

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In other news…

You didn’t think I would leave you wondering what I have after all did you? Here’s what I got: Herpes Zoster. a.k.a The Shingles, Chicken Pox 2, The itchiest/don’t scratch it rash, The OMG what is that rash.

In some other serious news. While searching online for my rash, I came up with (you guessed it) cancer. This type of cancer called Inflammatory Breast Cancer doesn’t present with the lump we are all searching for on a monthly base. The basic symptoms are as follows: Swollen Breast (like mastitis) or Red rash with itchiness or Inverted nipple, or are Bruise that won’t go away. This symptoms come all of a sudden. I had no idea this existed. If you develop something strange that’s out of the norm for you, please contact your Dr. quickly. And pass this knowledge on to other women.

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Baby E Update….

Little E is doing (thankfully) great. She is a strong baby. Keep the good thoughts coming! 

A rough week, a Princess is born

6 Oct

Ok. First of all sorry for going Awol* on you all. I had a rough week and wasn’t able to blog. It was hard for me not to blog, I’ll admit it. I’m hooked to this blogging universe and even though I so wanted to write I wasn’t able to. I´ll will now give you a detailed account of what this week has entailed for me.

1. The mysterious rash.

I’ve been ill  since last Saturday. It started like some sort of rash, and since has evolved into a very weird looking… Rash; with flu like symptoms (So yes I have a rash).  Since this began on Saturday and I wasn’t able to go to the Doctor until Monday I spent the whole weekend consulting my dear trusted doctor, Mr. Google M.D. I ended up with some very scary options, and almost drove Phillip crazy (Is it bigger? Does this look like the photo to you? Look at it! You’re not looking close enough!) When Monday finally arrived I went to the Dr. He told me what he thinks I have and gave me medicine. I will not tell you what I have until it’s confirmed on Monday, I don´t want to jinx it, and yes I am that crazy.

2. Peter had his first head bump.

On Tuesday Peter experienced his first accident (The first of many according to his pediatrician, the first and last according to me if we finally decide to turn him into a bubble boy). The events went as follows: While I was trying to rest in bed, my mother was helping me out and playing with Peter. He recently learned how to sit and still hasn’t mastered the whole thing completely. So as she was showing him some toy, his eye caught another one and he threw himself on top of it like a moth to a flame. That’s when I heard a VERY loud thump. And seconds later, the highest, loudest cries someone so little has ever emitted.   I ran to my crying baby, only to see a whole side of his face with the shape of said toy/flame tattooed to his face. Even today you can still see the bruises in his face and guess which toy it was. Thankfully we went to the Dr. to have Peter checked and he said he was fine. He laughed it off. I wasn’t so amused. But I was glad Peter was Ok. We spent the rest of the day looking out for the “warning signs”, but little Peter didn’t even complain once.

3. A little Princess is born.

This is actually the reason for today’s entry. Today a little girl was born. She was only 24 weeks into her life when she decided she had had enough of her mother’s tummy and wanted to see the exciting world for herself. And so beautiful Baby E was born today. Her mother is one of my best friends, a sister to me. She had gone to Miami with her husband to do the required baby shopping (just as I did), suddenly they had a medical emergency and had to go to the Clinic. And unlike Peter, little Baby E couldn’t wait anymore and was born. She was (thankfully) born ok. She is small and fragile. And her mother is such a strong woman. I am so proud of her. Baby E came before her time, but the unconditional love was already waiting for her. We love her so much (her and her mother). They will have to wait a long time before they can come home. We will all  be waiting for them, and our love will only grow strong each day we are apart.

If you read this please think about Baby E and her family. Send them good thoughts. They can certainly use as many good vibes as they can get.

We love you Baby E Happy Birth Day.

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*I just Googled Awol: Away without official leave.