Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sick and Tired of Sickness

It’s annual benefits enrollment time at work. I need to finally really research my options. I haven’t paid attention since I first started. I need to make sure that I've got the right insurance now that there's more than just me and won't-go-to-the-doctor-even-though-he-totally-broke-his-hands-falling-off-his-bike Mr. b.

This new-fangled health care spending account thing is pretty cool. Same with the daycare spending account. I like the idea of paying for necessities like baby Tylenol pre-tax. Sure, it’s complicated, but I think it’s going to be worth it. And lord knows that at times like this, I can use a way to avoid the myriad clinic co-pays coming directly out of our checking account.

We took Kirk off his antibiotics on Sunday. His ass was worse than I’ve ever seen. It was _thisclose_ to blistering with diaper rash. We had been trying to just muscle through but then he got a mysterious rash all over his back and front, too. It didn’t seem to be itchy, just red and slightly bumpy. Sunday night was awful. We brought Kirk into bed because of his frequent awakening. But even that didn’t really help. He wasn’t feverish like last week. But he was whimpering and crying most of the night. Clearly, something is the matter. His batted at his infected ear a couple of times but both Mr. b and I got the feeling that it was teething and/or growth spurt.

Last night Kirk only woke up once and he went back to sleep after some cuddles and a couple of ounces of milk. Thursday I get my stitches removed and so Doc had me schedule Kirk at the same time for an ear check. It’ll be interesting to hear what she has to say about this whole saga. I’m guessing she’ll have him get the ear infection shot that the other doctor mentioned when we brought him in last week. I sure hope the poor boy gets over this blasted thing soon.

At least it’s Samhain. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Bad Timing

Why does everything inevitably happen at once?

Tuesday morning I went in to have 3 moles removed. They were big, the one on my back huge, and weird, and I'd had them my whole life. I watched the one on my chest change and get bigger during pregnancy, yet another fun side-effect, and knew the others were doing the same. I figured since I've given birth, I ought to be able to handle a little minor out-patient surgery. 'Sides, Doc fancies herself an amateur plastic surgeon, so I didn't even have to get referred to a dermatologist.

The problem was that the Novocain knocked me on my ass. And when it wore off, I was in pain. And then Kirk got sick.

Tuesday night Kirk just didn't seem right but I couldn't put my finger on it. He woke up in the middle of the night with a high fever and was just burning up in bed with us the rest of the night. I managed to get him a doctor appointment in the morning. There was blood on my jammie shirt from the mole holes. I was so worried about him. I just felt like Kirk has had something pretty much constantly for the last several months. Is that a sign of something more serious? I know babies don't have much of an immune system. This is what he's working on building. But I still couldn't keep the paranoia completely at bay.

The doctor said that his ear was infected. The same ear that Doc discovered was infected at his 15 month appointment. Basically the ear infection fluid can sit around in the ear, not causing any troubles, until one day it suddenly decides to get all germy again and then bam! Sigh. Doc had put Kirk on a different antibiotic since he had just come off Amoxicillin for the pink eye. So that means that Kirk is now on a third antibiotic to try to clear up the lingering infection.

I, of course, had to stay home with the poor sick boy yesterday. And my mole holes still hurt. And Kirk was still quite fevery. Then at dinner, he threw up. He gagged from trying to stick too many peanuts in his mouth at once and then spewed. Sure, it was mainly liquid; he really hadn't eaten much. But that's still not a good sign. And then the splattery farting started. Thank gods for diapers!

Mr. b managed to switch shifts so he could stay home with the boy today. And he got a hold of the pharmacist who said that the main side effect of this particular medication is an upset stomach and diarrhea. Yay.

Unfortunately that means that Mr. b is at work right now and Kirk keeps waking up. He woke up while I was in the shower. He woke up while I was contorting to try and change my mole dressings. He woke up when Mr. b called to find out how he was doing. I think he'll be able to go to daycare tomorrow, he really is doing much better, but I don't think he'll make it through the whole night in his crib.

The upside to all this is that I think I finally found the magazine I've been looking for. My mom always gets me a subscription to something for Christmas. For years it was Newsweek. I don't have time for another weekly magazine these days; I can barely keep up with Entertainment Weekly! So last year I requested that she get me Jane instead. I used to love Jane. Who doesn't? I was a Sassy girl and it was the perfect transition. But it had been several years since I actually opened an issue of Jane. I'm just _thismuch_ too old and/or mature for it. I really don't need tips for hooking up with emo guys at the rock show, hangover remedies for the next morning, or instructions on how to change my outfit so my coworkers can't tell I'm wearing the same thing the next day. I like the fashion but the rest is mostly useless. But where do I turn? I love the recipes in your Good Housekeeping/Ladies Home Journal/Redbook type mags but there's nothing else interesting. Parents is too "I'm my kid's mom". Vogue/Elle/Cosmo is too one-note. Where's the happy medium? Why can't moms care about stylish clothes, fun meals, child care tips, and human interest stories all at once? Why must I segregate all aspects of my life just because I've had a kid? That doesn't make sense. While waiting to go in for my mole removal, I discovered that I'm not the only one that thinks so. Cookie caught my eye. I need to request that my mom gets me that. I think it's my Grail.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Life of the Party

For probably my whole life I’ve noticed that all the kids at a wedding reception naturally gravitate together into the Kid Brigade. I’m sure I was part of it when I was little. But it’s entirely different when it’s your own son that’s trying to join up.

Sitting in the ultra swank theater on Saturday evening, trying to keep Kirk from falling off the intricately leveled platforms containing becandled tables, I realized that he was always aiming in the same direction. I helped him down to the main floor and he was off—-directly towards the other kids. It was so cute watching them all. Some were dancing like Kirk by bending their knees and bouncing up and down. The slightly older little girls were doing more interpretive moves, spinning, holding their arms out, and the like. They were bumping against each other in their little stumbling routes, just like a mini-mosh pit. Frackin’ adorable.

Chatting with several of the moms, I discovered that although a couple also had 15-month-olds, they didn’t think they’d be able to handle the wedding and so left them with sitters. There were lots of younger babies around being passed between aunties and cousins. And there were plenty of kids in the 18-24 month range. So what it is about 15 months that makes them bad wedding attendees? I thought Kirk did great! Mr. b and his buddy had great fun tagging along after him as he wandered around the floor, weaving in and around legs, pausing to explore under the stage or pet a patent leather shoe.

The only time Kirk had a fit was when I took away his rock candy coffee stirrer. Pure sugar. He did not need that. Especially not after sharing my piece of cake. He was pissed. It was pretty funny.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Baa Baa Black Sheep Shut Up!

Kirk has undergone a pretty major developmental leap. He gets stuff. Things that before were trial and error he now does intentionally. He remembers things previously shown to him. He reacts to things.

It's making playing with him so much fun. He is starting to put the shapes in the shape sorter now and not just shaking the pieces out as violently as possible. He likes putting anything that fits--or doesn't fit--into the Pound-a-Ball and watching it travel through. He high-fives. He puts his brush to his head to try to do his hair.

I was reading books to him last night. I always like to try to connect real examples of things that we see on the page. So if we see a piggie, then I'll spin the See 'n Say to the piggie. We were reading Hop on Pop and I gave him a red ball for Ball Ball We All Play Ball. I pointed to the kitty when Pat Sat on the Cat. No Pat No! Don't Sit on That! (A cactus.) Kirk gasped! It was so adorable.

The problem is that he also figured out how to get Baby Tad to actually play songs on purpose and not just because he accidentally hit the right button. And he was doing this for over an hour last night starting at about 1:45am. As soon as it would get quiet, and I'd get my hopes up that he fell back to sleep, "Hickory, Dickory, Dock" would start up again. Yet I was also overcome with pride at one point when I could hear him clapping along to "If You're Happy and You Know It". All this was alternating with crying. I gave up at about 3 and brought him into bed with us.

Mr. b says that he knew Kirk was going to be up in the middle of the night before we went to bed. Both of us are in the habit of peeking in on the boy before we go to sleep. Normally he's in complete disarray in his crib. Last night he was still in virtually the same position as when I put him down. His blanket was even mostly on him. Mr. b has noticed that when he's not restless right away, it comes in the middle of the night. I'm not sure how the knowledge of this pattern is going to help us. I suppose just so we're prepared for a shitty night's sleep.

Monday, October 16, 2006

What's the sign for "naughty"?

At his last check-up, Doc asked if Kirk was having tantrums yet. We didn't really know how to react to that question. Is he supposed to be? Are we just lucky that he isn't? Is that what our near future holds? It just seemed so soon to be worrying about tantrums. He's too young for that, right? The sign language is supposed to help mitigate that, right?

Kirk's a very mild mannered young man. But he's crossed the line now into true toddler. Because he was indeed throwing tantrums yesterday. I was baking cookies for my office potluck lunch. Kirk has never liked it when either of us are busy in the kitchen and not paying attention to him. But Mr. b was home so I figured he'd just be hanging with Daddy. Nope. He was underfoot the whole time I was mixing and baking. If I'd been wearing an apron, the cliché would have been true. It was unbelievable. When he's older I'll let him help me but 15 months is still too little. I picked him up in between ingredients and showed him the bowl. I let him play with the measuring spoons and cups when I was done with them. But none of it really helped. He was mad. And he started screaming.

It was sort of fascinating/hilarious to watch him get so bent. He was crying but there were no tears. He'd sort of bounce while whining. Putting him in his chair to supervise the action was only a temporary solution. I actually yelled at him at one point, which cracked Mr. b up. I even put him in his crib as a time-out. The tantrums didn't stop until I finished the last batch.

And I don't think that the lack of communication had anything to do with it. I knew exactly what he wanted: Mommy. A few weeks ago he came up with his own sign for "up" which is cupping his hands together at the wrist (similar to the Ferengi posture of penance). I know what that means. I just couldn't make good on his request. I needed both hands.

But I do find it interesting that he's come up with his own sign. We never used anything for "up". I keep trying to integrate more and more signs into my regular speaking. I'm a language junkie anyway so it's a good excuse for me to learn. Sometimes I feel like Kirk thinks that the signs are his own private language with me because I use them so much more. I know that K does some at daycare and Mr. b certainly does some. But I also see subtle distinctions in Kirk's signing--like his difference between "milk" and the catch-all that he does, basically "want" or "gimme"--that don't seem to be apparent to anyone else. Maybe that's due to my inate language talent and maybe it's just wishful thinking.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Eddi and the Fey

Back in January I described two kinds of familiarity felt while encountering pop culture with which I was more personally acquainted with the subject matter than the average bear. I just encountered a third. I read the novel War for the Oaks, by Emma Bull, on the repeated recommendation of my aunt and the coincedental recommendation of morrigan. It was astounding. The basic plot revolves around a Faerie War and their need for a mortal to be involved. Said mortal is Eddi McCandry, a guitar chick in a go-nowhere cover band. That right there would be enough to suck me in! Oh but this Faerie War is being fought in and around Minneapolis.

Every conflict between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts takes place in a location I know. Peavey Plaza? Among other things, Mr. b asked me to marry him there. Minnehaha Falls? Among other things, ahem, Mr. b threw a surprise birthday picnic for me there. Como Conservatory? Among other things, site of Jon's first wedding. And it wasn't just the major places either. The basic geography is perfectly accurate. When Eddi ran down Nicollet, I could envision every single block. When neighborhoods were mentioned, I knew exactly where they were and how they were laid out. It was fascinating and slightly distracting. I would find myself taken outside of the very exciting and engrossing story until I could mentally picture the setting, and then go back in.

On top of the visceral familiarity with the locale, this book was written in the late 80s. That meant that I was sometimes revising. The New Riverside Cafe has been closed for several years--but Mr. b just played a show at the 400 Bar so I was down that street mere weekends ago! Seven-Elevens no longer exist. Run-down warehouses have been replaced by gentrifying condos. But that kind of mental exercise was actually quite fun!

The 80s setting also meant that there was some removal from the Minneapolis music scene--when dealing with bands as opposed to the Fey Folk that is!--that I'm getting to know again currently and was so ensconced in the 90s. And yet, some things never change. The decor at First Ave being one! And who hasn't met Curtiss A?

I intend to demand that everyone I know in town that is in some way involved with bands read this book. If they're a fan of fantasy, too, so much the better. But the setting itself is trippy enough! The great story is just the icing.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Reasons Why I’m a Bad Mom

I scratched Kirk’s nose this morning. Of course, he didn’t notice at all, but every time I looked over at him I felt sick about it. I’m so glad that his medicine is nearly at an end so I won’t have to struggle with him about it anymore (until the next time). I’ve nicked his nose before; my nails just grow long! I don’t do it on purpose! Well, as K reminded me this morning when I dropped the boy off, if that’s the worst that I do to him, it’s really no big deal.

I am still just not prepared for winter. We’ve been slowly collecting some long-sleeved shirts for Kirk thanks to Mr. b picking up cute ones when he finds them on clearance. But I don’t have any warm jammies or long-sleeved onesies or a new hat or gloves. I went to put Kirk’s little hipster suit jacket on him this morning and realized it was far too light-weight for the premature dose of cold we’re having. Thank the Lords of Kobol for Diablo and Jon! They got him a bunch of size 2T clothes for his birthday and apologized for them being too big. But the lined Fall jacket is just what I put on the boy this morning! Sure the sleeves are rolled up and yeah it’s big but hey, he looks like Oasis in the 90s (minus the faux-fur on his hood) and that’s fine by me.

I hate balancing the checkbook. Despise it. I’ve been the money manager for well over 13 years now and I want to quit. I store up receipts for two weeks before I enter them into the register. I rarely even get receipts from Mr. b. I get so frustrated by the mess when I do get around to the accounting that I don’t do it for another two weeks. I just can’t break that cycle. I let us spend too much between paychecks. I don’t follow a budget. I hardly ever put money into savings. I let myself get behind on utilities so that actual creditors get paid on time. The utilities portion caught up to me this month. I let too many rolling lates pile up and now I had to make payment arrangements to avoid disconnection. Disconnection notices! What am I, 23? That’s ridiculous. We are not poor. Sure, we are usually very strapped. But we can eliminate excess. We are just so lazy and undisciplined. Netflix is not "a necessity". I could draft an official weekly meal menu before grocery shopping and only buy sale items. I could demand that Mr. b only use tip money for his smokes and booze. I could refuse to be talked in to going out to eat more than once a week. And yet I don’t do any of it. How is that a good example for the boy? Disconnection! Gah!

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Catch up

Kirk had his 15th month check up last week. He's awesome. He flatlined in the weight percentage--due to the walking thing burning calories--but continues to be in the 70%-75% for height. Doc also discovered that what we thought was remnants of a cold and teething was in fact an ear infection. Yeah. I rule. So we're finishing up the drugs he got for that. He has now had a throat infection, a nose infection, pink eye, and an ear infection. I think it's time for a break!

Kirk's discovered that he can crouch down to pick things up and then stand back up without using something to pull up on. However, he has not transferred that skill to standing up in the middle of the floor from a sitting position.

I made curtains for Kirk's room. Naturally his is "that room", the one that is always colder than the rest of the house. Curtains instead of blinds should provide some insulation. We're also going to get a larger area rug for his floor. And Mr. b is going to toss some insulation along the ceiling in the laundry room below since that's the only basement room without a finished ceiling. Hopefully the rest of this project won't take as long as the curtain portion. I've been meaning to make then for well over a year. Last winter Kirk was fine since he was still little enough to put in a sleep sack. Now he just kicks off his blankies. We're back to putting a onesie under his jammies for an extra layer.