Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Quick Update: New Behavioral Tricks/Issues

Because we focused our extremely long last blog post on our adventure to Washington, we neglected to mention all of Scarlett's new behavioral patterns. First, she is making it clear that she understands more than we expect her to. She has been pointing at things as we name them for months, but she now is starting to speak her mind very clearly. The big thing right now is "no". If you ask her a question ("Scarlett, do you want some carrots?") she starts shaking her head "no." Then, if we say "no" to her, she starts shaking her head as well. Picture this: Scarlett starts racing for the stairs. As she puts her hand on the next step to start her climb, we start saying "no" -- she then, in response, stops in her tracks and starts shaking her head back and forth. The funniest thing is that then every time she starts to put her hand on the stairs, it is accompanied by the head shaking. Sigh. We have a rough road ahead.

Her stubbornness has been exhibited in others ways lately too. She has had some parental separation anxiety for months, but lately her mommy attachment is over the top. She is fine with Paul if I'm not around, but if we are both there and he takes her, she will scream bloody murder (the no breathing cry) and flail trying to get back to me and latch on. Although it does pull on my heart strings, it isn't the most convenient habit!

She is REALLY into music. We blogged a couple of months ago about her dancing, but she also claps in time with the music. It is pretty adorable. We're going to have to get her into some music classes soon! She burns out the batteries in her keyboard every other day... Literally!

Speaking of "music," Scarlett has picked up a musical habit of her own -- she screeches like a banshee. She did that quite a bit on the flight to Seattle in fact. She has a variety of screeches. Screech for when she is happy/excited, screech for when she is mad, screech for when she doesn't want to go to sleep... It's great. Really. We are very proud...

Another fun trick this week is that she likes to play peek-a-boo. Well, she has always enjoyed us playing peek-a-boo with her, but now she plays all by herself. She ducks down behind her crib or playpen and then hops up with a loud sound. If you add "Where's Scarlett?" and "There she is!" or "Peek-a-boo" she squeals with laughter.

For smaller tricks, she still claps, sporadically does "touch down", gives high fives, gives kisses (WIDE open mouth), and says a variety of words like "doggies" when she sees Blake and Axel, "kitty" or "ba ba" when she sees Bacchus, and "bye bye", "yeah", and periodically mimics other words and phrases that we say (e.g., "teddy bear"). Today it sounded like she was mimicking a neighborhood dog when it was barking while we were on a walk. It's a lot of fun to just listen to her these days because you never know what she might say!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A tale of two flights (and everything in between)...

On Wednesday we loaded up and set out for our first cross country trip as a whole family. We flew direct from Dulles to Seattle and used miles to upgrade to first class in hopes that things would go smoothly. We were going to be flying out around the same time that our friend Dave was flying out to Germany so we decided to all ride together. Dave got stuck in traffic and ended up getting to our house about 25 minutes late. No big deal though, because we allowed plenty of time. When we got there, Paul decided to drop Dave and I off with the stuff out front and then go park the car. It turned out to be a complicated plan because we were traveling with a ton of stuff and I had the baby, so it was very difficult to get everything up to the counter to check the bags. When I finally got there, they wouldn't let me check the baby items until Paul was there (there was no reason for that since baby items don't count against you). They also wouldn't let me wait at the counter; they insisted that Scarlett and I (and all of our stuff minus the two suitcases they were willing to check) wait across the airport. After my yelling at them about how they expected me to do that with an infant in my arms a passenger tried to help me move everything to the other side. It wasn't starting out to be a very easy trip.

We got through security okay and Scarlett was again fascinated by all of the people and machines. She had a pretty rough start to the day though -- she had been fussier than usual, felt warm, and wasn't going down for her nap. When we got on the plane, she pretty quickly made it clear that it wasn't going to be a fun flight. She screamed and cried for about half an hour before finally falling asleep for an hour. Once she woke up, she was still really fussy. We thought it might be her teeth again. She finally went back to sleep again for another half hour. Scarlett was just really unlike herself -- she was very fussy and squealing and just wouldn't settle down. About half way through the flight, she was sitting on Paul's lap when she started throwing up... LOTS. I tried to catch what I could with a blanket and Paul tried to catch what he could but it was everywhere. I've never seen her throw up that much -- it was everything she had eaten all day long. We changed her and tried to clean up as much as possible (put the blankets, teddy bear, her clothes in a bag; Paul went into the bathroom to try to rinse out his shirt as much as possible) but it smelled pretty bad and Paul and Scarlett were both pretty miserable.

About an hour later, she was sitting on my lap when Paul tried to give her a puff while she was reclining slightly. It must have hit the back of her throat because next thing we knew she made a coughing sound and threw up again (A LOT) all over herself and me. Again we tried to clean up as much as possible. I was so soaked that I had to take both of my shirts off in the bathroom and try to rinse and wring them out in the sink. Now all three of us smelled great and Scarlett was on her last back up outfit. In addition, Paul and I were starting to get pretty worried about her and it was clear that she had a fever. We'd given her some tylenol on the plane, but it was unlikely that she kept any of it down and we were out. When we finally landed and got off the plane, it was pretty clear that we weren't very popular. We were really anxious to get back and change clothes. We got our bags and headed to the car with my mom but when we got there we had a lot of trouble getting the car seat into the car. After about 20 minutes of trying we finally got it in and headed back. By the time we got back to the building, Scarlett was wide awake (she always gets excited about new places) despite it being close to 1 AM our time. We headed to my parents house for a little bit to see everyone (my dad, my sister Brie, and her two kids - Daryoosh and Roxi). We dropped off a bunch of clothes for them to wash for us and then my mom dropped us back at the building before going out to buy some more Tylenol.

Scarlett finally got to bed close to midnight (3 AM our time) and then woke up at 5:45 AM. She was really hungry and quickly downed a 5 ounce bottle of formula and not long after threw up again all over me and the bed. We hoped that it was just that she drank too quickly after not eating much the day before but she still had a temperature. We again cleaned up and threw me and Scarlett in the shower and headed down to breakfast with the family around 8. She seemed a little bit better than the day before, but still not herself. She wasn't very smiley and was just a lot crankier than usual and very clingy. We decided to spend the day at my parents' house. Daryoosh was really great with Scarlett but the house was definitely not baby friendly. Within the first few hours there Scarlett was playing with Daryoosh when a 2 foot tall stack of VHS tapes went crashing down on her head. Needless to say, she was not a very happy baby. We were then playing with her when she crawled under a table and right through puppy pee pads. While Paul and I were trying to eat lunch, my sister decided to let one of her three birds out of his cage to let it fly around the house. It immediately flew over mine and Scarlett's heads right toward Paul's while he was in the kitchen. I had to grab the baby and go outside until the bird was back in its cage because the kids had explained to us before that the bird scratches and bites. She still had a fever, but when we went to give her the Tylenol we realized that despite it being called "Infant" it was only for ages 2-3. We had to go to the store to try to exchange them but the store didn't have any of the infant variety so we had to find another store. When we got back, Scarlett had only slept for about 15 minutes. Murphy's law was in full effect. We decided to leave Scarlett with my mom and sister while we took the kids to the zoo, but by the time we got on the highway it was bumper to bumper traffic and it was clear that we would make it there just in time for it to close. Again, things just weren't going our way, so we headed back and took them to the playground instead. We had a really good time except that a group of teenage boys were taking rocks and throwing them at a bee hive trying to knock it down, despite my yelling at them that there were small children around and people (including me) were allergic and didn't need angry bees. Sigh.

That night we all went to the little Irish bar in "town" for dinner. Things were going okay until the end of the evening when Scarlett threw up again all over Paul this time. We were back to trying to get cleaned up in a public place and tried to get back to the building as soon as possible, which still turned out to be after 11 PM. She went to bed and again woke up around 6 AM, very hungry. She again threw up on me and the bed and we again went through the shower/clean up ritual. We took her to the nurse's station and they basically said she was okay but we also called our pediatrician back home. The pediatrician said it sounded like a virus, so as long as she was making tears when she cried and urinating there wasn't anything a doctor could do. They said that often they just have to vomit the virus out essentially and all we could do was try to give her as much fluid as possible and suggested Pedialyte and dairy free formula and water. They said if we could get a half ounce in her per hour she should be okay. Luckily, she loves Pedialyte (the doctor thought it would be really difficult to get her to drink it) but she wouldn't drink the dairy free formula. It smelled horrible, so we couldn't blame her. In general, she seemed better that day. She was starting to act more like herself and her fever seemed to be lower. My sister and the kids left that day (and took the birds - woo hoo!) so things got considerably more quiet. My mom offered to stay with Scarlett s that Paul and I could go out on a date. We got Scarlett to bed at 7:30 PM and then headed out to the Mexican place in "town" we had a nice time and were back by 11 PM but Scarlett had been asleep the whole time. My mom hung out until around 1 and then we all went to bed. Scarlett slept til 6:30 AM and seemed much more herself so we thought we had turned a corner. We hung out with my parents all day and she seemed much more normal and like she was starting to feel better, although she still wasn't eating much. We had taken the crib to my parents' house so we ended up putting her down there at 7:30 that night and letting her sleep there so that we didn't have to wake her up and move her. She had a pretty good night until she woke up at 4 AM and vomited again after taking a bottle. It didn't bode well for our flight back.
Is everyone reading this jealous yet? After all we went from dreaded DC weather to the Seattle area where it was 70 and sunny. We flew first class both ways and had a large room (basically a hotel) with free meals available all day long. Scarlett was able to see her "granddad" who we call "grumps" for the first time. And Shonna and I were able to spend a rare night out together. Oh, except for all that stuff that Shonna wrote earlier...

Ok, so I'll talk about things that DID go right, and I won't include the 90 minutes Scarlett slept on the 1st flight, or the occasional smile she gave to our neighbors before "The Incident". For that reason, my post may be a bit shorter than Shonna's. We did get to spend some quality time with the family. Daryoosh and Roxi loved having a baby to play with, ESPECIALLY Daryoosh. He was so good with her, if he lived close, we would put him in our BIT class (Babysitter In Training). I have a feeling he would ask us before we asked him! Roxi was also great, but she is only 6 and would still rather spend her quality time with us. Who can blame her? :) We do wish we could spend more time with Scarlett's cousins, but its tough to get past the 2500 mile distance. As Shonna mentioned, we did attempt to take them to the zoo, but we timed it too close to rush hour, and in the Seattle area, rush hour = 6 hours (I think its the time difference...). Anyone who complains about DC traffic hasn't seen the 25-40 mile stretch on I5 that is stop and go from just after 2pm to well past 7. We were able to quickly alter our plans and spend time with them at a local park. Besides the bee incident, we had a great time. We went to the playground (lots of climbing and spinning). Daryoosh and I then played baseball on a regulation pro-style field while Shonna and Roxi played various versions of patty cake (I liked my game better:) Afterwards, Daryoosh took us on a "hike" through brush, vines, fallen trees... fun terrain, especially with most of us wearing flip flops. He is becoming a "guy" right before our eyes. He knew EXACTLY where he was going even though he didn't have a clue... but he sounded convincing, or at least he was convinced! Anyway, when we returned from the hike, we were pleasantly surprised to see Scarlett and Nonni sitting on a bench along the path waiting for us. Scarlett's face lights up whenever she sees us, and makes a bad day great, and a great day even better! We all returned to the house, and later headed to the Irish Restaurant mentioned earlier. The next day, aunt Brie and the cousins drove off to California. All 3 loved spending time with Scarlett. Brie volunteered to watch her as much as possible, and Daryoosh is a natural. Roxi also spent plenty of time playing with her and sharing toys. It was tough to see them leave, and Roxi hugged us for what seemed like 15 minutes.

Of course the grandparents loved spending time with Scarlett. We knew Nonni would spend every waking moment with her, but Grumps was the same way. He even went so far as to make goofy faces constantly and talk in his "baby" voice. You know that voice guys have that only comes out when talking to an infant. Very cool. Nonni's big night, or actually morning was our last one (not including the time she had while we were at the park). Everyone loves Shonna, but unfortunately when she is near Scarlett, Scarlett doesn't want to be held by anyone else, at least not for any length of time. So when Shonna and I left Scarlett at Nonni and Grumps for the night, she was able to spend a good part of the morning with her. As much as we missed seeing Scarlett in the morning, the fact that she and Nonni were able to spend some QT together made it worthwhile.

I almost forgot to mention one other event. Scarlett (we) went to our first "hoedown", which consisted of country music, good food, a horse (her first horseback ride), a fake cow to milk, and a bunch of bandannas. Scarlett got the hang of the reigns, as you can see in the picture Scarlett's piggyback ride. With all of these things going on, can you guess what Scarlett's favorite sight or object was? Yep, it was the balloons used as decor. We thought she was going to bite or grip through them, which would have caused her to never like balloons again... but then again, a big POP would have been expected considering the events of the long weekend.

One last positive: Our plane ride back! Wow what a 180. Our flight was delayed by 20 minutes, which turned out to be a good thing. I was able to get her to sleep 10 minutes before we boarded and she slept for over an hour. We did get a few looks this time, but it was a combination of "uh oh" with a bit of "awww look at the cute baby sleeping", and a little "I hope she stays that way". The ONLY negative came from Shonna. She was opening a bag of chips and must have caught her fingernail in the packaging. Basically ripped it in half. I ran around looking for water, napkins, and band-aids. Finally one of the attendants located a 1st aid kit (took them 5 minutes to find it which was comforting. Safety first!). Shonna patched herself up with about 5 strips, and we were back in business. Scarlett woke the first time grinning from ear to ear. Mommy was still asleep but I believe her spidey senses kicked in and she woke a few minutes later. Scarlett was laughing and flirting with our neighbors and flight attendants, ate a little, then an hour later she passed out again. Rinse and repeat, she worked in the same pattern one more time. Total sleep time 3+ hours, she ate, played, and more importantly, nothing came out of her mouth (or anywhere else;). What a fantastic ending to a long trip! The nasty looks we received during our departing flight turned into multiple compliments and smiles from our first-class neighbors. She did "blowout" right before we returned to the car, but that's a good thing. Great timing- well after we got off the plane, and just before shoving her into the car seat for a 30-45 minute ride home. She was taking quite a bit of fluid during the ride home, probably to make up for the long weekend of dehydration. She needed it. We finally returned home after grabbing some Rio Grande togo. I grabbed a bunch of luggage, Shonna lifted Scarlett out of the car seat and we headed to the house..... phew.
THEN BAAAAAMMMMMM all of that fluid exploded on Shonna one last time.
Scarlett hasn't lost anything since then, knock on wood. She seems to be doing just fine now.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Miami (sans) Beach

We just got back from our first family vacation. We went to Miami Beach for my friend Cheryl's wedding. We flew out on Thursday. Paul had arranged for a cab company that said they had a car seat to come pick us up to go to the airport. Despite him checking with them 3 times about the car seat, they showed up without it. Argh. So we ended up holding Scarlett on my lap without a car seat. Lucky we flew out of National so it was only a few miles but very scary. Scarlett did a good job on the plane -- she really only fussed for a few minutes right before she went down for a nap (30 minutes). The rest of the time she just played and tried to get the people around us to pay attention to her. She loved her first hotel room. We stayed at the Gansevoort where the wedding was being held ( and the room was huge. She loved the carpet because she is used to hitting her head on hardwood. There she could sprint around without hurting herself as much. She also loved playing on the king size bed. Paul and Scarlett stayed in on Thursday while I went to the bachlorette party. Scarlett had only slept the 30 minutes all day -- she was way too excited to sleep and had only been down for about 20 minutes when I got back to the hotel a little before 2 AM... Paul and Scarlett hung out again on Friday while I went to a spa day with the bride. We got together for a few minutes with my cousin Michelle who happens to work right by the hotel. It was really nice to see her again and catch up! That night we went to a party at the Mediterranean Mansion (, which Cheryl had rented for a few days for the pre-wedding stuff. The architecture was beautiful and we were able to take Scarlett with us and just set her crib up in one of the rooms and carry the video monitor around. She loved seeing all of the people. Saturday we met up with my Aunt Lee, which was also a lot of fun and then we headed to Lincoln Road for me to find shoes and for us to grab lunch. My cousin Michelle watched Scarlett for us (bless her) while we went to the wedding and reception. The wedding was at the pool with the ocean in the background. It was a very short, casual ceremony but beautiful. The reception was at STK ( -- they had the whole top floor of the restaurant and the food was amazing. Scarlett didn't make it easy for Michelle. We got back at 12:30 AM and she was still up after only napping for an hour the whole time. She must have had fun too because she was very wound up and refused to go to bed until after 2 AM. She didn't want to get up this morning and was exhausted by the time we boarded the plane at 11 AM. It worked well though because she fell asleep during take off and slept until we were landing. It was perfect! Her teeth are bothering her a lot again but otherwise she seems happy to be home and all tuckered out. All-in-all, we had a great trip and Scarlett did really well with all of it. Her big thing now is that she tries really hard to get attention from anyone around. She is such a ham. It sort of helps though because on the plane and at restaurants as long as she could get someone's attention, she was a happy camper.

Speaking of being a happy camper, we are discovering more and more activities that grab and keep her attention. Thats a good thing, because she is also much more clingy has more separation anxiety attacks, especially when tired or teething. Its also good to know when spending roughly 24 straight hours in a hotel room with her... :) Believe it or not, I have to say that her new favorite activity is taking a shower. I know it sounds odd, but when I carry her into the bathroom an turn on the shower, the only thing that keeps her from taking a swan dive onto the shower floor is my grip. I'm pretty sure that would hurt so I hold on and gently place her in the shower. She will immediately head for the drain to check out the texture for a good 5 minutes as water comes down on her head. If I add a plastic shampoo bottle to the mix, she can turn that into 30 minutes of solid entertainment.

So about the title of the blog. We were in Miami for the better part of Thursday, all day Friday and Saturday, and not one foot was placed on the sand. We got a good look at it from the 3rd floor pool, but that's as close as we would get. Fascinating. I lived for the beach and went at least once a year every year of my life through the late 90's, and not once did I fail to walk the beach. Not even in the winter. Ok, so there were a few factors working against me, but come on now! Scarlett + bright sun + oppressive heat + pale skin were the major factors. I will say that for all of those complaining about 90-100 degree heat in DC this summer, its nothing like Miami. I thought heat/humidity were somewhat close, but uhhhhh no they're not. Example- a 95 degree humid day in DC may have a heat index of 100. At 11am Friday in Miami, it was 89 degrees with a heat index of ONE HUNDRED TWO! And of course the temp rose from there.

Concerning the pictures posted on this blog, yes that is Scarlett Johanson, which was one of the magazines waiting for us in our beautiful room (our Scarlett found the magazine -- imagine our surprise when we see her holding something with her name on it). Scarlett is excited to be on a plane and loves to look out the window. Scarlett does love king size pillow top beds (as do mommy and daddy). And Scarlett loves strolling around and seeing sights and people. Not pictured- sweat dripping down Scarlett's back and head as we strolled a measly 5 blocks, 40% of the time in the shade.

All in all we had a successful first family trip. Great room, easy flights, and Scarlett knows how to work a crowd. She travels well! Next up: 5+ hr flight to Seattle in 3 days...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

9 Month Well Visit and Feeling Better

Scarlett is doing better. She is still teething but her fever is much better and she seems to be feeling better overall. This morning we had her 9 month well visit with Dr. Clapp. Scarlett is 28" long (about 70th percentile), 18 lbs 7 oz (about 40th percentile), and 17" head (30th percentile). She is a little light right now since she hasn't been eating as much as usual (likely due to feeling crappy). These pictures are of Scarlett and her carrot juice. She loves carrot juice and loves her sippy cup but we sort of got scolded today about giving her juice. I guess even if it is no sugar added it isn't a great idea to give them juice because you want them to focus on milk or water. She was disappointed I guess that we haven't been giving her formula in her sippy cup. Sigh. It just seems like a lost cause because only a small portion would get down her throat. Oh well, maybe after we get done traveling this month we'll give it a try. We leave in the morning for Miami so it isn't really on our radar right now. Anyway, besides that, everything is fine and Scarlett doesn't mind the doctor since they gave her a tongue depressant for her to play with. Whatever works!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

9 months and burning the midnight oil...

Today is Scarlett's 3/4 birthday! Unfortunately her present was a 103 degree fever. We've been fighting fevers since Thursday night and off and on before that (thank you, top two teeth) but she has hit her all time records -- 102.4 degrees on Friday night and 103 degrees today. She woke up clearly irritable (not her usual "I love the morning" attitude). She hasn't really wanted to eat all day. She even refused strawberries (her favorite) and her formula. She did eat some spinach (her second favorite) and once we could finally coax the bottle into her mouth, she did eat some formula. Nothing has really helped; we've tried Tylenol, cold compresses, sitting her in the bathroom by the air conditioning vent, keeping her in basically just a diaper... The poor baby feels pretty bad. We've talked to the doctor a few times but if she isn't better by tomorrow we'll take her in again. She is supposed to have her 9 month check up on Wednesday morning but I doubt she'll be able to get her shots if she still has a fever like this. It's so hard to watch a sick baby! I just feel terrible for her. Plus, she is exhausted but refuses to go to sleep and has been waking up during the night the past few days (the doctor said to expect that when they have a fever). Hopefully this will clear up before we leave for Miami on Thursday or it will be a very different trip than the one we planned.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Cold +Teething = Fussy Baby (and parents)

Scarlett is having what I would call a tough week. She is still getting into everything and enjoying trying new things (e.g., mushroom strudel -- she loves phyllo dough!), but her top two teeth are coming in and she has picked up a cold. I can feel a corner of one of her top two teeth but we can see both of them through her gums so they must be pretty close to breaking through. She is still pretty happy overall, but she has been a lot fussier than usual and you can tell that her teeth are bother her and she just doesn't feel all that great. I noticed that I was starting to pick something up by the end of the week, but today Paul and I both woke up with really sore throats and generally feeling pretty crappy. Actually, if she feels like we do, she is a much better sport about it! She took a 3 hour nap this morning after sleeping until about 8:30 (thank you, Scarlett!). We ordinarily would have woken her up but I figured if she felt like we did, she could use the extra sleep. Last night Paul and I got a babysitter and went out on a date! The babysitter was referred to me by someone in one of my mom groups. She came by on Wednesday night and hung out for 2 1/2 hours learning our routine. I really like her but Scarlett loves her! She was reaching for her and everything, which is pretty good these days given her mommy-attachment. We walked to dinner and saw a movie. It was very nice but even with a moderately priced babysitter, it makes it very expensive to get out of the house! We still need to spend some time at home baby proofing because Scarlett gets into everything and it is hard to move as fast as she does. Next weekend is really our only chance for the rest of August because the weekend after we're heading to Miami for a wedding and coming back and turning around and heading out to Seattle to see my parents. It sounds like Scarlett will be meeting a lot of her cousins too -- My Aunt Lee and her family in Miami and my sister and her kids in addition to my parents in Seattle. Hopefully the illness and teething is over by then or the trips will be pretty long!

The good news for me (Paul) is that Scarlett's mommy-attachment is lessening when I'm in the room! Woo hoo! She's never has an issue when its just the two of us, but lately the moment mommy enters the room, its all over. Shonna can't leave without Scarlett fussing or crying... and at times she will even stop breathing, which is what she tends to do when she is REALLY upset. This has been going on for at least a few weeks, but recently she has started to settle down. She is now using me to pull herself up for a hug (which could be my leg, shoulder, or unfortunately my chest hair). She is back to hanging out with daddy even if mommy is in the room. Ahh the little things, but you really miss them you lose out for a week or two.

Big events have recently come and gone, and we have more to come. Scarlett is now cruising and will soon be walking. As was mentioned earlier, Scarlett has 2 teeth, and about to have 2 more. Shonna's worry is that the two top teeth will be like mine- with a gap, although Shonna's worry is Tina's dream... My worry is not with her two front teeth, it is with the two upcoming flights in August. YIKES! We have a trial flight to Miami, but the main event is the 5 hrs tour... a five hour tour... to Seattle. Fortunately for us, and probably less fortunate to the rest of first class, we upgraded our seats with miles. At least they will offer everyone around us free drinks. Hopefully that will be unnecessary and Scarlett will be just fine :)