Sunday, January 30, 2011

The weight is over

Scarlett playing at Port Discovery in Baltimore...

She made friends whenever she could find another child who would pay attention to her!
She put herself in jail this time! This was part of a "sink" at Port Discovery.

Scarlett playing in the Volkswagon Bug. There was another kid in the backseat who wasn't paying adequate attention to her.

Bonnie playing in one of the tunnels with Scarlett.
Scarlett and Flossy at lunch before Port Discovery.

It turns out that Scarlett still hates snowflakes hitting her face. She was really excited about going out into the snow to play, but it didn't last long!

After I shoveled for the third time that day. Paul timed his trip to the keys to correspond with a sick baby, mommy, and a 6-8 inch snow storm. Shoveling thunder snow with the plague.
She LOVES Bacchus. He often lets her catch him. In this picture she had just given him a kiss.
This is a swim diaper. On her head. Everytime we took it off, she asked us to put it back on her.
This was the birthday colossal cupcake we got for Kristie's 30th birthday when she was in town. Almost 3 1/2 pounds of red velvet!

Scarlett started trying to ride the dogs on her own recently. Both of them are very patient with her!

I looked at our records back to November and Scarlett has never weighed 21lbs. As a matter of fact, in November she was close to 21lbs, but ended up getting sick and quickly went down to 19. It is now nearly February and technically Scarlett hasn't gained an ounce since November (still just under 21lbs last time we weighed her). The odd thing is that our arms have been telling a different story. Are we out of shape? Probably. Is she actually gaining weight? Possibly. A couple of days ago we decided to weigh her again. 22lbs 3 oz??? Where did the 21's go? She gained over a pound in a week. Our arms knew what they were talking about. She has consistently been above 22lbs since that weigh-in.
Side note: shortly after weighing her, she puked on daddy and went slightly under the 22lb mark.

Her weight gain is certainly not from a lack of activity. I remember back before we found out she was a "she". We watched our little embryo do back flips on ultrasound, and we were positive she was a he. Nothing has changed (Of course we know the gender, but she is still the energizer bunny.) We certainly understand that she needs to run/play quite a bit these days or we don't get much rest. Any chance we have, we let her go. Whether it's running through an empty restaurant/bar area, a department store, or front yard, we realize the more she moves, the calmer she will soon become. Not that it's a bad thing. She fills out our entertainment card, and strangers constantly comment on her energy and looks. Actually, she makes sure they notice her!

So... this weekend (Jan 28-30) was the only time I spent with Scarlett this week. I know it sounds rough, but I was stuck in Key Largo Sunday through Thursday. Actually it was a work conference, and for those jealous that I missed the horrible weather in DC, just remember that I spent a TOTAL of 8 waking hours out of 70 NOT attending work seminars, presentations, trainings, or lunch/dinner breaks. Sounds fantastic, eh? Why do companies spend $100,000+ at these resorts when you could get the same pleasure (or lack of ) by spending a week in Dundalk? I had a 1200 sq ft suite with beautiful tile floors, a full kitchen, a divider separating the king bed + luxurious bath from the living room/kitchen area. In 4 nights and 5 days, I spent 5 minutes in the kitchen, 25 hrs in bed, and the rest waking up and getting ready to attend the conference. At least I had nice things to look at during those precious minutes! I guess I learned a few good nuggets, but other than that, the conference basically kept me from spending time with my family. I was able to play golf once. It was the first time in 4+ years that I swung a club. No practice, not my clubs, and after the first 6 or 7 holes, I essentially played Bogey golf. Not bad for a scrub!

Anyway, I'm bitter because Scarlett and Shonna were sick and I couldn't help them. When I returned, I made sure I spent as much time as possible with my family. I bathed Scarlett a couple of times, put her down Thurs-Sat, and basically tried to give Shonna as much time to sleep as possible (although with Shonna's prescribed Codeine cough syrup, it was difficult to keep her awake!). Scarlett returned the favor by puking on me. That's my girl...

On Friday, I spent the work day with Scarlett. All of this sickness talk wasn't really an issue. Was it just a myth? She was perfect! ;) Actually I was able to get all of my work calls in without an interruption. It was more luck than anything else. When I had a 90 minute call in the morning, she was busy playing with her toys in her play pen. I had a call at 1pm and she went to bed at 12:50. I had a call at 2 and as luck would have it, the call was canceled and she woke up at 2:10! What can I say. It was as smooth as silk :) The weekend wasn't all peaches and cream but I couldn't ask for a better day back with my daughter. As I mentioned, she did puke on me, but that was just Scarlett saying "welcome back"!


Backing up a bit, the last time we blogged we told you about Scarlett's first (and most horrible) haircut. We got that fixed at an adult salon the next day. Although her hair is still quite short, it looks much better and she still manages to be pretty darn cute. Maybe we're imaging it, but it also seems thicker now. It wasn't long after her haircut that Scarlett and I started getting sick. She started getting sick on a Wednesday. By Thursday, I was also pretty sick and had started losing my voice. Scarlett wasn't sleeping well (her usual stuffiness resulting in her inability to sleep). We were supposed to go to a kid concert at Jammin Java on Saturday morning but Scarlett and I were too sick to go and even Paul who is usually impervious to illness had started feeling crappy. That evening we met up with my grad school officemate, Kristie, who happened to be in town for the weekend. We went to dinner, which was nice except that Scarlett came out of her illness long enough to want to run around the restaurant. We hung out at the house for a while after dinner and gave Kristie her belated birthday cake -- a massive cupcake from Crumbs Bakery in Clarendon. We weighed it and it was over 3 pounds!

Paul had to leave on Sunday morning for his business trip and by the time he left, I was in pretty bad shape. I couldn't talk at all and was constantly in really painful coughing fits (which really hurt my sore throat!). The worst part was that Scarlett wasn't feeling very well either, so she was VERY clingy and had little to no interest in independent play or her toys unless I was playing with her too. I felt worse about being a crappy mom to a sick baby than I did physically but couldn't do much about it. My sister was in Ohio and Dave was in Costa Rica (Key Largo, Costa Rica?? Why don't they ever take me?!) so essentially my entire support network was out of town. At one point I considered hiring a babysitter to come over to watch her for a while so I could try to rest but I felt bad bringing someone in to watch a sick baby, especially since she was really fussy. That night she fell asleep on my chest on the couch when not 5 minutes later, she threw up. A LOT. The worst part really wasn't the mess, but how tired she was. She just wanted to put her head back on my chest and go to sleep but I couldn't let her because I was disgusting. I realized while I had the laryngitis how much I rely on my voice with her. I'm constantly talking to her, singing to her, and reading to her under normal circumstances. Without a voice, it seemed very... quiet. She kept trying to get me to talk (e.g., pointing to things, trying to get me to sing itsy bitsy spider or pat-a-cake, handing me books to read) and it felt very neglectful to not respond to her.

The next few days were pretty similar. I took her to daycare on Monday and stayed home from work to try to recover enough to care for her in the evening. With enough cold medication and caffeine, I made it through the days okay and managed to even play with her some but at night I had to stay up late catching up on work and then woke up every 15 minutes coughing once I finally did go to sleep. Between the laryngitis and Paul's hectic work schedule while he was gone, we also barely got to talk to him. It wasn't our best week! To top it off, we ended up finally getting a substantial snowfall -- somewhere between 6 and 8 inches! It snowed a bit the night before... enough to warrant my shoveling before I went to work. I picked Scarlett up early from daycare because we were supposed to start getting "Thunder Snow" during rush hour and I wanted to make sure we were off the roads. It turned out to be a good thing I did because by all accounts, it was the worse commute anyone had ever seen, with lots of people just abandoning their cars on the street. The heavy snow started around 4 PM. Scarlett and I watched the snow out the window and she got REALLY excited. She kept bringing her coat and shoes to me to try to get me to take her outside. Finally, around 5 PM I decided it was time to go out and shovel for the first time (the news said it was going to be wet and heavy so shovel early and often!). We put her snow suit on her, got her all bundled up and she was bouncing with excitement ready to go outside. We got out there and... she started crying. She was a little fussy in my arms, but if I put her down, all hell broke loose. She was okay on the porch, but as soon as the snowflakes hit her face, she was NOT a happy camper.

My plan had been to let her play in the snow while I shoveled. That was not going to happen. I ended up doing the entire first round of shoveling with one arm while I held her in the other. Not an easy way to go, but luckily at that point it was only about 2 inches. By the time we got back in, she and I were both hurting. As it turns out, being out in thunder snow with a cold isn't really a good idea. By then it was coming down 2 inches per hour, so I'd planned to go back out in an hour. Instead, Scarlett and I shared some hot chocolate and snuggled up on the couch for a while, both feeling sorry for ourselves. I got my second wind just before 8. I re-bundled and decided there was no way I was taking her back out there, so I left her inside the gate and left the door open so that she could see me through the storm door. She screamed the entire 30 minutes it took me to do the second round of shoveling. She tried to climb over the gate and got her foot stuck so when i came back in she was hobbling around with one shoe on. She hadn't played with any of her toys, but in a sign of protest, she had taken all of her toys our of her playpen and thrown as many as she could on the other side of the gate. Sigh. It looked like a tornado had gone through. You have to give her credit for her communication skills.

By morning the snow had stopped. We had breakfast and I again listened to her scream as a shoveled the rest of the snow. Well, everything except the part of the walkway that was ow under our broken tree. We have a single ugly tree in our yard and we lost 3 of its 5 large branches in the storm. It could have been worse! I was excited about finally having the opportunity to try Scarlett's new sled out. I was determined to "reward" her for her "patience" while I shoveled so I quickly put her back into her snow suit and brought the sled outside. She initially seemed much happier with the situation. There weren't any snowflakes hitting her in the face and she liked making snowballs and then throwing them into the cement and watching them break into a million pieces. She also liked eating the snow. When I put her on the sled, she was initially having fun, but then wanted to be held. I picked her up and we trudged through the snow a hill a few blocks down. A bunch of neighborhood kids were out sledding down the hill with a few parents standing watch. I pushed Scarlett up the hill on the sled and pulled her back down. She laughed all the way to the bottom. Once we hit the bottom, she started crying. And crying... and crying! We stopped for a snack (cereal bar and milk) until she seemed okay to proceed. We did one more trip up (and down) the hill (excellent exercise for me!) until it became clear that she was not in the mood. I pushed her back home and she cried the entire way but at that point I couldn't manage her in one hand and the sled in the other, so she just had to go for a ride. Man would I have paid someone to push me around on a sled that day!

Once we got back she was super fussy until I let her curl up on my chest on the couch again. I think she just wasn't feeling very well, so I finally accepted that we might be too sick to take advantage of the snow and we stayed in the rest of the day, eating chicken noodle soup and resting. She took a lot of hot baths and showers to help with the congestion and seemed to be managing her disappointment around not getting any bedtime stories. She ended up being very easy to put down those nights -- she was usually asleep in 5 minutes or less! Very kind of her!

The next day, I was starting to have a bit of a voice again and she woke up in a very good mood. She seemed to be starting to get over her cold. I had gone to the doctor on Tuesday who had said that both of us should be getting better any day. Just in time for Daddy to come home! We took it easy all day but I had said "Daddy comes home today!" and Scarlett was running around all day saying "Dada, da da, da da". We were very excited when his delayed flight finally landed around 7:45 that night. Woo hoo!

Scarlett has been adding new words to her vocabulary all the time. Just while Paul was gone, she started saying "bang, bang", "bath", "dance", and "yuck." She loves onions (sauteed, carmelized, vinegary), greek yogurt (which she thinks is ice cream), baked potatoes, sour cream, calamari, coq au vin, pickles, asparagus, miso soup, cereal, tofu, seaweed... Every time I think there is no chance she'll eat that, she ends up liking it. She seems to really like strong or tart flavors, like vinegar and lemons. Bizarre. She clearly understands almost everything now. Tonight I asked is she wanted to take a bath and she immediately got down off the couch, ran over to the gate, started to climb out until I let her out, ran up stairs, waited at the door to her room until I let her in, ran into the bathroom and went straight to the tub and pulled the curtain back. I thought that was pretty good (a) comprehension and (b) focus for an almost 15 month old! It's amazing how fast that happened. She is way too much of a little person for my comfort!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Fourteen months without an ER visit was an accomplishment. Right??

On Wednesday night Paul had a business dinner to attend so Scarlett and I were planning to spend the evening together. Dave asked if I wanted to go to spin class with him and they happened to have an opening in the Kidz Club for Scarlett during the class time, so we decided to make a night of it. After a very tearful departure at the Kidz Club (mostly Scarlett, although I was getting pretty close as she tried to chase after me with extended arms), Dave and I had a great (sweaty) spin class and were ready for dinner. We picked Scarlett up and tried to go to Rock Bottom but it was too packed so we headed to the lesser Chevy’s. Not the most delicious option, but it was also in the mall and thus didn’t require going out into the cold or moving the car.

Scarlett was ready to rock as usual. The following day was the first anniversary of Dave’s cancer diagnosis, so we planned to have a quiet dinner and reflect on his crazy year. Scarlett had other plans. She really didn’t want to sit still at all, so I kept taking her out into the mall hallway to let her run while Dave sat inside at the table. He’s a patient man. Anyway, after 4 or 5 laps back and forth in the hallway, Scarlett started playing her games again. You know, the one we described before in which she asks me to hold her hand while she walks and then randomly goes limp in an attempt to get me to drag her through a public place. Well, this time, I’m not sure what happened exactly, but she immediately started crying. I got a knot in the pit of my stomach and knew something was wrong, but hoped that she just twisted something a little. It could have been that she just pulled down harder than usual or that I pulled up to keep her from hitting the floor, but regardless of how it happened, she was in pain. I picked her up and she immediately curled up into me in the fetal position. She usually tucks both arms under her belly against my chest when she does that, but this time, she was mainly tucking her right arm in and leaving her left arm hanging there.

I went back in to the restaurant and sat down next to Dave. Scarlett was crying pretty steadily at that point. I explained what happened as I tried to feel through her sweater dress to see if I could find any physical differences between her right and left arms. At that point I wasn’t sure whether it was her wrist, elbow, or shoulder. I finally decided that it was her elbow. I thought I felt some swelling compared to the right side and every time she tried to move that arm, she cried in pain. As I told Dave that I was going to take her to the emergency room, he recalled a story from his childhood in which his parents was overreacted about his shoulder getting popped out of joint and rushed him to the emergency room… He told me it was probably just pulled or strained. Uh huh. Even if that had been the case, I tried to politely pretend his story was going to make a difference in deciding my next move as I quietly planned my trip to the ER and asked him to try to reach Paul (my cell phone was in the car).

Within 5 or 10 minutes, she was crying consistently anymore. She was alternating between normal Scarlett (trying to feed me with her right hand, smiling) and crying in pain and nuzzling into my chest. She was holding her left arm tight into her belly but sort of limp. When she did happen to move that arm, she cried immediately. Dave noticed it too and not only agreed that my ER plan might be a good one after all, but offered to take us himself. I was willing to accept the possibility that I would be laughed out of the ER. Better to find out then that I was worried about nothing than to find out the next day that I should have done something that could have made her pain go away.

Off we went to Virginia Hospital Center’s ER. Well, that is after I left 2 voicemails for Paul and a text message telling him we were going there. Dave also decided to expand on my “We are in the ER” text message in a few others. Good for him. J I was not in the mindset to be too concerned with how Paul might react. I was focused on my baby being in pain! The ER was as great as an ER can be. They took us back immediately. As we sat down and I explained what happened, the nurse immediately said “nursemaid’s elblow.” Head slap. I vaguely remembered Leila telling me a story about taking Kazia to the ER for something called nursemaid’s elbow as a result of her and her brother swinging Kaz by the arms. I calmed down a little bit when I heard that because I remembered the cure being pretty easy and involving a doctor popping it back into place.

Scarlett was still pressed against me but I decided I better taker her dress off so we could see her arm. That was not a fun process. Then they needed to take her blood pressure. It was a tiny little thing that looked like a piece of tape with a glowing red light. Normal Scarlett would have thought it was cool. Injured Scarlett stopped breathing and did everything she could to make sure the man could NOT take her blood pressure. I kept assuring him that she was normally a very happy baby but his only remark was “in the last hospital I worked in, they separated adults from children and I never had to deal with this.” My guess is that he didn’t have any kids of his own. He finally guesstimated based on splitting the difference between a finger and a toe reading.

We waited for maybe 15 minutes for the doctor to come back to us. He too quickly said it was nursemaid’s elbow ( also known as a partial dislocation. He said his own kids had it a couple of times. Within two minutes, he had popped it back into place (this involved him holding her elbow while bending her arm up, palm up and her crying hysterically in the process). He said he would send us to get an Xray done just to be safe but that by the time we got back, she’d probably be moving it around like normal. We again waited about 15 minutes before a nice nurse came to wheel us (yes, me lying in a hospital bed with Scarlett still curled up on my chest in the fetal position) to radiology. By the time we got there, she was already feeling better. She was smiling and laughing and playing games, although she still wasn’t moving her arm. Everything was great until they made me lay her down on the bed while I stood over her. She started bawling. Even though I was essentially still wrapped around her, she acted like I had left her alone in the middle of a field. Three pictures and positions later, she was back in my arms, smiling again and laughing as I sang silly songs to her. When we got back to the ER, Paul was there waiting for us, still in a suit.

Just as predicted, she was now clapping, shaking her arms above her head, and doing all of her “tricks.” She was in nothing but a diaper, happy as a clam. No one would ever have known that she and I had both been scared witless just an hour before. On our way out of the ER, she wanted to walk, so we put her down and held her hand. Immediately, she did the exact same thing that got her in there in the first place. Even one of the nurses said “Oh my God, she just did it!” and another nurse complained that he missed it but wanted to see what we were describing. Sigh. That’s our Scarlett.

A special shout out to Uncle Dave for again being my rock and bearing with me through the panic that was our first ER trip. We didn't get to give it the justice it deserved, but I couldn't be more thankful that we can CELEBRATE his first cancerversary. We love you!

The Butcher of McLean

We are HUGE fans of the Organic Butcher in McLean. Decent prices, great meat, and amazing service. Unfortunately that is not what I am referring to in this week's blog. Nope, I am talking about the kind of butcher who terrorizes families with sharp pointed objects, slicing through their victims with no conscience. Butcher's who leave mothers terrified, leave babies mangled, and turn fathers into vigilantes. Yes, I am talking about the kid hair stylist. Scarlett had her first haircut today, and as you can tell by the lead-in (and the pictures), it didn't go too well. At the beginning of the day, she had bangs down to her chin, but the hair on the back of her head was still behind due to the early infancy rub-off. Mommy and I quickly researched our options in the North Arlington/McLean area and we discovered Eclips Kids salon. We were happy to learn that a same-day appointment was available (not to mention the party and spa options). The staff was extremely friendly, and there were plenty of toys and DVDs to keep our toddler happy. When the haircut began, Scarlett was a little uncomfortable and started fussing. It took us 5 minutes or so to figure out the best way to comfort her, and she soon settled down quite a bit (after Mommy went to hide in another part of the salon). We instructed the stylist on the bangs and the cut in general. Although the bangs were too long, we wanted to keep some length and angle them down the right side (the stylist's left). Mommy specified a sort of shag cut that would just make the differences in length less obvious. It was difficult to see exactly what the stylist was doing because I spent most of my attention on keeping Scarlett happy, but the cut didn't go as planned. Initially it seemed as though the bangs were cut too short and uneven, as was the back. I hoped that my perception was off, and things would work out. It wasn't and it didn't! Although there was a major blow dryer issue that freaked out Scarlett (no fault of the stylist), there was no excuse for the cut Scarlett received (and I assume the blow dryer normally makes its appearance AFTER the major part of the cut is complete). A couple of minutes after we walked out the door, we realized the lower left side hadn't been touched, so Shonna walked back in so the "stylist" could fix the issue. We didn't know the extent of the disaster as a whole until the hair dried and we took out the hair clips that hid much of the damage.

Currently, Scarlett's hair is completely uneven throughout and is way shorter than we requested. Of course the length wouldn't be as much of an issue if the cut wasn't so horrendous. To be completely blunt, we could have done a better job without question and without training. How a trained stylist allowed a client, let alone our little girl, to walk out the door with a cut like that is beyond us. I sent a lovely email to Eclips this evening. I'll let you know how it turns out...

This incident capped off a busy week filled with playfulness and pain, escapade and emergency room visits.
Playfulness- multiple visits to parks and kiddie playrooms. Also, Scarlett is extremely playful these days. She is so creative
Pain- Scarlett falls, bumps into things constantly
Escapade- Scarlett is a little mischievous in a prankster sort of way. Sometimes her antics cause issues, and this week one incident landed her in the...
Emergency Room- Nursemaids Elbow. Shonna can explain (see last post).

We have been describing how our always energetic baby has become a total handful over the last few weeks. She is really just nonstop, so Paul and I have sort of vowed to try to get her as much exercise as possible as often as possible. This week was a good time to try it out because we had a three day weekend.

On Friday it was my turn home with Scarlett. We started the day off with a trip to the Pediatrician’s office to follow up on her one year visit (the iron deficiency), her rash from Sunday's pool experience, and the ER trip. In the waiting room, Scarlett was really excited about the Scarlett sized table and chairs and the other kids. She was being Scarlett, trying to get the little boys to play with her and climbing all over everything. One of the dad's was really impressed by her climbing skills at her age. I want to say we're proud of her, but really, I want her to get a healthy fear of falling.

We had to wait about 45 minutes, which is pretty unusual there. They recently switched to all electronic medical records, so I attribute the wait to growing pains. When we went back, we saw someone I've never even heard of. She was fine. Like all of the doctors there, she seemed totally competent. Like half of the doctors there, we seemed to be trading a little more expertise for a little less bedside manner. For example, one of the big reasons we scheduled the appointment was that Scarlett has been slightly anemic since birth. At her one year appointment, they told us to start giving her iron supplements and bring her back in 6-8 weeks to have her levels checked. If they weren't above a certain threshold, they'd have to do more tests. As the doctor was asking me about the iron supplements, I explained that we give them to her 1-2 times per day. She suggested giving her orange juice to help get her to take it. After explaining that we had generally been avoiding juice because one of the doctor's there basically forbids juice, I told her that we don't have a problem getting Scarlett to take her iron. In fact, Scarlett loves all medicine and will cry for it -- pointing to the cabinet where we keep it and saying "I want that." The doctor was very surprised, noting that most babies hate it because it tastes pretty bad. That would have been fine, but she continued on to explain that I should not let my baby drink the entire bottle of Iron because she would get very, very sick. Gosh, I am so glad that she told me! Here I had just placed an order for 2 cases of the stuff and planned to give her a bottle of it for dinner that night. I realize that doctors are smarter than the majority of the population, but that doesn't mean they have to treat us all like idiots.

In any case, Scarlett's levels were fine -- even better than they expected, so no need for additional tests. Ironically, she was great while they did the finger prick but was really not happy about having a band aid put on her finger. Who knows. Everything else was uneventful other than another doctor walking into the room as we waited for the Iron results and asking me about little Josephine. She seemed pretty annoyed when I explained that she had the wrong room. I'm glad they waited to switch to electronic records until we already liked this place!

After the doctor, we stopped at lunch at Sushi Zen and met Paul there. Scarlett did great with the food -- she loves Miso soup and Udon noodles and even tried a little seaweed salad. What she did not do well with was sitting still. I called Paul and told him to hurry because I need help to calm the beast. We then headed downstairs to J.W. Tumbles for the open gym. She definitely need to run, jump, and climb. She had a great time. Her favorite activities were throwing the balls, sliding down the slide (the climbing back up) and running back and forth through the other kids. Next was nap time (only 40 minutes) and playing with Mommy.

On Saturday, I had an appointment in the morning, so Paul and Scarlett went to the gym (Paul to the gym and Scarlett to Kidz Club). Supposedly Scarlett just ran laps through the Kidz Club the whole time. After her nap, we took her to the playground by our house with the slide that she loves. Well.... the beginning of the Kidz Club was a little difficult. She wouldn't let me (daddy) leave. If I put her down for a second, she would stop breathing. If I shifted her into a better position, she would cry. Eventually I was able to play the "catch me" game where I move her towards someone and pull her back. She always smiles with that one. It seemed to work and I was able hand her off and run away. A short workout later, and I was back to pick her up. She must have been running quite a bit. Her face was flushed just short of sweating. We made our way out of the mall after a few "how cute" comments and headed to potbelly to grab some sandwiches. We walked out of the car and I heard another "look at the cute baby!" in a cool African accent. This woman was really excited to see her. When Scarlett lit up with a smile it completely made her day. The older woman with her commented, "I've seen her around here before". Huh? Well its possible I guess! We get around, but not so much in the cold weather.

On Sunday, we had a playdate in the morning at the National Building Museum. Corinne was in town and was planning to go to a museum with Piri and Linnea, so we made it a big group and I also invited Jacy, Joel, and Liam. The museum was great. It was HUGE with lots of space for the kids to just run. They also had lots of different kinds of blocks for them to play with in the middle of the floor. We didn't even look at any of the exhibits, but the space was perfect and it was free. Scarlett is really into blocks, cars, and balls right now, so she had a blast. They had a cool fountain in the middle that she kept trying to jump into, but other than that it was great and fun to hang out with everyone else.

After the museum, we put her down for a nap (another short one!) and had planned to take her to the pool that evening. We decided to try for a warmer activity, so we tried the play area at Tyson's Corner Mall. It would be really cool, except that no one polices the place and not all parents seem to care what their kids are doing. You have to be less than 42" to enter the play area, but there were boys in there who weren't much shorter than me and they were playing tag. Paul and I both turned primal on a few kids for nearly plowing through our princess. She had fun and definitely threw a fit when we tried to pry her away from the place, but we were very nervous the whole time. It was packed with way too many older kids. She seemed to love the activity and get really excited watching the other kids. It's really interesting to watch her. She kept going up to other kids and trying to get them to play with her. Some would take, others not so much. But she was never discouraged. She kept approaching people innocently looking for attention. She definitely has a bit of a shy, reserved side and isn't aggressive with the big kids, but I was impressed by her ability to keep reaching out to the others.

On Monday after breakfast it was off to the J.W. Tumbles playzone. The place was crazy since it was a holiday. We actually had to wait in the hall until it cleared out some and they made it through the waitlist. It wasn't bad though because Scarlett made friends with some other children. She played with two little boys her age for a little while but eventually decided the bigger girls were more interesting and did some "monkey see, monkey do" shadowing. Once we got in there, she was in heaven. There are activity cubes lining a hall leading up to a two-story play area. Her favorite was of course the slide. This one was particularly fast and she figured it out on her own. She'd crawl up to the edge of the slide and then sit on her butt and go down feet first. She kept trying to climb back up, but that's against the rules so we had to keep a close eye on her. She crawled all through the play zone, playing with other children some but mainly beating on the balloon-like things coming out of the ceiling and playing with balls that were as big as she is. Luckily she got really hungry, so we were able to get out of there without too much of a fight.

Monday evening Paul went to the doctor because his finger has been bothering him all week. It turned out to be sort of an internal hangnail, which he had to have cut out of his finger. A few narcotics later, Paul wasn't able to join us in the pool, but he went with us as I gave Scarlett her weekly 30-minute swimming session. You'd think that after all of that activity she'd be pretty mellow when we got home. Not so. She was still running back and forth, bouncing all over the couch, and chasing Bacchus.

Yes, I was taking narcotics legally for those concerned. The doctor gave me Percocet, which didn't phase me until I received the generic version with a name containing Oxycodone. Isn't that the one you want to avoid??? I've watched a few Intervention episodes... Well, about 5 minutes after leaving the Drs office I realized why I was prescribed such a strong painkiller. I guess a scalpel and scissors do cause pain to a finger when used properly...

A few details about her development this week. She is doing really well with her language skills, although most of the time Paul and I are probably still the only ones who know what she's saying. For example, her "I want that" and "please" have become more regular and clear. She has mastered "Bacchus" and is saying "kitty" more. She is singing along to songs a lot now and when she sees a sheep says "Baaa." She even said "Puzzle" yesterday (and that one was very clear!). I swear that she's also started calling her daddy "Paul" in addition to "dada." It's pretty exciting that we're able to understand more and more of what she is saying, and vice versa. As I said, she is really really really energetic. Did I mention she is pretty hyper? It is definitely a challenge to take her any place where she can't roam. I've started scoping out places with long, wide halls that aren't crowded as possible destinations for us just for that purpose.

Ice Cream

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Don't drink the pool water

Scarlett spent Friday with Daddy. Friday night, we went to Rustico to meet a friend of mine but it was so crowded that we couldn't find him and they said it would take 90 minutes to get a table. We decided to head out and we went to Hard Times Cafe. Scarlett was really good until she got too tired and wanted to run around the restaurant but we wouldn't let her. Then, it was a massive hissy fit. We couldn't get out of there fast enough! It isn't so bad being out with a baby late night if they're behaving, but as soon as they start fussing, you look like a horrible parent! Anyway, by the time we got home she was in great spirits again and was not happy to hear that it was bedtime.

On Saturday we played in the morning until nap time. Scarlett (and mommy!) slept for a few hours and then got up to run errands. We hit Pottery Barn Kids, the dry cleaners, Target, and Chicken Out. We previously mentioned Scarlett's tendency to go limp while we trying to hold her hand in stores. Well, it was a repeat performance, with her trying to get in a 45 degree angle and have us drag her around or completely flopping on the ground. Most patrons laugh at her, but it is sort of embarrassing. You can't always tell that she is doing it to be funny, so I worry that it looks like we are just dragging her by her arm around a store. I just don't want CPS coming after us! She has also picked up the habit of grabbing anything she can get her hands on at stores. At Target she insisted on being put down in the snack aisle. Next thing I know she has a box of granola bars in each hand and is running away from me down the other aisle. The main problem is that she hasn't quite learned to look for shopping carts before crossing the road. We ended up getting out relatively unscathed, although we did end up buying an airplane candy thing that she found somewhere in a candy aisle.

Sunday we got up and decided to have a nice Sunday. We went to Lyon Hall, a little French place in Clarendon. We have been having a harder time with Scarlett at Restaurants these days. She is really just too high energy to be taken anywhere where she can't run around. She was doing pretty well (except for throwing a tantrum over not being allowed to drink any of my cappuccino) and was great as long as she was eating, but once she was full and we again wouldn't let her run around at the feet of the servers or join our neighbors for brunch, the tantrum started again. We're thinking that between Friday night and Sunday morning, our eating out might be on hold until she understands the concept of time out.

After brunch, we headed home and after running around for a half hour or so, we put her down for a nap. For the second time in 3 days, she slept 40-50 minutes instead of her usual 2-3 hours. She was a bit moody when she woke up, but generally in good spirits despite the lack of sleep. We fed her and then decided to try to video phone my parents while she was a bit more lively than she was earlier in the week (when it was long past her bedtime). She was running around for almost the entire call in typical Scarlett fashion. We then took her to the pool (we are trying to make it a regular Sunday occurrence and have now hit two consecutive weeks!). She again had a great time and was doing a great job "swimming," but after we got back, I was changing her diaper when I noticed something was wrong. She normally fights it in the beginning of a diaper change if it's going to be an issue, but this time, she was perfect until I tried to put the new diaper on. Then she started crying. Not like the defiant cry, but the I'm in pain cry. She was holding her stomach, so I took a closer look and saw a bright red belly, almost like a sunburn. She wailed when I tried to attach the velcro pieces of her diaper. I picked her up and she just cried and cried, holding onto me as tightly as she could. I took her into see Paul and we decided something was definitely wrong. We figured we should put her in the bath ASAP in case it was the chlorine, even though she has never had a reaction to it previously. She normally LOVES bath time and we can't rip her out of there. This time, she played for 5 minutes, maybe less, and then started trying to climb me to get out of the tub and was crying when I didn't pull her out until after we got the soap out of her hair. When I wrapped her up in the towel, she snuggled into my shoulder and just seemed to be in pain. At that point, the rash wrapped around her back, was down her legs, and she had bright red cheeks and the rash extended above her lip too. Paul had put in a call to the pediatrician before heading out to CVS to get some benadryl. I put the softest clothes I could find on her, slathered on some lotion to try to cool the skin, and stuffed a kleenex between her diaper and her body in hopes that it would be less irritating. She seemed to be doing better, but the rash still looked just as bad. The triage nurse called and said it was likely just irritation from the chlorine. She said to give her Benadryl and check her in the morning. If her rash is still there, we're supposed to take her into be seen. She said that if she wasn't breathing well or was scratching or in a lot of pain, it was an allergic reaction. Otherwise, she might just have sensitive skin and we can handle it by washing the chlorine off ASAP when we get her out of the pool and putting a special lotion on. Listening to the nurse say she would be okay actually made me tear up. I think I was sort of in survival mode when she was in pain and just ready for it to be something bad, but when it sounded like the crisis was over, I just felt drained. Having her look at me and cry, clinging onto me in pain and wanting me to make it better was the worst. I also can't wait until she can talk (although I'm sure I'll soon wish for the days when she couldn't) because it would really help if she could tell me how she was feeling. She does a good job of pointing and "talking" to tell me something is wrong (e.g., pointing to her back when there is a tag still in her shirt), but the whole rash thing was different. I couldn't tell if it burned or was itchy or just bothered her when something rubbed it or if it was something else all together. It all makes me thankful that we've made it 14 months with almost no problems and makes my heart go out to parents who aren't as lucky.

On a brighter note, she officially has nine teeth now. Four molars, four front teeth, and one tooth next to her two big front teeth. She also seems to get better with language every day (emphatically repeating "I love you" and "please" but also saying things that sound a whole lot like "Uh oh, I dropped it."). She seems to understand about everything we say. If I say she needs a new diaper, she tries to climb up her diaper changing station. She is really into cars, balls, and blocks right now. She seems to understand that a big kiss will get her out of trouble and is trying to feed the dogs anything she gets her hands on, including a wine cork. She doesn't understand why they don't want to eat it.


That was scary, but luckily we do have the luxury of a 24 hour on-call triage nurse and a 24 hr CVS with a consultant on duty at all times. The consultant is (and without a doubt HAS to be) more conservative than our pediatric staff. I reached them first and they were hesitant to recommend anything for a 14 month old (2 years seems to be the minimum age for the good stuff). Finally an Italian Pharmacist walked over and told me to use a little anti-itch cream, handed me a tube and I headed to the cashier (I read the label and sure enough it was for children 2 and up). At that moment, Shonna called and told me what the triage nurse said, I picked up the medication, and headed home. I handed the meds to Shonna, and she gave Scarlett the 1/2 teaspoon prescribed. It seemed like such a tiny amount so we had to double check. According to the label, a 6 year old is supposed to have a teaspoon, so we were pretty confident we shouldn't give her more... We could see it working fairly quickly, and less than 90 minutes it was much better. It still didnt help my night's sleep. When we woke up in the morning (Scarlett slept through the night), she was back to normal. Barely a reminance of rash, no buffiness, and her cheeks were her usual pale rouge. Phew.

That's not the only scare she gave us this week. I'm not sure if we've mentioned this before, but she thinks she can step off of any table, bed, high chair, as if she was on our couch. Sure its easy enough for her to turn on her belly and slide down the couch, and land safely on her feet, but try explaining to her that she can't use the same technique on a changing table 4 ft off the ground! She is constantly trying this on the bed as well. Not as dangerous, but would be painfull none the less. She might stop trying if she knows how much it will hurt, but we really couldn't g0 that far now could we? :) Sorry, although she does learn very well by example, like Shonna mentioned earlier, we are trying to stay away from CPS...

Speaking of learning or progressing, she is taking a step back when it comes to food. Our goto foods are now hit or miss. Chicken, mac and cheese, peas, carrotts, and bread were always someting we could turn to if she didn't like what she was eating. Guess which 3 of these are the "hit or miss"? You guessed it. Chicken, mac and cheese, and bread. Funny thing is she never gets tired of peas and carrots (knock on wood). When we ate at Lyon Hall, she tried brioche french toast, whipped cream, and assorted fruits consisting of white and red grapes, honeydew, orange, apple, and pineapple. While whipped cream was her quick fix, her consistant favorite had to be the grapes. She should have loved the french toast, but for some reason she didn't go for it. I think she actually likes my version better, which is much less sweet. I was surprised. 4 meals earlier we had dinner at Hard Times Cafe (we had a $25 gift card). Scarlett had fried chicken tenders (options there were limited). She didn't really care for them, but I thought they were fantastic! I rarely eat tenders these days, but Hard Times breads there own and use real chicken breast. I left thinking they should start offering fried chicken. They would give KFC and Popeye's a run for their money. The last bit of food I'll mention came from our pierogi dinner (Thursday maybe?) I sauteed some onions and the pierogis in olive oil and a little butter. Scarlett didn't touch the peirogis, but sucked on and ate the onions... oh our odd little baby's palate.


Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Holidays and Goodbye 2010!

We seem to have managed to get behind on posting again. And again it's amazing how hard it is to remember what happened just 2 weeks ago! It's a good reminder for why we started this blog to begin with. I don't want to forget all of the little things that make us laugh now but so quickly get lost in the daily grind.

I guess we'll start with the week of Christmas. I can't remember too much of what we did that week before Christmas eve, but I know that Scarlett's daycare was closed from the day before Christmas eve until tomorrow (Jan 3rd). Paul had some use or lose that he needed to take so he planned to be Scarlett's primary caretaker, but he also had some meetings here and there and we both wanted to spend some time with her, get some things done around the house, and get some dental work done, so I decided to do a combination of working from home and taking some of the comp time I had built up through the fall. I ended up having to work more than I'd planned, but still got in a lot more quality time than I usually do with the family and managed to work out 5 days in a row (it has been a while since I managed that!). I am not looking forward to heading back to work tomorrow. It's going to be a very busy week and the days just won't be as exciting without Scarlett running around.

On Christmas eve we went to my sister Tracy's house for dinner. Before going over there, Jacy, Joel, and Liam came by and we exchanged gifts. They gave us an awesome painting of Paul and I and a shirt with Scarlett's name on it that is very cool. Juli also dropped by with some cute pjcs for Scarlett. It's tradition to spend Xmas eve with my family and Christmas day with Paul's family, so after Jacy left we headed to Springfield. It was a lot of fun and Scarlett definitely understands presents. Tracy and her clan got Scarlett a ride on car that has a bunch of blocks (she loved that), a glow worm (which is now my best friend at bed time), and a bunch of books, including a curious george collection and Brown Bear, Brown Bear. Matt and Nicole got her an outfit. She was sufficiently spoiled with toys etc. but was probably even more excited about all of the attention. She loves her cousins, Alana and Stephen. Alana was pushing her on her new car and all I could hear from 3 rooms away was Scarlett cracking up over and over again. It's great to see them play together. Scarlett also really liked Nicole's dogs. They're smaller than our cat, so she gets a kick out of them. Once we got home, we put Scarlett to bed and prepared for Santa's arrival.

In the morning, she got up in a fantastic mood, had some breakfast and went in to see what Santa left for her. She got a big "anywhere chair" which is sort of like a baby couch, an activity cube, a sled (from west coast Santa), and a stocking full of little things, including tickets to see Blue Man Group ( in April. Our families were also very generous! She got a bunch of clothes and a fish tank night light from Auntie Trish, a couple toy cell phones, some clothes and a scrap book from Nana, a savings bond from GiGi, the sled, a bath toy, and books from Nonni, a puzzle, clothes, and a toy teapot from Paul's Baltimore family, and some books, bath stuff, and Ann B. Dexterous (a Discovery Channel toy) from us. Scarlett was too excited for words. She was running around from one toy to the next playing, laughing, smiling, babbling... She couldn't get enough. It was hilarious. It was very clear that it was her favorite day ever. She loved digging all of the little things out of her stocking. She even loved playing with Mommy and Daddy's presents. For example, my mom sent me a hat that came with a clear plastic hat to keep its shape. First, when I tried the hat on, Scarlett definitely did not like it on my head. Every time I put it on, she looked horrified and immediately snatched it off of my head. Then she discovered the plastic hat. That, she loved. She kept putting it on and taking it off and then putting it on me. Then she started holding it up to her face and smushing her face into it. She thought she was very funny (and I guess I have to say we agreed).

When we finished opening presents around 11:15, Paul sent a text message to his cousin to find out what time we should get there. She said between 11 and 2... Hmmm.... He called her and found out that instead of the usual dinner, they were doing Christmas brunch, but his cousin had forgotten to give us the message. Luckily his Aunt was having dinner there and they were able to squeeze us in. Once that was settled, Paul made waffles and we pried Scarlett away from her new toys long enough to take a nap before heading to Baltimore. Dinner was great and Scarlett had a ton of fun with her cousins there too. She ran around the house and Paul's cousin Jen made Scarlett laugh her butt off again. Paul's uncle Mark taught her to "toss her hair" and she had a great time hamming it up and showing off her new trick.

We spent a lot of time just hanging out at the house, playing. We did some dancing, some chasing, and a lot of playing with new toys. Scarlett has become very verbal. She is constantly shouting commands at us; although most of the time, we have no idea what she is saying. Well, if it weren't for the pointing that accompanies it, we would have no idea what she is saying. She repeats the same "sentences" over and over though, so she definitely knows what she is talking about. She has been doing that for about a month, but in the last week or two, it has really become pretty constant. She is also picking up new words that we can understand, like "please" and "happy." Very cute! Of course, she won't say them when other people are around, but we did manage to get "please" on video today.

While Paul and I were working out, Scarlett spent some time at the Kidz Klub at the gym (3 days in a row for her!). The sitters there say that she is really well behaved. The only problem is that she has become really clingy, especially with me, and now she starts bawling when I start to leave. It is SO SAD! It's really hard to run out the door when she is chasing after me, crying, with her arms extended. I usually spy on her for a few minutes later on and she is always fine, usually playing on the slide.

This was a really fun week to be home with her. In addition to becoming more verbal, she seems like she is always in a fantastic mood. She laughs a lot and is always doing things to get attention. She loves bending over (what I call her "downward dog" position) and trying to get you to look at her through her legs. She makes faces and cracks up at the littlest things. Tonight the big giraffe in her room kept falling over, so I decided to pick it up and put it in the corner of the room behind her rocking chair. She thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever seen (me moving the giraffe, and then it being somewhere new). She laughed, and laughed, even after we went downstairs. Then a few hours later when we went back into her room, she looked at it again and started up again! She's crazy. She is really affectionate right now too. Lots of hugs, kisses, and snuggling. Plus, thanks in part to Tracy getting her the glow worm, she has been much easier to put to bed at night. I sort of wish I could stop time and keep her at this age forever.

In addition to the gym, Scarlett accompanied us to the dentist and to the post-Christmas shopping. She was really well behaved through all of it except that she has developed a new habit. Whenever you grab her hand in a store, she goes limp. That's right, she essentially tries to get you to drag her around on the store floor. First at an angle, but then she flops down on her back in the middle of the floor wanting to be dragged. I have to admit that it might have started with innocent playing in the comfort of our home, but my dear daughter doesn't seem to distinguish between our floor and the one trodden by millions. Plus, we tend to get some pretty strange looks. She thinks it's very funny. In general though, we tend to get comments about her being cute or well-behaved, so I'll let it pass for now. Hopefully we can break her of that before she hits her teen years.

Scarlett and I went to Bonnie's to see Bonnie, Caroline, Leila, and Kazia. After eating way too many Chik-fil-a nuggets and destroying Bonnie's house, she was ready for a nap. It's pretty crazy to hang out with all of the kids. My, how times have changed!

Paul and I went out on a date (dinner and jazz) on Thursday, the day before New Years eve. My coworker and I decided to take our significant others out on an appreciation date for being supportive throughout the semester while we were teaching at GWU. Scarlett got to stay with her favorite sitter, Abigail. On New Year's eve, we didn't have a sitter so we decided to just make dinner at home and have Joel & Jacy and Paul's friend Victor and his date over. Scarlett stayed up until 11 or so, having a great old time, doing quite a bit of dancing. Luckily she slept through the night, despite all of the ruckus below.
Well, Shonna pretty much summed up Christmas week. One thing that I would add is that Scarlett is becoming more like a little person every day. There is always something new, and we may have to start a daily journal so that we can remember all of the details as the week rolls by (or in our recent blogging, multiple weeks...) Some of the things I can remember are
1. trying to suction a pretend bowl to her face (I think she watched a kid at the Kidz Club do it).
2. Dancing "head banging style" to ANYTHING. We could be singing "kumbaya" and she'd start bouncing and shaking.
3. Chase. She purposefully grabs things so we will chase after her. Any excuse to play that game.
4. Asparagus, Edamame, radish, mini pickle, squash soup, tomato soup, brie on crackers, cucumber ginger lemonade.
5. Running
6. Unable to run straight up an incline. She goes sideways and backwards! Hilarious.
7. Dunking in the pool! We were able to successfully dunk her head under water while she held her breath (much cooler and safer than I made is sound).
8. Learning "shhhh" with her finger over her mouth.
9. Pointing to her belly, nose, eye, chin, hair, ear etc. on command
So we did spend quite a bit of time with her last week, but the one thing we regretted was not taking her outside to play. Sure the weather was cold and wet at times, but we missed some decent days. We did take her to a park Saturday late afternoon (albeit for less than 30 min due to darkness), and we took her to the pool Sunday for a long overdue swim lesson. When we arrived at the park, she was truly excited and couldn't wait to have some fun. At this particular park, her favorite would have to be the swings because little miss daredevil doesn't care for slides as much unless they are more than 10ft long. So off to the swings we went after an attempt with the slides. She would have let us push her for hours, so when we had the audacity to stop and take her off the swing, she was none too happy. At least there were some other things for her to do, like running up and down the parking lot when we were going to the car. There was a slight incline and that's where the comedy began. She ran downhill just fine (although I held her hand so she wouldn't fall face first while traveling faster than she ever has to that point.) Shonna was standing up the hill near our car, so when I was able to turn Scarlett around to face her mommy, she started running up, sideways, backwards, then back down the hill. She repeated this cycle quite a few times until we finally grabbed her against her will and put her in the car and headed home.

Sunday we managed to take her to Washington Lee Pool. We were trying to decide between the pool and another park, but I think we made the right decision. I mentioned her excitement as we approached the park on Saturday. Multiply that by 10 and you get her reaction when she noticed we were at the school parking lot. She knew exactly what was going to happen even though it had been a at least 6 weeks since her last swim. Her excitement continued as Shonna carried her down the hall and onto the pool deck (she bounced and giggled the entire time). We walked down the kiddie ramp into the pool and I realized that this was mommy's first pool time with Scarlett (the first was postponed by an "accident".) Mommy was a pro. We went through some of the warm-up routine I learned, then we hit the water running. The good thing about the class was that it taught the basics of getting the baby comfortable in the water. The bad thing was that the instructor did the same thing over and over and over... to the point where Scarlett and I had more fun in the 5 minutes after class than we did in the 30 min lesson. Shonna and I were able to get Scarlett to do things she hadn't quite mastered in class. As I mentioned, we were able to submerge her completely in the water many times with no intake issues. She also moved her arms and legs in a swimming motion much more often and much stronger than she ever did in class. Yes she is 6 weeks older, but I think its safe to say she has outgrown that class. Unfortunately the class is basically the same until they reach 3 years of age, a nugget I discovered when talking to a bitter mom who entered her toddler in the next stage of classes. Different class name/level was actually the exact same class with the same instructor.

Well, that's about all I can think of/remember for this blog. Hopefully Shonna and I can keep this blog going on a weekly basis from her on out. We will certainly try!