Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank God for Elmo

Lately no one in this house it seems can drag their sorry butts out of bed in the morning. Arwen and I should be up and at 'em by 6 or 6:30, but instead we've been snoozing till 7:45. Same with Roan. Every morning instead of waking up to her adorable chatter, she snoozes long past us. I throw open her curtains and change her out of her wet diaper before she's even fully conscious. As she comes to she complains groggily, "Too tired Mama... Want the lights off... Naptime..." I know what the problem has been for me and Arwen: an ongoing Battlestar Galactica marathon. We've been staying up late getting through all 6 discs of season 3 each night. But I don't know what Roan's problem is.

On top of that we've had some mysterious toddler dressing logic to contend with. Roan never wants to change into her jammies at bedtime, and then (assuming I got her into her jammies) doesn't want to change out of them in the morning. TWICE this week I've sent her off to daycare with a skirt over her pj's in a pathetic ruse of normalcy.

So this morning when she first protested at being unceremoniously awakened from her slumber and then pitched a fit on top of that at the idea of getting dressed, I was desperate for some trick up my sleeve to get us through the morning. I checked the weather on my iPhone and it said - much to my surprise - to expect a high of 81* today. 81? I thought. Geez, this global warming thing is getting out of hand! And then I remembered the new Elmo outfit that has been waiting patiently in her closet for warmer weather. Bingo!

And of course it did the trick. She was so excited about her new Elmo outfit she practically jumped out of bed and into her clothes. I was feeling pretty smug.

When you begin to feel smug as a parent, that's when it's time to wait for the other shoe to drop. Just know the universe is virtually guaranteed to take you down a peg or two.

Peg #1: After dropping her off at daycare (and proclaiming to everyone there Hey it's going to hit 81 today!) I get into the car, check my iPhone again and realize that was the weather for Houston. Genius. Not only am I an idiot but my poor child is going to freeze her bum off in those adorable petal pushers.

Peg #2: Just try getting that damn Elmo outfit off of her. You thought it was tough getting her into jammies before, FORGET IT! Even after she had a rather unfortunate poopy accident in the Elmo pants tonight she still wanted to wear them. Which of course we did not allow. Which of course resulted in a 20 minute temper tantrum more evocative of heartfelt devestation that bratty willfullness. And the poor sad dear would rather go to bed bare legged in the cold Denver night than put on replacement poop-free jammie bottoms.

Peg #3: She's still got the Elmo shirt on, so I already know what my morning is going to look like tomorrow.

Oh well. Good thing she's cute!

And she likes to eat her veggies. How many mothers of toddlers can say that?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Feeling better

It was a long dark week, but finally we seem to have a break in the clouds. After having a fever for the past 5 days she woke up with a temperature of 98*. Thank goodness! Had her fever not broken it would've meant a trip back to the doctor.

She was feeling pretty rotten all weekend. She ran us ragged fetching her juice, popcicles and honey water (a homemade concoction to soothe her throat), but she was so sweet about it we didn't mind a bit. Well, except for Saturday night. Shortly after we put her to bed she started a coughing fit. I took her some honey water and tried to soothe her, but she was coughing so intensely she could hardly catch her breath. Next thing I know she coughs so hard she pukes a little on her jammies. No big deal. New jammies, new blanket, some pats on the back and sips of water and finally the hacking receded enough for her to lay back to sleep. But then about 15 minutes later she started up again. Arwen went in this time. Next thing I know I hear, "Honey? Help!" She had coughed herself to the point of puking again, but this time she'd really gone for it. She had blown chunks all the way down Arwen's back - nuked his shirt, his jeans, even his socks. I found myself thinking, Dang! There go all those spagettios she slurped down at dinner. I had been so pleased she'd finally eaten a decent amount. This parenting thing, I tell ya. One minute you're up and the next you're down.

This morning I didn't know what to expect. She had been up a fair amount in the night. I snuck in and took her temperature while she was still sleeping, and thank goodness it had returned to normal. But she's still acting under the weather. When I tried to get her up and dressed she went along with a glazed over look on her face at first, but finally she protested. "No! I too tired! I sooo tired Mama." That was a new one for us. So I relented and let her go back to bed for a while. Eventually she got up, took her medicine and got ready to go to daycare.

You can see she's dressed today for a return to normal life. Well, except that those are PJs under her skirt and jacket there. What can I say, compromise is the cornerstone of happiness with a toddler. She's wearing the Hello Kitty backpack and barettes she got for Valentine's Day, and carrying a lunchbox filled with all sorts of dreadfully healthy things. And goldfish. Again, compromise.

Friday, February 20, 2009

home sick

Roan has been home sick since Wednesday, and so have I consequently. She's had a fever and a cough. We talked to the nurse early on and she advised us to just wait it out with the normal home treatments - honey, warm drinks, the humidifier, etc. But this morning after when her fever jumped to 103.5* they had me go ahead and bring her in. Turns out she has an infection in both ears, so she's getting her first ever course of antibiotics. Which is amazing considering how often she's been sick!

So the last 3 days she's pretty much been camped out on the couch watching Sesame Street and eating popcicles. We did manage to do some artwork together yesterday, and right now she's working in her Elmo sticker book. But I haven't gotten a lick of work done and she's hardly had much to eat or drink. Popcicles are usually my failproof insurance against dehydration, but yesterday she was even complaining that popcicles were "too cold"!

I have to give her credit though. She hasn't complained much, and she must be feeling pretty miserable with such a high temp. Even with a bad earache she never uttered a protest at the repeated use of the ear thermometer. Yesterday when she was looking particularly terrible I asked, "How you feeling bug?" and she replied in a small scratchy voice, "Feeling good." Either she doesn't quite know what "feeling good" means, or she has extremely low standards. This morning when I told her we were going to go to the doctor for a checkup she said, "Wanna stay home and play." "But you have a fever and the doctor needs to see if you're healthy," I explained. "Feeling much better" she insisted.

Eventually I got her psyched to see Dr. Bacon by reminding her that after the checkup the doctor would probably give her a lollipop. She did a great job for the doctor, sitting very still, being quiet, and opening her mouth extra wide when asked. And although she was thrilled to receive the promised lollipop, she didn't even have the heart to finish it, poor thing.

Last night I tried a new cupcake recipe in an effort to entice her to eat, but after a few licks of the frosting she turned that down too. Can't say I blame her. The yellow squash in the cake batter and the beets in the raspberry filling did not make for a very tasty cupcake!

I just hope the antibiotics go to work quickly and get her back to something more resembling normal. The last few nights have been rough ones. We finally had to resort to camping out in her room last night to get a little sleep. As tough as it is caring for a sick kiddo, and as much as I hate to see her in discomfort, the slower pace of the last few days and all the time we've spent cuddled up together has been a silver lining.

Monday, February 16, 2009


Nothing profound to say... just wanted to post a quick update. We all survived last week - my first week back at work full time (I had been at 4 days/week since last summer). I've been keeping an eye out any extra clingyness or insecurity in Roan, but she seems fine. It seemed like it was time for both of us. She seemed to miss out on the fun stuff the other kids were doing on the one day a week we spent together, and invariably something always seemed to come up at work that day too. What was supposed to be a day for quality time ended up becoming a huge stress fest, between what I wasn't getting done at work and all the errands that inevitably got crammed into the day. It does seem a little weird and sad that we only spend time together as a family one hour in the morning and ~3 hours at night. We'll see how it goes. I can always cut back down if I need to. (Hmm is it just me or do I sound like a heroin addict? I can quit any time I want.)

Other than that let's see... I have been on a ridiculous off-the-deep-end healthy cooking binge. About a month ago I got fed up with the cough and cold that had dragged on in Roan for 2 1/2 months. I took the advice of a friend and picked up a copy of Super Baby Food which advocates super-charging your toddler's diet with high nutrient foods. Roan has been eating applesauce laced with pureed kale, plain yogurt with flaxseed oil and backstrap molasses, and peanut butter balls rolled in wheat germ. We are all taking multivitamins too. And I dialed down the dairy too. I've swapped whole milk for enriched soy and limited her cheese. It's made a big difference on her congestion. Within a week we saw tremendous improvement.

So that launched me into practically a new lifestyle involving pureeing and freezing everything from beets to broccoli and sneaking it surreptitiously into our food. Arwen started to wonder if I was ever going to come out of the kitchen. A friend turned me on to a really cool book called Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld (Jerry's wife). It's filled with great recipes for things like burgers and mac n cheese that are loaded with secret bonus ingredients. We have been eating very well, and very healthy. And I have been rather smug about how smart I am for turning around the family's health.

Which brings us to yesterday. Now Roan and I both seem to be fighting off colds. It's nothing serious but I'm totally bummed that the freezer filled with pureed veggies has not formed a permanent protective bubble around us.

Here is what Roan's been up to lately: Playing in the laundry basket. Seriously every night we come home from work and she spends a solid 2 hours playing in the laundry basket. Putting her babies and blankies in it, climbing in, climbing out, laying down, covering herself up, jumping in and out, pushing it all around... all the while chattering away. We could toss out all her toys and just give her the laundry basket and she'd be as happy as can be. I have a cute little video but it's too big to post. I'll try and cut it down later.

Oh yeah and remind me to tell you later about the Tuvan throat singers we had stay with us over the weekend.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Funny things she's said lately

I forgot to tell you about the Goo Goo Goggles. Roan got some Dr. Seuss books for Christmas, which she loves. Her favorite is Dr. Seuss's ABC's (followed closely by The Cat in the Hat). For those of you who haven't read it lately, the general format of the book is to go through each letter of the alphabet enumerating a list of silly things that start with it. The most controversial of these is the letter G: The book goes "G, g, G, goat, girl goo goo goggles, G, g, G." The goo goo goggles are just a big pair of nerdy looking glasses on a funny characters face, but somehow Roan finds something sinister in them. "Goo goo goggles scare me!" she often says. She will talk about the goo goo goggles even when we're not reading the book. They seem to be a window into the philisophical musings of her soul. Anxiety: "Goo goo gogggles hurt me?" Confidence: "Goo goo goggles no hurt me." Assertiveness: "Go away goo goo goggles!"

Another book she loves to read is Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats. It's about a little boy named Peter who enjoys a snowy day in New York. At one point in the story Peter packs a snowball and puts it in his pocket before going into his house. Later that night he's crushed to discover the snowball is gone. The other night she got really upset when it was time to leave the neighborhood Valentine's Day party. She cried for a while on the way home but by the time we got to the house she had calmed down. Reflecting on her previous frustration, she said "Roan sad. Like Peter. Snowy day. Peter sad. Him snowball go bye bye. Roan sad too." I never expected a child under two to draw upon literary allusion to express her feelings. Which is so totally what she was doing.

Arwen was impressed the other day when, in response to the way she wolfed down three bowls of mac n cheese and two bowls of yogurt, he remarked "Wow Roan, you have a big appetite." I quizzed her, "What does appetite mean Roan?" She replied, "Means you're hungry."

And then that night when we were reading Cat in the Hat, when we got to the part where the cat is precariously balanced on a ball while holding a goldfish, a cake, a toy boat and a bunch of other things, and he suddenly falls down. The fish yells at The Cat and he looks rather dejected. Roan observed, "Cat sad. Him make a bad choice." Woo hoo! I thought to myself. She is already thinking about cause and effect.

It's just fun to see how her wheels are turning and watch that little personality continue to blossom.

Here's a random video.