Monday, October 29, 2012


DangerMouse loves my mom's cooking. Clearly, she already has excellent taste and a refined palate. We've been feeding her "table food" (versus baby food from jars, or separate food specially prepared for her), and witnessing her culinary development is nothing short of delightful.

My amazing, independent daughter LOVES to feed herself. She has manages to wear as much as she eats (from what I can tell), but it's important to let her grow and learn to do things for herself. None of us are instant experts, and watching her learn reminds me of how incredible all the things we take for granted are. (Parenting bonus: if she's feeding herself, guess who also gets to enjoy a hot meal?)

Okay, so her palate isn't *entirely* refined yet.
We have been responsible; no sugary foods, and we've introduced foods slowly. Even so, sometimes things happen.

Last Monday, Mom, Genevieve, and I were having lunch together. We had leftovers, and Mom had gently convinced me to let Genevieve feed herself for the first time. Genevieve reveled in the meal; a tomato and eggplant stew, and it looked fetching smeared across her face.

Mom noticed something red on Genevieve's face; so we got out a washcloth and started to clean Genevieve up.

"Is that a hive?" Mom asked.

"It can't be," I said, "She's had everything in this dish before."

A few minutes passed, and there were more hives on her face, and on her chin(s). While Mom held on to Genevieve, I packed the diaper bag quickly, and got on the phone with the advice nurse.

The advice nurse asked the usual questions, and Genevieve was cheerful and not having any sort of breathing issues (or hives or a rash anywhere else on her body). After consulting with the doctor, she told me to give Genevieve some children's Benadryl and bring her directly to the emergency room, just in case.

We didn't have any children's Benadryl in the house. Mom dashed out to the drugstore and was home in a flash, we medicated Genevieve and got in the car promptly. I called Andrew to let him know to meet us there, and with Mom in the backseat (making sure that Genevieve didn't stop breathing), we got to the emergency room in excellent time.

At that point, the hives were completely gone. Genevieve was positively *giddy* from the Benadryl, and had her charm dialed up to eleven. We were in and out of the emergency room in under two hours, with some guidelines as to what to look for and when to worry. (For the record, I am a professional worrier these days.)

Genevieve took a supervised, and yet, disturbingly long nap (courtesy of the Benadryl, of course), and all was well in the world.
O.G. and Lil G
After speaking with a friend (who is also a childcare professional), and Dr. FTW, it turns out that the acid in tomatoes can cause hives on delicate baby facial skin. We were instructed to clean her up promptly after meals, and Dr. FTW praised our prompt action and quick recognition of what could have been a serious allergic reaction.

I'm usually pretty good in stressful situations, and while I was a little shaky and terrified of the worst case, I held it together until the car ride home. If I have learned anything from my mother, it's that you hold it together during a crisis. Once the crisis is over, you can scream, cry, throw up, whatever you need to do. But when you're in the thick of it you Hold. It. Together.

"I'm ready to go and cry now," I told Andrew, "This parenting thing is harder than I ever thought it would be."

It's true. As a parent, you selfishly hope that emergency rooms are for strangers' children, that you can bubble wrap your kids, and keep them in a safe embrace foreverandever. But children have a pesky way of growing up and seeking their own experiences and answers, no matter how much you want to keep them safe.

It's a hard road, full of lots of small steps. Or in our case, small bites.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

This little piggy

Genevieve's hair has gotten long. I'm far from an expert at doing hair, and hers is the opposite of mine; fine to my thick, straight to my curly, and slick to my ... velcro?
Amazing how a hairstyle can change your whole look
I'll admit, I'm also not a whiz at styling hair. When Suzy the Stylist gave me this fabulous hairdo, she had to hard-sell me on taking the TWO MINUTES to blow out my bangs. I'm a wash-product-wear kind of girl, but it was totally worth the extra effort.

Best. Haircut. Ever.

That being said, Genevieve's hair had gotten really long, and I didn't want her to end up with any lasting effects from her emo/Bieber bangs.

Emo baby

Parenting, and all parenting-adjacent activities, always seem very different in my imagination. In my imagination, food that goes into a child's mouth *stays* in her mouth, kids STAY STILL while you change their diapers, and little girls coo adoringly while you pigtail their hair.
She is wily and hard to catch.
Not. So. Much.

I've written about our DangerMouse catch and release program. This is more like catching a greased piglet. And trying to do her hair while she resists. Vociferously.


So, sometimes her pigtails end up a little... off kilter. It's a look.

But I think this little piggy can pull it off.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


We had another first; Genevieve's first "sick". It's kept me pretty busy, attending to her normal needs and the "mommymommymommy" stuff when she doesn't feel well. You know, the extra snuggles and things like that. (I'll take snuggles whenever she wants to give them.)

At first, we thought it was normal teething shenanigans, since she is now the proud owner of SIX(!) teeth. We called the advice nurse, and she advised, with the proviso that if the symptoms didn't improve in a week, to call back and schedule time with a doctor.

This KID, with the EYELASHES. Seriously.
DangerMouse was cheerful, not presenting a fever, and was only presenting *one* slightly troubling symptom. The weekend passed, and the ... symptom did not. (Consider yourself spared of the details.)

Five symptomatic days passed with no improvement. On day six, we saw the pediatrician. I was prepared to hear that all-too familiar chorus of, "You're a first time parent; of course you worry about every little thing. It's good that you brought her in." I heard that, along with something completely unexpected.

... Stomach flu.

Have you ever had that feeling where you're simultaneously thinking "Ah HA! I KNEW IT!" and "OHMYGOD! Something is really wrong!"? It takes the wind right out of the sails of the S.S. Smug.

Then it hit: that moment where you feel guilty for not taking your baby into the doctor sooner. Andrew and I talked through it, and we were doing all the right things, and we took her in sooner than recommended, but still. That pesky Mommy Guilt rears its ugly head.

The cure? My mom's homemade yogurt. (The pediatrician didn't get *that* specific, but he said "Yogurt with active cultures". And we all know that my mother makes some seriously cultured yogurt.) Yogurt has been Mom's panacea as long as I can remember, as well as a delicious part of our regular diets.

There was the matter of getting the yogurt *into* Genevieve. The spoon was too slow, the yogurt was too runny to finger-feed it to her effectively. I decided to use the encephalized brain that came with the opposable thumbs, and this monkey elected to use a tool specialized for just such an occasion.

Yogurt also makes for a great facial.
After a few attempts, we had a lot of success using a double handled plastic cup (which is great), which has resulted in increased yogurt consumption and decreased yogurt facials. I am torn on how I feel about this, since wearing yogurt is a family tradition.

Three days of Mom's yogurt fixed her right up. Snuggles from *my* mom helped make me feel better. There are days when I just need to know I'm doing okay; and the days where I'm not sure, hugs, hair-stroking, and a "there, there" seem to realign my universe.

The yogurt didn't hurt, either.