Friday, August 31, 2007

Change For A Time

As a sequel to "Time For A Change," I'll give a little update.

I knew something wasn't quite right with my baby when the most my baby ever did was scream. Not cry or be fussy but scream.

I chalked it up to him being on a bottle, him being a big eater, me drinking coffee a few days ago or him not dealing with a change of weather. I was not even going to think of a milk intolerance and proved it by cutting sugar out of my diet for a day or two to see if that would help.

It didn't help but I still knew Alex did not have a dairy intolerance. I mean come on! what would a person eat if they couldn't have something with dairy in it? Did you know even granola bars are made with dairy?

His diapers displayed some kind of distress but I blamed it on the gas he had from the popcorn we traditionally eat on Sunday night. So, I sacrificially cut out the popcorn. This definitely wasn't a sign of milk intolerance!

Alex would occasionally get a strange skin rash but I knew it was from the humidity, not dairy.

He would also have really strong gas and smelly diapers but even that wasn't from a dairy intolerance. No, this was not that serious.

And then I made that appointment with the lactation consultant and assumed I was going to get help for me to teach him how to nurse. As Alex screamed through the majority of the 2 hour appointment, she somehow conveyed to me over Alex's persistent wailing that we indeed had two problems: he wasn't latching on right and I was eating something irritating to him.

She gave me a list of symptoms and Alex had every single one, except for the bloody stools. The conclusion? Dairy Intolerance.

So, trying to be a good little mom, I cut dairy out. I quit eating cereal, ice cream, yogurt and buttered toast. You know, the real obvious things, the no-brainer dairy products. That helped a little but the screaming seemed to not improve the way the doctor thought it would. So, then I started getting serious and reading labels and that's when I learned that granola bars have dairy in them.

But, he still screams, the diapers are still strange and I'm still confused since I thought a milk intolerance would be the worst "allergy" a baby could have. I'm learning that it's not. The actual cause can be so hidden that many moms and health care providers never find the culprit.

I've heard story after story about colicky babies that are actually weaned from breast milk because they can't tolerate it. They're then put on special formulas only to have to be weaned off that even. Finally, trying goats milk brings relief for many babies.

I told Toby I felt bad that my milk is hurting Alex. And I feel especially bad since if I put him on goats milk, he'd probably do a lot better. Its weird to think that a smelly dumb goat could actually make him happier than me.

So, Toby thoughtfully recommended a goats diet for me and pointed out "all "the grains I could eat that would easily replace the dairy foods in my diet. His grain recommendations? Oatmeal and brown sugar three times a day.

It would be a shame to quit nursing now because at last Alex is happily and sufficiently breast feeding. A nipple shield has done the trick both in protecting me and in adjusting him from bottle to breast. He's a real cuddly baby so nursing is right up his alley. But, if only I could help him quit screaming.

On our recent trip to Wisconsin to visit family and friends and introduce Alex to everyone, I found it quite frustrating that my darling baby spent a lot of time just screaming. I felt like every time I showed up for something, I was arriving with my screaming kid. Every time some one commented to me on who they thought he looked like, they were having to yell in order to be heard over the screaming. Every time someone wanted to simply get a look at our new baby, they had to endure the loud screaming.

Except for one time when Alex amazed me and stayed completely peaceful and sweet and let a mother hold him who just lost her own little baby boy. He was never that quiet for that long for anyone all weekend long. I'm glad he picked that time to be that way though.

As we enjoy our growing (15lbs +) 2 1/2 month old little boy, I'm researching options, substituting foods and improvising recipes. I can't have any dairy at all -- not even to fry my eggs in butter. Which brings me to the next thing: maybe his intolerance includes eggs and soy as well. Yikes.

Read any ingredients list on anything related to food and tell me if you can find something that doesn't have dairy, eggs and soy in it.

Oh, and it has to have calories in it since I am a nursing mom. And if you do happen to find something, let me know.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Watch Out For Toddlers and Wet Floors

Everyone knows you're crazy when you have 3 kids in tow and the oldest is only 3. But, you know you're crazy when you march into a Target store in the middle of a state you're traveling through in order to set your van free from screaming kids so your husband can participate in a 2 hour business conference call. And, you take all three of those screaming kids into the Target store.

Actually, none of the kids were screaming at the time but they all had that potential. This was one time in their lives when I was hoping that they wouldn't live up to their full potential. The possibility was very high considering it was a humid 95 degrees, naps were messed up and we were hundreds of miles from home. Not to mention that I have NEVER taken all three of my kids shopping alone. EVER.

I had one full cart but when I saw the shopping baskets stacked just past the carts, I was tempted. The sign promised this: " To Make Your Shopping Experience Easy." I knew I needed all those baskets. I almost grabbed the whole stack but thought better of it when I realized the front of my cart was loaded with 2 kids and the back of the cart had a car seat filling it up along with an actual screaming baby.

Then I wondered if I was supposed to select 3 baskets, put one kid in each basket and shop my way around the store. I finally realized that those baskets were not meant for me. Besides, the only thing I ever see those baskets used for is when people don't think they need a cart so they grab a basket instead and then load the basket up only to have to go back to the cart station and get a cart where they should've gotten one in the first place. And I didn't have time for that.

As I mosied around the store as inconspicuous as possible with a barking kid (he was pretending to be a dog), a quiet kid and a screaming kid, I could only wonder how life could ever be better.

I wondered that the whole way home as I took video clips on my cell phone of 2 screaming kids and a little boy singing "Trust and Obey" while his siblings wailed and screamed their way down I35 in our van. And I really began to wonder how life could ever be better when we finally got home and realized that the trip had taken twice as long as it should've.

It wasn't until the next day when reality hit hard and the floor made a fast impact with the end of my spine and left me sprawled out on the floor with a screaming baby and a wailing toddler. Believe me, I was shocked to find myself suddenly laying there with shooting pain, unable to get up or find my footing.

Sharp pain makes you realize that being a spectacle in Target with 3 loud kids is an addition to put on your list of blessings.

My only advice to everyone who has a toddler, knows a toddler or lives with a toddler: watch out for dripping wash cloths; they may cost you weeks of nursing a broken tailbone. And a broken tailbone is no fun because you have nothing to show for it. A broken leg would actually be better because 1) the doctor could actually fix your problem, 2) you could get sympathetic notes and autographs on your cast, 3) a cast would make it obvious to everyone that you actually have a bad injury and 4) you could still lay or sit even though you couldn't walk.

So, next to getting hypothermia on my bottom from all the cold packs, I'm not doing much else to speed the healing. For an injury that gives no evidence of it's vengeance to an onlooker, let me assure you that for a creature created without a tail, I'm really really wishing the bone would've gone with the tail. I mean really, what is a tailbone good for anyway? I hardly knew I had one until I found it on the floor today. And that wasn't a good way to find it either.

Now I need a sign that says: "To Make Your Day Easy" because I have no clue how I'll get through the days ahead with 3 kids brimming with so much potential. For one though, I'll take a good look at the bathroom floor before I walk in and hopefully, me and my tailbone will get on good terms again. And soon.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Time For A Change

Later today, I plan to lug my 15 pound bundle of a baby boy and learn how to nurse. Yes, you read that right. I am going to a haven of lactation consultants and surrendering my instincts to someone that can help me learn how to channel my efforts in the right direction.

This Medela Pump In Style has been a life saver for my baby boy but it's time to cut the ties with it. It has been the bridge between Alex's nutrition and my ability to produce his nutrition. But it's time to burn that bridge. My freezers are experiencing a dairy dilemma, thanks to all the milk the pump has produced but it's time to make room for harvest occupants instead. Where is the milk bank when you need it? Or would that be better phrased: when they need you?

After 2 successfully nursed babies, I was confidant and unafraid of any nursing hurdles when I first had Alex. Except for the usual engorgement and frustration in waking a newborn baby to eat, I figured I'd be all professional this time.

But, that was not to be. I've had a breast infection, he's had colic. I've had a yeast infection, he's had colic. I've had production frustrations, he's had colic. I've had too much milk, he's had colic. I've had not enough milk, he's had colic. His improper latch technique has totally changed my approach to nursing him, and then we both have colic.

Did I mention that he has colic?

So, with my darling screaming baby today, I plan to educate myself in the ways of womanhood that are supposed to come natural but often don't when problems arise. I am praying that the results will conclude that I can indeed nurse, my baby can indeed latch on right and our home can indeed be inhabited by peace.

And to think I used to complain about our house being too quiet... may the peace return after the results from today.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Accomplishments And Arachnids

I feel successful: 3 pairs of Janae's bloomers that have been sitting in my sewing heap for the past few months have finally been finished. What good timing for bad weather that sent me to the basement with nothing to do but finished procrastinated projects.

In other news, the mentally challenged crickets in our basement left me alone as well while I sewed barefooted, and that is a good thing. Had the electricity gone off I don't know what I would have done.

Crickets function in the dark; I don't. Crickets find me in the dark and that's freaky. Crickets love the darkness rather than the light because their deeds are evil. I don't like their evilness. And these crickets are big and that makes their evil deeds even bigger. In mass quantities, you get even greater deeds of evilness. Yuck.

At least I don't have it as bad as this mom here is having with arachnids.

Did I mention yuck yet?

Thursday, August 16, 2007

All I Wanted Was Breakfast

All I wanted was breakfast but a child was haphazardly stacking books open and with covers bent. Next time we'll play library after every one's breakfast.

All I wanted was breakfast but a child was smearing oatmeal all over herself and the fated vicinity around her. Next time we'll save the smearing for, well, we just won't do that anymore.

All I wanted was breakfast but two children wanted the same truck. Next time we'll save toys for after every one's breakfast.

All I wanted was breakfast but a child "couldn't figure out" how to clean his room. (his own words.) Next time we'll save chores for after every one's breakfast.

All I wanted was breakfast but a child needed tea - not water, juice or milk, he was very clear on the tea part. Next time we'll save drinks for after every one's breakfast.

All I wanted was breakfast but a child needed to go to Walmart for markers right now. Next time we'll save shopping trip discussions 'till after every one's breakfast.

I've always wondered why I end up skipping breakfast anymore. Now I know.

Monday, August 06, 2007

The River That Wasn't There

It's summer time here in hot Nebraska and I'm dying to see water. You know, the lakes with dainty white caps on a windy day or a swelling river trailing through the country side. To just dip my toes in, skip a few rocks and watch my kids take in the expanse of a bowl of water bigger than their bath tub, is all too thrilling of a prospect.

When Toby suggested a day trip to a local state park recently, I was totally enthused about our "mini vacation." WATER! YAY!

Some of you blessed folks out there may not understand what is so thrilling about seeing water. Of touching water. Of driving over a bridge with real water under it. Of actually saying, "hey kids, lets go to the river!" But, if you lived in Nebraska, you would understand why it's so rare. A real live river to us is like the ocean is to you.

You may find it interesting when I tell you that we actually live in "Big Blue River" country. But don't be deceived. Trickling through our local country side is a muddy, messy trickle of brown water (if you're lucky) that proudly boasts signs of, "Big Blue River." When you come to a cattle crossing bridge, you'll even see the charming sign there. Very deceptive. In Wisconsin, they have large bridges expanding rivers with no name on the bridge. Humble folk, them Wisconsinites are.

The first time I saw the sign, I immediately thought of three words: BIG. BLUE. RIVER. I craned my neck out the car window and hung my head way over just to get a glimpse of this big blue river. And what would I see but a washed out river bed with branches and sticks. When I looked real hard, I thought I could see a faint line of some kind of water trickling through the over grown mess. Maybe the water was actually just a mirage, now that I think of it. But, it definitely wasn't blue.

So, as we headed out of Big Blue River country and made our way towards the Platte river, I was envisioning real water. Of course the Platte river in our parts isn't much of river either but its definitely bigger than the Big Blue River. They say you can walk across the Platte river in most parts. And not even get your belt wet. Pretty shallow but at least it's big.

We got a pass to a state park that advertised of being on the banks of the Platte river. After circling the entire park twice looking for some sort of beach or fishing dock, we found a rugged foot trail that led in the general direction of the river.

Our anticipation mounted as we slipped and slid down the well trodden dirt path towards the lighted sky at the end of the trail. We lugged a camera, hauled the stroller over a fallen tree and carefully led the kids through the rough spots. Quite the effort. As the trail came to an end and the sky opened above us, what should we see but a huge, gorgeous river! Only, it was about 50 feet below us with two railroad tracks and a small lake-like outlet of the river between us and the real river.

So much for throwing rocks, let alone dipping my toes in, I thought.

As we took in the view and headed back through the woods, we decided to just go to the Platte River State Park.

Good idea.

Surely with Platte River and Park in the same sentence, you'd be able to actually get on the river from the park. I should've taken in the "State" part and realized the name only meant that the park was in the same state as the river was.

We circled this park too and found animal petting barns, a large and well occupied swimming pool, a few family reunions and paddle boats. But no river. I wanted a river, not an amusement park or zoo. "Come to our park! We have ponies to ride!" I could just about hear. What is wrong with these people? This is a state park, not the state fair, I moaned.

Wisconsin does it right when it comes to water. You can actually drive up to a river, and get out of your car and walk just a few feet to its shores. No day pass for the river bank is needed either. And if you have your kids with you and they're not used to out backing it when you just want to look at some water, no worries! You won't have to take a half mile hike through rough woods to get to the river. The parks in Wisconsin are family friendly. You could even drive your car into the water if you wanted.

But, in Nebraska, they make it difficult to have a good time around or in water.

At this point, we gave up the river idea and decided to just sight see around the area. As we drove, Toby noticed a small and vacant parking lot in the park with a sign that read "Falls" with an arrow. "Whatever," I thought, still disgusted by the Platte River-less State Park we had driven a long ways to see. If they can talk about the Platte river like its some tangible amenity of this park when its not, don't even try to get me to believe there are "falls" in this flat country.

The kids were antsy, the baby was fussy and one of the kids had just puked all over herself. The van reeked so we decided to try for these "falls." We made a mad dash down the little foot trail that was in the direction of the arrow on the "falls" sign.

The trail circled through some pretty dense woods on our way. The kids ran ahead of us, behind us, collected sticks and tripped on tree roots jutting up on our trail. One of them ran into a tree. Falls or no falls, this was turning into a fun hike.

Teasing us along our way was a really muddy canal of branches, sticks and a trickle of water. I wondered out loud several times if that was the "falls" the sign referred to. Until we finally came upon the falls.

They were actual, real, live falls. It was a perfect little paradise. In Nebraska even. I couldn't believe it. We were welcomed by a little sitting area, observation "deck," and a cute arrangement of natural falls. The sound of falling water could be heard even before we saw them. The setting was ruggedly beautiful and there was just enough water for the kids to play in.

The water above the falls was so shallow, you were lucky to get the top of your feet wet when you walked through. I kept waiting for the water to stop; I thought for sure if we stayed long enough, we'd see the end of the water supply. "Okay kids, time to go! The water is done...." But it kept coming consistently. You could see the erosion around the flow of the water that indicated there had been much more water here at one time but now just a delicate stream trailed through the woods and crashed over the water worn rock and ledges. It was a simple beauty but very satisfying. And impressive.

We basked in the peaceful and cool setting all by ourselves. It was so quiet and serene. Definitely beat the Platte River, I decided.

So, the next time we're ready for some water time and nice drive in the country side, we have our own signature water park, hidden in the middle of large state river-less park.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Kid Klips

Landon One Liners...

"Dad, does God have a Bible?"

"If Landon died, God could just make another one."

"Have a good later!"

The Way To A Man's Stomach
I had just given Landon some prune juice. After he gulped down a few swallows he came over to me. "Hey Mom, look in my stomach," Landon said as he opened his mouth wide, "See my prune juice?"

The Universal Headache"
I have a headache," Landon moaned from his car seat after church one Sunday. "Where's your headache, Landon?" I asked him. His response? "In my 'froat.' "