Saturday, August 28, 2010

viral meningitis and a migraine

Recently voted worst reason to spend a week off work, in our house at least.

The good news is I got the opportunity to watch the first two seasons of Dexter and the first season of 24 on Netflix instant play. The bad news is I'm looking over my shoulder for serial killers and I may never trust my co-workers again.

I've never had a migraine before. The doctor suspects it was triggered by the meningitis so hopefully I'll never have one again, either. It turns out that while Hand Foot Mouth (Elliot was sent home sick from school last week and this was circulating his classroom - did I mention that before?) is rarely transferred to adults with its fidelity intact, the virus that causes it can get into your system and manifest itself as viral meningitis instead. There are also a series of nasty "echoviruses" that troll around in the late summer looking for people to deliver meningitis to. Ah, the things I have learned in my doctors office lately. Regardless of cause, the end result is OhmygodIhavebeensofreakingsick.

I'm attempting some upright time today. Cross your fingers for me.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

hot under the collar

We're starting an FSA program at work that includes dependent care expenses. M already has one but she wasn't a legal guardian for E at the time of her last open enrollment and we didn't get our act together to start it up during the 30 days after the adoption so we've been waiting for her next open enrollment period to come around. Now I have the option of setting aside $5000 pre-tax for daycare. This is great, except that it means we have to make a decision. An infuriating, insulting decision. Which of us will claim E on our taxes this year? Because only one of us can, and unlike what we do with our mortgage every year (plug it into both of our tax returns to see who it helps more before deciding who claims it), we have to decide this right now.

Please excuse me while I lose my shit for a moment...

[Edited 30 minutes later to say... Never mind. Lost my nerve already. Actually, I just have a very sick little boy and what is likely to be a long, worried night ahead of me and I'm not in the mood for any blog drama this rant might have sparked. I saved the original post in my drafts, so maybe I'll post it again another time.]

I'm totally going to come back and delete the above once I cool off. I get that rage like that will only serve to divide us further and it's not representative of how I feel on a day to day basis. I just felt so separate and so unequal and so very angry sitting in my office FSA presentation. It was just a little more than I could bear so you get my vent.

On a more practical note, anyone have tips as to which of us should claim him? Is the general rule to go with the higher income parent or am I making that up? Also, anyone knowledgeable about dependent care FSAs versus child care tax credits and which is likely to benefit us more? Maybe we should skip the FSA business altogether? I'm totally in over my head on this stuff.

Oh and while I'm venting:  Dear Japanese spammers, would you PLEASE go haunt someone else's blog for a while? I'm so sick of deleting your comments. I'd hate to go to comment moderation but I'm starting to think it's the best option, at least for a while. Lame.

Monday, August 16, 2010


Elliot's 17-month "birthday" shall henceforth be known as The Milemarker at Which His Speech Exploded. I don't think I posted about this here (defensive much?) but at E's 12 month check-up, E's doctor suggested that he might be speech-delayed. I had asked her about the follow-up hearing test that was recommended on his Special Care discharge papers due to the ototoxic effects of the antibiotic they gave him via IV for the first week of his life. (Gah!!) The doctor agreed to order it, followed with the comment "It's probably a good idea anyway because of his speech delays." This was the first she'd said of it and I was so caught off guard, I didn't even question her about it. She'd asked a few questions earlier about what he was and wasn't saying but hadn't given any indication she didn't like my answers until then. Anyway, he had the hearing test about a month later and to the extent that they can test a 12-month old, he passed meaning he should not have any difficulty acquiring language.

So, we cruised along for a while, picking up a word here and a word there, and then during the last couple of weeks, E started not only repeating every single thing we say, but remembering the words and using them at other times. I realized last week that we are on the cusp of a phase where I won't even be able to keep track of all the words he uses. I was home with him most of last week so it gave me a good chance to keep track of everything he's saying, so here it is, the last word list I intend to make. :-)

Words Elliot uses correctly at 17 months:
mine (love this one)
bye bye
beep beep
He also does the animal sounds for cow, sheep, duck, horse, lion and dog (almost).

There are a handful (okay, a lot) of these you'd have no chance of identifying the first time you heard them (i.e. bunny = muh-nah, butterfly = buh-fye, flower = vow-ah). We recognize these words because we hear them consistently (usually in conjunction with him pointing at the object to name it), but he's not ready to use them on the debate team or anything. :-)

He's also been saying "la-loo" for the last few days but we haven't been able to figure out what word it is... until this morning when M correctly identified it as hello.

I know the light switch flips for kids at different times and 17 months seems to be ours. It's really exciting, especially after going through that speech-delay silliness a few months back.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

a tip and a story

You should totally enter this giveaway! I am not entering because I have a personal connection to the business owner and I know their goal is to find new customers, but I would love for one of those new customers to be one of my blog friends! Hurry, because today is the last day to enter.

I blogged about these shoes before here and 7 months later with more walking time under E's belt, I love them all the more. It turns out that E has ridiculously wide feet. I have no idea where they came from. (Lie. I totally do: Me.) After our first attempt to branch out into other wide-width brands (Stride Rite XW velcro-closure sandals) yielded pressure marks and scratches on E's uber-chubby feet, we realized we were "stuck" with S.oft St.ars for the forseeable future. They are expensive, but (1) they are comparable in price to the Stride Rites we bought and (2) they are handmade by an independently-owned, earth-friendly small business and (3) they are seriously built to last. All of E's SSs have held up WAY better than the Stride Rites, and he wears them 10x as often. They offer a line of less expensive pre-made shoes, but if you have a hard to fit foot, a creative streak, or both, you can design your own shoes down to the last itty-bitty detail for a few more dollars. We send E's foot measurements in with our order (they have a video on their site showing how to get these) and they use them to make sure we get a perfect fit. I can't say enough good things about them.

And the story... M just called to check in from her mom's birthday party. It sounds like E is behaving himself and everyone is having a great time. However, her father is apparently telling everyone that Elliot "looks just like his dad!" Hmm, there seems to have been a Message Fail somewhere along the line. Note to selves: Have a chat with Grandpa about Elliot's lack of a "dad" before E is old enough to know what he's talking about.

p.s. Let me know if you win some shoes! ;-)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

life in mono

I’ve been working on a big project lately that is a total time-suck. It’s in its final week and I’m logging an unprecedented number of hours per day but I’m in the home stretch. I can’t wait to get back to my normal life. As strange as this sounds, I’m surprised by just how much I miss my family.

M and I both work 20 minutes from our house, but in opposite directions, and since the daycare is less than a mile from my office, I generally handle all daycare pick up and drop off duties. My schedule is so crazy this week that M is picking E up every day. This means that instead of my normal routine of grabbing the kid and speeding home with him to drop him off and inhale a quick bite before racing right back to the same neighborhood I just came from, I get to choose a place to eat some dinner and kill an hour between obligations – no commute and no indigestion. I thought I’d appreciate the mini-vacation, but it turns out I really miss picking E up at school. He’s in bed before I get home which means the only time I’m seeing him this week is for the hour or so that we’re getting ready in the mornings, and any parent can tell you that is usually NOT quality time!

Add to this that M is taking E to visit her family at the end of this week. They’ll be gone Friday through Tuesday. When we planned the trip, it seemed like a great idea – M’s mom is celebrating her 70th birthday and not only can I not go (recall the big project), but I’ll be crazy busy all day Friday and Saturday (recall the big project) so M and E would be on their own anyway. Escaping to a temperate beach climate with M’s family seemed like a no-brainer. I thought it would be good for me, too. I was secretly reveling in the thought of full nights of sleep, long showers, leaving for work in the morning with only my own belongings, going out for a guilt-free celebration with friends after our project wraps up on Saturday night, and spending all day Sunday on the couch in my PJs. Now the trip is upon us, coming right off a week with no time with my little man, and I’d trade all of those things to keep them home.

I’m not sure how to explain this without sounding like a bad mom, but here it is: After 16.5 months of parenting with the demands of maintaining full-time employment and no family around for respite, I thought having a few hours (this week) followed by a few days (this weekend) “off duty” would be a welcome change. I really didn’t think I’d miss E too much. I mean, I see him all the time! It would be like a little retreat to my carefree, self-absorbed, pre-baby days! Boy was I ever wrong. I’m only on Day #2 of M picking E up from school and I’m already contemplating sneaking over there after work to steal a quick cuddle.

I realize now that I’ve become a little jaded. When we were working (and working and working) to bring E into the world, I thought I’d be unconditionally grateful for every sleepless night, every dirty diaper, and every temper tantrum until the end of time, should we ever be lucky enough to encounter those things. But that’s not realistic. It never was. That was just my infertility-damaged soul making promises it could never keep. The reality is that the sleep deprivation and the endless cycle of divining and meeting a little human’s needs is draining, and sometimes it makes you wish for a break – just a few days to catch your breath and remember that you yourself are a human with needs. Or at least it made me wish for this. It turns out the break isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

I have only been away from Elliot for two single overnights since he was born – both under 24 hours. It’s going to be a long, lonely 5 days. :-(

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

"my car"

Guess who said this in our living room yesterday morning?

Two words! Used together and in context! Woot!  :-)