Friday, January 19

Friday Night Bulletin

  • I'm tired tired tired tonight. It's been such a long week, with the new job and the swallow study and the whatnot. But I am soldiering on to make a delicious Italian Cream cake for a friend's baby shower tomorrow. Go ahead and click the link--I swear to you on holy cream cheese frosting that damn thing is the best cake I've ever had. It's the "light" version and better than the original. Honestly. And she's having twin boys, so she definitely deserves it.
  • Bug's got a new weird feeding issue and it's stressing me out. He decided to wait until after the swallow study to start doing it, of course. He's pushing out about half of every bite that goes into his mouth, almost as if his swallowing reflex has gotten stuck in reverse. He's not spitting it, but it's dribbling out nonetheless. I haven't quite made up my mind whether it's just a weird kid thing or if it's a weird medical thing. I'm going to watch him over the weekend and experiment with some different textures and thicknesses and see what happens. If it's not any better come Monday I'm hauling his little butt off somewhere to get things figured out. He doesn't have much extra weight to lose.
  • The job is, I think, going to work out nicely. It's low key, the people are pleasant, and everyone keeps telling me how family-friendly the office is. On the downside, it has a pretty restrictive internet policy that is forcing me to come up with new ways to goof around. No more blogging during working hours!
  • The cake is done. Now if I can just keep it off the floor....

Thursday, January 18

The Works Are Not So Much Working

Bug's swallow study went about as expected. As in, he has a problem with swallowing. Of course! We can't go a week without a new medical complication in these parts! I must say, though, as these things go, it's not that bad. He is aspirating thin liquids--which is to say, inhaling liquids of normal, non-artificially-thickened, consistency. So we've got to thicken all the liquids now. Again. I think that when we had issues with this before I was not blogging so I haven't discussed it.

The 30 second recap: the nerve that controls the right (?) vocal cord was injured during Bug's heart surgery (a very very common complication) and it was partially paralyzed for a while. Your vocal cords are actually very important in swallowing because, in layman's terms, they move to cover the opening to your lungs and keep food and gunk out of there. And his didn't work so well. So I couldn't nurse him for fear of aspiration and he was limited to bottles of thickened breastmilk for a while.

He got the all clear for normal liquid consumption about 6 months ago. So, I am confused as to how he has a problem with this again? And is it related to his speech delays? I am not sure who to ask about it either. The medical type persons at the swallow study (a radiologist and an occupational therapist) didn't have much insight beyond interpreting the immediate results. I would ask the ped, but he's still on my list.

Stay tuned.

p.s. The first day at the new job went just fine.

Monday, January 15

Happy Days Are Here Again?

It's a big week in the Bug Household. I am starting a new job Wednesday and I will be working full time, if you can believe it. My last day of full time employment was when I was put on bedrest at 20 weeks pregnant with the Bug, on September 2, 2005. It has been a very very long time.

I am nervous about it, but I think it will work out well for us. I chose this position mostly because of the schedule and benefits. A 40-hour work week is as scarce as hen's teeth for a lawyer, especially for a litigator like myself. And this job promises 8-5, Monday through Friday, with good holidays and vacation and such. I suppose we'll see how that actually works out, but I'm hopeful. And lord knows, even those it pays substantially less than my last FT gig, it's a hell of a lot more than we've had coming in with PT hourly work.

And health insurance too! After a year of unbelievably expensive COBRA coverage! Bonanza!

I am a little worried about my Bug and myself dealing with the transition. I was home with him full time for six months and since then, I've been home 4 or 5 days every week. I am going to miss him terribly terribly terribly and I am pretty sure that my heart will break into a thousand pieces.

It's time though. It's long past time for us to get our finances straightened out (insert great big sigh here) and I think Bug is ready for some interaction with other kids. He is also very much ready to start getting the speech, occupational and physical therapy that his new school will provide.

It's a lot of transition for us, but I think brighter days are ahead. What's happening in your world this week?

Sunday, January 14

WICLN: Saturday Night Edition

Lately, I've been cooking a lot more. My husband, K, owned an italian restaurant when we met, so I took a backseat on most meals since his are so delicious. But when I started working on the weight, his meat-laden dinners didn't fit so well into the plan. I have gotten pretty good at finding and making recipes that fit our criteria: relatively cheap, healthy, balanced and kid-friendly. For the 3 other people who might be interested in such things, I offer the first in a sporadic series: What I Cooked Last Night.

Roasted Garlic Lentil Soup

1 medium yellow onion
2 Tbl olive oil
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced, plus one head garlic, whole
2 t. oregano
2 t. basil
1 bay leaf
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes, undrained
2 c. dry lentils (I used half red/half green)
8 c. stock (I used homemade chicken stock)
1 c. fresh or frozen spinach, chopped
3 Tbl. balsamic vinegar (or more, if you like)
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 450. Wrap whole head garlic in foil and roast until soft--15 to 20 min. Let cool, remove from skins and smash with a large knife (or puree, if you're feeling fancy).

Heat olive oil in large stockpot on medium heat. Cook onion, minced garlic and carrots until onion softens. Add spices and cook for a few more minutes. Stir in lentils, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 1 hour. Stir in spinach and cook until it wilts (if fresh). Add vinegar, salt & pepper, and smashed/pureed roasted garlic. Cook 2 more minutes to combine flavors. Serve!

Makes a lot of damn soup (maybe 8-10 servings?)

I tried out this focaccia bread recipe, which was good, but a little more of a flatbread than I prefer. It would also be tasty delicious with any kind of crusty bread your little heart desires.

What did you have?

Friday, January 12


I know that many of you headed for greener pastures during the Great Blog Post Drought of 2006, but I am glad to see that some people are still around and reading my drivel. Since it is De-Lurking week, I am hoping that I can lure you out to say hello. My incentive: I have turned off that annoying verification setting where you have to enter the garbled mix of letters and numbers.

So, go ahead. Leave a comment. Whew, doesn't that feel better?

K's Karma Averts Disaster Yet Again

Have I mentioned that whenever K goes to a doctor visit with Bug and I, things are mostly fine, and whenever I go alone, terrible things happen? This pattern has held true for all of Bug's young life so, of course, K was dragged to the cardiologist with us yesterday. Hey, any little bit helps.

As you can see from the title, it was true once again. Bug still has hypertension (which bugs the shit out of me since it should be better by now, but still not a Serious Problem) and his motor issues continue, but overall doing well. Hooray!

We are scheduled for a swallow study, complete with radioactive oatmeal, on Tuesday to try and figure out why the little bugger has started choking on food AND liquids out of nowhere. It's always something.

If it turns out he won't be able to eat cookies anymore we will be in serious serious trouble.

Tuesday, January 9

The C-Section Shelf and Other Horrors

You know the shelf that sits, very very unprettily, just north of the c-section scar line? I didn't.

It is not one of those good surprises.

Apparently, when one is, ahem, of a certain size, the incision and scar from a c-section somehow manages to take all the accumulated lower belly fluff and hoist it upwards. Where it sits, atop the scar, in a shelf/overhang formation, defying gravity, let alone lesser attempts to (re)move it. Seriously, did you people know about this? If you must have a visual reference, try here.

I think I have talked about this before but who knows, it's been so damn long. Like so many of us, I went from a little on the curvy side to downright plumpish during my IF journey.* And then, of course, a cheese-laden pregnancy, four months of bedrest, pre-eclampsia swelling and so on and so on and pretty soon, I was newly postpartum and weighing--oh, I can't even tell you, internets. It's shameful. Suffice it to say, it was a weight I never ever thought I'd see.

Losing that water weight was pretty quick and I thought I was slick as snot. It was all just going to fall off!** I faced reality and started getting serious about getting into some reasonable shape in July. Since then, I have lost 30 pounds, for a total of about 70 from my last pregnant weigh-in. The c-section shelf has not budged, shrunk or otherwise cooperated in any way.

So, to my point: I am flummoxed and I am now begging you. How much weight needs to go before this thing starts receding? Is there some kind of exercise or pill or prayer that helps? Anyone conquered this beast?

*It is so very nice to be at your heaviest weight ever when getting pregnant, yes? I would berate myself, but it's not like I thought it would actually work!

**I know, I know. Go ahead and snicker.

Monday, January 8

One Down. . .

Bug's pediatrician appointment went well, all things considering. He is a bit wee for his age, but healthy in all non-heart respects. We'll find out Thursday about the heart (pleasepleasepleaseplease).

The only wrinkle (you just knew there'd be one, right?) is that his pediatrician, let's call him Dr. Old School, apparently thinks that developmental delays are--at least in Bug's case--a bunch of bullshit. A little background--Bug has yet to say mama or dada or any other words and he does not imitate sounds or otherwise try to verbally communicate. He also doesn't use gestures or point or use other types of non-verbal communication. The other main area of concern is his motor development. He seems to have some weakness in his torso, probably related to the months of recovery from the sternal incision. The theory is that the weakness makes it difficult to maneuver in some ways, so that he can't roll over or bring himself up to a sitting position. He also has a definite preference for using the right side of his body (hands and feet) in a way that makes me a tad concerned. In sum, they don't seem to be earth shattering, as delays go, but a real issue. He tested at about an 8 month old level in every area except cognition (and hooray for that one!)

Anyway, I've been working on getting the Bug into a school that provides integrated therapy throughout the day and has an absolutely stellar ratio of 3:1 kids to teachers. We'll call it Valhalla. This has all been pretty recent so I hadn't had the chance to talk to Dr. OS about it before the 12 month check up. Dr. OS unequivocally believes that there is no benefit to therapy--unless, possibly, there are lifelong neurological problems. I was flummoxed by this, as Dr. OS has been great on all previous occasions. He even went so far as to say that the therapy he would receive is nothing more than "parenting." Arsehole.

The upshot: he blew off my questions about the hand preference, etc although he concedes that Bug does indeed have some delays. He very very reluctantly agreed to cooperate enough to allow Bug to attend Valhalla. We'll see how it goes at our next visit but I'm thinking we may be on pediatrician hunt #3.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention that I will be starting a new FULL TIME job in a few weeks. I feel good about Bug at Valhalla, although it will no doubt be a huge transition for us both. I feel very lucky that I was able to be home with him FT for 6 months and then home 5 days out of 7 until now. But the finances are in desperate need of attention after the year we've had. Hi ho hi ho, it's back to work I go.

This post is pretty heavy on the news, eh? Maybe I ought to throw in some TV commentary to lighten things up. Anyone watching Top Chef?