Monday, November 19, 2007

Month 8: The Disease Called "Daycare"

Yes, Daniel has it. The disease called "daycare". It's a tricky disease, taking on new symptoms every other day. And apparently it lasts for months.

Finally tired of responding to "How's Daniel doing?" with "Not so great...", we took Daniel into the doctor's office today. His seemingly endless two month run of being under the weather included everything from spiking fevers to crazy long naps to projectile vomiting (more on that in a minute). The doctor listened patiently as I recited all the symptoms, and then he said "You're not going to like what I have to say" followed by a little speech on how Daniel most likely will be this way, on and off, until Spring.

I'm not surprised - I had half expected the "daycare" speech. It's funny how something that does so much good can also do harm - but on the flip side, the doc said that if he has a rough winter this year, next year's will be easy and uneventful (in the good way).

Back to the projectile vomiting... I have always read that you know your baby is vomiting (not just spitting up) when they eject the entire contents of their stomach. And I always thought, "How do you know what's the entire contents?"

On Sunday, I discovered the answer: You just know. No question. He drank a few ounces... sat up... got a strange look on his face... and BOOM! All over every piece of bedding we own. That stuff probably got 8 - 10 inches of horizontal air before gravity took it's toll. In one of my finer moments, I yelled "Holy crap!" and leaped off the bed, stripping Daniel, my bed, and myself all at the same time.

In other equally messy news, we got Daniel a high chair. One of those very functional $20 IKEA models... and it's fantastic. He does great in it, and it seems to encourage less-distracted eating than our other attempts at improv-chairs. He's doing much better with solids, and now loves to eat strips of toast and fruit along with his baby food.

He's crawling all over the place, and standing everywhere too (usually using the wobbliest chair he can find as support). We lovingly refer to him as "destructo" but I know we're in for much much worse as he learns to walk and (heaven forbid) run.

On a closing note, Daniel has never lacked for attention anywhere he's been. At home, he's adored. With extended family, he's revered. At daycare, he's treated very very well. But this last week I realized just how much he's fawned over at our church nursery on the weekends. We had a small weekday event where he was the only baby in the infant room, and instead of going home early, four nursery workers all stayed just to play with him. To take turns literally passing him around. The same thing happened one early service last Sunday, and four (different) volunteers came in the infant room to dote on him. When we arrive to the nursery, he's greeted with choruses of "It's Daniel!" "Hello my Danielson!" "He's here!!" Sometimes, they say hi to me too.

It's funny, but it makes me breathe easier to know that mine is the baby they love - not the one they dread. To know that it makes their day that much better when Daniel is in it. I jokingly call them his "weekend mommies" - not that I want to be replaced, but I love knowing that Daniel gets the most possible love all the time ... even when I can't be there.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Month 8: New Shoes & Those Magic Words

It is an electrifying and terrifying moment to see your baby stand up by himself for the first time. Your pulse quickens, your breath stops, and your mind races ahead to the mounds of baby-proofing you have yet to accomplish.

Daniel has always been exceptionally strong for his age, starting with his crazy head control the night he was born. So I shouldn't be surprised to see him achieve developmental milestones at the speed of light, but I can't help it. I laid him down in his crib for a nap (which he apparently wasn't ready for), he sat up and smiled and me, letting out this funny little chuckle, and began the climb. He grabs the bars, and kind of hoisted his bootie up to a kneeling position. Then one leg... then the other... and suddenly my baby was standing on his own two feet, obviously pleased with himself. Within minutes he was jumping, bouncing, doing the one-arm swing, and working his way around the crib interior, from bar to bar.

In honor of his new accomplishment, we picked up a few new pair of shoes at Wal-Mart (gotta love those $9 specials!). He now sports little white sneakers wherever we go, and is doing great about keeping them on. (The other pair of shoes was a pair of yellow work boots for his Halloween get-up. He was a lumberjack, complete with a red flannel shirt, red hat, homemade foil axe and a beard made with Mommy's mascara.)

In other news, Daniel finally transitioned from his all-encompassing word for everything: "da-da", to the sweet little syllables I have been waiting eight months for: "ma-ma". It happened this week - Wednesday - at 5:11 p.m. (not that it changed my life or anything). His voice has never sounded sweeter. Since then he's been using it more and more, and only when I'm around or when he's looking for me. If he's not there already, I think he's close to using words with intentionality. (All that said, there's no question that he still prefers saying "da-da" - lately, he's been using it to test the limits of his little vocal chords.)

That perfect little man just gets more perfect everyday.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Month 8: Sick & Loving It

That pesky little ER incident from last month (and the last posting) revealed a virus that didn't exactly stay in San Diego. While the hospital treatments did help for that week, Daniel's persistent "flu" didn't get any better. In fact, 3 and a half weeks later, it was worse: constant coughing, green sinus stuff, and a general feeling that he was just not himself. We finally took him in, and they prescribed an antibiotic for a sinus infection, and lots of rest and fluids.

Four days into the antibiotics and things took a turn for the worse - suddenly he was burning up, and the fever got worse throughout the night, spiking at 103.8, and tapering off over the next few days (during which he decided it would be fun to reject all food and drink. Our best guess is that it was a really sore throat, so it hurt to swallow. So he didn't - and the amount of drool was insane).

Let all that (kind of boring) information serve as the foundation for my main point: I love it when Daniel is sick.

Don't get me wrong - it's tough to watch him suffer, and I just want to "fix it" when anything is wrong. I'll probably be that mom who bullies the bully who picks on my son. But when Daniel doesn't feel 100%, a whole new side of him comes out: an affectionate, cuddly side. He's a very physical kid normally, but isn't usually prone to sitting still in laps, giving long hugs, or cuddling for extended periods of time.

Sick Daniel is a whole other animal. The night his fever spiked, Daniel slept in bed with me. We decided before he was born that he'd only sleep in his own room, and so far he has. (And for the record, I completely believe that it has helped him sleep through the night from early on). But a piece of me has always wanted him curled up next to me every night, even knowing I wouldn't sleep a wink.

That night, he was just so miserable, and burning up from the fever, I just couldn't bear for him to be in a different room. So we laid down for a quick nap in the bed, and just stayed there. He was cuddly, and sweet. He put his little forehead on mine, and slowly babbled himself to sleep. Some of my all-time favorite Daniel memories happened that night, and I uncovered a deeply maternal, nurturing piece of me that hadn't surfaced up until that point. (And wonderful Fernando slept on the couch, leaving room for a giant body pillow that prevented Daniel from rolling off the side of the bed :).

Daniel is feeling better, which is great, and some of that affection stuck around. He's giving longer hugs (and at this point, his version of a hug is flopping over on your shoulder while you hug HIM!) and he's more insistent on being physically close to us. Crawling into the kitchen (on our un-mopped floors) while we're cooking, or following our voices into another room.

He's also back in his own crib, which I know is the healthiest decision for all of us. But the next time he wakes up with a bad fever, I'll probably convert to attachment-style parenting... but just for the night. :)