Humidifier Dust

During one of EH's worst colds, we purchased a new humidifier that put out more moisture into the air.  Previously we had been using a vaporizer, which was noisier and released perhaps

A few weeks ago we started having problems with our furnace.  It was not heating our house, but was running constantly.  We could hear the blowing shutting off but then starting up again instantly.  Much of the time it was not producing heat and the amount of air coming out of the vents was weaker than normal.

We called in a heater repair guy who chastised us for closing so many vents. It was our attempt to warm EH's room past 63 degrees.  So we opened all of the vent, he changed the air filter (which was filthy disgusting), and it seemed to solve the problem.

But 3 weeks later and the problem started up once again.  We were flabbergasted - the vents were open so clearly that wasn't the problem!  Fortunately we were still within the 30 day warranty window so they sent someone out again to recheck the furnace.

Same problem as before - the unit was overheating and the filter was clogged with a fine white dust. The filter from only 3 weeks ago was warped because it was so clogged it was getting sucked into the blower. When he pulled it out the temp in the furnace immediately went down to normal.  When he slid it back in it shot up to over 220 degrees.  That was clearly the problem.  The guy recommended changing the filter every 3 weeks or so, or as soon as we noticed the problem and to leave it at that. 

When we thought about what could be causing the white dust, there were really only a few things it could be, and the new humidifier was the top culprit on our list.  We have known for a long time that our water is crap and that it leaves behind white particles.  Our ice cubes have white flakes in them.  Our pots that we use to boil water always have a white film where the top of the water line was.  Our water is the worst thing about this house, and it would cost us about $70k to fix it for good (city water.)  Not happening.

So anyway, at that time we stopped using the humidifier and and I think it's safe to say that we were right in thinking that was the problem.  We haven't had to change the heater filter in about four weeks and EH has been waking up less at night from coughing.  When we realized that his coughing could have caused by him inhaling particles that we were spreading into his air, we really felt awful. 

After we got rid of the humidifier (I gave it to my sister, who mentioned that she wanted one and has the luxury of city water) I set about cleaning EH's room to get all of the white dust off of his stuff.  I figured his room was just particularly dusty because it's where the attic access is and that dust was coming down from there, but now I know that it was from the humidifier.

Here is a before picture of EH's nighstand with the white dust on it:

And here is a picture after:

Remarkable right?

So, no more humidifier for us.  And since EH hasn't been sick since he started A-Care (knock on wood) we're hoping we won't need to even think about a humidifier until the next cold and flu season. 

Eating Solids

We tried to start EH on solids months ago, when he was around 4 months of age, on the recommendation of his pediatrician.  We started with rice cereal, which he hated, and then moved to oatmeal hoping he would like it more.  With both of those cereals, he usually just pushed it out of his mouth his with tongue, or gagged on it so badly that he would turn bright red, we would panic, and then quit with the cereal.

So after a few tries of that, we took a break on the solid foods.

Around his 6th month pediatrician visit we decided to give real food another try.  He still gagged on occasion but wasn't pushing it out of his mouth so much.  A couple of days before he started A-Care, he ate an entire serving of oatmeal without gagging! We were thrilled.

 Enjoying pears

Since then we've introduced a number of new foods.  Around 6.5 months old he was still a little hesitant about new tastes and textures, but now that he's 7 months old he is finally loving solid foods.  He smiles and laughs through his meal and we can introduce new foods without any problem.

I think in his case, he just wasn't ready for solids at 4 months of age, and I'm glad that we didn't push it too hard until closer to 6 months.  There's really no benefit to him eating solid foods, other than it's sort of fun for us and it saves us a few bucks a month on formula (since he eats ever-so-slightly less formula now that he's eating some solids.)

So here are the foods that EH has tried so far that he absolutely loves.

Successful First Foods:

1. Oatmeal

2. Apples
3. Sweet Potatoes

4. Pears
5. Mango
6. Zucchini
7. Rice Cereal
8. Tiramisu *
9. Yogurt
10. Squash

EH has tried the 4 foods below, but didn't really like them or gagged a lot on them, so we're going to reintroduce them to him in a couple of weeks now he's starting to tolerate other foods better.

Failed Foods (we're going to try all of these again in the future):
1. Avocado
2. Green Beans
3. Carrots

4. Bananas

The failed foods list all made him gag, I think because of the texture.  The foods that he really likes blended down into a softer, creamer puree, where as the beans and carrots were slightly chunky, and the avocado and banana seemed to thick for his liking.  Most of those made him throw up, and I don't mean spit up, I mean throw up. Like gut wrenching retching (say that five times fast), full stomach contents vomiting.  We're going to take that as a sign that he's not quite ready for those yet, and wait a few more weeks before trying again.  There's enough variety in what he does like to eat that I'm not force a few things on him that he doesn't seem to care for right now.

Of course, it seems like all he really wants is the stuff that we don't want him to have.  Including his daddy's cereal.

* Yes, you read number 7 on the "successful" list correctly.  EH has tried tiramisu.  Or really, he's tried the cream/icing part of the tiramisu (I was not interested in having a hyped-up, caffeinated baby!)  We were at a baby shower a couple of weekends ago and EH was being really fussy while we were eating.  He kept trying to grab at my food.  The dessert spoons were really tiny - baby sized, really - so I gave him a little taste of the icing to see if he liked.  Well, he's my kid so of COURSE he liked the icing.  He smiled, laughed, and then proceeded to reach and squawk loudly in delight, asking for more. It was super cute, and I only gave him a few bites, but I definitely did feel a little guilty.  After all, many people believe that you should only give your baby vegetables early on, because you don't want them to develop a preference for sweet things, like fruit. I have a feeling the doctor would recommend fruit over icing, but it was only once, and desperate times called for desperate measures.

Making time

Things have been busy here. I've been working late most nights this week, so my limited precious minutes with EH are even more limited.  I come home, give him a hug and then cook dinner. Then I play with him for a couple of minutes and suddenly it's already time for bed. It leaves little time for much else. 

Our house is a mess, our yard a disaster, but it's ok. Things can wait. Because the yard will always be there, but this super cute 7.5 month baby is changing so quickly, each and every day, that spending even 10 minutes of EH's awake time doing yard work just seems like a waste of time.

And I only have one more week with him until he goes to spend a full week with his nana and papa! I don't know how I'm going to get by without him!

His Favorite Thing About the Doctors Office


I have been sick for about the past 30 hours or so.  Not a cold or anything like that, but intestinal, digestive, stomach "issues."  You following me?  I'm hurting, bad.  I should also mention that I haven't taken anything to treat this issue, because last time I did that EH become wildly constipated, didn't poop for like, four days and fussed the entire 96 hours until the literal explosion occurred.  If you haven't realized it already, this post may be a little "too much information" for many of you.  You've been warned.

Anyway, last night I was up, in the bathroom, for at least an hour.  Another was spent in bed, unable to sleep because of the knots of pain in my stomach.  Generally during the week I don't feel very well rested, and after a rough night with the baby on Tuesday night and my awful night last night, I am exhausted.

When I am truly exhausted it manifests itself in one predominant way, and it's generally not noticed by people around me - extreme forgetfulness. 

This morning after I was finally able to drag myself out of bed and into the shower, I found myself confused as to whether or not I had already shampooed my hair.  I didn't remember doing it at all, and in fact, didn't remember much about getting into the shower.  Only when I decided to go ahead and shampoo just in case I skipped it, did I have a sense of deja vu that made me think I had already done that.  So I proceeded on with my shower.

Not even 20 minutes later, I remembered that I hadn't put on deodorant.  So I went and I think I did that.  But then later when I was feeding EH I had this nagging feeling that I hadn't put on deodorant again.  So I went back to do that (possible for a second time) and realized that I had applied it to my left armpit the first time, but not my right.  So weird, right? 

And then the real zinger came when I was driving to work. Often my extreme tiredness manifests itself in me forgetting significant parts of my commute to work.  It is a scary and dangerous thing to realize and I don't know what I can do to prevent.  But today, that didn't happen.  Instead, I was driving along and I realized I had a weird taste in my mouth.  That then led to the realization that I hadn't brushed my teeth this morning.  Or at least, I don't think I brushed my teeth.  Gross, right?  So I popped in some sugar free spearmint gum, but I've still felt nasty all day for (probably) not brushing my teeth this morning. 

This is all to say that I am tired.  And forgetful.  I need some serious sleep, but first I seriously need this stomach issue to resolve itself, asap.  I am not only not useful when I get like this, I'm a hazard to my own health, and a waster of shampoo and deodorant, apparently.  On top of all of that, the weather has been beautiful, but I haven't been able to join EH and DH on our usual evening walks because I'm afraid of being away from the bathroom for that long (and honestly, my commute is terrifying for that reason as well.) I reeeeeally hope that I start feeling better soon. 

Cuteness, Multiplied

One of the things I was saddest about leaving behind when we pulled EH out of day care is the socialization aspect.  Every day he would get to see 12 to 15 of his peers, many of whom would likely become his friends in the future.  He left day care right as he was really starting to become more social, and it made me sad to think that we weren't going to get to see so many of those super cute moments when EH started playing with the other babies. 

The challenge with trying to orchestrate some play dates for Evan is that it's just plain hard to find the time.  DH and I both work full-time.  When we get home I cook dinner while DH entertains EH.  Then while I'm putting EH to bed, DH washes dishes and then we do some picking up and get ready for bed ourselves.  On weekends we have to do all of the other things that don't get done during the week - laundry, trash, cleaning, picking up, grocery shopping, paying bills.. all that fun stuff.  Plus we want to still have a little quality time with our kid.  Once all of that is said and done, the weekend is not only over, it's already Monday evening.  

A week or so ago I took a random Friday off because A-care wasn't available, and we had a little "play date" for EH.  A friend had her baby - a little girl - in October, so she is only a few months younger than Evan.  They were remarkably similar though in many ways.  EH is on the smaller side and baby girl - we'll call her Stripes - is almost as big as he is even though she's younger.

EH excels in sitting up, whereas Stripes is a pro at tummy time.  She is all over the place on the floor, rolling over, squirming around, basically almost crawling.  And EH just sits there and watches her very intently, occasionally reaching out to touch her.  Although we are anxious for EH to become more mobile, it made us appreciate his calm, contented nature.  He's perfectly happy sitting on the floor playing.  No need to move around for him, and thus no need for us to worry about him rolling into things or getting into something if we walk away.  We know it's soon though, and we will be thrilled when it happens. 

Put two independently cute things together and the cutest multiplies exponetially

EH loves his crinkle blocks, and so did Stripes.  They're a little too young to understand sharing right now but as parents DH and I are going to have to remember to teach EH those things since he won't be learning them in day care, and since these days he doesn't have to share his toys with anyone.

EH's play date with Stripes made me realize that we need to get him together with other kids, especially other babies his age, more often.  The good news is that EH has two - that's right, TWO - little girl cousins on the way; one will be here in April and one in July.  Although they'll be quite a bit younger than EH, we're excited that he's going to have play mate cousins relatively close in age, and we can't wait to meet them.

Baby Giggles

I'm not sure if there's anything much cuter than baby giggles, and after waiting weeks and weeks to hear him truly laugh, we realized it was well worth the wait.

If this video doesn't make you smile, you might have a heart of cold stone.

Things are definitely getting more interesting with EH these days.  He's laughing, rolling, and staying awake and alert for longer periods of time.  Before we know it, he will be crawling.  And while we definitely look forward to that, we also recognize that it's probably going to drive us crazy trying to keep him out of everything, so for now we are just enjoying him the way his is.

Leaps and Bounds

Every week, I get a newsletter from Baby Center, telling me about my baby's development.  They're nice to read because it's fun to see what things my baby will be doing soon. But they can also be intimidating because when your baby isn't doing the things that the emails say he should be doing, you worry that something is wrong.

In the first few months of EH's life, we knew that because he was born two weeks early, that he might do many of things that other babies his age were doing until about two weeks later.  But once he hit 6 months old, that adjustment doesn't really apply anymore, and we started to notice that EH wasn't really on schedule, at least in terms of some of the "mini-milestones" that Baby Center said he should be reaching.

The post-roll "look"

For example, he didn't sit up on his own until many weeks after the BC email said he would be.  I swear that it was around the 3 month newsletter that BC had an article about "your baby" laughing and giggling like things at peek-a-boo.  EH had no interest in peek-a-boo.  As I've mentioned numerous times, he also hated tummy time, so when I got an email saying that my baby might be starting to crawl around, I felt sad because the only thing my baby did when on his stomach was cry and pound his face into the floor.

I know, I know... every baby develops at his own pace.  But even his pediatrician started showing concern about EH's development, and then we knew that we needed to do more.  This all happened right around the time that we were taking EH out of day care and moving him into A-care (which I promise to write more about very soon!)  So, we made sure to include some things - mostly importantly tummy time, eating solids, and sitting up - into our expectations of things that A-Care would do with EH each day.

In the three weeks that he has been there he has already made great improvements.  Within two weeks he already did his first roll! It took another week for us to get to see it ourselves, but once he got the hang of it he was literally "on a roll."  As you'll see in the video, it's hard to keep him on his stomach now.

Now our next goal will be to convince him to roll back onto his stomach, something I think will be much harder to accomplish.  For now though we're thrilled with his new found skill and we can't wait for many more!  I hope his pediatrician will be impressed as well.  We'd really like to avoid having to have EH work with an early intervention specialist this early on if we can avoid it.

Coming soon - Giggles!!!

Tummy Time

"Tummy time" is one of the most important things you can do with your child to encourage their physical development.  Tummy time forces infants to build neck and back muscles when they lift up their head and encouraged upper body strength when they try to push up their arms.

We have been aware of the importance of tummy time since before EH was born.  At the Baby Basics class that we took through Magee Women's Hospital, the instructor encouraged us to do tummy time with our infants every single day, even when they were only a few days old.  At that early age, they can't do much and probably won't like being on their stomachs but it at least gets them used to facing down.

Most of us were probably raised by being put to sleep on our stomachs, but in 1994 the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development started the "Back to Sleep" campaign, which encouraged parents to put their child to sleep on their back, as an attempt to reduce the instance of SIDS.  So infants - who are the ultimate creatures of habit - become so used to being on their backs that they start hating being on their stomachs.

EH is one of those creatures.  He hates tummy time.  I think I've maybe mentioned this at least once, twice, or maybe a dozen times.  One day in January I had to work until 8 p.m., so it was after 8:30 by the time I got home.  EH is usually in bed by then, but he had gotten a good nap and was still in a good mood, so DH kept him awake so that I could see him before he went to bed.  I start walking up the stairs from the garage and there is EH, laying on the floor on his tummy with his head up, alert as can be, looking around.

It melted my heart.  It was so cute.

This is what tummy time is supposed to look like.  Your child using their neck muscles, holding themselves up with the strength of their arms and looking at the world around them.  But those moments are rare in EH's world.

Usually EH's tummy time involves him on his stomach, banging his face into the floor, and some screaming. Lots and lots of screaming. It's so pathetically sad that I can't bear to photograph it.

But EH is developmentally behind in this area, and his pediatrician is concerned.  He wants us to put EH on his stomach at least 20 times a day, for 2 minutes at a time, to get him used to it.  There's no way we can pull off 20 times in the limited amount of time that we are with him in the morning and evenings, but we're going to do the best that we can.

Our new objective is do tummy time with EH as much as we possibly can. His new caretaker is also working on tummy time with him and he's already starting to show some signs of improvement.  He's rolled over twice for her (none for us, yet) and she says that although he still cries initially, he usually gets over it quickly enough if she works hard at entertaining him.

He goes back for a follow up visit to the pediatrician in two weeks.  At that time, they're going to determine whether or not they feel that we should start having him work with an early intervention specialist.  Although we are willing to do that if it comes to it, we're hoping that we'll be able to get him there on his own. 

It's hard and it's sad to watch him be so unhappy on his tummy, but I'm pretty sure I just need to get over it, since I think that a big part of parenthood is letting your child struggle and not always jumping in to rescue him.  We didn't like that his old day care sometimes left him alone to cry, but it's that frustration that forces him to do something about his situation. As hard as it is for me to watch him struggle, I need to remember that he is learning and growing stronger, whether he likes it or not.