Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Feeling Sorry for Myself

Why can't a cold just be a cold?
I started feeling ill a week ago. Runny nose, sore throat, the symptoms of a fairly standard cold. I remembered with relief that as Daniel has weaned himself - just shy of a year old so much smugness for lasting that long - I can take as much sudafed and painkillers as I jolly well like. Hooray! No more martyr suffering!
It gave me insomnia! I made sure I hadn't got the caffeinated pills, just decongestant only, but a pill at bedtime meant no sleep! Lying there, feeling exhausted, but sleep was not there. For two nights I endured and then went to unmedicated nights. I slept, but I suspect I snored.
We're all running with it now. There's nothing that spoils a handsome boys face as a long yellow candle of snot hanging out, but like King Canute, I cannot fight the tide.
I thought I was on the mend. After all, it's not that bad a cold and it's been a week. The runny thickened up and started to ease....
Until last night. Woke up feeling like someone had skewered me through the ear with a sharp knife dipped in chilli oil. Made the mistake of rubbing my ear... I wonder if that's what a tazer strike feels like? The intensity of the pain!
Today my ear feels odd, less painful but it's giving me an odd echo, as if what I'm hearing on that side is happening a tiny fraction later than the other. My clearing nasal passages have refilled with truly vile yellow muck that mostly seems to be leeching in from my ear.
It's the one day of the week Joseph has no preschool or toddler group. Sometimes I like to get out with him, run a bit of his spare energy off in the great outdoors.
The forecast was for rain and more rain. That's what we have, with a helping of bright sunny patches to torment us, showing us the lovely day we could have had if the clouds would only push off.
We've been stuck in all day and the frustration is showing. The problem is, all the local indoor stuff we could go to - Joseph hates. He hates sift play, especially without a friend. To be honest, the way my ear feels today I don't think I'd enjoy the noise of soft play, but I'd happily suffer if it was what Joseph wanted to do. He hates most shops and isn't old enough to enjoy the inside bits of the local National Trust stuff.
It has culminated in me flopping on the sofa a lot - my head feels like porridge - and Joseph 'playing' with Daniel which as far as I can tell means him putting stuff on Daniels head and trying to push him around. Daniel has been alternately pulling all the shoes off the shoe rack (didn't bother putting them back last time), attempting to escape into the garden when it's been sunny enough to open the back door and making a grab for our box of stationary to try and eat the paperclips.
I need to rest, ideally just drink lots of tea and watch some pointless telly to take my mind off how awful I feel. Instead I have had to negotiate a cheese sandwich (stalemate) and listen to the relative merits of pull back tractor verses a toy aeroplane. Which is better for beating 'baddies'? Joseph's latest obsession - beating baddies.
We had a whole conversation about death this morning thanks to that. He wanted to know how long it would take to get better from being killed.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

But I gave you Magic Stars!

Why did I not just go to the supermarket yesterday? Why didn't I just get up and go out while everyone else was mucking about?
I just fancied a slow bank holiday morning. I paid for that laziness today.
I don't usually take Joseph to the supermarket any more. Pain in the neck? That isn't the half of it. By the time we get to the freezer section I don't think there would be a single person in the shop who would think me unjustified in ramming him in one of the freezers, shutting the door and just walking away.
Today was no exception.
Was hoping to bribe him a bit - a treat from the bakery for good behaviour, let him have a few bits of 'his own shopping' and his own bag to pack at the tills. It's worked before.
Not today.
He  didn't want to get in the car, especially when he found out where we were going. Note to self - don't tell him next time.
He wouldn't get out of the car when we got there. I had to drag him out and he started whinging.
A few aisles in he started asking for one of his toys. I hadn't got a toy for him, he causes nothing but trouble when I let him bring a car, running it up and down every available surface and across fresh food as well if I can't stop him in time. He pays precious little attention to where he's walking at the best of times, when he's got a toy car he's a total liability. That's not to mention the inevitable fallout when he forgets, puts the wretched thing down and forgets where. One time someone went home with a generic looking blue matchbox car in their bananas. He said that's where it was put... but we never saw it again.
I digress. We had no toy car with us. He wouldn't take that for an answer and the whinge started. Boy can that boy whinge! If it were an Olympic sport....
I mentioned that if he stopped being so silly and calmed down then there might be a treat from the bakery in the offing. Those doughnuts he likes with the icing and the pink sprinkles?
He quietened down at last, but it did not last.
Someone came along with a trolley clearly as oblivious to their immediate surroundings as he was and he would have been squashed if I hadn't pulled him out of their way pretty sharpish.
What does he do?
Scream his head off, that's what.
Apparently I had 'hurt him'. Really? I thought I was saving him from getting hurt. He said I had hurt his finger. I hadn't touched his finger, I had grasped him by the shoulders and not even that firmly. In the end I concluded that he must have made a grab for my trolley just at the moment I was moving him from harms way and perhaps caught his finger.
It wasn't hurt at all - not even a little mark, but it didn't stop the massive tantrum from welling up. Tears, screams.....
My patience was tissue paper thin by this point. I warned him - calm down or no bakery treat.
He did not calm down and the crying just turned back to the constant flow of whinge about not wanting to be in the shop and wanting to go home.
I told him I'd had enough, no bakery treat for him. He didn't calm down.

I paid, left the shop and then had to manhandle him into the car as he had suddenly lost the ability to do it himself. Apparently I was being very unfair. And I just thought he wanted to get home!

We walked to preschool and I just kept my head down to get there quickly. Dropped him off, got home, made Daniel some lunch and unpacked the shopping, enjoying the whinge free house. Daniel went to sleep for his nap and.... quiet!
Shame it was only going to be for an hour, but I made the most of it nonetheless.

Time to pick up Mr Terror.

The whinge started almost from the get go.
It was impossible for him to carry all his pictures he had done. He could not manage to get his arms in his coat. He could not pick up his own lunch box. He put the pictures down right in the middle of the corridor for no good reason and then whinged when they inevitably got stepped on.
Teeth starting to grind....

We have a Tuesday ritual of stopping off at a little cafe near the preschool. I was in half a mind not to bother, but I fancied a coffee.
Bought Joseph his usual babachino and a latte for me. I got him some magic stars - didn't think I could go wrong with those - and some little wafers to share with Daniel and to dip in my coffee.
Joseph wants the wafers. Apparently I 'have' to share with him. I ask if he's planning on sharing the magic stars.
Then he can't have a wafer.
This, I am told, is unfair.
I have grown rather hard hearted by now and I am not bothered by it being apparently unfair and Daniel and I enjoy the wafers.  Never mind that I've had to physically manhandle him into a chair as he's decided he wants one of the tall chairs by the window. We can't sit at those, they're too high to sit with a buggy next to them.
He wont finish his drink. It's too chocolatey. He ate all the flipping magic stars though, surely they're even more chocolatey? Guess I'll have to start asking them to leave the chocolate off the babachino again.
He asks for more food, as he's very hungry, I ask if he ate all his lunch at preschool and I am told that yes he did, his lunch box is totally empty. I ask if this is true and am told 'I would not lie to you Mummy.'
He was lying, he barely touched his lunch again. I refuse to buy more treats, he was lucky he got the magic stars.
We walk home and he's a total pain the whole way, running ahead and then dawdling and generally getting in everyones way.
We get home where he causes nothing but trouble, eats his lunch leftovers in seconds flat (why didn't he do that at lunch time) and caps it all off by shoving Daniel hard head first into the coffee table.

He is now upstairs sulking at how unfair it is he has been punished.
All I can think is that I bought him magic stars and all he's done is lie to my face and try and hurt his brother.
He's not coming down till Andy gets home.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Straight up, no milk or sugar

It takes a while to settle Daniel off to sleep sometimes. The trick though, is not in getting him to sleep for his nap, but keeping him there.
It took half an hour today, or thereabouts. I wasn't paying too much attention.
When I had judged it finally safe, I got up to go get a cup of tea. Jiggling for that length of time is thirsty work.
Just as I had got far enough away to not get back quickly enough, the phone rang. Well ain't that typical. I don't get many calls in the landline and they always happen when Daniel is napping.
It was at least a proper phone call and not some automated voice going on about PPI I've never bought or an accident I've never had.
It disturbed Daniel, so back to the jiggling. Daniel had just started going back to sleep when Joseph decided that quiet play in his room was all very well and good, but noisy play out on the landing was better.
Had a word with him - play quiet and you can watch that dreadful programme with the Lego ninjas later. Spinjitsu? Good grief.
Daniel went back to sleep with a bit of persuasion. What am I going to do when he gets to big for his baby car seat? What will I jiggle him in then? We can't use his bouncy chair any more, when you sit him in it it just makes a sort of groaning sound, like over stressed metal and then just... sags. He's too heavy to bounce.
Asleep at last! Can I have that cup if tea now? Get up, head to kitchen and trip noisily over the bumbo tray....
Jiggle jiggle jiggle....

To add insult to repetitive strain injury...
I get my cup of tea, have a look through Netflix for something to watch, pick something that looks good.
Only to discover it's got Nicholas Cage in it. Doing a fake British accent no less. Arrrrrgh!

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Daniel is not the only fruit

The worst sick I ever had to clear up was a bowl of Shreddies Joseph had for breakfast. They go into little flaky bits and it's hard to get them all. It was made all the worse by the fact he'd has a glass of strawberry Nesquik to wash them down. The stench from that was truly vile.

Daniel had a good nights sleep last night, goodness knows how! He had a good dinner, a nice bottle of milk and settled down to sleep with only a brief bit of grizzle and you could tell his heart wasn't in it. We checked on the boys a little bit later. Joseph, for once, had been the one to not settle off quickly and when he finally went quiet we had to go up and adjust his duvet and turn his light off. When he doesn't go to sleep quickly he doesn't get upset, he just keeps playing and it can get quite loud. We usually let it slide, but he does keep the light on.
Daniels cot is on the other side of our bed and so as to not risk disturbing him we didn't go right in, just opened the door and listened to his regular breathing.

When I went to bed I pretty much did the same thing. I was more concerned with creeping about in the dark and not disturbing him than anything else.
I can only assume it must have happened a bit before I went to bed, given that if it had happened later he would have woken me. I assume. I don't know. You'd think I'd have noticed the smell.

Anyway, at some point in the night he was sick. The food didn't look very digested so my estimate is earlier rather than later but who knows. He did it silently and probably in his sleep. All I know is that he woke at half past six - much later than usual - and when I went to pick him up he felt moist. I initially thought he'd dribbled more than usual but quickly came to the correct conclusion. On went the light and there he was lying in an orange halo spotted by small lumps of beef mince from the bolognaise we'd eaten the night before.
Good grief it stank. His clothes were coated in orange and his hair made him look like a beef obsessed punk. Why is sick so much worse to deal with than poop? I can handle any number of stench laden nappies, even ones that have had a rotavirus incident in them and leaked under the strain. I can deal with that, and whilst I will bat an eyelid I won't be tempted to add my own chunder to the mix. I nearly did this morning.
I bathed him and scraped beef off him whilst Andy dealt with the cot. It's going to take a lot of febreeze to finally shift the smell if rancid tomato and beef from there, believe me.
In a final act of gross, when I had got him out of the bath I pulled up the plastic bath mat and all the lumps of beef mince I had washed off had collected underneath. Ick.

Did you know that a standard jar of baby food that has carrot, tomato or sweet potato as an ingredient is likely to contain 500% of a babies RDA of beta-carotene? No wonder it's going to be a while before his fake tan fades. Thankfully carotinisis, as it's known, is harmless. Besides, soon it won't notice as all his clothes will be heavily stained with orange from all the sick. He brought back some of his lunch today, again when I wasn't looking.
He was in his playpen, not complaining too much for once. I picked him up, settled him in his car seat for a nap and wondered why I could still smell sick on him. That's when I noticed the orange stain down his arm and the puddle in the play pen.
He didn't sleep for long and has been quite grumpy all afternoon. I don't know if it's a bug or another bout of reflux. All I want to know is - why is baby food orange and their clothes usually white or very pale colours? Why is it the only washing powder that can get out the stains the fully biological stuff that we're all allergic to?
Argh. And again I say Argh.

Monday, 16 February 2015

Orange is the new Daniel

Several days clear of excessive multivitamins and his skin still has something of a David Dickinson glow to it. I'm sure its lessening, but I'm keeping an eye on it. I'll take another photograph in a few days and do a comparison.
It also occurred to me that a great many products nowadays have added vitamins and minerals, making the need for additional supplements even more redundant. I had a look.
A normal loaf of sliced bread contains added thiamin B1, Calcium, Niacin B3 and Iron. Daniels breakfast cereal has added Vitamin C, Niacin, Vitamin E, Pantothenic acid, Vitamin B, Thiamin, Vitamin A, Folic acid, Vitamin D and Biotin.
I don't know what pantothenic acid is, but it sounds like it might cause overexcitability and the sudden desire to throw a foam pie at someone and shout 'It's behind you!'.
Joseph's cereal has added vitamins C, D, B2, B6, B3, Folic acid, Calcium, Iron and the Pantothenic acid again.
Daniels baby biscuits have even more, calcium, zinc and a whole alphabet of vitamins including K which I had assumed was unnecessary as they're given a special booster for that right after birth and that should be all they need. His fruit pots have vitamin C added.
Joseph's nesquik has vitamin D added and some others too. Never mind giving them a supplement, I'm more worried they're overdosing!
You've got to wonder how anyone can end up vitamin deficient in this day and age!

Friday, 13 February 2015

The future is beta-carotene

Every time I have spoken to a health visitor it has been suggested to me that the boys should be on vitamin supplements. I have, up till now, ignored this advice. Joseph eats a varied diet and isn't unhealthy, it's actually quite hard to be vitamin deficient in this day and age.
Last time I spoke to a health visitor they got quite insistent. Daniel hadn't gained weight over Christmas due to bronchiolitis and although he had gained since, he hadn't caught back up. I wasn't too worried, but the health visitor expresses polite concern.
Feed him more high fat food - no fromage frais, only full fat yogurt. Mix some cream into his mashed potato.
His diet is too healthy! Also was told rather emphatically that he NEEDS to be on a supplement as he doesn't drink a lot of formula.
I bowed to pressure. Kids vitamins at boots were on a three-for-two offer so I got some chewy ones for Joseph and a bottle of murky liquid for Daniel. Natural orange flavour it said. It smelt like toilet cleaner.
He didn't like them and he didn't like full fat yogurt either. You can't get individual kids yogurts in full fat, only fromage frais which I think is odd as the official advice is full fat only till they're quite old.
I hit on a good wheeze, if I mixed the vitamins in with the yogurt then he'd happily eat both. Win win!

His appetite is pretty good now. He likes jars of baby food and he loves quite a few different finger foods. His favourites are roast parsnip and roast sweet potato. He's quite fond of cheerios and dried fruit too. Cheerios have an annoying habit of getting everywhere.
A few days ago I looked at Daniel and wondered if he might be a touch jaundiced. I was worried, he was too old for baby jaundice and if I was right then... hmmmm.
His eyes were not showing any yellow and he looked like he had a slight suntan. It being February a suntan is not possible.

On closer inspection I realised he wasn't going yellow but orange. Orange? Why would he be orange, what causes that?
It occurred to me that there's a lot of carrot in his diet. All bought baby food had carrot in it and he likes eating sweet potato. He's also had some small amounts of red meat in his diet which is rich in vitamin A, not to mention he's decided that he does want his evening formula after all which is fortified.
Add to that liquid vitamins... the boy is overdosing on vitamin A - and who knows how many others - and the spare beta-carotene is building up in his skin.
No more liquid vitamins. I've taken a picture of him on my phone of him holding my hand and it's pretty clear he's got an odd cast to his skin tone. Next time I'm bothered by someone telling me he needs extra vitamins I will show it too them.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Why I Love my High-Speed Broadband

Fringe, House, Grimm, Dead Like Me, Andromeda, Suits, White Collar, Lie to Me, Continuum....
Some of the many series I have worked my way through on Netflix recently, nearly all over night. Daniel is a somewhat reluctant sleeper and I have needed entertainment. First it was to get me through the night feeds. There were four to begin with, but they did slowly drop down to two then one and then....
Five am. That seems to be his favourite time of day. It might sound strange, but 5am is something of a relief. After months of middle of the night wake ups for feeds and then struggling to get back to sleep again, the chance to sleep through till 5 does indeed feel good.
He got better at sleeping. Then he got worse. Apparently it's quite common for children to hit nine months of age and to have a bit of a wobble when it comes to sleeping through.
I made some mistakes with Daniel. I regularly let him fall asleep after a feed and that left me with a baby who would only sleep after a feed. This was difficult, but not as hard as discovering that even that didn't work any more. During the day he won't sleep in his cot. I can put him down 'drowsy but awake' as all advice says and he will not stay drowsy for long. He will scream. I've even given up getting him to sleep then transferring him to his cot as he'd inevitably wake up straight away. This was especially galling as I now have to spend quite a while jiggling him to get him to sleep. Half an hour is about right.
Overnight is disastrous. He won't feed, even if he does it does no good. He doesn't want a cuddle. He wants to be jiggled and at 3am it takes a long old time to knock him back to sleep again.
Things got bad. We ended up with a night where he woke up at 11pm, got taken downstairs and spent the whole night in his bouncy chair bring regularly jiggled every time he grumbled.
This is untenable. Night after night of this is a one-way ticket to a psych ward due to lack of sleep induced psychosis.
We brought the bouncy chair upstairs. Same problem, but it is a bit less cold in the bedroom.
So what do we do? Jiggling to sleep is getting harder and he's getting to big for the bouncy chair. Netflix has many things to watch but I've been through so many series I'm starting to run our of ideas to entertain myself at night or in the early hours. I'm watching a lot of films now, some good and some bad.

Every one I talk to says the same thing: -

Leave him to scream.

For the last two nights I have got up, given him a quick cuddle and put him straight back. Then I lie there listening to him scream. Experience tells me there's nothing I can do, nothing helps. My emotions tell me I'm being cruel. Whatever I do, I'm sure not getting enough sleep.