Motherhood, Marriage and Other Wild Rides

Health, Happiness and the Pursuit of Mommyhood

Noah is 6 Months Today! October 17, 2007

Filed under: Lacko Family Chronicles — rjlacko @ 10:52 pm

NoahOur “little” Noah is now six months old. He is little to me, but it’s true, he is already sporting 12-month sized clothes. He’s a whole lotta baby! Grow, cherub, grow!

A quick report to mark the occasion: No teeth have appeared just yet, but we can feel two on the bottom and one up top, just waiting for the right time to pop through. Overall, he’s doing very well with teething. He likes Hyland’s teething tablets, and he works out his need to chomp with Sophie, his squeezy giraffe. (Sophie is a gift from our neighbor across the street, who just gave birth to a baby boy. She delivered at a birthing center in the water. We can’t wait to meet him! I have a bag of groceries and some flowers to take over this afternoon…)

Noah has also begun eating solids. He’s had brown rice cereal and organic sweet potatoes, peas and carrots. So far, he has only turned his nose up to apples and bananas–weird, most babies love fruits the most. I’m sure he’ll come around. The introduction to food has also brought on a refusal for the bottle. When he’s not sloshing strained veggies around on his little tongue, he’ll only accept nursing. Hmmm, well, we can’t have too many changes at once, I guess.

And, tada! He is beginning to sit up! Everyday, he surprises me with a little pop-up to sitting position! At first, he would very soon topple over, but each day, he sits longer and longer, playing with a toy in his lap. I think by the end of this week he’ll pretty much have it mastered. Speaking of playing with toys, he can pick up a toy and pass it back and forth between his hands! Yeah!

He has understood his name for quite a few months now, and is clueing into other words, too. For instance, when he held or is in his jumper, if we say “jump! jump!” he smiles and obliges.

I’m very happy for him, but I do love these infant days and I’m not in any hurry to rush him into toddlerhood. It’s funny; now that some cooler weather is here, I’ve been dressing him in Joseph’s hand-me-down footed sleepers. (Don’t you just love hand-me-downs? There’s something so precious and sentimental about seeing your baby in your “older baby’s” clothes.) Now that Noah has moved into 12-month size, I’ve noticed I’ve run out of footed sleepers to “hand down” to him. Why? Because by the time Joseph was a year old, I already thought of him as my little boy, not my little baby, and dressed him as such. This time, I say with eloquence: “uhn uhn, no way.” Noah is my little baby, and he can wear cute little infant things til, well, er… I guess by the time he actually IS 12 months, he’ll be in 18-month clothes. And the weather will be warm.

When we were in Camden, Maine, I picked up a copy of Love You Forever by Robert Munsch at a book sale at the town’s superb library. Even though I can’t read that book without sobbing, it has reminded me that, while infant-life does fly by, both Joseph and Noah will always be my babies, and I will always be their Mommy.


Gluten-Free and… Loving It? October 15, 2007

I’ll admit it: When we were in Maine, we threw some dietary caution to the lobster-scented coastal wind. We stayed primarily in B&B’s and were lavished each morning with fancy Belgian waffles, baked fruit served in luxuriously rich sauces and warm muffins, fresh-baked cookies and the like–all made with refined white flour. Tasty, yes, but we did miss our usual whole grains, veggie, fruit, nut and lean meat diet. (Cheers to the Co-op in Belfast! They saved us from veggie withdrawal symptoms.)

While our toddler was certainly off his schedule, and sleeping in a variety of different beds throughout the trip would set off a tantrum in even the mildest of two-year-olds, we really noticed a difference with the change in diet. So, we indulged while on vaca, but I decided that when we returned, we would try out a gluten-free diet, and see if the white flour really was at the root of total toddler meltdown.

I contacted Joseph’s nursery school for help. Anneliese’s (where he attends 3 days a week) is the only school in Orange County with an organic menu. They are very conscientious about the kids’ diets, so I was hoping for some input. They did mention that some other parents were trying the same thing–with the idea that the glucose breaks down over the day, and by bedtime, the child is behaving like they have been fed an all-sugar dinner. Hmm, thought I. Bedtime troubles, we’ve got those in spades….

It’s relatively easy to make the switch to a gluten-free diet. Mother’s Market and Henry’s both carry plenty of options. If you are blessed with a Whole Foods in your neighborhood (you lucky so-and-so!) the choices are even wider. I picked up some bread mixes and little Joseph and I made a project of it. He got to break the eggs and hold the measuring spoon while I poured the oil. And, I won’t make you guess whether a toddler enjoys kneading sticky dough! They do.

We did a couple of different types. Chebe offers a pizza crust that we prepared, rolled out, and cut into star shapes. When my little Dora fanatic immediately proclaimed them to be Explorer Stars, I knew we’d have a winner. (Yes, it tastes good, too.) I was so pleased with the whole thing (and feeling so smugly Martha Stewart-esque) that I went ahead and made a whole batch of star-shaped mini-pizzas (cutting the veggie-pepperoni into heart shapes!) to freeze.

OK, fast-forward: What a DIFFERENCE! Within only a couple of days, bedtime became a time of peace and cuddling–and sleep. It’s been two weeks now, and we haven’t had a single meltdown (except once when he missed a nap in order to visit his cousins). And, instead of our regular two-hour nightly Battle Royale to get the child in bed and asleep, he gladly gets into bed and snuggles happily while stories are read, then lights out, and he goes to sleep!! Wow! After the countless books we’ve read to find some magical fix for bedtime bawling–with no success–we have this happy, agreeable bed-timer. What a treat!

Let me add a very special note: While we only narrowly escaped an unfortunate appearance on one of those nanny reality shows, most importantly, I’m happy for little Joseph. He used to get so very upset and frantic at bedtime, screaming, shouting, crying, kicking–I can’t even begin to understand the little storm that was going on inside him, his frustrations. And when he would quiet down, he would cling to us in the dark, refusing to fall asleep, repeating “hug, hug,” hoping we would never let him go. How wonderful for HIM to have his anxieties removed. How wonderful that we can lay there hugging and kissing and reading books and singing songs and all the while he is confident and at ease. There have even been evenings when we were able to leave him in his bed, awake, and let him fall asleep by himself!

OK, now what about the rest of the family? For me, personally, I like to keep an eye on the glycemic index. We’ve all read that diets high in sugar make the waistline heavy. An apple-shaped body is a result of a high-glycemic diet, and, as someone who had a second baby this year, the waistline is a particularly sensitive region for me, weight-loss-wise. In case you aren’t aware, gluten-free means potatoes and corn–two of the worst offenders on the GI! I can tell you that in only two weeks, I have been in such pain (I can’t even digest them!) and weight I JUST lost is creeping back to my midsection. Clearly, gluten-free is not for me. My husband feels the same. He is the type that keeps a caloric balance: when one culprit is cut, other treats can be added. Studies have shown that when we think we are eating light, we allow ourselves more special treats (which is fine in theory). The problem is that most people can portion out a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Exactly what portion of gluten-free peanut-butter shortbread cookie is appropriate?

Anyway, we promised ourselves we would try this for a month. If we experience an entire meltdown-free 30-day period, we owe it to our son–and our sanity–to make a gluten-free diet our child’s new lifestyle.

There’s more! To read about how we progressed in the following month, click here.

Infant cold medicines pulled for overdose risk October 12, 2007

Filed under: health — rjlacko @ 7:09 pm

What do you do when your baby gets the sniffles? MSN recently posted this article about the removal of more than a dozen popular over-the-counter medications for children under age two.

I’m the type that would rather suffer through a monumental headache than take a pain reliever. When I get a cold, I go straight to our “medicine” cabinet for homeopathic immune boosters (like echinacea, goldenseal, etc.) and garlic and zinc supplements, washing them down with plenty of liquids, especially those with vitamin C, which has been proven to shorten the duration of viral infections.

However, when my baby gets a cough–or worse–I want him symptom-free, tear-free, and back to his old self as fast as possible. We have tried most over-the-counter medications for little Joseph’s (age 2.5 yrs) seasonal and nursery school-invoked viruses. In fact, as I review the list of withdrawn medications, I realize we’ve tried every last one, at some point or another.

BTW: Not only are they artificially colored and flavored (big no-no’s in this household!) but there is also no need for any spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. They are loaded with sweetener!

With each cold, I’ve regretted those gooey, sugary mystery drugs, wishing there was some other way. But I’ve given them to him, because, more than anything, I want my baby to be healthy and feel good.

This article comes as the worst “I told you so” a mom could imagine.

On September 28, 2007, MSN had posted a similar piece, reporting “Very young children simply should not take some commonly used cold and cough medicines, federal health officials say in recommending that the “consult your physician” advice to parents on the labels be dropped. The preliminary recommendation, from Food and Drug Administration safety officials, would apply to decongestant use in children under 2, and antihistamines in those younger than 6, according to agency documents released Friday.”

At the time, I was outraged that this information had not been made common knowledge: for example, all the medication recalled for relabeling, and widespread alerts to pharmaceutical outlets. What a relief to hear have this finally make front-page news, and that retailers and pharmaceutical companies are responding. Parents, please take note that both articles stipulate “Safety experts for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have urged the agency to consider a ban on these medicines for children under the age of 6 years.”

We are among the lucky ones. Our son is not suffering from the use of these drugs. My heart goes out to those parents who have lost a child when all they were trying to do was help relieve coughs and congestion. These companies should be made responsible.

We have since switched the entire family to homeopathic remedies. Even still, I won’t introduce immunity boosters to Noah until he is at least two, or perhaps older than that. Homeopathy costs roughly the same, is more commonly available than even a few years ago, and is wonderfully effective. After all, we all want our little ones to get better quickly.

Recommended: try Hyland’s Cold Care 4 Kids, or a child-specific homeopathic echinacea/goldenseal tincture; For adults, my husband swears by Umcka liquid for stopping colds from ever taking place.


Slideshow of Our Trip To Maine October 9, 2007

Filed under: Lacko Family Chronicles,travel — rjlacko @ 10:15 pm