Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A post about Mia

This is the blog entitled, "chiquita bambina," is it not??  So, why keep you waiting on facts about the darling little Mia any longer?

In about 3 days, Mia will officially be 17 months.  Like a broken record, it is hard to believe we are almost parents of a child halfway between 1 and 2 years old.  It feels like since she's turned one, the months fly.

And her mental development has really shot through the roof too.  I'm not bragging, just statin'.  For a while, Mia's vocabulary was pretty much limited to a variation of one word: dada.  Dada meant daddy, mommy, dog, random inanimate objects, etc, based on the tone and the circumstances.  If you asked Mia to say "mama," or "mommy," she'd look straight at me, and without fail say, "Dada."  Thanks a lot, Mia, thanks a lot.  I carried you for 9 months, birthed you, had acute pain in my lower back from bouncing you to sleep for several months, and I don't even get my own name??  But that has all now been remedied.  And I'm really not bitter.  Promise.  (Girl loves her daddy, what can I say??)

Words Mia can say:
  • Daddy
  • Mama
  • Dog (dah!)
  • Cat (dat)
  • Car
  • Bird
  • Bye
  • Hi (that's another favorite, probably #1 or #2)
  • Bible
  • Bathtime (said in a singsong fashion)
  • Ball
  • Papa (for Papa Jack)
  • Nana 
  • Bug
  • Shoe (shees)
  • Sock
  • Outside (side? side?)
  • What?

And she signs "milk," "more," "all done," "down," "please," "thank you," "eat," and "drink."

That's just about 25 words!  There are probably other words she can say that I'm forgetting, or words she regularly says that we still cannot understand, but it's getting pretty exciting to hear her actually repeat words we say, even if barely intelligible.

The last ones on the spoken word list are the most recent.  All of these things relate to what she likes to do or what she sees regularly.  She loves to go outside and will find our shoes and try to put them on our feet for us; quite an obvious cue, huh?  She sees animals and usually calls them dogs first until we can differentiate.  "No Mia, that's a cougar."  "Close, but that's actually a very rare species of buffalo."  We're still working on those words.

Mia waving to "the cougar"

playing with the trains at Barnes & Noble

She's been walking like a champ ever since our South Carolina trip, and loves to take daily strolls around the block.  This has been good for all of us, as it's giving us a chance to get to know our neighbors better, plus a little Vitamin D never hurt anybody, and hopefully it will develop into a healthy routine as she grows.

She cut a huge molar within the last week or so.  We'd been suspecting teething pain for a while, and just this past week, I noticed a bulging tooth had made its way through, so that means Mia has 9 teeth total.

Her hair is getting longer and more curly, especially when it's humid, and she's thinned out from her pre-walking days.  She's gradually, albeit slowly, getting taller, but I can't tell if she's remarkably bigger.  Sometimes it feels like she is, but it could just be that her clothes are shrinking too!

Mia will sometimes hold hands with you, but it's usually an attempt to get your attention so that she can walk in a certain direction.  It's pretty cute.

She sleeps about 10-11 hrs at night, and will go anywhere from 1.5-3 hrs for a nap in the afternoon.  We officially cut out the morning nap in mid-June.  It was a bit of a transition for both of us, but we made it through and are in a happy zone now!

Mia can eat a variety of things, depending on what we have available.  We've recently learned she loves to dip her food in things like condiments, so if she is served veggies with a dipping sauce, she will suck the sauce off the veggie and continuing dipping for more.  It's cute, funny and super messy.
Case in point: ranch dressing w/ carrots on side Plz on Twitpic

She can drink out of a cup, a sippy cup, a cup with a straw, and most obviously, a bottle.  Due to some malfunctioning sippy cups, most of the time Mia drinks from a bottle (and would prefer to), but I think with some careful rearranging of her drinking products, she could segue into sippy cups or cups with straws gradually (hopefully before age 2).

Mia likes being around other people and doing her own thing, but she still has a sense of stranger anxiety and will be tentative and timid if in an entirely new situation, staying close to mommy!  Most of the time though, when she feels comfortable, she is very outwardly friendly and says "Hi!" to everyone, with a royal wave.  Try to hold her though and you'll get thrown!

We're pretty much amazed by Mia on a weekly, if not daily basis.  Milestones I just could never imagine us reaching we achieve.  It's not that I didn't have hope or faith, it's just hard sometimes to imagine your child doing something they've never done before.  She's very much an observer though, and will see you do something once and then try to do it herself.  Little eyes!!

so serious (photo credit: LPK)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

An update on ma' medical condition...

First, let's get the Mia picture out.  It's been a while.

She's already such a good Bible student. *Sigh*
I had my follow-up appointment Tuesday morning with the integrative medicine office.  (All before the pill-stuck-in-throat incident.)  They got my monster labs back from the 19-vial blood draw and we were able to discuss my results.  Most everything came back within normal ranges.  Funny when you first hear that, you think, "Well then, what in the world is 'wrong' with me?" also tempered with, "Okay, what's not normal?" and then, "Well, it's good I'm mostly healthy.  Props to me!" 

Alas, most everything came back totally normal. The only things that were a bit low were my testosterone and thyroid levels, but not dangerously low, just something to keep an eye on.  The PA said those could continue to work themselves out from the detox and by continuing the diet.  She said future medication is a possibility but doesn't want to go that route if I don't need it. Me neither, thank you!

What was high was my "anti-DNA."  Something in my body is against my DNA, and creating an antibody for it.  Sarcastically, I'm thinking, thanks body, for being against my own DNA!  But it's an autoimmune response, and the PA shared something with me that finally shed some light on an event that's perplexed us for a good 16 months.  The anti-DNA business going on in my body could be what spurred the blood clot.  There were antibodies floating around in my blood and started a clot.  Isn't it weird to think that all of this could be from some totally unintentional combination of diet and [excessive] medication??  I guess after all I've learned these past few years, it doesn't feel so weird as it seems scary.

So the goal is to continue the diet for 2 more months.  I'm not surprised and I'm not forlorn either, as I actually feel better on the diet: less fatigued, crampy and foggy.  Occasionally, I wish I could eat more convenience foods or red meat or pork, but I've found a few "allowed" treats that really make it not so bad.  And after today's debacle, I did treat myself to a Chick-Fil-A guilty pleasure, which has been my biggest diet transgression thus far.  The PA said to just stick to the diet as much as I could and now that we're 3.5 weeks in, I think I'll be able to, for the most part.  I really don't want to fall off the bandwagon and reverse any progress, so that's motivation enough for me. 

I'm still often perplexed about what this means for Lil' Mia though as she has inherited some of my genes.  As she's shown reactions to dairy milk, I constantly war with myself on how to feed her.  A lot of times those with casein (the protein in cow's milk) sensitivities are gluten sensitive too, but dairy & bread & pasta products are almost considered "staples" of recommended toddler diets, and Mia likes her buttered toast every morning and I'm happy to give her a little fat from the butter and just a little grain.  Most of the time she likes the protein options we offer her, certain veggies, and lots of fruits.  She loves coconut milk based products, which also provide her with some fat, calcium, magnesium and some protein.  But whenever she seems to have a reaction to something, it's hard to tell if it's from food I've given her or if it's from teething.

I tell ya, parenting is a lot of guesswork at times.  I'm just happy her shoe size has changed, because I know she's growing. 

Where everyday feels like a sitcom

While I hardly watch sitcoms anymore (don't they seem like a dying breed?), somedays it feels my life parodies them all too much!

Enter this morning, a slow, not-much-planned sort of morning, where Mia & I journeyed around the block as we are wont to do, said hi to a few animals, trash trucks, and neighbors, and then high-tailed it back home. I saw a tub of new pills for me sitting on the counter and thought, "Oh yeah, I should take one of those today (because I haven't yet)".  Mind you, I'm not the greatest pill taker, but I judged the size of these bad-boy capsules yesterday and considered them doable, and while they went down a bit hard yesterday, I figured I'd be big-girl enough for them today. 

Err not.  I instantly started feeling that tightness in my throat, that foreboding feeling that this isn't going to go so well.  Usually the trick when a pill or some kind of food gets stuck in my throat is to "drink it down," most often with some kind of fizzy, carbonated drink.  We just so happen to not have any of that stuff in the house (wonder why??) and so as I'm realizing this, and Mia's looking at me strangely wondering why mommy is regurgitating and gagging in the sink, and I come to terms with the fact that we're going to have to get out of the house and do one thing: drive-thru McDonald's for a Sprite.

I load us up in the much as we're trying not to look like trailer trash, on this particular morning, it just cannot be avoided.  Mia's wearing her PJ shirt & jean shorts & Robeez, and I'm trying to hide my hair & face with a hat, probably not very successfully. I grab a bowl from the kitchen and we're off to the nearest McD's, which is probably about .7 miles from our house.

I start to hear sympathy coughs from the backseat as Mia is such the mimic these days.  "I guess we're supposed to be coughing right now?" I'm thinking she's thinking.  I can barely order the Sprite at the drive-thru, but I muster up the voice to do it and find the correct change and pull on through. $1.07.  4 quarters, 1 nickel and 2 pennies, thank you!

After my initial sip of the Sprite, my fears are not allayed and the pill still feels all too stuck in my esophageal canal.  What to do, what to do??  I'm again, still using my bowl, hearing the sympathy coughs from Mia, and wondering why my carbonated fizzy drink is not pulling its gurgly weight.

Next step, call Greg.  Of course, he'll know what to do, 16 miles away at his desk.  Right??  Right.  Well, we talk for a bit, in between my gagging, and he convinces me to drive over to my dr's office.  After all, Mia's already loaded up in the car, I have my belongings, and a nonproductive Sprite, what's the worst that could happen?

Our family care doctor's office is pretty much "just down the road," and I'm probably there in less than ten minutes. I take a careful cursory glance of the parking lot just to get a measure on how busy the place is, and after walking in, see a wholly empty waiting room.  Sweet.  The familiar looking receptionist sees me and I blurt out, "Hi, I didn't have an appointment, but I have a pill stuck in my throat, and I can't get it down," all the while trying to contain another gagging & regurgitation episode.  She tells me that there's only one practitioner in today and he's seeing a patient, but can I wait?  I nod and then bolt for the nearest trash can, but I just couldn't make it.  (See, when you get something stuck in your throat, it's really hard for anything to pass around it, even from simple swallows.  I'm trying to be as LEAST graphic as possible.)

A nurse opens up the door and nods that I can come back.  I kind of gesture to the powder-room-like trash can and she says, "You can bring it."  Uh, okay, but what about the mess I made on the side of it?  I'm feeling truly sorry and disgusting at this moment.  Mia follows me into the hall and then starts crying, probably thinking, "I know this place, and what are they going to do to me? Or my mommy???"  I pick her up and the nurse beckons me into the lab room.  I try to tell her what has happened and then I see the ARNP walk by and she gestures him in. 

He finishes up some paperwork with a patient, turns around, sort of recognizes me (he's around my age, has seen both me & Greg before, and was the NP who diagnosed my blood clot last year), and asks me what's going on.  I give the same explanation as I did at the front desk, "Well, I swallowed a pill, it got stuck in my throat, and usually a carbonated drink will push it down, but this time it didn't."  He asks if I've gurgled at all (um, no, but does gagging count?) and then asks to feel my throat (and as I'm typing this I'm just shaking my head because it's just really embarrassing) and says he's basically trying to "tick off [my] esophagus so that it'll move down or come back up."  Those are really only the two options that I have here: the pill can dissolve and move down, or it can come back and I've never had the latter option happen.  Within another minute or two of talking with him, I feel a quick downward motion in my GI tract and feel pretty confident the pill passed.  I test my theory by sipping a bit of the Sprite and am instantly enthused; it worked!  Do I still feel totally ridiculous for making a mess of their trash can and busting up into their office without an appointment because of a stuck pill?  Absolutely.  But did it finally go down and was I within range of immediate medical help just in case?  Yes. 

I clean up the trash can, dispose of our junk, wash my hands, and Mia & I are on our merry way home.

Just another morning in the life of a Chiquita Bambina and her Mamacita!

And don't worry, I'll be breaking up those huge monster pills from now on!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Great Outdoors

Sesame Street is returning to relevance in my life as Mia discovers it for the first time. This little ditty came on today which is quite appropriate now that Mia loves trouncing around the neighborhood. If you don't want to watch the whole thing, at least watch long enough for Elmo's sweet harmony (0:58).

Stop Megan's playlist on the right first!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Oh, hello there.

If it feel like it's been forever since I posted (in Megan-time), that's because it has.  I normally don't go more than a week without posting, but it feels like every time I even think about writing a blog, I want to write about food.  That is because that's been on my mind a lot these days!  So, why not write about it?

To catch you up to speed, in late August I saw an integrative medicine (IM) doctor who started me on a 30-day liver cleanse, which involves 3 types of homeopathic drops given throughout the day, and a modified elimination diet.  The diet at first seems innocuous, how bad can it really be?  I can still eat things like: chicken, turkey, eggs, legumes, lamb (like I ever eat that anyway! but would love to try!), coldwater fish, fresh or frozen fruits & veggies, certain nuts, gluten-free products, sweet potatoes, rice, and drink herbal tea.  Pretty decent, huh??  It's only until you start realizing there are all these other things you'd LOOOVE to eat, like: ice cream, cheese, cookies, lots of chocolate, a french fry or a potato chip, a Chick-Fil-A sandwich (mmmhhm), that the self-control really comes into question.  I have to say, though, for the last 2 weeks, I've only given into my weaknesses maybe 3 times.  I did have a strawberry (for some reason, not allowed).  I did take the smallest bite of a BBQ kettle-cooked chip, and was instantly disappointed.  And I rationalized that drinking an Apple Izze was a non-sweetened fruit juice.  But it's probably not, and it was definitely not "fresh-squeezed," albeit in my opinion, highly refreshing!!  Gotta love a good fruity sparkling water drink.

Surprisingly what was easier to give up than I imagined was the coffee.  I was told I could wean myself off it gradually so as to avoid those monster headaches, which I've experienced before.  Yet since I couldn't have sugar or my usual dairy creamer in it, and was trying it with almond or coconut milk, the soothing and comforting taste was really lost on me, and as much as I wanted the caffeine, I just cut the coffee out after just a few days.  Thankfully that was easier than anticipated.

I'm not sure what will happen after the 30 days.  My friend, who is about 3 weeks ahead of me on this, ended up having to continue the diet for 2 more months!! When I heard this, my hopes plummeted, but it was good for me to know at this point what I might be facing too.  It might not be a 30 day quick fix.  And I'm not sure what symptoms or changes exactly they're looking for, but my follow-up appt will address that.  And the humongo blood test I had last week, involving 19 vials out of my poor left arm!

But regardless, here's what I've learned:

  • You can do a lot still with olive or coconut oil if you can't use butter.
  • Sweet potatoes taste great with a little coconut oil & cinnamon. Mia loves it too! (Double-bonus)
  • The creamy sauces you love can easily be substituted with coconut milk, plain yogurt, lemon juices, some herbs, olive oil, and a little S&P.  We had the most divine salmon I've had in my life last week, and we will definitely be making that again!
  • Gotta love eggs.  I mean, they're like a perfect anytime food.  
  • Baked goods can also be made with the right flour (hazelnut, almond or coconut), and simply swapping out honey or maple syrup for sugar.  Go forth & conquer!
  • When you drink herbal tea, you instantly feel cooler and more intelligent.  I mean, isn't that what really sophisticated people in shows & movies always drink?  (Of course, the same spin could be put on coffee.)
  • Turkey burgers are where it's at.  Mix in some good herbs or spices (no MSG!), some onion, and let it sizzle.  Mia approves, again!  This is esp good when chicken is not sounding so appetizing anymore.
  • How happy am I - less than $5! on Twitpic
  • And lastly, Fuji apples with Sunbutter (sunflower seed butter, as a substitute for peanut butter), so hit the jackpot!  I took a nap yesterday afternoon and was dreaming of this before I woke up, and definitely realized that dream before it escaped me!
This diet is not as arduous and tortuous as one of the elimination diets I was considering, for which I'm grateful.  But who knows, perhaps in the future if I'm still have challenging digestive problems, I'll try that route for real.  For now though, I'm just thankful there's food in my tummy.  Because no one enjoys a rumbly stomach.

So go on, grab a snack.  It's good for ya.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Locked & Loaded: Mia's ploy to meet firefighters

It seems like every post I write on here is either a) a video or b) a story of some ridiculous antic or c) a tirade about sleep deprivation.  Well, true to form, I'm going to deliver on option b with a little of option c mixed in for good measure.

After what felt like months--but was really only a week and a half or so--Mia's sleeping patterns straightened out from our trip.  Yet, I've learned to cautiously tread on such statements, so to rephrase that, Mia slept really well Sunday and Monday night, as well as during the day.  Tuesday night, however, was a different story.  While she woke up sometime after midnight and seemed fairly easy to soothe back to sleep, staying asleep was the challenge.  Even after bringing her to our bed where sometimes she konks out being so close to her parents didn't work (pretty sure she thought that was a 2am playdate), she finally went down again until 6:30ish.

Feeling like a zombie after such little sleep, I really didn't expect her to stay up long for her midmorning nap, so to move things along, Mia & I took a trip to one our favorite destinations, SuperTarget.  After a moderately quick spree at Target, sped up at the end by her insistence that I hold her while I pay for the groceries at checkout, we exited the store and headed for the car.

Mia's a bit precocious.  She knows a fake cell phone from a real one, a fake laptop from a Mac, and fake kiddy keys from mommy's only set.  While we walking out to the car, to be able to steer the cart with all my stuff & Mia, I appeased her by giving her the [real] car keys to play with.  I set her in her carseat, closed her door so she wouldn't chuck the keys elsewhere, and unloaded the groceries in the trunk and then closing it.  As I was briskly walking to the driver's side door I hear * click click * and suddenly realize that Mia has most definitely locked herself in the car.

Staying calm, staying calm, I walk over to her side of the car and peek through the window and ask Mia, "Can you touch the other button?  Mia, can you press the unlock button? I need you to unlock the car!"  This doesn't really help or get the message across and Mia's sitting there a bit dumbfoundedly wondering why we're talking through this tinted glass.

About this time, a Target employee is coming out for his smoke break and notices I'm bargaining with what he assumes to be a small child.  He asks if there's someone in the car and I say, "Yes, my 16 month old daughter just locked herself in!"  He radios to the "AP" (Assets Protection), the Target Security guy who promptly contacts the county fire department.  As I'm on the phone with Greg trying to reason this out, I hear sirens almost immediately.  Yikes, they're fast!  I'm being asked, "Ma'am, is it okay if they have to break your window?"  Umm...I guess so?  I didn't even really think about that one.

A nice police officer rolls up, starts asking me what happened (which always makes you feel like a guilty, irresponsible loser) as I look in to see Mia's starting to get a bit more alarmed.  I can barely even explain what's happening when the fire department shows up and immediately surrounds the car with all their unlocking equipment.  One firefighter was trying to assess Mia through the windows and even though she was crying pretty frantically at that point, he said she was still okay.  That was sad though, to try to console your little one through a window while all these guys are trying to break into the car.

After a while, the firefighters were finally successful with opening up the lock through the window without breaking it.  Yay!!! I immediately opened Mia's door and pulled her out, with her hair all sweaty and face beading with perspiration.  I think much of that was from her own freaking out, and not necessarily from the heat of the car, but it had probably been at least 15 minutes.

After a quick visual rundown and an official report to the FD, plus some tips from the police officer, we were good to go.  Amazingly or just via plain divine intervention, my friend Leanne had pulled up in the parking lot with her 2 yr old son just as this was all going down.  So, while I was a bit mentally preoccupied with the guys arriving, trying to stay present with Mia, and explain to Greg what was happening, it was nice to have some moral support.

A few upsides:
learning the quick response time of the Pasco Fire Dept & Police Dept.
having a friend nearby, and her son to share grapes with Mia afterwards (one of her fav fruits)
Greg coming home anyway for the rest of the day
taking the hardest 1.5 hr nap I've had in quite some time later in the day
learning just one more thing to put in my arsenal / parent handbook for the rest of our lives!

... And speaking of sleep, I think I should go get some.