So sweet your teeth would hurt

March 18, 2011

Lately I’ve found myself staring at baby D while he plays and engages in his usual antics. The little guy fascinates me with his enthusiasm and fascination for the world. He has a huge grin with a couple of shiny white bottom teeth poking out, and he flashes that smile all the time – except when he pokes out his lower lip and cries because he wants me to pick him up/feed him/pay attention to him/change him/put him down for a nap he needs but doesn’t want.

Some of you may know that he arrived early. Not sure where he got that from – I’m late for everything. But he spent just under two weeks in the NICU and has remained small in weight and length. His head, however, is almost off the charts. My kids all have big heads, like Hubs and me – because we need lots of room for our massive and amazing brains.

So, when S was a baby of about this age, I toted him to the hospital for all sorts of scary tests and a visit with a pediatric neurologist, who greeted us, measured my head, measured Hubs’ head, and informed us that our son just had a big head like his parents. I guess it stands out so much because all of my kids are in much lower percentiles for height and weight, but we were relieved to learn, after all of the stress, worry, mystery, and anxiety, that S is a normal kid who just needs big hats and bike helmets.

The smiling baby went to the (new) pediatrician a couple of weeks ago, and we talked extensively about his head circumference, other measurements, and developmental milestones. Baby D isn’t exactly doing everything that “they” say a baby his age should know how to do. Until last week, he wasn’t sitting up. Now he’ll sit up if we make him do it, but he usually yells and complains about it until we leave him alone.

He doesn’t like baby food. He’ll eat a couple of bites and rapidly lose interest, and often he spits out most of the food that enters his mouth (for extra fun, he’ll blow raspberries while doing this to achieve maximum distribution of his mushed peas). He’ll scrape up little puffs and get about half into his mouth, and he’ll bring anything he grabs straight to his mouth, but he doesn’t cooperate nicely when Hubs and I try to feed him baby cereal or baby food.

Baby D is a tiny guy. Most of the outfits he wears now are size 6-9 months, or just 9 months. He’s closing in on 11 months. He hasn’t put on much weight since his six-month pediatrician appointment. He does take his acid reflux meds like a champ, and fortunately he doesn’t seem to have issues with reflux as long as he takes the meds regularly.

He prefers to roll around on the floor like a log and rotate his body when he needs to change directions. He’ll assume the crawling stance, but he never actually progresses forward, although he does inadvertently back up in a crawl until he gets stuck under a chair or table.

After the conversation with the pediatrician, I had a few ideas and conclusions:

  • I have a very stubborn, strong willed baby. In a battle of wills, he’s a fierce competitor.
  • He wants to do it himself, tyvm. He’s independent.
  • He probably doesn’t have any physical reason for not crawling. He just doesn’t want to do it. He’s good at conning someone else into doing his bidding, so why should he worry?
  • He doesn’t like to stay still in one place, so why would he want to sit up and use all of those muscles when he could be playing? And why would he want to sit up and be confined in a high chair, particularly when he can barely see over the tray because he’s so short?
  • It might be a good idea to have a pediatric neurologist check him out. The developmental stuff is probably due to his being a little early, and stubborn, but he does have the massive head for his massive brain, so it wouldn’t hurt.

I was all ready to make an appointment and have him checked out, although I didn’t relish the idea of repeating those tests that S had at this age. Then Hubs suggested that we hold off a bit and see if we could persuade him to master a few of these important skills. Enter the Jumperoo.

Baby D has a Jumperoo. It’s his Jumperoo, so don’t walk over and try to play with the toys on it while he’s enjoying it, brother or sister. He can make himself bounce and laugh, and he can turn himself around in it so he can see everything in the room. He can play with cute animal toys, and if it had the batteries installed, he would be able to listen to tinny music (but his mean old daddy doesn’t want to put the batteries in it just now). It has a tiny spot on the toy tray for his puffs, too, so he can keep snacks handy.

He doesn’t like to be taken out of the Jumperoo. He spent nearly three hours in it yesterday evening after Hubs assembled it. This evening, he started falling asleep in it, but every time I plucked him out, he woke up screaming.

Hubs and I are asking ourselves why we didn’t buy this months ago. He had a swing that we borrowed from my cousin back in Georgia, but since our move, he hasn’t had anything like this… until now.

I feel like we’re in some bad spoof of a Taster’s Choice commercial: Baby D doesn’t realize that his parents are pulling a fast one on him. He’s getting exercise and building up abdominal and leg muscles but thinks he’s just having fun.

I pulled him out once again about an hour ago. He had passed out with his head resting on the lion toy, and I finally managed to make the transfer without waking him. We’re going to hold off on the pediatric neurologist a bit longer, I think. Maybe he just needed a new flashy, fun toy to inspire him a bit. He isn’t showing any symptoms that cause immediate concern, so I’m thinking that the doctor’s conclusion is accurate:

He isn’t doing everything the book says he should be doing, but then, he never read the book.

I don’t think my independent guy will ever like taking orders very much, anyway.

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Tremendous relief – and forgiveness, I hope

July 16, 2010

I didn’t realize how worried I was about his test until it was over – and I had to drink a Coke to stave off the exhaustion.  Baby D had a barium swallow test today, to check for any issues beyond his already-diagnosed acid reflux which might be causing his problems.  Fortunately the test showed no abnormalities.  Unfortunately, however, he had to “fast” (which is a ridiculous term to apply to a baby) for over three hours before the test.  He usually eats at least every two hours during the day, and sometimes more frequently given the summer heat.

So by two hours after his last meal, he was angry.  Red, screaming, clenching fists, arching back (also related to the acid reflux), and thoroughly frustrated with his mother, who was holding him and, he thought, ignoring all of his signals that he wanted to eat.  He’s breastfed, so I know having me hold him and not feed him had to be particularly hard for him to understand.  He pulled at my shirt – and he’s very strong for a two month old.  He chewed on me and my clothes.  And mostly, he screamed as loud and long as he could.  Nothing I could do (short of feeding him, which I wanted to do so desperately to make him feel better) consoled my baby boy.

And then?  He had to put on a silly little yellow gown and sit in a seat while people stood around him – talking in friendly voices but still not addressing his hunger – and his mother betrayed him, offering him a bottle(!) with gross thick white stuff (barium contrast) that was not mommy’s milk in it.  I really felt horrible for doing this for him, even though logically I knew the test would give us important information to help him in the long run.  He was still angry, but stopped screaming briefly and swallowed just enough barium for the test before starting up again.  As soon as the test was over, I was able to feed him, but he was so worked up and out of sorts by then that it took him a while to settle down and eat.  Even after he had nursed and filled up, he continued to fuss and fret.  I’m sure the barium felt like a gross heavy weight in his system, and he was totally put out with me.

Did I mention that the poor boy had already been tortured with a visit to the pediatrician in the morning, where he got three shots?  Yeah, I’m a really mean mommy.  My thought was to get all of the torture over in one day.  But I feel wretched after listening to him cry all day.

He continues to be a little bit suspicious of me.  When I held him this evening, he stayed awake and watched me (suspiciously?).  When his father held him, however, he snuggled up happily and snoozed on his chest.  I didn’t imagine that: baby D is put out with me for everything that happened today, a day which his father conveniently spent at work while I was the parental enabler of medical torture.

Hubs says maybe he’ll be over it by morning.  After a good night’s sleep, he’ll forgive and hopefully forget.  I hope so.  And I know I could use the sleep, too, since the stress that was keeping me going has faded.