I took Josh to The Flying Fish earlier this week to get dinner. I wasn't feeling up to cooking and I had a coupon for a free entree that was burning a hole in my pocket. While we waited for the order, I walked around the shop showing Josh all the fish on the wall. "Fish," I'd say pointing to a huge bass mounted with mouth open and tail turned outward. "Big fish. Little fish. Stripe fish. Long fish. This fish has wings!" I'd say pointing to the dozens of fish along the walls. Then, he pointed in the general direction of a perch and said, "shhh".
"That's right. Fish!"
"shhh. shhh."
"Now say ffff-iiii-shhhh" I enunciated while making a goofy excited face. He giggled and kept making a 'shhh' sound. That was close enough for me.

Yesterday was rough for Josh. We started the day with a nasty boo-boo. I was braiding my hair back getting ready to get out for the day. Meanwhile Josh is playing in the our bedroom closet. Usually he pulls shoes off the shelf, plays with my mini easel, and looks around at all the junk I should either get rid of or- I should just get rid of it. Anyway, Josh was talking to himself and then I hear a cry. I'm thinking he's frustrated or bumped into something. He walks over to me in his usual tip-toe way, arms up and face completely red. He's lets out a wrenching cry. I knew he was hurt or really upset but didn't see why. I looked at his face, his head, his legs- nothing looks out of place. Maybe his teeth? I pick him up and he's bucking and clenching onto me at the same time. He does this when he's really mad or upset sometimes so I didn't think much of it. I walked him over to his room to get him dressed hoping to take his mind off of whatever set him off. I get his shirt half-way on then set him down to finish. Oh man- he screamed! I laid him down to put on his pants, now a little flustered not knowing why he's so cranky. Then I see needle stuck in his foot! A sewing needle had some how got stuck on the bottom of his foot and was dug in more than an inch! I was a little freaked seeing it. I slowly pulled it out and carried him to the bathroom to clean it. Almost immediately he stopped screaming and crying. It was like he was thinking, 'Ah, finally you know what my problem is!' I cleaned off the blood and put peroxide on the hole and added a band-aid. His foot was sore (duh) so I carried him around to the kitchen for a drink of milk. Then I held him for a bit on the couch listening to music while I took it all in and thought about what to do next. I stroked his hair and kissed his head, and within minutes he fell asleep on my lap. I guess the stress of not being able to communicate added to the pain of a freakin' needle lodged in his foot drained all the energy he had. If he hadn't walked on his tip-toes, or if I had insisted there was nothing wrong and made him stand up, it might have gone all the way in. He's fully recovered now. By later that afternoon he was walking and running like nothing ever happened. I kept him off his feet as long as I could by driving to errands, going for a stroll, and holding him as much as possible. Later that afternoon, leaving a friend's house he tripped on a crack in the sidewalk scraping his knees. They got a little bloody and scuffed, again he's recovered, but that's at least a normal rite of passage for a toddler.

We got a glimpse of Josh’s first molar this evening. He was being fussy around dinner time in his usual of late manner so I decided it was time again to check for new teeth as a possible reason for the crabbiness. Rusty held him nearly upside down while I tickled him. I didn’t see it at first but Rusty did. On the top left was a shiny white bud barely poking through. I suspected it was nearly time because he ran a mild fever yesterday for a few hours. It hovered around 99-100 degrees for a few hours. He didn’t seem bothered by the fever so I didn’t give him any medicine. By bedtime the fever was gone. I’m bracing for restless nights in the next week or so as the tooth pushes out.

This morning we took a trip to the Galleria for story time near the play area. This was a planned event for the Second Time Moms Group so I was glad to meet a couple of the members finally: Lauren and Angi. It’s funny- these two moms live about the furthest away from the mall and they made it while others who live closer didn’t come (or didn’t find me while I was there). It was neat to see another toddler who is near Josh’s age but with completely different temperament. Sydney, who is a month younger than Josh, is mild tempered, plays near her mom, interacts with the grown ups around her, quietly observes her surroundings, and yet does all the normal activities of a toddler such as climbing and pointing to things she wants. Joshua, however, was literally running circles around the play area and dashing out into the mall non-stop. Lauren had her two-year old and two-month old with her. It was neat to see what to expect for myself. If things go as planned, we’ll be having a two-year old and a two-month old next year too.

While sitting in church this evening, I got to thinking… I’ve always wondered what it would be like to radically mess with my hair. Like dye it a bright color or get dreadlocks or chop it off into some funky style. Ever the professionally-minded person, I didn’t act on these ideas in the past because I liked having a job that pays well despite having to portray a professional, conservative look. However, I’m not in the public eye now. If ever I wanted to mess with my conservative style, now is probably the last real opportunity to do so. I think I’m just crazy enough to actually do it. But first I’ll need to think about what I want to do and pick out the right day to just do it!

Joshua's 15-month pediatrician appointment was this morning. Here are the stats:

  • Weight 22.2 lbs. - 20th percentile
  • Height 33" - 93rd percentile
  • Head 18" - 15th percentile
His weight is expected to be stable on the lower end of the percentile while he grows tall like his parents and grandparents. He got a repeat of previous vaccines: DtaP, Hib, prevnar (pneumonia). He'll get his first flu vaccination in October and again at the next visit. He checks out as a very healthy and normal boy. I was advised to get him off of formula very soon. I have half a can that I'll use up. Currently he drinks half whole milk and half Next Step formula. I like adding the formula to give a boost of vitamins and iron but the pedi suspects this will effect his eating habits since it tends to be thicker than plain milk. I was also given a handout for guidelines and ideas of foods for toddlers. Josh has a balanced diet but there are a few vegetables I could try on him for variety, such as mushrooms, cauliflower, green beans, and lettuce. He used to reject greens like green beans and broccoli, but maybe now he'll be more open to trying it. Still no words, though he is communicating in different ways like raising his arms to be picked up, pointing at things, reaching for stuff he wants and trying to open the fridge when he wants milk. He just doesn't see the need in learning to speak yet and certainly doesn't want to since we encourage it.

New pictures are online from the past three months (this time my URL has an 's' in it!): www.ringofsaturn.com/joshua

How to sneak alcohol into a pub: Carry a sizable purse or small backpack. Order a similar colored beer or beverage served with a glass. Drink the first beverage as ordered. Inconspicuously refill the glass when the wait-person is not around. Discard empty container in bathroom trash or leave it on the bar when the bartender is busy.

The playdate on Friday was a success. I made two quiches though the first one was better tasting and was available an hour before the second. The second one wasn’t very good because I was distracted while putting things together: I left out an egg, I didn’t stir in the salt and sugar well enough so the majority of it sank to the bottom, and I took it out before it was all the way cooked in the middle. Luckily most people weren’t interested in eating by the time it was out. I also served raisin cinnamon bread- which was demolished. About seven moms showed up. Toys got scattered all over the house! Josh had a pretty good time playing until the last hour when he started getting sleepy for his nap. That afternoon he slept for nearly three hours. In fact, three times this week he’s napped for 3 hours long. There were a few people who couldn’t attend who I wished had come because I hadn’t seen them in a while. Mostly moms from my old Plano Moms Group whom I have lost touch with.

It’s always rough for me to leave Josh with the nursery at church when he goes into hysterics as I leave. Today I dropped him off and immediately he broke down bawling. I felt so awful. I wanted to go back, hug him, and keep him with me during service, but I knew he would be bored during the sermon and, more importantly, I knew he needed to learn to separate from time to time. I hung around the hallway around the corner listening to him cry for a moment. The nursery people were good at calming him down within two minutes. I pulled myself together then made my way upstairs to the service.

These last few days have been particularly tough. Josh has taken to screaming and wailing for a period of time in the day for no real apparent reason. It’s as if he developed colic at a later age. Sometimes it happens in mid-morning, sometimes in the late afternoon after his nap, and usually lasting an hour or more. I keep trying to find a solution such as offering him milk or food or playing with him or getting excited about something fun like music or toys. It usually only works for a moment then he resumes his wailing. And it isn’t really crying but more like whining or general crabbiness. I caught myself repeating words I heard growing up: “I’ll give you something to cry about”. It’s an empty threat, but just as bad to say. I’ve also caught myself holding him a bit tightly or snatching him up rough and quick in my overly frustrated state. Often he wants to be held and carried around and when we set him down he goes back to wailing. I tell him I can’t hold him all day and that he needs to get around on his own, but this lecture is lost on his 15-month-old ears. If it were cooler outside I’d take him for a walk. But in 100+ degree weather, that’s just not an option. Turning on the TV works for a moment as a distraction, but then I feel guilty captivating him with it. So my only tactic is to try a little of every trick in rotation, to endure, and to thrust him upon Rusty when he comes home from work.

Thankfully he’s sleeping now. I think it’s high time I got myself a desserty treat and enjoyed the peace and quiet while I’ve got it!

Turns out Josh forgot he had a fever by Monday morning. He woke up as happy and normal as could be yesterday like nothing happened. Maybe he's teething. I'll keep checking for molars, but nothing yet. I canceled a playdate Sunday afternoon believing he would be ill. Now that he’s ok, I have 28 eggs* leftover that was going to be used towards making quiche on Monday. So I’m throwing an egg-citing playdate on Friday to finally make the quiche(s) and enjoy the company of other moms and their toddlers.

Yesterday evening we went to a baseball game in Frisco. The original plan to was let Josh stay with a babysitter but since he had a fever on Sunday I canceled that babysitter. Then when he was ok, we were stuck with either taking him or Josh and I not going at all. So we decided to it would be more fun having Josh along. And it was! Within minutes of getting to the suite (we were in a corporate suite overlooking the game) we had to baby proof things: unplug the phone, move the peanuts, pick up drinks… Josh had a great time both inside the suite and out on the balcony. He played with peanut shells, climbing in and out of the chairs, clapped, played peek-a-boo behind a seat, changed channels on the TV inside, played with the phone and was generally adorable to everyone. I left with him at 8:45 thinking he was close to his bedtime and hoped he would fall asleep on the way home. But I think he was so excited about getting out that he was awake and active until nearly 10pm.

Today we’re to have lunch with moms in Frisco. Maybe I’ll take him to Addison to get wet this afternoon at the fountains. But no promises- it’s supposed to be 102 degrees, and that’s before the heat index!

*On Friday we went to the Farmer's Market to get eggs and other stuff for the playdate. I got 2 dozen farm eggs for $3.

Josh is sick again. :( It seems like he's sick about every two or three weeks. Our pediatrician assures me this is normal for toddlers at this age and level of activity. For anyone who thinks that keeping their one-year-old out of daycare to prevent colds and sickness is kidding themselves. Somehow Josh finds all the germs. And as usual, the timing stinks. Monday I was to host a playdate at home and then go with Rusty to a ball game in the evening while Josh was babysat by a friend; Tuesday was supposed to be a lunch with a small group of moms. Monday's plans are right out, and probably Tuesday too since he may still be recovering and/or contagious. His last temperature reading was 104. We gave him some Tylenol and rubbed his head with a damp cloth to help cool him. Now he's at 101 and awake from his nap.

Today feels like a Sunday. We drove home from Lubbock starting just before 9am this morning. The weekend stint in Lubbock was fun. It was a short trip, but Rusty & I had fun giving Weyandt a tour of everything important to us. We drove in late on Friday and promptly crashed in the hotel room. (By the way, if you ever find yourself in Lubbock needing a hotel, the Holiday Inn Express is the way to go. It’s a newer hotel with much nicer rooms and amenities than its neighboring hotels.) I woke up early on Sunday once at 5:20am then again at 7:15am, I dozed in and out until finally sleeping more until 9am. My internal clock is used to Josh waking up at 5am and 7am every morning. We had breakfast with my mom then drove around town looking at stuff: Maxie Park, Texas Tech campus, Rusty & Matt’s old apartments, my grandmother’s old house, Prairie Dog Town, the flea market, The Strip, the Llano Estacado Winery, etc. Half way through the tour we picked up Matt and Oana. The five of us spent the afternoon telling stories and making fun of things. The engagement dinner was held at the American Wind Power Center, a museum of windmills. It was a classy casual affair with BBQ, beer and wine, and friends of the Musselman family. Once the sun went down, it was cool outside and a lovely sunset with a rainbow off in the distance. Not quite the type of climate I would have predicted for this time of year. We hung out at the Library Bar afterwards playing games and talking.

We drove Matt and Oana home and decided to taste the homemade brandy Oana’s parents made. I didn’t try any (I was the designated driver and not much of a brandy fan anyway) but the guys all really liked it. Oana’s parents are such neat people to talk to. Her dad has some great stories that kept us there a little later. If it hadn’t been so late and if the Ranch House Restaurant hadn’t been broken into causing Matt to drive his mother there to make sure things were ok, we might have stayed later talking. So this morning we dragged our sleepy butts out of bed and had breakfast at (yep) the Ranch House Restaurant. Apparently whoever broke in didn’t find anything they wanted (no money, no fake dollars, no blank paychecks, no electronics worth the taking) so they broke out a glass door to leave. We enjoyed our meal, said hello and goodbye to Matt, Oana and her parents one last time, then scrammed out of town. The drove home was fairly uneventful. I got car sick a third of the way, probably from reading in the backseat on a full stomach. I sat in the front passenger seat the rest of the way to keep my bearings.

Meanwhile, Josh had a great weekend with his grandparents Russ & Anne. Russ tried to take him on a bike ride in one of those bike trailers, but Josh didn’t like being strapped in and especially didn’t like wearing a helmet. I think we’ll have to persistently work in the idea of wearing a helmet, or anything on his head for that matter! He ate well, played a lot, slept well and got good care for his hives. Anne thinks he’s allergic to the amoxicillin that he’s been taking this week for his ear infection. I gave him a bath with Aveeno colloidal oatmeal and his bumps looked much better this evening.

This week looks to be busy as usual. Tomorrow we’ll start securing drawers around the house so Josh will stay out, Wednesday I’m volunteering three hours to help set up a consignment sale in Plano, Thursday I’m shopping half price at said consignment sale, Friday is open though I have no doubts we’ll fill the day and evening doing something. I always seem to find something to do through the week.

So Josh indeed did not sprout a molar or any new teeth. He had an ear infection last week Thursday evening followed by difficulty breathing caused by bronchiolitis. Here's the email I set to friends and family the night we came home from the ER:

Our adventure started last night with lots of crying before bedtime, fingers in the mouth and ears, and a runny nose, which we believed was all due to teething. By early morning Joshua was very short of breath with wheezing. I called the pediatrician'’s office as soon as they opened and got a morning appointment. Upon the beginning of his appointment Josh was having a hard time breathing resulting in a low blood oxygen level (91) so they gave him steroids orally and a Xopenex vapor breathing treatment. They also checked his ears and found he had an ear infection on one side (which he got amoxicillin to treat that). There was an immediate response to the first treatment in that he sounded better and his blood oxygen level was normal (95). We gave him one more breathing treatment then headed around the corner to get his chest x-rayed. Because he had a fever and raspy breathing, they were concerned that he might have pneumonia (he doesn't) or asthma (he doesn'’t, although asthma does run on Rusty'’s side). X-Rays were mostly clear except for a tiny speck on the right side of his lungs, but the doctor isn'’t concerned about that at all. After the x-rays the doctor decided to give him another breathing treatment because he sounded raspy and short of breath again. By the time we were ready to leave the pedi's office, his blood oxygen level was down to 91 again. They said once the steroids kick in he'’ll feel good for a bit and things should start to clear up. We were instructed to give Josh vapor breathing treatments every 2-3 hours at home over the weekend plus antibiotics for the ear infection plus steroids. We have a vapor breathing machine on loan from the pediatrician's office.

The steroids kicked in at home and he was in a great mood for about 20 minutes, eating, playing, babbling. Then he started to sound raspy so we gave him another breathing treatment and put him down for a nap. He slept 2 hours then when it was time we gave him another breathing treatment. After the fifth treatment, it didn'’t sound like he was having any better breathing. We decided to take him to Rusty's mom (who works in the NICU at Plano Presbyterian Hospital) to get her opinion on whether he sounded ok. One nurse took his blood oxygen level reading (it was real low, around 83) and another breathing specialist advised we check him into the ER for more treatment. So we checked into the ER and quickly got him into a room and had THREE breathing treatments in row. [A note about these treatments: They are not fun. Each treatment takes about 10 minutes. There'’s a mask that goes over the mouth & nose and the machine that pumps the air and converts the liquid medication into a vapor is noisy. So Josh squirmed and cried and got real upset with every treatment.] After the third treatment he was breathing well. The doctor watched his progress for a couple of hours before we came home. We're advised to give him breathing treatments every 4 hours during the night and to go back to the pedi's office tomorrow to get a check up.

Josh is sleeping now (soundly) and hopefully he'’ll sleep better than he did the last two nights. I'’ll send an update later this weekend on how he's doing.

Then the follow up on Tuesday after the pediatrician gave Josh a clean bill of health:

Josh is fully recovered and back to his normal active self. The pediatrician suspects he developed bronchiolitis. This is fairly common among babies/toddlers and is not related to asthma. Thank you to all who called or emailed your concerns this weekend!

It was fairly scary on Friday morning when Josh was not breathing right and was lethargic. I knew it wasn't a cold and I feared it was something worse. After breathing treatments every three hours during the weekend and Monday, and steroids to increase his activity level (which is never fun for the parent) and antibiotics for the ear infection- after all that Josh is feeling and acting about as normal as ever. Which for him normal is 90 MPH.

This weekend we are going to Lubbock to attend an engagement dinner with Matt Muselman & his fiance Oana. We decided, after a week of waffling on the issue, to leave Josh with Rusty's parents here in Dallas. This is a short visit of formal affair and we'll be traveling with a friend who is sharing our hotel & gas. I think Josh will have much more fun spending two days with grandparents. And we will be able to enjoy our short time there without worrying about naps, feeding him, tantrums, avoiding heat, play time- all the things that take time. To help me feel better about this, I've made a two page dissertation on how to care for Josh and to expect. I'm hoping the tips and routines I outlined will help the grandparents. We'll see soon enough!



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