Monthly Archives: April 2011

Feverbaby

Lorelei was on a destructive tear Wednesday evening. I had rudely awakened her from her late nap, so she had to show me who was really boss in this relationship. As a (sometimes unfortunately) very curious and active almost eighteen-month old, this is a pretty common practice of hers. Books must be removed from shelves and strewn across the dining and living rooms. Toys must be dragged from her room and tossed willy-nilly down the hall. Mommy must be screamed at for no discernible reason…

Wait. That last one is not true.

On the rare occasion that she decides not to nap immediately post-lunch and instead passes out in the late-ish afternoon, I’ve gotten into the habit of letting her sleep for an hour and then rousing her from slumber. I probably shouldn’t, but when she chooses four in the afternoon as nap time I don’t have much choice if I want her to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I do. She gets up at the same time every morning, no matter what time she goes to bed at night. Normally, she is crabby for a ten or twenty minutes but I can distract her with toys or coloring or her favorite movie (right now it’s Tangled). When my usual tactics didn’t work, I knew something was up.

I avoid taking her temperature as much as I possibly can. For one thing, I’m not going to take it unless she a) feels hot to the touch or b) is acting like a complete terror. I usually hold out for both conditions to be met unless she is really, really volcanic hot. Which, just so we’re clear has only happened once before when we were all down with the flu this last Christmas. The other reason I avoid taking her temperature is that it is a huge pain in the B-U-T-T. We started out with an ear thermometer, but Lorelei hated it and wouldn’t let me anywhere near her with it so we got one that’s like a pacifier.

(Spare me the lecture about how she shouldn’t use a pacifier and how it’s the most inaccurate and yadda yadda blah blah blah because I don’t give a fuck. It’s what works for us. I would rather have something – inaccurate as it may be – that she will actually let me use than have nothing at all. Okay? )

She didn’t seem very warm to me but coupled with her fit of destruction, I decided to risk her wrath and approached her cautiously with the thermometer. After a minute, it beeped. 101.6 Not that bad but bad enough, especially since she is never sick unless one of us gets sick first. Truth. See: every time she has ever been sick ever

By yesterday evening, despite my best efforts – including Tylenol, a lukewarm bath and cool clothing – she was still wavering between 101 and 102. After refusing dinner, we called our pediatrician – they have an after-hours urgent care – and they told us to come in. We made it there just before it was closing for the night. Everything was fine in the waiting room. Lorelei seemed happy enough to be running around and clutching her stuffed owl, even though it was past her bed time. The second we opened the door to the examine room, however, she went from sleepy but happy toddler to screaming feverbaby!

She screamed when they tried to take her temperature. She screamed when they weigher her. She screamed when they brought her medicine, even though she gulped it down once I managed to get the syringe past her lips. While we waited for the doctor, I bounced her in my lap and pushed her around the room on the little doctor’s stool. She whimpered pathetically but wouldn’t allow us to put her down. Eventually, I traded places with Brian and she was mostly calm by the time the door opened again. What followed was one of the worst ten minute blocks of my life.

My poor baby girl was very scared. She wouldn’t let Brian set her on the examine table and instead clawed at him and reached for me. I held her tightly, feeling her fevered skin burn my cheek, while the doctor tried to listen to her heartbeat and lungs and check for rashes. Eventually, we had to lay her down. Brian held her feet and I held her arms and I shushed her and told her it was going to be okay over and over and over. I wanted to cry to. It felt like someone was stabbing me in the gut, watching her scream in complete terror and knowing that there was nothing I could do until it was all over.

But eventually, it was over. Diagnosis: hand, foot and mouth disease. Translation: nothing we could do accept give her Tylenol and hope her fever went down.

We trudged home and tucked her into bed. She was up several times in the night screaming. I felt like running away.

By this morning, her fever was gone. She wasn’t her usual active self, preferring to curl up next to me on the couch or curl up on top of a pillow on the living room floor. We watched the Royal Wedding (and that’s a whole other post right there) which I had the forethought to DVR. She would clap whenever there was a lot of cheering and she was enthralled during the hymns. She took a long nap at her normal time this afternoon and she seems almost back to normal. For that, I am glad and I hope that we don’t have to go near a doctor’s office for a very long time.

Not Getting What I Didn’t Know I Wanted

I don’t even know where to begin. I haven’t been posting much – other than the occasional picture or recipe – in the last few weeks. I might have said at some point that I needed to sort through the jumble of thoughts in my head. I lot of what has been going on are things that I’m not sure I want all of the internet to know. But…BUT…it has been a rough couple of weeks and today I was dealt a blow that I didn’t expect:

I’m not pregnant.

Let me repeat that: I’m not pregnant.

The desire to have a second child started pretty much the second Lorelei was born. I knew right away that, despite my earlier protests of “one is enough,” I want to have a big family. Or a bigger family. I want at least two kids, at least one playmate and conspirator for Lorelei. It didn’t help my baby fever that it seems like all of the internet and a number of real life friends are currently pregnant. However, baby number two was not supposed to be in the immediate future.

In case you missed it, Lorelei was not planned. Not at that moment in our lives anyway, not when we first found out. It was a shock to see the second line on the pregnancy test because a baby had been until then something for the future a few years away.  That is not to say that I regret having a baby when I did. Just because it wasn’t planned does not mean that I would change anything about it: Lorelei is perfect and I wouldn’t have her if everything had gone as planned.

So…

When talking about baby number two, we wanted to have more of a plan. We wanted to be moved into a bigger place before we tried to conceive. Moving with a six month old was not fun and I can’t imagine moving while pregnant would be any better. Our tiny compact car is barely big enough for the three of us, where would a second car seat go? We needed to save up for something bigger. We needed to save money period. We wanted it to be soon, just not right away.

Enter this month week. I am late. Like, really late. Bet you wanted to know that. On the one hand, I’ve been sick with anxiety. This wasn’t the plan. We were going to do the unplanned thing again. On the other hand, I’ve been excited by the possibility and maybe even getting my hopes up a little. I could not figure out which side was winning the battle. Well, I don’t have to fight with myself anymore. The test is negative.

I’m feeling sad and disappointed. I didn’t even know that it was what I wanted, not really, and yet here I am. I know that there are people who try for years to have one baby and here I am lamenting the fact that I’m not pregnant with a second baby when we weren’t even trying. I feel like a huge asshole. And yet…well, here I am.

All I have now is the possibility. Maybe. One day.

Not today.

Happy Easter

 

After a long day of Easter baskets – no candy for the little lady, thank you very much – and church and not napping and dinner with good company, we are all pooped. Also, Lorelei’s adorable uber-puffy dress is covered in berry juice and crumbs. It was a very lovely day but I’m glad it’s over and sleep is right around the corner. If you celebrate, I hope you too had a very happy Easter!

CSA Hash

Last week we got our first community supported agriculture (CSA) share. In addition to the benefit of getting fresh, local grown (often organic) produce, meats, cheese et al, I really wanted to do this so that I would have to challenge myself in the kitchen. I tend to get into a cooking rut, making the same dish over and over until I’m sick of it, and I know I need to change that.

I’m lucky to have a toddler who is, at least for the moment, pretty adventurous when it comes to food. Indian food, Thai food, salmon, chunks of avocado. She loves all the things green, except for spinach – having gotten over her hatred of green beans in recent months. Of course, what did we get in our share that week? A giant bag of spinach. Sigh. I looked around my kitchen at what I had left from my last big shopping trip, grabbed a bunch of things I knew she would like and figured I could hide the spinach in there and maybe she would accidentally eat some.

I use bratwurst in this recipe since that was my meat of the week and I was out of bacon. Feel free to substitute the meat of your choice or omit it all together. Keep in mind that if you are using bacon, you won’t need to add any olive oil to the pan before you begin frying the potatoes.

CSA Hash (Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 1 bratwurst, casing removed and cut into smallish chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieced
  • 2 cups spinach
  • Salt and pepper

Heat a cast-iron frying pan over medium heat. Add the brat chunks and cook, turning frequently, until cooked through. Remove from the pan and set aside. Unlike bacon, pancetta, etc the bratwurst won’t give you a lot of fat to work with, so you’ll need to add a few tablespoons of olive oil to the pan.

Once the olive oil is heated, add the potatoes and let them start to fry without messing with them. Season them with salt and pepper. After a couple minutes, once they’ve started to brown, begin turning your potatoes. Repeat this process for about 15 minutes – they’ll be more evenly browned this way – or until they are most of the way done.

At this point, you can add the onion and zucchini. (Any earlier in the process and it would burn.) Cook for several minutes or until they start to soften. Add the asparagus and give the whole mixture another toss. Cover the pan with tinfoil and cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the asparagus begins to crisp (thicker asparagus will take longer). Stir in the cooked bratwurst and spinach, cooking until the greens begin to wilt and the bratwurst has reheated.

Serving suggestion: top with sliced scallions, shredded gruyere cheese and fried eggs.

Thurtene Carnival

Every year in mid-April, my alma mater holds the country’s largest and oldest student run carnival. Almost overnight, a miniature – although sketch-tastic – amusement park takes over part of the school grounds. One half is rides of indeterminate safety and the other half is student run booths – really just card tables and clever use of construction paper – boasting food and drink and the occasional carnival game. Of course, the big draw is the fraternity/sorority facades, student written and performed plays that take place in hastily built structures.

This was Lorelei’s first year and our first year in a long time. We rode the carousel and got a sno-cone the size of my head – it helped to wash down the samosas we got from the ASHOKA booth – and wandered in the crowds. I think it was a hit.

*Second picture taken by the husband.

Textbook Spring

Spring
noun The season after winter and before summer, characterized by the budding of trees, growth of plants, the onset of warmer weather, etc.

Today was a textbook Spring day. The morning was cool, a light breeze drifting through the open windows and we started out in light jackets. By the time ten o’clock rolled around, they were abandoned for light short-sleeve shirts.

Lorelei ran around the playground, exploring. There were slides to climb up to and swings to be pushed on. There was a fountain that sprayed jets of icy water for her to play in.

Fig 1: Ice cold refreshment

For whatever dumb reason, I forgot to pack Lorelei’s sippy cup this morning. Fortunately, a quick stop at Starbucks for my coffee IV – thanks for the early wake ups the last two days, kid – I was able to procure her a cup as big as her and a straw. Also, she is always trying to steal my drink; so this had an added bonus of distracting her from that mission.

Fig 2: The big swing

She was terrified of this thing. For the first few minutes of the experiment she held on to the back of her playgroup buddy’s shirt. That quickly morphed into crying. We did not try the big swing again.

Fig 3: The fountain is spotted

Analogy – MOTH : FLAME : : LORELEI : WATER

Upon arrival, the fountain had not yet been turned on. You’d better believe that the second she realized that it was and that gasp the other kids were playing in it, she made a beeline for it. I started by removing her shoes and rolling up her pants.

Fig 4: Water Baby

It quickly became apparent that she was going to get soaked from head to toe no matter what I did. The shirt came off in a desperate attempt to have at least one part of her be dry when we left the playground.

Note to self: change of clothes and sham-wows must be in the diaper bag at all times.

Fig 5: Soaking up the sun

Post-fountain, once her top half had dried – her bottom half was still soaked and she so wonderfully used my white shirt to help her dry that off – she sprawled on my lap and enjoyed a few more rays of sunlight before it was time to head home.

It was a very good day.

The Pout

As you can see, Lorelei does not like being told she is not allowed to walk behind the play area. Fortunately for us, she just pouted and didn't throw a full-blown tantrum. A perfectly lovely – although much to warm, seriously what is up with skipping spring, St Louis – walk was not ruined by a headstrong toddler.

Baby Shower Tea Party

Although I knew Meredith from before, we really got to know each other in the Fall of 2009 when the two of us – and our friend Julie – would meet every Friday and knit at the London Tea Room (LTR). So, it really was no surprise that her baby shower would have an afternoon tea theme. And, since I am insane, I took on the cooking duties.

One of the most delicious things that you can get at the LTR is big fat slice of blueberry lemon cake. Oh how I wish I could have found a recipe for it. Alas, we settled for the cake pictured above. Meet the Lemon Layer Cake with Curd and Blueberries. As you can see, mine looks almost nothing like the picture. So, uh, I had some trouble and the cake didn’t poof (technical term) and I couldn’t cut the layers in half. So I just slapped some lemon curd on top too and threw on some extra blueberries and called it good. And it was.

Since one cake is never enough, cake number two was CHOCOLATE! With a chocolate glaze and shaved chocolate on top. Oh, yes.

Tea Parties require scones. This is a great basic recipe that is easily modified with your favorite flavor. I did a plain one with cinnamon sugar on top and also a raisin version. Serve with strawberry jam (and Devonshire cream if you can find it while wandering around Dierberg’s at nine on a Friday night – I couldn’t). Ahem.

As for the rest, we had a spread of fruits and veggies and crackers and cheese (provided by one of my cohorts) and I whipped up an assortment of tea sandwiches. Little rounds with cucumber slices and cream cheese with a hint of fresh mint. Chicken salad and curried egg salad on triangles.

And now I’m hungry thinking about it. I wonder if I have enough stuff to make another batch of scones…

Children’s Garden

I may have mentioned it once or twice before that I love having a membership to the Botanical Gardens. When I’m casting about for something to do with Lorelei on an overcast – although mild – Spring day, there is always something to fall back on. At the beginning of April, the Children’s Garden reopens and, since the daughter is still a wee babe, it’s free!For some reason, Lorelei was drawn to the water area even though the fountains are still turned off. My little water baby. I’m sure she will get into all sorts of trouble here during the summer months.

There is also the general store, which we have visited before when she wasn’t really walking. Now, she enjoys sweeping up:

And picking out fresh – read: plastic – produce.

I’m going to focus on the positives of the trip. I’m not going to even mention the screaming tantrum she treated me to when I tried to put her back in the stroller. Or how I had to haul her little baby booty and push a stroller all the way back to the car. Nope. Not going to mention it at all.

MaMaw and PaPaw’s House

After a warm and blustery day, a spring storm blew through St Louis sometime in the early morning hours. I had been asleep on the couch – long boring story* – and was awakened by the sounds of thunder and the strong winds trying to blow our grill around the deck. I don’t know if it was the boom of the thunder or the scrape of metal on wood that was what woke, but that’s not important. I lay in the darkness, the DVD music restarting every 35 seconds, and smelled the rain through the open window.

I don’t know why I started thinking about it, but I was reminded of sitting on my grandparents’ – MaMaw and PaPaw – sun porch whenever we visited them in the summers and watching the storms pass by, the wind gusting along the creek that ran behind their house.

I tried to remember what their house was like, but my memory is getting fuzzy. It’s been a little more than ten years since PaPaw passed away – at the end of my first semester of college – and MaMaw has been gone fourteen years. So, I lay there in the dark, smelling the rain and tried to remember:

Their sun porch had dark green astroturf. There was a ceiling fan, of course, to dispel some of the heat and there was a little glider-type swing that us grandkids would sit on and watch the world.

In the backyard there were porcelain animals. A family of ducks – we used to joke that they confused the real ducks that would wander up from the creek. Ah yes, the creek. Like many families in that part of Sugarland, Texas, MaMaw and PaPaw had a paddle boat. Since we couldn’t go swimming in the water – I seem to remember it was possibly polluted from the sugar processing plant – we would paddle around in the little boat.

We had kiddy pools to splash in and the spray of hoses to run through to cool off. Grass would stick to my bare feet and legs. We would chomp on huge fresh watermelons. To this day, I can’t even stand the smell of melon because I gorged myself on them so much one day that I made myself sick.

The are other weird little things that I remember about their house. How they were the only people I knew who had juice glasses. That they had cable television but the set was so old that you still had to turn a knob to power it on. They had a weird little round table that had tiers that rotated open. I would lay on their soft brown couch, with my face pressed into a pillow and stare at the tchotchkes that were collected on it.

There was a blue room and a pink room. The pink room had a big pink puffy armchair. There were pictures on the wall of my mom when she was young – she looked so glamorous to childhood me.

MaMaw would give me her old clothes to play dress up on. She was so little that they fit tall skinny kid me. I remember distinctly a red velvet dress with pearl buttons that I wore all the time.

Snippets. They fade. I don’t even know if everything I’ve written here is a hundred percent accurate. How much is just me trying to fill the gaps of my memory with something that looks pretty? Last night, when I couldn’t sleep and the thunder and lightning surrounded our little apartment, I thought of my MaMaw and PaPaw and the time we visited and there was a hurricane and tried to hold onto the images that remained in my head.

*I was really wired last night and was keeping Brian awake. Also, I have well-documented cure to insomnia: watching a favorite movie. So that’s what I was doing and why I was on the couch. Brian and I did not have a fight or anything because if we had, it would have been him sleeping on the couch.