Monday, November 30, 2009

Pickled WHAT in a jar?

So, feeding Caroline is a whole new experience out here in North Dakota. When we were here this summer, she hadn't really started solids yet, but now that she's almost 10 months old, "real food" is a much bigger part of her diet.

And it's kind of difficult to do out here.

I'm pretty neurotic about what she eats, because I'm a little bit of a health nut and always try to think about what kind of eating habits I'm helping her create for later in life. I don't know if I've mentioned this here before, but I make all of her food. This is mainly driven by grad-student poverty and extra stay-at-home-mom time, with a little bit of "gray meat and fluorescent veggies squick me out" thrown in there.

So I went to the nearest grocery store, which I just have to point out is almost 30 miles away and is actually in Montana. I knew I was in trouble when I saw the teeny little fresh produce section next to the rows and rows of frozen aisles, but I guess that's the way it goes when you live in a very remote area where things would spoil before they ever get sold. Here's a list of just a few of the things Caroline eats all the time that you CANNOT find at said grocery store:

  1. Whole milk dairy products like yogurt, ricotta, cottage cheese, etc.
  2. Anything organic. I try not to get too spastic about eating all-organic because it's so expensive, but I do have a lot of vague and rather arbitrary food categories that I prefer to be organic, such as "things you don't peel before eating" and "things that seem kinda dirty".
  3. Any kind of antibiotic- or hormone-free meats or eggs.

You can, however, find things like:

  1. Pickled pigs' feet in a jar (organic status unknown, but questionable).
  2. Any cut of beef or type of wild game you can imagine.
  3. The biggest variety of frozen pizzas, TV dinners, and fish sticks that I've ever seen.

You can see that it's kind of a challenge. I finally left with a lot of frozen fruit and veggies, some cheese, and some sweet potatoes and squash. Luckily I had suspected ahead of time that feeding would be problematic, so I had sent non-spoilable things like organic black beans, oatmeal, and dried fruit with Tyler in his car.

Mainly I've just had to get over the fact that she won't be eating much fresh food for the next month. Really it's no big deal for such a short period of time, but like I said, I'm neurotic. The upside: you can't get fresher beef than the stuff my in-laws get straight from their rancher relatives, so I think it might be time Caroline had her first baby hamburger!

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Well, we've made it to North Dakota, where we'll be until December 20. We're having a great time with the family, and Caroline's cousins are very excited that she's here to play again. (Caroline is having a lot of trouble adjusting to the time change, or is getting her top teeth, or both... Tyler and I got up 12, count 'em, 12 times last night-- but that is not in keeping with my post title so I will refrain from further complaints.)

I was thinking a lot during my plane trip out here about last year's trip. I was 20-something weeks pregnant and puking my guts out on the plane, and this year I had a sleeping 9-month old on my lap. My youngest niece was a three-month-old blob, and now she's 15 months and walking and talking. I just can't believe a whole year has gone by and how much has changed. And, I knew I was in for an adventure with a baby coming during dental school, but I didn't know exactly how (or if) that was going to work out.

Since it's Thanksgiving and I'm feeling a little grouchy due to my (complete) lack of sleep last night, I thought it might be a good idea to pretend I'm at home, around my parents' Thanksgiving table, and list all the things I am thankful for. Because really, this year, the list is very long... and I shouldn't forget that, regardless of how many (or few) hours of sleep I've gotten in the past week.

  1. My loving husband and my beautiful, smart little baby girl. My mother-in-law was watching me play with her yesterday and she said "it's impossible to imagine how you're going to feel about your own children until you actually have them, isn't it?" And she was so right.
  2. The fact that I've gotten to spend almost Caroline's entire first year at home with her. Sure, it's going to be difficult to transition to daycare and to get back into things at school, but there really wouldn't have been any other time in my life when I could as easily have taken this much time off to be a mom. Related to this, I guess, is the fact that Tyler and I have always been so careful with our money that we didn't take a huge hit financially, even without my student loan income. I am so lucky that it was possible to do that without putting a strain on our family.
  3. My career that I love is waiting for me to pick up where I left off, even after taking a yearlong "vacation".
  4. Both of my wonderful families-- mine, and Tyler's. I love coming here for holidays, even though I miss my parents when I do. He has that big, happy, crazy family full of kids running around that I have always wanted. My family loves each other, of course, but there are only six of us, including my grandparents.... so it's always nice to come here and experience a little joyful chaos.
  5. My sweet Caroline. I have to list her again, because whenever I think about it, I can't believe that there was a time (even if only a few weeks, way back in the beginning) when I didn't want her. She is the light of my life.
There you have it-- sappy post #2738789 since becoming a mom. I can't help it. It's good to acknowledge how lucky you are so that you don't ever take it for granted, you know?

Happy Thankgiving!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I have a lot of things to report, mostly because I haven't blogged in a couple of weeks. I was thinking today that I fear for my blog when I go back to school, because I've hardly found the time to write while I've been staying at home. And then I thought that I actually blogged more while I was in school, so maybe it won't die out after all. And then I thought that I should probably just go write a post since I am wasting all this time thinking about blogging.

First: Caroline's 9 month appointment. It wasn't fantastic. (Someday, I will be able to come on here and brag that we had an amazing appointment and it went perfectly and I did not have to spend the entire rest of the day on the phone trying to get specialist appointments. Unfortunately, that day was not last Friday.) The pediatrician decided that since she hasn't been at least trying to sit up, creep, crawl, or pull up to stand, she has a slight gross motor delay that we needed to get evaluated. She also is still making this loud raspy noise when she inhales due to her laryngomalacia (floppy airway-- common in preemies). She really should have outgrown this and her snoring by now, but since she hasn't, we need to get her in to see a pediatric ear/nose/throat specialist.

So, last week a teacher and a physical therapist from a Birth to Three program came to our apartment to check out Caroline's skillz. They said that she was fine in all areas except gross motor, in which she falls into the 16th percentile (for an 8 month old, her adjusted age). She didn't qualify for services, which was great news, but we need to really push the tummy time and call back if she isn't crawling in a couple more months.

I also set up an appointment with an ENT at the children's hospital for December 22. Sigh... we were just about to get released from the GI there and I was really looking forward to not going back. Oh well-- I will try not to complain as long as she doesn't need surgery, which is really the only treatment for laryngomalacia other than time. They'll do a scope to see what the problem is and to decide whether or not surgery will be necessary. I am trying very hard not to imagine my little baby knocked out on an operating table... or even sedated for a scope. Poor thing. And poor me, a little bit, because I am going to be a freaking basket case and no one needs to deal with that insanity.

Moving on.

Even though she may not be crawling, my baby has awesome communication skills :) She now signs "more", "milk", and "drink", and says "done", "all done", "dada", and... my favorite... "mama"!! Prepare yourself for extreme sappiness because this was seriously one of the highlights of my entire life. (Is that sad? I think it might be, a little, but nonetheless--)

This past weekend, Caroline was sitting in her highchair and eating while Tyler and I ate our lunches and talked to her. She was looking at him saying "da da da" and smiling, and I got jealous and said "Caroline, why don't you ever say 'mama' to me??" She looked right at me, reached out her arms, and said "ma ma ma!" I teared up and gave her a big hug. It was so sweet. Tyler said, "No, get her to say it again, she's going to get confused because you're crying!"

Sigh. Just thinking about it makes me smile. I am so in love with this chubby little thing and her silly parted hair.

(Edited) I forgot to add that yesterday was National Prematurity Awareness Day. Here's a link from the March of Dimes if you are interested in becoming more informed about prematurity and how to prevent preterm birth. Even late pretermers like Caroline can deal with health consequences months down the road. Hopefully soon, researchers will be able to determine more about the causes for premature birth, and more effective ways to prevent it.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A huge milestone

So, Caroline's 9th monthday is tomorrow. (Insert obligatory "I can't believe my baybeh is so big!!") And she still isn't crawling, or really mobile in any way. She scoots around a little on her butt, but that's it. I'm getting pretty tired of people asking if she is crawling and then looking disappointed/concerned/whatever when I say no.

I know that she will get there when she's ready, but it does worry me a little. She doesn't get herself into a sitting position either, and she still topples over once in awhile while she's sitting. My real concern is that I took terbutaline while pregnant with her, and I know that can cause gross motor delays. Sigh. Luckily we're seeing the pediatrician for her 9 month visit on Friday, so I can ask about it then.

BUT. LISTEN. Just yesterday, Caroline was chowing down on her lunch (an egg yolk omelette with peas and brown rice). She started to slow down and play with her food like she does when she gets full, and I said what I usually say at that point: "are you all done?" She looked up at me and yelled "done!!"

I squealed so loudly that the poor thing jumped and screwed up her face like she was going to cry. HER FIRST WORD!!! I scooped her up and whirled her around and praised her. I was so excited. I wasn't entirely sure that it was a real word... until dinnertime, when she did the same thing!

My baby is talking! Ahhh!!

This means she's a genius... right? (Humor me, people.)