baby rabies, part two

ramona’s passion for licking everything she can possibly lick (including the cat! was she trying to groom the cat?) has finally caught up with her. she came down with a cold on friday night & she’s still battling through it today. i feel pretty bad for her. she has a bit of a nasty cough & is all hoarse. jared is feeling under the weather too & decided to stay home today & take it easy. so i am once again dealing with that situation i always hate: being responsible for a sick baby while my sick partner hangs around the house. i’m just concentrating on washing my hands every thirty seconds & devouring oranges by the bushel to try to avoid getting sick myself. & i’ve got my eye on the prize that is 7:30pm: ramona’s bedtime. so far, being sick hasn’t affected her nighttime sleep that much. by the bedtime rolls around, she’s generally exhausted & passes right out. she has been waking up to hack & cough, but a quick dose of baby tylenol & benadryl has been doing the trick. it’s not as scary as when she had an ear infection in october. this time, there have been no fevers & she’s been sticking to her usual schedule. she’s just a bit more whiny & clingy than usual, which is extra gross because she’s also been covered in a thin film of snot.

despite all this, i totally have baby rabies again & really want to have another baby. i even did a bunch of homework about what would be involved if we were still in kansas when i got pregnant again. it sounds like it would be a bit of a pain in the ass. since i had ramona by cesarean, i can’t have a vaginal birth at the local hospital. they don’t have an in-house anesthesiologist. that means that if i was in labor there & had some sort of catastrophic complication like uterine rupture (unlikely, but it’s the main reason a lot of hospitals ban VBACs), they’d have to call the anesthesiologist to come in from home before i could be rushed in for a repeat cesarean. if i wanted to give birth in lawrence, i’d either have to have a scheduled cesarean or a home birth. i’m not really interested in either of those options.

but my ob-gyn said i was a good candidate for VBAC, since the circumstances around ramona’s birth had nothing to do with any kind of physiological issue that is guaranteed to repeat itself. she said i could start my prenatal care in lawrence & switch to another practice that does support VBAC at my leisure. it sounds like the closest place that allows VBAC is shawnee mission medical center, which is near kansas city, about 40 minutes away. could be worse, but it still means i’d be driving over an hour round-trip for prenatal care. while i have another kid at home. & obviously most doctor’s office hours coincide with the hours that jared is at work. so that’s all a big pain in the ass as far as kid-wrangling goes. & then when i went into labor, it would be another 40-minute drive to get to the hospital. lawrence memorial, by contrast, is only a 5-minute drive.

but i guess i’d rather drive a lot than get cut open again, if i have a choice in the matter. & all of this is irrelevant for the moment anyway because i’m not pregnant & who knows when i will be. jared & i are feeling conflicted about the whole thing because, on the one hand, it would be great to have another kid, have it be pretty close to ramona in age, & “know our family,” as jared phrased it. (he only wants one more. i maybe kind of want two more? but let’s start with one & see how i feel, i guess.) on the other hand, we have no idea what jared’s job situation is going to be like as of june, & that means we have no idea what our living situation is going to be like. obviously if we were going to have another child, we would HAVE to move. our tiny one-bedroom house is a tight squeeze already with just one baby. i don’t think we could shoehorn another in here without going crazy. but jared also isn’t done with his dissertation & he has a fair amount of research to do. which means we might be living in another state as soon as june. or maybe not. we just don’t know! it’s kind of difficult to start making contingency plans for bonus kids when you don’t even know what part of the country you’re going to be living in in four months, let alone a year.

we did both agree that the ideal would be to have our kids two or three years apart in age. if i got pregnant this month, my due date would be the day before ramona’s second birthday. but it took us nearly a year to conceive her, & the idea of another baby before the year is out strikes both of us as pretty overwhelming.

it’s crazy that i am even considering another baby while ramona is all sick & whiny.

her 15-month check-up is next week. i am really not looking forward to it. the playgroup moms, all of whom have slightly older babies, told me that the 15-month check-up is when the pediatrician gets concerned if the baby isn’t walking yet. technically ramona is only 13 months old…but still. not only is she not walking, she refuses to even stand if she isn’t holding on to something. i feel like she CAN do it. she took three steps yesterday while holding on to nothing more substantial than a hank of my hair. she SHE doesn’t seem to think she can do it. if she isn’t holding on to something, she immediately sits down, & then usually bursts into tears. it’s just a personality thing, i think. both jared & i were pretty physically risk-averse as children. i know she’ll get there. lately she’s been really into walking around the house while pushing a chair. she has a wooden walker, but she won’t use it to walk. she pushes it around while “walking” on her knees. but give her a chair & she will walk on her feet. the trick is getting her to let go & walk on her own (or even just stand). anyway, i just don’t want to deal with the judgment from the doctor & nurse. the nurse, in particular, was horrified at ramona’s 12-month check-up when we reported that ramona wasn’t pulling up yet.

i guess i also feel shitty about it because i wonder if i’m doing something wrong. is there something i can do to encourage her to be more physically confident? is there some trick i can use to teach her to stand on her own or take a step? am i just a crappy mom that doesn’t know how to teach her baby stuff? ramona is coming along at her own pace–i mean, three months ago, she wouldn’t put weight on her feet & now she walks around pushing chairs. in another three months, she’ll probably be walking. but sometimes i wonder if people are silently judging me because my kid is a little bit behind with this stuff. like maybe they think i just lock her in a closet all day & that’s why she can’t do shit that other kids her age are doing.

i’m also a teensy bit nervous about her backsliding with the talking. a month ago, she was saying “dada” without no problems. now she won’t say a D sound. she did recently learn to make S sounds. but all she will say now is “mama,” even though i’m constantly trying to teach her other words. she doesn’t even try to say them. she just babbles. maybe this is how it goes with babies? one step forward, two steps back?

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Hope says:

    Lilian has hit all of her milestones right on-time or even early except for one… she didn’t take her first steps until she was maybe 14 months old. She hated standing on her own, because she reaaaaally didn’t want to fall over. I don’t know why, she’s been bold about pretty much everything else. But she just didn’t want to try, because she knew she was going to fall and she had no interest in it.

    Once she got herself over that hurdle, she progressed quickly and is now super steady on her feet. If your pediatrician ends up being concerned, Early Intervention will probably be able to give you a hand. But I wouldn’t be too stressed about it. Lilian faced her fears eventually. I’m sure Ramona will too. 🙂

    1. ciara says:

      ramona is already involved with early intervention. the program here is called tiny K. the pediatrician suggested that we involve an occupational therapist after her 12-month appointment, when ramona wouldn’t even put weight on her feet. when we tried to stand her up, she would just pull her legs up. tiny K has helped a lot (or maybe ramona would have progressed without them? who knows?) & now she pulls herself up on everything. even things that can’t possibly be providing any real support, like blankets, or chunks of my hair. but she just won’t stand up on her own! let alone walk. it makes me a tiny bit sad because i think babies standing up on their own is like the cutest thing ever. but i suppose she’ll get there eventually. the consensus seems to be that ramona is just very cautious.

      i’m really looking forward to her learning how to walk though because right now her favorite activity is having books read to her. she will select a book & then scoot across the room/house to bring it to whichever parent is nearest & hold it out to be read. adorable, except for the fact that she whines at a high-pitched volume for the entire scoot. i’ve told her a million times that bringing books to us would be way easier for her if she would just get up & walk, but it hasn’t had any effect yet.

  2. ellen says:

    In terms of the language thing, Amelia goes through periods of making certain noises and sounds and then seems to forget about them completely as she discovers new noises. She used to call me Mama – now she just shrieks and raises her arms to get my attention. She REFUSES to do anything “on command” – like if she says something funny, she will not repeat it, nor can she be cajoled into trying to say a word she doesn’t feel inclined to say. Pffft, babies. Amirite? (Which is to say, none of this has anything to do with parenting – it’s all personality – far as I can tell. Hopefully your doc is just concerned with possible delays, and not in making you feel shitty, because you can’t make babies do things they aren’t ready to do. But good to have professionals involved in case she needs some help. I hate Amelia needing extra medical involvement but I also appreciate that things are being addressed promptly.). Hope it goes well.

    1. ciara says:

      ramona started saying “dada” again the other day. i guess she just needed a break while she worked on other stuff. she stopped saying it right around the same time that she learned to make what we call “moose face” (holding her hands up to her head like antlers–yeah, we’re really teaching her the important stuff here). i guess she has synthesized that & is ready to work on her D sounds again.

      it’s amazing how much stuff ramona will do on command. she seems to be really into making us laugh. but it’s also amazing how she will shake her head no when we ask her to do something she doesn’t want to do. i really wish i knew how much she really understands. i wish there was some way i could get inside her head & see if she really knows what i’m saying when i tell her not to bite the cat’s tail.

      oh, & ramona’s 15-month appointment went fine. the doctor was not concerned about the lack of walking. ramona said “mama” & hugged my leg right in front of the doctor, so she was showing off a little.

  3. Courtney says:

    Sounds like you need a less judgmental group of friends 🙂 Tons of kids aren’t walking at 13 (or even 15) months so I wouldn’t stress much about it. Verbal skills… well ok all skills… do fluctuate. Munchkin’s therapists have told me it’s not uncommon for a baby/toddler to do something a few times, or even quite a few times, then not do it again for months while they’re learning something else. Also generally kids learn one skill at a time so if they’re working hard to develop a fine motor skill, the verbal skills might slide backwards, etc.

    Yes people do judge when they see a child not doing what “they” think is appropriate for your child’s age. But I gotta say, as the parent of a SN kid, you just ignore it, or take time to educate people. Most people aren’t meanly judging, just curious about what other kids can do. Trust me, it’s way worse when something is actually wrong with your kid.

    I’m glad to see Ramona is doing so well and the best of luck to all of you navigating the treacherous unknown this summer. It’s definitely hair-raising.

    1. ciara says:

      as far as i know, no one has actually been judging us. it’s just my own occasional feelings of parenting inadequacy, which we probably all experience from time to time. you know, just wondering if we’re doing the right thing, doing the best we can, etc. like, right now ramona is playing with her ring sorter toy & i’m dicking around answering blog comments. sometimes i wonder if i should be playing with her, showing her how to stack the rings, teaching her about colors or something, even though she seems perfectly content to be doing her own thing.

  4. andrea says:

    I feel this way too. Emmett is nearly 6 months and he is generally pretty content to practice kicking his legs and chew on his teether. Sometimes he will hang out on his tummy and practice doing the worm. He gets whiney if he wants company, but otherwise he’s ok with spending time on his own. I feel guilty when I check the internet, but on the other hand it’s not like he can offer me anything in the way of adult communication. (It’s even worse when I decide to watch a TV show, knowing full well that Emmett is going to end up mesmerized by the screen. The kid will use all his powers to get in a position from which to see the TV. He’s more motivated by that than any toy meant to encourage imagination, unfortunately. I try to do that only very rarely because I know screen time is not recommended, but lordy! I really like TV.)

    Anyway, my mom gave me Dr. Spock, who I think has gone out of favour somewhat, but I LOVE that book. Dr. Spock says that it’s important for babies to have independent play time. So: experts agree!

    1. ciara says:

      yeah, i just wonder if maybe i give her a little too much independent play time. i mean, i take her to the park when it’s nice out, & she can’t really play independently there because she’s too little for it to be safe. & i stop what i’m doing & hang out with her if she brings me a book to read or a toy. jared is just so playful & interactive with her when he’s home…it’s definitely not a level of interaction i would be able to sustain over the course of an eight-hour solo baby-wrangling day.

      i was talking about this a couple of months ago, & this other mom was all, “well, i get down on the floor & play with my baby whenever she’s awake,” & i was like, “…”. not to be a dick, but this came from a mom that works full-time. the time that her kid is awake & she is at home is a couple hours a day, tops. so playing with her & interacting with her is a treat. being home with a baby all day is a different story. i’m not saying it’s harder. i’m just saying that that blase “if we’re together, we are playing” attitude does not work for my life situation.

      i watched TV a lot when ramona was really little, but when i noticed it attracting her attention (i forget how old she was then–still pretty little), i pretty much stopped watching TV while she was awake. i only watch a handful of shows & all online anyway. so maybe sometimes i’m a few days behind the actual air date, because i only watch while she’s napping. sometimes i play youtube videos while she’s up & around, like if there’s a song i want to listen to. & it’s always a disaster because ramona is captivated by the video & then she cries & screams when it’s over. it’s honestly more trouble than it’s worth to let her watch TV/videos.

  5. andrea says:

    It’s totally different when you are working. I’m at school in the mornings now, and then I take care of Emmett in the afternoon/evenings. When I was with him full time, I would try to interact with him at all times. I felt like I should be exposing him to language, social interaction, playtime, etc. whenever he was up. But Emmett’s had an independent streak ever since he was a small baby. He needs time by himself to stare at his hands, kick his legs, play with his toes, etc. Now that he’s almost 6 months, he’s more interactive than before and seems to actively want my attention sometimes, but still. Honestly, I can’t keep up with full-time interaction even just in the afternoons now. It’s too tiring, and I don’t think it’s even to his benefit. Independent playtime is important! It’s maternal guilt that makes us feel selfish if we’re not devoting ourselves to our kids 100% of the time. (Btw, in my experience doing part-time grad school, taking care of a baby is much more demanding and less obviously “rewarding.”)

    1. ciara says:

      i think most babies have that independent streak. they just get fixated on their own stuff & don’t necessarily want to pay attention to what their caregivers want them to pay attention to. ramona seems a little more independent everyday. it used to be that when i took ramona out to the park or the library or whatever, she’d sit in my lap & cling to me. now she’s the first kid to make a break for it & start exploring other things.

      i’ve been thinking lately about how when ramona was, like, emmett’s age, i would see friends with older babies or toddlers & be so overwhelmed by how much work it seemed to be to have a kid that old. you have to look after their teeth & give them real food three to five times a day! they only nap once! they crawl around & get into things! eek! i was petrified. but honestly…it’s gotten easier as ramona has gotten older. when she first started crawling, it was a rough transition, but i was used to it after a week or so. when she first got teeth, trying to brush them was a nightmare, but now she brushes them herself. i was terrified of the responsibility of giving her lunch–having to make something nutritious & get her to eat it. but it’s actually was easier than fixing a bottle & having to sit there & feed her. so…there’s a light at the end of the tiny baby tunnel.

  6. andrea says:

    Yes, I’m feeling like we’re in a sweet spot right now because Emmett is pass the newborn fussy stage, he sleeps most nights, but he’s not yet crawling so taking care of him is pretty easy. He has two teeth, but I just wipe them with a washcloth a couple times a day. I know it’s going to be a different kettle of fish once he’s moving around and sleeping less. He’ll be 6 months next week. The signs are there: he really wants to crawl, but he hasn’t got the ability yet.

    For now, I LOVE doing solids, but I am sort of blown away by how quickly the day goes by… I generally give him food in the morning and the early evening. Recently I started trying to give him an afternoon snack too, and I often don’t have time to. Don’t have time to feed my baby?! What? But of course, the bottles are really the main event and he’s only having a couple tbsps of solids here and there, so I guess when solids are an important source of nutrition we’ll definitely find the time for them.

    1. ciara says:

      i felt the same way, about not having time to give ramona lunch. i was really anxious about adding that to the daily routine. which seems crazy to me now because giving her real food is actually a thousand times easier that preparing a bottle, feeding her the bottle, washing the bottle.

      we did baby-led weaning (which has nothing to do with weaning as we traditionally conceive of it–it just means letting the baby feed itself). we never fed ramona with spoons or anything. we just give her some food & let her put it in her mouth herself. it’s really easy. we give her the same stuff we eat, so we’re not fixing separate baby meals or spending money on jarred food, & we can just sit & eat with her instead of having to spoon-feed her & then eat our own meals. for lunch i give her toast or mac & cheese or pita & hummus. i just put it in a bowl & let her go to town. it’s WAY easier than bottles. i don’t know what i was so afraid of. the only kind of annoying thing is that it takes her a while to eat sometimes, & there are days when i really want to get out of the house after she gets up from her nap…but i have to wait around for like 45 minutes while she eats.

      it was nightmare-ish when ramona first started crawling, but i got used to it within a week. it’s a big change though. nothing is safe anymore. people keep telling me that i should be thankful ramona isn’t walking yet because that means there’s less she can get into, but i think that’s bullshit. she’s tall enough to pull things down off tabletops, & there’s no way that development is somehow easier than a baby that can walk. when we take her out to the playground or whatever, she still crawls away from us. it’s not like she just sits there doing nothing because she can’t walk.

  7. andrea says:

    I’m getting scared of crawling! In just the last 10 days, Emmett has started moving like crazy. He rolls and rolls and rolls. I used to just set him down on a blanket, but now he ends up halfway across the room. He just rolls until he gets stuck somewhere.

    I am seriously considering getting a play pen or whatever those things are that feel like putting your kid in a petting zoo. We’re moving in like 4 months, and serious baby proofing probably involves bolting bookshelves to the walls and the like — stuff that would mess with our damage deposit. I think it would be easier, less expensive and safer if I just corralled him in a jumbo playpen. And he can’t even crawl yet! He’s definitely figured out that forward motion is a thing, and he would like to do it. He tries to push himself forward and gets frustrated. Based on his previous development, I think he’s likely to stay in the rolling phase for awhile, but who knows?

    1. ciara says:

      i won’t lie: crawling was awful at first. it was so stressful suddenly having this baby who could move around & get into things. but i seriously got used to it within a week & now i wonder how the hell i ever dealt with a baby that had to be carried everywhere.

      every kid is different, but once ramona really mastered army crawling (that forward motion on her belly), she was crawling for real in less than a month. four months is like a thousand years in baby time. he could be walking within four months! i know he’ll only be like ten months old then, but i know babies who were walking by that age. not that you asked for my input, but it’s probably worth doing as much babyproofing as you can, even if you’re only going to be there for a few more months. it’s better than having to watch him like a hawk non-stop for four months to make sure he doesn’t get hurt.

      but yeah, a playpen is also a good idea. i never used ramona’s pack & play much, but it was really handy when i felt like i needed it. & surprisingly, she didn’t even mind it that much as long as i put some toys in there with her. she seemed to think it was some really complex game of peekaboo.

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