Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Seven: January 23-29, 2011

Who me? Me standing? Yeah, that's right! Chunky can now pull up to stand next to anything.
Monkey did not just wipe bubbles across baby brother's face. Of course not.
Hmm... someone looks up to no good. I wonder which one did it?
Getting them in the same chair is virtually impossible. Getting them to both look at a camera is even more impossible. We accomplished the impossible tonight!
Who is that baby? I think I've seen him before.
"Sometimes being a brother is even better than being a superhero." ~Marc Brown

This is what happens to the train table when you leave Monkey alone for a minute. No more tracks but a lot of choo choos!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Dangerous Pediatrician

After countless hours studying until the wee hours of the morning, writing papers on everything from hereditary tyrosinemia to why I want to be a baby doctor and enough scantron exams to turn a sane person crazy, I'll be a pediatric resident in 5 short months. I'll have an M.D. behind my name.

Shouldn't those 2 little letters give me all the knowledge and insight on how to tell everyone else how to raise their children? Of course not. I haven't learned a single thing about successful parenting my children in any textbook, and I've read a lot of them. I still have 3 years of medical training ahead of me to perfect my pediatric skills and a lifetime of learning to figure it all out, but I've learned so much more about being a parent by actually being one for 27 short months than by any amount of information I could gleam from the glossy pages of a pediatric textbook.

I would have been a very dangerous pediatrician if I didn't have my boys. Are there great pediatricians who do not have kids? I'm sure there are... but I would not have been one of them. I would have relied on the greatest trusty textbooks' advice to tell my patients' parents how to raise the perfect child. I would have told them that doing everything "just right" would make their kids sleep through the night at 4 months of age. I would have told them that nursing is easy. I would have preached all kinds of things that just don't always happen in reality. Babies do not always follow the rules.

I've been blessed beyond measure by the two most beautiful baby boys in the world, but they haven't been the easiest of children. They certainly haven't followed any of the textbooks.

Monkey had reflux as an infant and would scream for hours. He hated solid foods and didn't sleep through the night until he was a year old. At two years old he still uses a pacifier at  bedtime and thinks peeing on the carpet is hilarious. He achieved all of his gross and fine motor milestones ahead of time but didn't have much of a vocabulary until 18 months. He was fine with mama, dada and byebye until then. He followed his own rules.

Chunky is 9 months old. He has been crawling for about a month now and saying "mama" almost as long. He pulls to stand and makes a cute clicking sound when he wants to nurse. He hasn't sleep more than 2-3 hours at a time his entire life. He hasn't even remotely come close to those magical 6 hours of sleeping through the night. His face turns red when he eats anything with texture and refuses to swallow. He follows his own rules.

Now when a parent comes to me asking about their 6-month-old who refuses solids or the 9-month-old who refuses to sleep, I can say that I've been there. I can empathize and listen. I can suggest things that maybe aren't covered in medical books. I've been there. I've done that. I won't have all the answers. Babies don't always follow the rules.  I'll at least know that...

Friday, January 28, 2011


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Paranoia Parenting?

Do you consider yourself a paranoid parent? I like to consider myself an informed parent but fairly laid-back. I let my older son roll around in the grass, splash in the Gulf of Mexico (eww!), play in the rain and eat cake for breakfast. He has eaten sand, kissed every character at Disney (resulting in a fabulous stomach bug and an emergency stop to get a Zofran prescription), banged his head on an ornate chair necessitating a trip to Urgent Care and survived. 

When he was a fresh, squishy newborn I had all these high hopes of pouring gallons of sanitizing gel on my hands every time I touched him (or making the guests do the same). Now that I know better I'm glad that little rule lasted all of a day or two. Washing my hands with regular soap and water did just fine and prevented "superbugs" from mutating and gaining resistance to anti-bacterial handwash. Just doing a little good for the world...

Bumper Bonnet

I came across this product in one of the many baby catalogues I receive, and it got me to thinking... Have we really reached a point where we have to shield our children from absolutely everything (including themselves) in the name of safety? Or is this an awesome product that will save the foreheads from bruises of many young crawlers, prevent the screams of pain when our kiddos slam their head on the tile and reduce the many trips to the emergency department after Junior runs into the corner of the table?

This isn't a product review, and I can't say how well this particular "helmet" works or doesn't work. To be honest though, it looks ridiculous...and hot. But I can imagine it has done its job and prevented plenty of head boo-boos in wobbly babies. I can also see it as being an excellent option for head protection of special needs children who may not have the tone and muscle development for safer crawling/walking but are mobile or the kids who have recently undergone brain surgery/shunt placement/etc... I can see many uses. This particular product is marketed towards typically developing children to prevent the occasional bump or bruise.  Bumps and bruises are part of the learning process, and its unlikely baby will get a serious head injury from crawling or teetering over while walking. But its possible... and looks aren't everything when it comes to safety.

We only get one brain. We might as well protect it the best we can. My boys won't be getting protective helmets anytime soon, but I'll definitely be keeping a watchful eye on their noggins.

Which leads me to... Monkey just happens to have a 2-inch bruise across his forehead from running into his dresser, and Chunky is sporting a tiny little bruise above his right eye from falling on a toy while trying to pull up. They could have been prevented by that helmet...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Monkey Musings

When the State of the Union came on...
Me: That is President Obama on the tv.
Monkey: Present momma? birthday?
Me: No, the president. His name is President Obama.
Monkey: Birthday Present 'Bama momma?
Me: (I give up.) No, no presents, Monkey. PresiDENT!
Monkey: (looking really excited) 'Bama momma presents! Yay momma!

Before bed...
Monkey: Night night eve'body.
Me: Goodnight Monkey. I love you. Do not get out of bed until mommy or daddy comes to get you in the morning, ok?
Monkey: (silent for a while) No, no, no wake up! Eve'body wake up! No night night!
Me: Yes, we need to go night night.
Monkey: Ok, bow kisses.
Me: (blows kisses)
Monkey: Night night, Momma. See ya real soon...
(Eve'body = the entire cast of Toy Story that he sleeps with each night. You can see the heads of Buzz and Woody tucked in next to him in the picture below.)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Review: Educational Toy Planet's "The Best of Beethoven" CD

When Monkey was a wee little one, he refused to sleep in his bed. He refused to sleep in the swing, the bouncy chair and his bassinet. Instead he liked to scream. He liked to scream a lot. In fact he screamed so much that he was often placed in the car and driven around the neighborhood. While he was on his lovely early morning drives, he would listen to classical music. It was the only thing that would calm him down enough so that he could fall asleep. He even had favorite songs that we had to put on repeat when he was extremely upset. He liked the flutes. I can still hum the tune to his favorite pieces.

Now that he is older we have not needed to pull our classical music CDs. However I've thought about it since I've heard a lot about the purported "Mozart effect" which basically surmises that listening to Mozart music will increase a person's spatial intelligence quotient for 10-15 minutes. Do I necessarily believe that listening to classical music, specifically Mozart, will increase Chunky's spatial intelligence or Monkey's general IQ score? No, not really. But what can it hurt? I do find that listening to instrumental music has a calming effect (at least on me) and is much more soothing than the Mickey Mouse Hot Dog dance song on repeat. Music also exposes the boys to culture and instruments and things they just don't get a lot of around here. Classical music may or may not increase their intelligence, but it does help them to become cultured little people that appreciate all different types of music.

That is where our new CD comes in...

Best of Beethoven Children CD

We were recently given Classical Kids: The Best of Beethoven CD from Educational Toys Planet to try out with the boys. The disc is 50 minutes of excerpts of some of Beethoven's most known pieces. The music captured Monkey's attention instantly. Monkey likes to dance. Who says you can't dance to Symphony No. 5? Overall we really enjoyed the cd. Some pieces are narrated and some are just the music. The music was a nice peacful backdrop to our somewhat hectic playroom. We turned it up for Monkey to dance and turned it down for background music while the boys played. There are numerous other CDs by Classical Kids that can be found at Educational Toy Planet's Children's Classical CDs. They also have other musical toys with lots of really neat kid-sized instruments.

I highly recommend Educational Toys Planet. They have a wide array of toys from dolls to music to blocks, and all the toys they keep in stock are educational in some way or form. Some of our favorites that we already have are this Funtime Tractor and a lot of these bright First Puzzles that Monkey plays with on a daily basis. We have many more of the products on the site, and we cannot wait to order some new things for Chunky's 1st birthday coming up in a few months!

Disclosure: I was given a free copy of the above CD in exchange for an honest product review. All opinions are my own!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday Seven: January 16-22, 2011

Can you see the little devil horns made by crayons? Nah, sweet Monkey was coloring Lightning McQueen. Nothing mischievous going on, I promise.
Chunky isn't a baby anymore! He can pull up to stand on the big boy walker.
This little guy is Trouble. One day after he pulled up to stand by himself, he thinks he can climb up the slide like big brother.
Trey and his mini-me at the Children's Museum. Chunky was in love with all of the mirrors.
Someone got new cowmooflage carseats! (No, this is not in the car. I just set him in it to see how he liked it and to figure out where I needed to adjust all of the straps.)

Painting with water is much less of a mess than painting outside with finger paints.
Being stuck inside with a runny nose and cough has its perks. You can build awesome bridges over and over again.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Our Museum Date

Monkey likes to go on "dates" with me.  Normally we go have lunch or dinner at a special restaurant, run to Target to get a new toy, or go play at the park without Daddy and brother. Yesterday we decided to go on a date to the Children's Museum. At the last minute Monkey allowed Daddy and Chunky to come along with us.

Tot Spot ball pit. Chunky is obsessed with balls. He was super excited to have TWO balls... and two balls that he could actually hold at one time because they had little holes in them for his fingers.

Super fast Monkey slide!

Super slow Chunky slide!

Guess who thought he was the cutest baby ever? Chunky! He sat in front of this mirror and stared at all the babies for at least 30 minutes. He never figured out he was baby #1, baby #2, baby #3, etc. in the mirror.

"I think I'll kiss this one. He is pretty handsome!" - Chunky

That would be my kid tearing down the block wall and arranging the blocks by color.

Somewhere Monkey learned the proper way to drink tea. I think he would love a tea set, but I cannot find any that aren't pastel pink with princesses on them.

Monkey's turn in one of the ball pits = head first!

Monkey was slightly concerned when he couldn't hear his heart. His stethoscope at home makes "fake' heart noises, and I've told him before that its not good if he doesn't hear his heart beats.

Pretty cute kid about to make a big mess!

What kind of parents are we - letting Monkey get doused with a giant bucket of ice cold water... He LOVED it!

They had a really cool water feature/exhibit outside. It would be perfect for summer or spring or even mid-winter trips to the museum. The cool weather didn't stop Monkey from splashing around and getting soaking wet.

Toddler version of Dance Dance Revolution... notice his tongue hanging out...

Monkey was not too thrilled about sharing the light box with brother.

Chunky got to dance in the light box after Monkey ran off.

I'm not really sure where he learned this dance...

Monkey's giant twin!

Chunky's giant twin!

My "genius" child spent the most time doing what? Puzzles. Yes, that's right. His favorite area was the brain teasers and puzzles. I'm pretty sure he is smarter than I am. He figured out this entire puzzle matching up all the bugs on all sides of the pieces. Smart kid...

Medical School Baby

"You're thinking about doing what?" That was the response I heard over and over again from my classmates when we talked about getting pregnant and having a baby during medical school. I heard lots of "wait until 4th year vacation" or "wait until residency" or "wait until you are in practice." We didn't want to wait 3-10 years. I knew there would never be a perfect time to have a baby.

I found out I was pregnant with Monkey on February 23, 2008. I was nearing the end of my first year of medical school.  We were going to be having a medical school baby. Trey and I had been trying to conceive for quite a few months at that point, and we were ecstatic to finally be pregnant. We had tried to plan our little one's birthday to coincide with my break between first and second year. When that didn't happen we kept trying anyway. We didn't care when we had the baby. We knew we could make it work.

Being pregnant during medical school was easy.  I studied in the student center just like I did before. I continued my research on neonatal rats. I volunteered with the student pediatric association. I did everything I would have done if I hadn't been pregnant.

When a nice little hurricane destroyed our island, our hospital and our medical school, we had no choice but to make it work with a few extra hurdles. I had a c-section the Wednesday we returned to class after the hurricane. I returned to school the next Monday. It wasn't the easiest, but it really wasn't that bad.  I had to walk 3 flights of stairs less than a week after having my abs sliced open and an 8.5lb kid removed. I had to figure out how to study the GI system while nursing a newborn who resembled a piranha. I needed to remember all of those things I studied after getting only 6 hours of sleep (in 2 hour increments) in a 48 hour period. I also had to figure out the small things such as how to take care of a newborn, cook, clean and maintain a somewhat decent physical appearance (things like brush your teeth and wash your hair.) I went to every single class without missing even though I would have liked to stay at home in my pajamas to stare at newborn Monkey.

We figured it out. Trey became an amazing stay-at-home-dad. He took over laundry and most of the cleaning so that I could have time to study. When Monkey screamed for hours because of his reflux, Trey bounced him, rocked him and went on long drives circling the neighborhood so that I could get a little bit of sleep. I became skilled at multi-tasking and studying late at night. I stopped going to lectures and taught myself medicine. I changed my priorities. Did I need to honor every single class? No. Did I need to bond with my baby and spend more hours playing on the floor to get in that all-important tummy time? You bet I did! We made having a baby in medical school work.

Monkey is now 2 years old. He was born at the beginning of my second year and has been with me through PBL, GI, renal, surgery, internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry and all the rest of my rotations. He listened along with me to Goljan for Step 1. He learned how to color in Case Files. He knows how to use an otoscope and a stethoscope. He doesn't believe me when I tell him Mickey Mouse lives in his ears. He responds with "No, momma, ear wax."

So now when people ask me about how its been having a baby in medical school, I smile. I enjoyed it so much the first time that we decided to do it again. My beautiful baby boys are my life.  I cannot imagine this crazy journey without them.

I may love medicine, but I love my boys more.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Moving UP

This was a week of many firsts for baby Chunky. 

First, he learned how to do this:

And because that wasn't enough he wanted to pull up to this:

And then he decided he wanted to move around like this:

Isn't that the cutest little behind?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday Seven: January 9-15, 2011

Someone has a sweet tooth... or maybe lots of red, green and blue teeth after eating a "firetruck rocket" cake with LOTS of brightly-colored icing.

All bundled up to go on a walk with Daddy.

Monkey man was all smiles until he realized baby brother stole his Lightning McQueen cup.

We've had really cold weather this week... which means I made Chunky wear all of the cute hats in his wardrobe.

Cutest baby tiger ever, right?

"You ok back there?" Monkey gave baby brother a ride in the back of the tractor. Chunky was not amused.
"Firetruck Rocket"

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Taken Over

You know your kids have taken over your house when...
you have a dumped out canister of Play-Doh and a ride-on tractor in the entryway...

you have a treehouse with slide in the corner...

you have a shrine for Mickey Mouse and Cars in your formal dining room...
or you don't even have a formal dining room anymore... because it looks something like this...
or this...     
or even like this.