Monday, April 27, 2009

still in the thick of it

Ok, I'm gonna try to get in an update of this last week while everyone's asleep. I think you'll understand the need of quickness by the time you get to the end of this post.

So last week, Fry got over his little gastro by the next day and I caught Stéph's crud. So much for Mommy not getting sick! I was upset because I was afraid it would mean canceling our outing on Thursday, which I was so looking forward to, but the Actifed Jour & Nuit seemed to be doing its job so off we went.

Fry and I took an early morning train to Paris where we spent a few hours at Aimee's. She suggested her place so Fry could keep to his eating and napping schedule. Everything went perfectly that day. Fry was great on the train, a little fussy on the metro but it was getting close to lunch time, ate his lunch like a champion and slept for two and a half hours in Aimee's magical back room, never made a peep in the metro on the way out and slept most of the way home on the train. He charmed everyone he came in contact with and I gained a ton of confidence in taking Fry out like that. We had a magical day.

Unfortunately, it seems Fry picked up something during his big day out. He didn't seem like himself all day Friday and it culminated with a screaming fest we haven't seen the likes of for months and months at bedtime. After two hours, he threw up (for the first time), finally calmed down and went to sleep.

Saturday was more of the same. As the day went on, it seemed like the gastro was back along with a fever, but he went down a little easier. But no, around midnight he was back up with diarrhea and he looked deathly pale. Luckily, vomiting brought his color back. Um... You know what I mean. He got us up again around 4am with a fever of nearly 40 (104 F) which sent Stéph for the phone. He called 15 (the SAMU or medical emergency line) and they told us we didn't need to head to the hospital unless we couldn't get his fever down and to call back at 8am to find out who the médecin de garde would be, because that's right, Fry chose a Sunday morning for (what is hopefully) the peak of his illness.

Bright and early Stéph had 15 back on the phone and it turns out that Dr A was the médecin de garde and the pharmacie de garde was also in Tiny Town - what luck! (On Sundays there is always one pharmacy open in major towns or in a "sector" or group of small towns, like where we live, only for prescriptions. The list is posted on the door of all pharmacies on Sundays.) Dr A confirmed Fry's big nasty gastro but also thinks his spleen is swollen, which he says has nothing to do with the gastro. We're going to have to make an appointment for a sonogram for that today. In the meantime, I picked up the medicine and Stéph took Fry home.

Now, I don't know what they give babies in the States for the stomach flu, but here they take babies completely off milk and give them a substitute that helps keep them hydrated and doesn't aggravate the diarrhea, which apparently milk does. Sometimes it's soy milk but this time Fry's got some kind of medical milk substitute that has carrot powder in it. In any case, he doesn't like it much. We are really fighting to get some kind of liquid - any kind of liquid - down his throat. We tried water or his medical milk about every half hour and no dice. The only thing he wants is his regular milk. We got so desperate Stéph actually called 15 back, and they were lovely. They confirmed that we should be ready to try everything before resorting to his milk, even sugar water.

The worst, though, was his fever, that spiked at 40.5 (105 F) when we got home from the doctor. That was completely scary and I hope I never see my baby like that again! We were ready to pack up everything and head to the hospital if it didn't come down in the following 45 minutes, but happily the Advil kicked in. The fever yo-yoed all day but never broke.

All of a sudden this crud I have, that never really went away, got worse yesterday so I wasn't much good last night. Fry got up twice, I think, and eventually did drink a bit of sugar water. Things seem to be improving in the diarrhea area. Now we just need to get him to drink a bit more today and I think we'll be alright. I've got to see Dr H today because that makes a week I've had this head cold, and my go-to OTC drugs aren't touching it. I may take Fry with me and ask Dr H to weigh him, as Stéph and I are both concerned about his not drinking.

So that's where we're at. It's heartbreaking to see your kid so sick but I know it's gonna be fine. I even told Stéph last night that this is just the first of many times he'll be sick. I just hope we'll get a break from illness in this house for a good little while!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Drafts that kill

One of those charming cultural differences that cracks me up every time it comes up is the French's absolute fear of a draft, or courants d'air. You may not be aware of this, but the slightest draft of air in your home could mean EXCRUCIATING, HORRIBLE DEATH to you and your loved ones!

Well, I've got news for the French: it gets damned hot here in the summer in the Land That Air Conditioning Forgot, so you'd better believe there are quite a few courants d'air in my home when the weather is warm enough. In fact, I try to get as many courants d'air going as I possibly can!

The even funnier thing is that a bit of wind is just fine, but bring that wind indoors and it suddenly becomes THE HARBINGER OF DOOM.

Case in point: last week, Fry and I were having our morning walk and we stopped into the boulangerie on the way home. As usual, I took Fry out of the stroller and we went inside. It was a bit windy outside but it has warmed up considerably, so the boulangerie's door was open and they were enjoying their own breeze. Now, I love the woman that runs the shop, she's about my age and she seems quite nice, but as soon as she saw me with Fry on my hip, she raced around the counter to shut the door so he wouldn't be affected by the courants d'air and end up deathly ill.

So basically we came in from the wind for a transaction that takes 30 seconds (we were the only ones there) and it took her longer to go around and shut the door than it would have to actually buy the baguette and leave.

Silly Frenchies. Ah well, her heart's in the right place.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

in which everyone gets sick

except me. It's hell being the Mommy, innit?

Anyway. Stéph started his spring break yesterday with a fantastic head cold. He's steadily working his way through a box of Actifed Jour & Nuit. Fry is currently suffering from the gastro. I thought he'd had it before, but no. Three glorious messes greeted me on the changing table before noon today. He's only had a very low fever in the afternoon of the last couple of days but the increase in glorious messes today has got me a little worried. We're monitoring the situation and just trying to keep him hydrated.

So, two weeks of spring break and not starting off on a good foot! I'm hoping Fry is better before Thursday, because we are scheduled to go off on some adventures, just the two of us! In preparation of our adventures, I bought a very lightweight stroller yesterday. Obviously we already had a stroller, and I love that thing. It is one of the items that Doc unloaded on us graciously handed down to us and that thing is the Road Warrior of strollers. I can take that bad boy anywhere. Except, perhaps, many shopping districts or mass transportation. Hence the need for lighter fare.

Once again we were saved by the fact that we live so close to the biggest outlet shopping mecca in northern France. I got my hands on a stroller that weighs less than ten pounds, has its own carrying handle and even comes with its own backpack. After a little practice today, I don't think I'll have any problems opening it and closing it with one hand. Best of all, I got it for about 30€ less than retail. Woo!

So, the Road Warrior will still get plenty of use since Fry and I take so many walks around Tiny Town. Still, the lightweight one is going to make going on adventures - especially when we go to the States this summer! - so much easier!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

cross that one off the list

Last week I did something else I swore I'd never do: I bought sunglasses for Fry. I just kept thinking what a ridiculous waste it was. I never wore sunglasses as a baby, and I haven't gone blind or anything! Well, ok, that's not true, I did wear them at least once:

ahead of my time
Totally ahead of my time.
Now get off my lawn!

But in the last few weeks, we've been having a lot of sun (that tells you a lot about the winter weather in northeastern France - up until a few weeks ago we hadn't seen the sun since Fry was born!) and I noticed that on our walks, Fry would suddenly jerk every time his face hit full sun. I was instantly reminded of being a small child and feeling like a thousand daggers were stabbing my blue eyes whenever I got a bit of sun in them. Of course, Fry has his Papa's blue-grey eyes and I know all too well how he feels.

So I did it, and now he's got the teeniest tiniest pair of sunglasses you ever did see with a UV rating. The best part is that he doesn't do the jerk when the sun hits his face. Now he's just got to learn to not take the glasses off when we hit a shadowy patch and chew on them or else he's going to get the daggers again!

Friday, April 10, 2009

reality check

Last weekend, a close friend of Stéph's and his partner welcomed a little girl into the world. The problem is that she arrived much too early - she was at 28 weeks and three days. All this week I've been doing what anyone with a few extra bits of yarn would do: making preemie hats. They're being sent off in the mail today.

All this week I've been giving Fry extra cuddles. Stéph and I are reminded again and again how lucky we are. The problems I had after Fry's birth pale in comparison to what our friends are going through now. I tend to be a detail freak and worry myself to death over unimportant things, and this has been a reminder that I need to let those things go. So what if Fry's gone off the charts for his weight, that's going to sort itself out when he starts moving on his own. Even when he's been fussy because he's teething and I have to say it through gritted teeth, my mantra all week has been "we're so lucky we're so lucky we're so lucky."

Our friend said in an email that every day is a victory. This week I'm remembering that every day is a gift.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

five months

It's going by so fast! I can hardly believe it, Fry is five months old today.

A couple of changes to take note of... Of course the biggest change is that he's having a little bit of veggies now everyday at lunch time after his bottle. We've tried carrots, green beans, potatoes & leeks, but his favorite by far was peas just today. He's now drinking 240 ml (8 oz) of milk for breakfast, 250 ml of "veggie milk" (a prepared concoction of 200 ml of milk and "two spoonfuls" of either pumpkin or carrot and fortified with cereal) plus veggies for lunch (I would guess he's having about 20 or 30 ml), 240 ml of milk for snack and 250 ml of veggie milk for dinner. Since we decreased from five bottles a day to four, he's allowed to have a compliment of 30 ml of milk if he wants it, but he hasn't really wanted it for the last couple of weeks so I think we've found a new balance with the addition of the vegetables.

The other big change is that he suddenly prefers to sit up as much as possible. I have no doubt that this is in large part because of the Bumbo seat. He fits in it much more comfortably now and is content to sit in it while eating his veggies and just today we played on the floor for a bit in it. Even in his bouncy seat he tries to sit up as much as he can, which is especially helpful for trying to get a hold of his feet.

He can now roll over on his tummy, though he's only managed in situations where he's slightly propped up with a flat pillow or on a bed. We played on the floor for the first time today (we're going to have to get some baby tiles quick as we only have hard tile floors but today I threw a couple of blankets on the floor) and he didn't quite manage to turn all the way but he had fun trying! I suspect he's got another tooth pushing through since he's been fussy these last few days, the saliva factory is back in business and he's finding a lot more comfort in chewing on his harder toys.

Fry had his first head cold this month (or it may have been allergies like me) but he smiled right through the snot, just like everything else. We found some success with - get this - eucalyptus suppositories! At least his butt was minty fresh. But they did work! It also seems that he's outgrown his sleep sacks, as he's kicked himself out of them so much that he ended up being cold and crying at 3am for about a week. Too bad it took us a week to figure out what was wrong with him! Last night I finally got the bright idea to put him in the sort of sleep sack that snaps at the top and though he woke up a couple of times in the night, he got himself back to sleep like a champ. Whew!

As usual, Fry will have his five month check up next week, so I'll update the rest then.