Learning to walk the tightrope of motherhood...

Sunday, October 31, 2010


Amoxicillin is a trick. Blue eyes and beautiful fall days are such a treat!
So, last Friday (a week ago) we took Mer for her 6-month well-baby check at our wonderful doctor's office. She weighed in, in the fly-weight division, at 11 lbs 14 oz, which puts her in about the 35th percentile for weight on the Down syndrome growth chart for girls. This is a little bit lower than her last visit, but our doctor is FABULOUS about reminding us that the curves on growth charts are made of averages of LOTS of babies and that each individual's chart usually looks more like a series of stairsteps, with sudden spikes and then more flat lines. This is, he says, probably a flatline time for her with a growth spurt right around the corner. What he was more concerned about, however, was the yellow gunk that has been coming out of her nose for the past two weeks. He quickly put her on a prescription for amoxicillin.
Now, those of you who have children know that giving a baby medicine is not necessarily the easiest thing in the world. (Those of you who have pets can's really very similar!) We were just figuring out a system, on Friday, when Greg discovered a slight rash on Mer's torso. By Saturday, we were on the phone with the doctor as the rash had spread to her face and legs. Turns out, it took a week to show up, but Meredith has her first medical allergy, and we will be reminded of it for the next 3-6 days until it fades away.
The treat for the weekend, however, is that the allergy did not really explode until yesterday evening, so we were able to enjoy 2 beautiful days this weekend out "trick-or-treating" with Meredith. Friday evening we met up with some of Greg's colleagues to explore the Halloween festivities that JMU's Greek population has to offer...mostly bucketfuls of candy for every child in site! But there was warm apple cider for the grown-ups...and lots of 20-somethings ooh-ing and ahh-ing over all the kids in costumes while silently either wishing for cuties of their own or getting a real-life reminder to pick up some birth-control before going out to party that evening. Saturday morning we met up with a friend and her six-month old son to take in the sights in downtown Harrisonburg. Koala Meredith and her bumble-bee friend had a great time hugging each other in their soft and furry costumes and playing with the crunchy leaves around Court Square.

Bonus treat: we also visited the pediatric opthamologist about a week ago. Mer's eyes are in pretty good shape. She has a slight misalignment, but nothing that is likely to affect her vision at this time. Regarding the color, however, he said that a higher than average number of children with Down syndrome have blue eyes. Basing our previous predictions on her eye-color off of the Punnett squares you may have practiced in high-school biology, which said, in short, that brown eyes are dominant, we figured her eyes would be changing over soon. However, it turns out that that extra chromosome does some funny things, including things that affect eye color. Our opthamologist seems to think it quite likely that her baby blues are here to stay! :-)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pockets and Pocketbooks

It's amazing how much your pockets, and your purse, can reveal about your life. For example, at 4:30 today, at the height of their usefulness, my jean pockets contained: my cell phone and jump drive, a jumbo paperclip, a confiscated paperclip, doctor's orders to get Mer's blood drawn, a post-it with directions and phone number for the hospital where we had to get the blood work done, a baby size hair elastic and hair bow, and a confiscated silly band from school. Not bad, huh?
I've been using my pockets for storage more lately as I'm finding myself torn between bags. Pre-baby I carried a purse and over-the-shoulder work bag every day and that worked well. Work and my personal life were separate, yet I didn't have to sacrifice any of the essentials. Now, with a diaper bag in the picture, the purse has been relegated to a back shelf for special occasions. Even so, it seems like carrying a diaper bag, work bag, and pump into school every day would be overkill, so I'm trying to just switch the essentials (phone and wallet) from diaper bag to work bag as necessary...and often they just wind up in my pockets instead.
I feel like the bag I carry says a lot about the role I'm playing in my life. For example, this weekend, I had the opportunity to be footloose and fancy free with a small black and white clutch a girl-friend gave me as a bridesmaid gift. I felt sophisticated, trendy, and feminine carrying it...a nice break!
With conferences and assessments demanding a lot of time from work over the past two weeks, my work bag has been a constant commuting companion...and my mind has been as weighed down with it as my shoulder has been.
My new favorite bag to carry, however, is my diaper bag. It is one thing, that in preparing for my baby, I picked out and bought with very little input from others. It is my first Vera Bradley and it is organized with lots of baby paraphernalia that leaves me feeling in control and actively involved in being a mother. I loved carrying it everywhere I went this summer...around campus on my morning walk, to the grocery store on the weekend, and to Target every chance I got. I got a feeling of super-mom power when I was able to get the bag, Mer's car-seat, and our dog Ruffy into the car in a single trip when it was time to go pick Greg up in the evenings.
Since I went back to work, there are many changes in our life, and many times when I feel like I'm not as much of a mother as I'd like. Now that most of our weekday trips are limited to to and from work, my diaper bag doesn't always even make it into the car...and, silly as it seems, sometimes I get a little sad thinking about all that simple decision seems to say.