Take Your Baby to Work Day

This morning posed a predicament Matt and I had experienced many times as parents, but the solution we came up was certainly a first.

CeCe wasn't feeling 100 percent when she woke up, with a mild fever and cranky attitude. When my baby is sick I want nothing more than to keep her cuddled as close as possible and she has the same plan. So daycare was not on the menu today.

Because Matt has started his new semester of classes and my budget would take a hit if I missed a full day of work, I decided to pack up the baby and simply bring her along. 

I've read many parenting articles about cutting childcare costs, and taking your child to work with you is usually on that list. Those women must work in very specific professions. My boss, being a mother of two, was fine with the solution and told me I could just work two half days to make up my time.

CeCe sat playing with her animal books under my desk and only tried to chew through an electrical cord once. She cuddled contently in my lap while watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the corner of my computer screen, while I did some typing in another window. Although she made some very important edits to my document such as "HTNTNNKLHDAHKA."

My Baby Bjorn came into serious play as she joined me in all my photocopying and filing duties, and she even stayed inside her playpen made of full banker's boxes when my shoulders began to ache so badly I thought they would actually detach. Of course eventually the boxes became unsafe climbing surfaces and we were back to the bjorn.

Overall, she made it four hours with my coworkers all thinking she was the best-behaved baby, so it was a success (mostly because they couldn't hear her crying from their offices ...)

I applaud mothers who can work outside the home with their children in tow. If CeCe had been a newborn and I could plop her in a vibrating chair, this would have been cake. Or if she was a few years older and could be entertained by coloring books and full-length videos, it would have been awesome.

But my daughter is a one-year-old. With her newly-developed skill of walking, interest in anything sharp and pointy, impatience when it comes to hunger, absolute resistance to sleeping ever, plus the fact that she didn't feel her best- I will not be repeating this experiment anytime soon.

Little Drummer Girl

It's time for an installment of My Favorite Things!

I mentioned this toy after CeCe's birthday party and it has been a hit ever since. She is getting more enjoyment out of this drum and the musical instruments than I thought she would at just one year old.

The drum is called the B. Parum Pum Pum Drum.
 CeCe's aunt got her this drum at Target, but I found it for sale on Amazon as well. It was listed as $32.99 but I would add in an extra $10 for the Excedrin you will want to buy with it.

What makes it great are the different parts- the egg-shaped shakers, the strange bug who has a triangle cut between his legs and the tambourine are perfect for growing hands and different grip strengths.

We had to take the drum sticks away for now because CeCe would stick them in her mouth and try to walk around. I could see the ambulance lights flashing in her eyes when she did that. But she has a good time beating the lid with just her hands:

And even when all the instruments and lid have been removed, my daughter still found a way to have fun. See how creative she was:

Popular Baby Names for 2012

CeCe CeCe, Bo-BeCe, Banana Fana Fo FeCe ...

Kind of sounds gross, but the name game is all in good fun. Unless your name is Chuck. Then you cannot play. Ever.

Looking at baby names is a favorite past time of even non-pregnant women, so I love guessing what next year is going to bring us in terms of names that look like they were formed from random Scrabble tiles.

From the adorable website, here are what they predict will be popular names in 2012. My personal pick? I think the name "Harper" is going to permeate preschools everywhere in the next four years. Why?

Because of David Beckham and Posh Spice giving that name to what is destined to be the most unfairly gorgeous child of all time.

My own daughter's name is #91 (top 100, woohoo) and I am glad to see that Isabella has slipped down in the ranks. That hopefully means Twilight fever has broken and we are no longer naming our children after a vampire's girlfriend.

As for boy's names, here are their predictions for the fellas. Many are strong, old time names that I adore: Henry, James and Oliver to name a few.

I can attest to the names Jasper and Sebastian- I know of two beautiful boys with these names and they couldn't wear them any better. There are very few names I can mock on this list. Damn.

What are your predictions for 2012? Will everyone follow Beyonce and be naming their children after primary colors? Or are we going to see an old-school trend of classic names like Jack and Alice?


Pregnancy and Your Thyroid

Pregnancy will make you aware of bodily functions you never knew you were capable of. It also can put the spotlight on body parts you never really thought about before- like your thyroid.

I recently was tested for a hyperactive thyroid. I thought my restlessness and poor vision were just part of who I was- but the fact that I weigh 25 pounds less now than I did BEFORE I got pregnant was a sign that not all was normal in the land of my hormones.

I'm not complaining, it was just a sign that there must be some medical reason for this change, because I eat like a Biggest Loser contestant (pre-show.)

This article ran in our local newspaper yesterday about thyroid testing in pregnancy. Many women have an underactive thyroid (the opposite of my problem) and severe cases can have devastating effects on the unborn baby.

The main problem I see is that some symptoms for an underactive thyroid- weight gain, depression, fatigue- sound a lot like the usual pregnancy gripes. Also, as the article mentions, many women will fall into the "gray area," where it is unclear if treatment is even worth the effort since the problem is not severe.

Trips to the OB bring on plenty of "scoot your bottom to the end of the table" exams, as well as enough blood tests as it is in my opinion. So if you have a history of thyroid problems or your symptoms seem excessive, then the test may be worth it. But otherwise, would you bother asking for a thyroid test?


Health Concerns for My Kiddo

I pity my child's pediatrician. Although he says he is used to it, I'm sure he tires of how a simple routine check-up turns into a criminal interrogation with me.

Being a first-time parent, I have a thousand questions about my daughter's health, development and general well-being. Add in the daily news udpates about arsenic in apple juice and I have a thousand more to add to my list.

At CeCe's one-year check up, she was given a clean bill of health. But that didn't stop my mind from racing with worry. Here are the highlights of what I believe most moms are concerned with lately:
  • Cold weather illnesses: Colds, flu, sinus infections, croup- all of these are creeping up. I've got the air humidier running full blast and a nasal aspirator in a holster on my hip. No matter how I try, I can never seem to protect CeCe from becoming a human snot factory in the winter. I know we can't dose our babies with Sudafed, but try squirting saline into the booger-encrusted nose of a one-year-old. Yikes!
  • Nutrition: In our exploration of new foods, I've learned that when CeCe doesn't like something she will throw it on the floor. But pleasing a toddler's palette is near impossible. She devoured lima beans one week and refused them the next. The daily diet of a toddler remains a mystery to me.
  • Sleep: Not sleep for me, of course. Parents never get a full night's sleep ever again, I've accepted it. But nap times for baby are becoming shorter and fewer. Any way we can change this back?
  • To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: In my house, the answer is always to vaccinate. I know mothers who are adamant that vaccines are the underlying cause for autism and delayed brain development. So if you don't want to vaccinate your child, that is up to you. Just don't expect me to get our kids together for a play date until you do.

*This is my latest column for Lexington Family Magazine. For more from this month's health issue, pick up a copy around town or check it out online here!