Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Church and Children

This Sunday as Wally and I sat in church and Ben was acting like an angel. I thanked God for the small blessing but I spoke to soon...
During the "Our Father" and right before peace, Ben started whining, grunting and pointed towards the back of the church. Wally and I both asked several times what it was and what he was pointing at that he seemed to want us to recognize so badly. Frustrated with him for not communicating with us better, I said, "Benjamin use your words. You know how to speak." As the church was silent, Ben screams, "OUTSIDE!" -- and not just once but what seemed to be like a hundred times in a row. Wally then turns to me and says, "Are you happy Jenn? He used his words."

Benjamin's First Emergency and Wally's First Minor Heart Attack Part II: The Dentist

A friend had read the post concerning Ben's first emergency the other day and called to ask what had happened. After the conversation, I promised her a follow up to what did happen to Ben's tooth.
As requested by the dentist, we scheduled an appointment two days following the trauma (her words not mine) to see if there were any issues. But, before I tell you about Ben's experience at the dentist for the first time, I want to pay homage to my childhood dentist Dr. Regan (Mom can you confirm the name?). I'm not a big fan of doctors in general, though I have started to become braver and more tolerant in that department. However, lumped in that category was never "the dentist". I actually remember enjoying my visits to the dentist. Even when I had to have my teeth filed -- not filled, filed...sorry for the cringing, I still didn't hold it against Dr. Regan. On the other hand, I'm not sure how much my son is agreeing with my love of children's dentists at the moment.
Picked out of the phone book, we went to Children's Dentistry of Morristown and Ben meet with the very lovely Dr. Suzy (who also has a Ben). Upon entering, he was thrilled to find a box filled with dinosaurs. However, the first thing that pissed him off was having to leave the dinosaurs to see Dr. Suzy. He calmed down pretty quickly but was fired back up again when asked to smile so the dental hygienist could stick something in his mouth. Even a truck sticker didn't do much good to soothe the savage beast. While we waited for Dr. Suzy, Ben wanted out of the room. He eventually, pretty quickly actually, figured out how to open the door of the examining room. While trying to escape, he ran into the doctor who brought him back into the dreaded room. At that point, Ben was cool with her. Until, she started poking around his mouth. Ben started screaming and his face became a bright red. I think he was kicking too. Thank god Wally was there as well because one of us had to calm Ben down while the other listened to what the doctor had to say. Above the screams, we heard that everything was fine. In fact, that if he had to have an accident this was probably our best bet. The tooth isn't loose and may be pushed back into place (somewhat) by Ben's tongue. Eventually, the tooth will fall out when he is about 5 or 6 which is the norm.
After the assessment, we commented to her how it bummed Wally and me out that this happened because his teeth are so darn perfect. Then she dropped the orthodontist bomb on us..."well, we actually like to see more space between the teeth because his adult teeth are about tooth and a half larger." Sorry, Ben. Looks like braces are in your future.
As we were leaving, Dr. Suzy and her staff tried to make it up to Ben by giving him stickers, tub toys, tooth brushes and a token to get something in the gumball machine in the lobby. This seemed to make the frown on his face disappear. The frown came back pretty quickly when we wouldn't let him leave with one of the office's matchbox cars.
Am I looking forward to the next visit? No but I think Ben will warm up to this dentist thing. Either that or we'll need to promise him lots of toys after each visit.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Benjamin's First Emergency and Wally's First Minor Heart Attack

As the saying goes, "Boys will be Boys" which means they are bound to get into some trouble. Sometimes this trouble involves emergency calls and visits to the hospital. From my own personal experience, boys tend to visit the emergency room more than girls. Take for example my brother and I, I have been to the emergency room once in my life. On the other hand, before the time my brother was 4, he was probably there about 5-10 times (or at least it seemed that way). While they were all "accidents", it seemed trouble followed him (and still does).

As the mom of an overactive son, I knew an emergency call was going to happen sooner rather than later. I highly doubted that he would follow in his Mom's footsteps but rather more like his Dad who has had his share of broken body parts and stitches. The call came on Monday. I was at work ready to hit the bricks at around 5:30 (which is super unusual for me -- call it mother's instincts) when I received a call from Wally on my cell. The conversation was odd. Wally acting very formal. I knew something had to be wrong. After the formalities, he told me that there had been an accident with Ben (the now worst phrase in the English language). I asked if he was okay. He explained very calmly, but with a slight edge in his voice, that he had put a blanket on his head (something he likes to do that we discourage) and was walking around when he fell into the coffee table. Wally also said that there was a lot of blood but it had finally stopped. The worst of it was that his tooth was now pushed back -- his fabulously straight teeth were now not so perfect. I asked, most importantly, how was Ben feeling and Wally said that he had calmed down --though I heard his cries in the background.

I rushed out of work without looking back to head home to my injured son. I cursed every driver along the way. Why is it every time you need to get someplace the world's slowest driver has to box you in? With my road rage flaring, I made it home in one piece to see Ben. And Ben was Ben, all smiles like nothing ever happened. I asked Ben to open his mouth so I could assess the situation and my heart broke when I saw his little front bottom tooth pushed all the way towards the back of his mouth. I also noticed the blood all over Wally's shirt at the same time. Wally and I both looked at each other what should we do?

Before I finish the rest of the story, let me start off by saying contrary to popular belief I am not a hypochondriac mother. In fact, up until that very moment, I had never called in an emergency to the doctor. But with Ben's tooth looking sad and Wally's shirt splattered in blood, I knew the time had come to make the "off hours" call. I first called Ben's Pediatrician and they said as long as (and I quote) "his lip isn't busted" then I should call a dentist to see if he could be seen. Next issue, Ben is under 2 and hasn't seen a dentist yet. So I opened up the phone book and found the name of a children's dentist in Morristown. Thankfully, it happened to be one of the best calls I have made. I was hesitant to make the emergency page to the doctor but I said F-it. I realized at that moment I didn't care what the dentist thought of me my son's health was more important than a doctor's possible snide "another overprotective mom" comment. The dentist called me immediately back. She was completely understanding and actually said that I did the right thing by calling. I was given specific instructions by the dentist and was asked to bring him in on Wednesday.
That night, I hugged Benjamin tighter than I ever have before. I also said a prayer of Thanksgiving to God knowing that we could have been dealing with much worse. I think Wally and I also learned a little bit about ourselves that night. I think we both learned that when a crisis/emergency happens we can be brave enough to handle it when it comes to Ben.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

To My Brother, Happy Veterans Day

Probably the worst month of my life was the month the Iraq Conflict began. My brother John, a Marine, was the first to battle. In fact, his troop were the Marines who got in trouble for raising the American flag over Basra. His troop was also featured on 60 Minutes 2 (when that was still around) and a Reuters reporter was embedded with them taking compelling photos of their every move.
At the time, the media was the only way if we knew my brother was dead or alive. We were a desperate family. When we saw his face on 60 Minutes, Wally and I got a call from our friend John saying that he thought he saw them. I called my parents immediately who had already gotten a phone call from a nephew saying that he thought they saw him too. While it was a brief glimpse, we knew he was alive -- at least for that moment. We ordered copies of the footage and rewound and played several hundred times just to see his face. In the deep recesses of our minds, I knew we were all thinking the unthinkable, will this be the last image? Other the month, additional images from Reuters confirmed he was indeed still okay.
People often asked, 'did you talk with your brother? how is he doing?'. My response would be (because I wasn't in the mood for dumb questions and yes there are dumb questions), 'He's not one of those soldiers on the sidelines. He is actually one of the Marines fighting this war.' I couldn't eat or sleep. I was miserable to be around. I cried often and considered going on Prozac. Every phone call I received I expected the worst. As I saw hundreds of soldiers names reported as dead, the pain became harder and harder to take. I did the only thing I could do. I made him a PR darling. He was featured in The Bergen Record, The Star Ledger and even on MSNBC as the boy who always wanted to be a Marine - a true American hero. I attended rallies for the troops and supported my brother's efforts with yellow ribbons and pins for all who wanted them.
At the end of that month, I received the call that I had been waiting for. To hear my brother's voice, alive and well was like nothing I could ever put into words. It was a blessing my family will never take for granted.
If you don't agree with the politics of war, just know that there a real people/families that are effected by war each and every day. My family was one of the lucky ones. We still have my brother that I can call anytime of the day to say hello but other families don't have that luxury, that blessing anymore. So today on Veteran's Day, I salute my brother for his bravery and courage in the face of conflict. He is my American hero.

Product Recall - Mylicon

When Benjamin was a baby, the poor dear was very gassy. While I tried to curb my love of veggies during the time I was nursing, my boy suffered from my diet. He would get so upset and his little face would turn red with pain from the gas pocket. I couldn't take it anymore so I started giving him Mylicon. Then, my best friend in the world, suggested something called Gripe Water (a more natural alternative) that helped do the trick.
Today, I wanted to post a warning about a recent recall involving Mylicon (see below). I know MANY mothers consider it an answer to their prayers but they might want to refrain from using it for the time being or at least check out the lot number to see if they have an affected product. The post below also provides some more "natural" alternatives to calming a gassy baby.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Last Minute Parents

Wally and I feel it necessary for Benjamin to experience all he can (and we can cram in) including all the seasonal traditions. The week leading up to Halloween every day and night we would say to each other, "you know we have to carve those pumpkins." So because, we are busy and more importantly procrastinators, on Halloween day the pumpkins still were not carved. I was a bit disappointed that we didn't have that "moment" where Ben was watching/helping us carve the pumkins -- pumpkin guts all over his hands, laughs shared, pictures taken. However, after returning from dinner and washing Ben up, I noticed Wally was missing and the porch light was on. There Wally was gutting pumpkins. I asked him the obvious, "what are you doing." He responded, "come outside and carve your pumpkin." I said, "Ben's in his pjs!" Because my husband is the more carefree one of the group, "he said who cares." He was right, who cares.
I put Ben's dog slippers on and a jacket with hood and together we made our way outside. While it wasn't the Norman Rockwell moment I wanted, as I was trying to carve the pumpkin Ben insisted on jumping on my back and biting me (laughing the whole time) and he also tried to pick up the carving knife more than one time, we did get the tradition in under the wire. Go Wally and me! Another moment down, a million more memories to make.

People Scare Me

If Halloween wasn't scary enough, check out the freak show that kept on meowing at Ben. It seemed nice at first but then she wouldn't talk - she just meowed and hissed. Lady, he's one year old stop scaring him and me. P.S. You are dressed up as a cat - you aren't actually a cat.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Happy Halloween! (Better late than never)

Yes, Halloween was a week ago but it is never too late to say Happy Halloween (well maybe in January it would be). Benjamin celebrated his second Halloween in 2008 in monkey-rific style. As compared to last year, he was actually able to trick or treat with the big boys and girls. Last year, he made special visits to family members but was unable to enjoy his treats.
Apparently, unbeknown to Wally and I, there is a big Halloween celebration on South Street were hundreds or children show up to trick or treat. After a visit from his grandparents, Wally, Ben and I headed up to South Street for this supposed Halloween happening and it was true there were hundreds of kids trick or treating all throughout town. Where had Wally and I been living -- under a rock on Halloween day?
I held Ben's fire truck basket while he asked for the treats and showed great manners as he thanked everyone -- even the cheap merchants who gave away tiny tootsie rolls and breath mints. His favorite by far were the cookies from Swiss Chalet. In fact, he ate the whole bag of cookies before we even got back in the house.
After hitting up all the stores, we headed to our favorite breakfast haunt for dinner -- The Minuteman -- where all our favorite waitresses were there to hang with Ben. We also left with about a dozen cookies from all his waitress "girlfriends" and a new phrase, "stop it!" which he proclaimed to waitress Diane who was feeding him and missing his mouth. The cookies were fine but the "stop it" I could live without.
Ben's second Halloween proved to be even better than the last with more treats and more fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Leapfrog Brings Smiles All Around

I had the pleasure of attending my very first Mommy Blogger Event last Sunday and let me tell you it didn't disappoint. First off, it was held at one of my favorite places in the world -- a Four Seasons Hotel. The food was top notch. I especially loved a mini-chocolate lava-like cake. I should have went back for more but perhaps that is why I am growing larger these days but I digress.
The evening provided for some lively discussion. I was feeling a bit like a failure as a Mom when most of the mothers there were mentioning how they NEVER allowed their children to watch television or play with anything besides wooden blocks. I on the other hand was guilty of letting a child under two watch Noggin (you got love Moose A. Moose) and letting him play with a variety of toys. However, there were a few women who stood up to say that rearing a child is a balance. I also feel that there is too much pressure on children to be perfect. Recalling back to my childhood, I do not remember having to read until we were in the first grade. Has it hurt me in life? No, I consider myself pretty successful but once again I digress.
My husband and I are raising a well-rounded child who loves to have books read to him as much as he loves his "shows". In fact, how can you deny that face a Leapfrog toy? When I brought home the various fridge toys I grabbed (since they only gave me one and I knew he would love the others), he nearly jumped out of his little pants. He literally squealed with excitement and every morning when he goes downstairs for breakfast this is the reaction I get when he sees it again for the first time. Thanks Leapfrog! We will continue to be fans throughout my sons development into a well-rounded boy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Daddy Meet Peppa

Ben has a plastic cow that he needs to travel with while in the car. If he doesn't have it in his hand he throws a fit and the car ride is pretty much torture. The plastic cow's name is Pepper or as Benjamin says, "Peppa" (like the 80s wrap act Salt n' Peppa). How did the name come to be? Why, of course, his favorite cow at the zoo is Pepper.
Since Wally has never been to the Bergen County Zoo, he got his first chance to meet the infamous Pepper at the Zoo Boo event. Ben was super excited to introduce his favorite cow to Daddy. As we rounded the corner and smelt Pepper (sorry Pepper but you do smell), Ben motioned with his hands (like Vanna White presenting the grand prize of a brand new car to the latest Wheel winner) to Pepper and said, "Daddy Peppa!". At last, Daddy finally got to meet Pepper - Ben's favorite cow! And from the pictures above you can see that it was quite a first meeting.

Have You Ever Licked A Book?

Prompted by a comment from a fellow blogger at the Leapfrog event last night, my friend and colleague Melissa, who also attended the event last night, are wondering have you ever licked a book? We haven't but apparently people do. Please take part in the poll to the left of the postings and cast your vote!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Mayor of Zoo Boo

My son is the unofficial Mayor of Zoo Boo at Van Saun Park. No one was giving out the title but I am. As noted, Benjamin has been going to the Bergen County Zoo since he was about 1. He has visited countless times and knows the zoo like no other 20 month old in New Jersey.
The Sunday before Halloween, Grandma got tickets for the entire family to attend Zoo Boo. The campaigning started as we lined up to get in (anyone attending next year - it is a good idea to get there in advance to avoid the crazy lines) the Zoo. A friendly "hi" was said by Ben to those standing in line with us. Next, a hi and a wave for the family in front of us on the train. Then a hi to the volunteers giving out candy then a hi to the animals. The hellos and waves continued throughout the day at the zoo. As we were getting off the carousel and Ben said yet another hi, an older couple commented, "boy, he is friendly guy." I said, "yes, he is running for mayor of the zoo." They smiled. I think we have their votes.

Disturbing News

Wally just told me the most disturbing thing about 5 seconds ago. As we were making the bed, I noticed a booger on Ben's face. We both commented on how sticky his boogers are and that they aren't the kind of boogers you can just flick off. As we both agreed to this fact, Wally proceeded to tell me that the other day he found a booger on Ben and he put it on his sock. I asked Wally to repeat this because I didn't think I heard it right.
"Your sock?"
"Yes, my sock."
"Were you outside?"
"What about a tissue?"
"There wasn't a tissue around. I was holding him."
"What happened to the booger?"
"I don't know."

I'm Number One

To avoid any confusion, Benjamin is number one. My brother may think he holds the top spot in the heart of my Mom but he is delusional. On October 29, Grandma's birthday, if there was any doubt, Ben solidified his spot yet again.
Before Grandma's birthday, we practiced saying, "Happy Birthday Grandma." When he arrived at her home and I prompted him to say it, in perfect form, he said "Happy" "Happy" "Birday" "GMa" then it became "Happy, Happy BB." Whatever he said, it made my Mom cry. And if that wasn't enough, as a birthday gift from Benjamin, we got Mom a canvas picture of Ben holding out an apple that goes perfectly with the color scheme of her room. Even if the color scheme was off, she would still love it just the same but the color scheme and the adorable look in Ben's eyes that said, "Grandma aren't I number one?" put it over the edge.
So to clarify and put the naysayers to rest, Ben was the one sitting on Mom's lap when it was time to sing Happy Birthday - not my Dad, not Wally, not JB, nor me but Ben her number one.

My Love Of Napping

I have a confession to make. On a lazy day, when there isn't much to do (maybe there is but I don't care), I LOVE to nap. There is nothing in the world like a good nap on a Sunday afternoon. Many a Sunday has been consumed with one of my favorite pastimes - napping. Put a boring football game on the television, a comfy sofa under my butt and it is like the perfect Tylenol PM but without the hangover. Needless to say, since the birth of Benjamin, I haven't gotten to enjoy my pastime. In fact, I haven't had a decent nap in about 20 months (yes, Ben is 20 months). By the way, don't let the picture fool you. This was at bedtime -- MUCH different.
However, I thought my luck was going to change a few weeks ago. The setting was perfect. It was about 4 in the afternoon, the temperature outside was a bit crisp, I was snuggly warm under a big blanket and Benjamin seemed to be occupied with Dad as they watched the football game. I closed my eyes. Then...tap, tap, poke, poke. There was a little finger poking me. When I opened my one eye. I had a little face in my face. I asked Ben to give mommy a break and let her rest a little. He listened and walked away. Eyes closed again. Poke, Poke. Then accompanied by the jabbing of my eyeball was the sound of "baba, baba" (that's what Ben calls me instead of Mom - not because he can't say it but because he feels the need to torture me at times). I tried to ignore him as I heard my husband snickering close by. I asked Ben if he would like to nap with Mommy. He said okay but he didn't mean it. He wiggled and squirmed and continued to poke at my eyelids. I thought never again would I nap. I got up from the couch and gave up on my napping. Maybe when he is fourteen and doesn't care so much about what Mom does. Maybe then I will get to nap again. Until then forget.