Monday, March 29, 2010

A little chef in the making

The first thing Tristan does in the morning when we enter the living room is go straight to the kitchen to get his wooden spoon. He knows the exact place to find it in the drawer and then he goes and opens the drawer on the opposite side where the pots are. He opens the lids and places them on the carpet and then starts to stir in the pots with his wooden spoon. For the past couple of weeks, this has been his morning routine while I fetch his milk in the kitchen. If you give him enough time, he will then start to collect small toys from the living room so he can throw them in the pot. It was hilarious that he chose the "Egg" alphabet block :)

Prior to being obsessed with play cooking, he was obsessed with cleaning. By the way, cooking and cleaning are two of his most used signs when communicating with us. Anything that resembles a cloth, such as a bib or t-shirt, he will take and squat on the floor and start wiping away. It was funny at first but then it just started to annoy us. We hang wet cloths to dry over our chairs and he would take those and start wiping the carpet. We have a wash cloth for his face and a bigger cloth for cleaning his tray. Now we have to hang those elsewhere so he can't steal them. Unfortunately, we don't have a lot of options of where to put them so most of the time it ends up back over the chairs. Needless to say, there has been a lot of yelling "NO" and running after him to snatch away the cloths. Tristan loves to clean the floor, the chairs, the tables - basically anything he has seen us clean before. Luckily, he has a new obsession with cooking so he doesn't have as much time to clean anymore :)

Those who know me, know that I love cooking. Seeing Tristan take an interest in cooking and cleaning makes me happy and excited about the near future. He will be mommy's little kitchen helper! When he is a little more able, I will get him a little chef's hat and apron to match. I can see us baking madelines, chocolate cakes, tarts, truffles, nanaimo bars, brownies etc. I will also teach him how to cook and we will grocery shop together so he will learn about the ingredients and how to choose them. I know, I'm getting ahead of myself :) There is so much to teach since I make all sorts of food. We mostly dine on Asian food like Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian, but I also cook lots of French, Italian, Greek, Hawaiian and everything else in between. My dad was raised to cook and he shares cooking with my mom. They are both great cooks. I want Tristan to be a great cook too :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Still on the gastro diet for diarrhea

It has been just over a week now since Tristan had a stomach flu. The vomiting stopped after two days and then the diarrhea took over for a couple of days. He is still having what daycare calls "mushy" bowel movements so we're still keeping him on the gastro diet. He was doing quite well during the middle of the week so we decided to slowly introduce a bit more fruit and vegetable in his diet but then it got a bit worst. It's hard to give him low-fiber foods because we always concentrate on purchasing foods that are high in fiber. I don't think I have eaten white sandwich bread for years!

Last week, the doctor sent us home with a sheet listing the foods we should be avoiding and foods that we should be feeding Tristan. I would have typed it out but was too lazy :) We have been working off of the list all week in preparing his foods. The other hard part about this food selection is that it doesn't give him a lot of variety. Luckily, he is still eating but that is because there is nothing else and he is hungry!

He has been on the gastro diet for a week now and it's pretty boring. We keep coming back to the same things: white rice, white pasta, chicken meat, egg-salmon omelette, eggs, cheese, rice crackers, bananas, and apples. It may sound like a lot but imagine repeating that for 3 meals a day, plus 2 snacks. Boring! At least boring for what Tristan is used to.

We also haven't been feeding him a lot, just in case he vomits again. We are increasing the milk offerings each day and are now giving him about 140-160ML of milk 3 times a day. His normal intake is 180ML of milk 3 times a day. It's so ironic because we have always been giving him foods that are high in fiber so that he wouldn't be constipated and now, we have to do the reverse. He always eats brown pasta and whole wheat bread and had only tried white pasta once in the past. Now, we kind of want him constipated so we can return back to our normal diet. How much more white food does he need to get there? Well, I hope we'll get there soon!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fancy iPhone photo effects

You may have noticed a few of the pictures I have put up on my posts lately look a little strange. Well, they are strange but I don't have any others so I had to put those up. There are iPhone apps you can use to take photos with all sorts of effects but the problem is that you can't see them in its original form. Some are indeed cool and the photos are processed right away with the effects so you can tweet or blog using them in real time. It's really fast. All these effects can also be done quite easily with Photoshop but then that takes time. Jean-Louis has been playing around with Hipstamatic and other similar apps and a few have turned out pretty neat. I'm still sad you can't see the original shots without the effects though :(

Eating at the table:

Sickness update - it was the stomach flu!

Tristan is much better but is still recovering. He is actually back at daycare today. We went to the doctors on Friday and had him checked out. We barely got an appointment that day too but they sympathized with me when I told them we tried 2 other walk-in clinics and still couldn't see a doctor. Our doctor said that this could be a sign of a flu coming up or it could be a stomach bug. After I dropped him off at daycare this morning, I found out that the stomach flu is going around so that is definitely what Tristan has. The infant room got hit by it, including the staff that work there and apparently, it's in the toddler room too. These things sure spread fast!

Tristan has been on a gastro diet since Friday. Basically, we need to avoid fiber, wheat, vegetables, and most fruits. It's kind of crazy because that is the sort of diet Tristan is always on. We always offer him things that are high in fiber. Even our rice crispy is made from organic brown rice! We aren't feeding him a lot in case he vomits again but he does have to eat and drink frequently. Even though he was still having diarrhea, we figured that was okay since his body was still cleansing and he needs to get rid of all the bad stuff first. He has been eating plain pasta, bananas, plain chicken, white congee in chicken broth, plain bagels, and organic rice mum-mums biscuits. Throughout the day, he drinks lots of water. We only began giving him a bit of milk again yesterday. So far, no vomit :) His diarrhea is slowly going away as well. Hooray!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Shopping on 4th and coffee at Thomas Haas

Today, Tristan is 16 months old and I wanted us to do something fun outside. We were all not feeling the greatest so running was out of the question. We have been meaning to go to Kitsilano to do some shopping for awhile but something always came up. Since Tristan was sick and wasn't eating much anyway, it seemed like the perfect time to get out and enjoy the sunshine a bit.

We had a great day. We finished our chores early and Tristan had a good nap. We headed to 4th Avenue and shopped at places like Hip Baby, Crocodile Baby, and then we trekked over to West Broadway and had coffee at Thomas Haas. I heard so many great things about Thomas Haas through friends on Twitter and since we were in the neighborhood, I just had to try it.

The place definitely met my expectations. Elegant chocolates, great selection of well presented pastries, and a buzzing atmosphere. The croissants were delicious and their cafe mocha was divine. It was one of the best mochas I have had, if not the best. The croissants were $2.50 and the mocha was $4. Considering how pricey everything else was, this seemed like a good deal. The cakes and fancy tarts were all $5.50 each but they were quite small. A small piece of chocolate was $1.10 each. The shop is the closest thing I have seen to a real French p√Ętisserie in Vancouver. It was definitely in the right neighborhood and was super busy when we were there.

After our coffee break, we went looking for bath toys and found some at the Toy Box. Then we went to Kids Books and bought Tristan Good Night Vancouver and a couple of other illustration books. Our final stop was at Capers because I wanted to buy some Jerusalem artichokes (a.k.a sunchokes). We ended up buying some plain Mount Royal bagels too (our favorite brand) for Tristan to munch on. We had a productive shopping day and we all had a good time. Tristan got to exercise his legs too. He likes to push the stroller or hold both of our hands while walking :)

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Vomiting can't be for no reason, can it?

I think I jinxed myself in the last blog post. I thought we would finally get a full week at daycare but it doesn't look like we're going to make it. Today, after a perfectly good day at daycare, Tristan acted a bit strange around dinner time, only an hour after I picked him up. He wouldn't really eat anything at dinner except for tofu, bread, and some raspberry and banana puree. A bit of the raspberry and banana came out while he was in the highchair. Then we let him out and he played happily, giggling and all. While I was packing his lunch for tomorrow and cleaning up, he vomited while playing by the stairs with Jean-Louis. A lot of it got on Jean-Louis and the rest went on the stairs and carpet. Jean-Louis quickly ran to the kitchen and tilted Tristan over a bit so that he could finish vomiting. And he did. Lots more came out of him. I think he pretty much emptied his entire stomach tonight. Poor baby :(

Carpet cleaning and soaking smelly clothes were not on the agenda tonight but that's what we spent 2 hours doing. Oh, what kind of sickness is this now? I can't help but suspect a repeat of viral conjunctivitis since when he had that the other week, he vomited a couple of times as well. Tonight was much more vomit though. Since daycare and getting sick all the time, we find ourselves constantly trying to diagnose Tristan's illnesses and trying to figure out how he could have contracted it. We have been watching a lot of House too so that could explain some of our obsession of this. But seriously, when is sick season over? I really, really want to know.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Back to normal, back to daycare

Today is the start of the first full week of daycare for Tristan. At least I hope it will be. We stopped giving him antibiotics for his pink eye on Saturday. That pretty much means we are back to normal and life goes on for all of us. Right? Sometimes, we can't help but think there is something else disturbing him because he is quite a bit of trouble these days. He seems easily agitated and is becoming picky at the dinner table again. Are his molars coming out? I don't feel anything at the back of his gums at the moment. He has a small tooth coming out in the front but it can't be that. Maybe this is all normal because he is getting used to daycare where he has all the freedom in the world and then he comes home and we have all these boundaries. He is venturing into places at home where he is not suppose to and he knows it too. Sometimes when we yell at him and say no, he slowly drops himself to the ground and rolls over like he is going to sleep. What is up with that? Maybe he saw someone at daycare do it and is now imitating that person. So bizarre!

The past week with Tristan at home made me appreciate having daycare even more. Sure he gets sick more and he is allowed to get away with throwing food at daycare etc. but overall, daycare is a blessing for us, especially for me. Tristan is such a monkey and I am getting tired of running after him and saying no. The problem is our place is just not baby proof enough. There are so many things that are dangerous like the stairs, fireplace, sharp objects in the kitchen drawers, and dirty places we don't like him to touch or step on like the hallway, window sill etc. There are just too many restrictions and it sometimes feels like a high-paced full time job just keeping him away from all of these things. We get frustrated and so does he.

Besides running after my little monkey last week, we did get to enjoy some quality time together. We read together, sang, danced, played with his toys, and went for walks. We also got the chance to practice more sign language and learn a few new ones as well. We got to enjoy lots of potty time too. Tristan is really getting used to seeing it and wanting to sit on it, even if it's just for a minute. The goal right now is not to actually train him but to get him familiar with being on the potty and thinking it's fun to sit on one. When I pee, I have him sit on it right across from me. He usually doesn't stay sitting though. He would rather stand by me or throw things in the bathtub. Go figure! The other good thing is that he is now often telling us his diaper is dirty after he poos. A few times he even told us before he went and maybe when he was peeing but we're not totally sure about the pee part. It's a good sign and we are definitely headed towards the right direction :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

It's affirmative: it's bacterial conjunctivitis

The lab results came in today and there is bacteria in the swab sample we took on Tuesday. It was definitely a good call to start the antibiotic treatment yesterday. We had a 50/50 chance of there being some bacteria. From what I understand, it could also be viral but the test didn't tell us how much of it was bacteria, only that there was bacteria present. Either way, the antibiotics should help. In fact, I noticed a bit of improvement this morning when he woke up. His eyes were not as gooey and crusty as before. The mornings always look really bad though. Throughout the day, I noticed less and less as well. I didn't have to wipe his eyes much at all today. I'm also not taking any chances so I continued with the warm compresses and am also changing all used wash cloths.

So the bad news is that there is bacteria in his eyes and that he does need antibiotics but the good news is that he is now allowed back in daycare. In fact, the only policy is that he needs to be on his antibiotics for 24 hours before going to daycare. If he still has goo in his eyes, that is ok. They actually don't have a policy against that, although they should because he would still be contagious. They seem more concerned about new medicine causing allergic reactions and the staff are not in a position to help if medical attention is needed. The fact is daycare still admits sick children, as long as they are on medication for at least 24 hours. They will even administer the medicine for your child if you give them clear instructions from your doctor. This worries me knowing that children who are contagious are still allowed to go to daycare. Not just the children but the staff become sick all the time and still need to work. They only have 5 sick days in a year just like all of us. I have seen staff members with really runny noses that have to blow them throughout the day and there was another staff member that completely lost her voice too. If they can still physically work, they do. All this is just a fact of life for daycare. It's nothing new and obviously, there is nothing much you can do but complain at the next board and parent meeting (which I won't be doing by the way). Parents who work are already in a tough position when their child goes to daycare, like I mentioned in my last post. I am going through some of this pain right now. The demands would just not be realistic.

I debated today whether or not to take Tristan to daycare tomorrow and have decided to do so for many reasons. He has improved enough that I believe he is not that contagious. In the morning, he will be even better. He really needs to leave the house and be with other kids because I think we are both driving each other a little nuts. The change of environment will be good for him. He has much more freedom at daycare and he definitely loves that! For myself, I really need to get some work done. When I drop him off tomorrow, I will let the staff know that I don't think he is 100% better and that maybe he should keep his distance a bit from the other kids. I will also ask them to clean his hands more. Conjunctivitis is a beast and I don't want him to get it again nor do I want anyone else to go through what we went through the past week. We will continue to administer the antibiotics tomorrow but I don't want to ask daycare to give it so I'll just give his second dose late after we pick him up. Applying eye drops is a pain in the butt!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Baby's 1st prescription medication

And it's for (drum roll.... ) conjunctivitis. Yes, Tristan still has it :( It was a bit of a tough call since we don't know for sure that it is a bacterial infection and his condition is not getting worst. It's either the same or very slowly getting better. Either way, I have to do something to speed things up. It's just ridiculous how many days he has missed daycare because of it.

I hear that daycares are really scared about anything to do with sickness from the eyes. Our doctor tells me that viral conjunctivitis is no more contagious than say the common cold with sneezing and coughing. Bacterial conjunctivitis is even less contagious since you would need to be in direct contact to spread it. Last Friday, one of the staff members at our daycare said that if Tristan was on antibiotics, then he could still come to daycare. I told our doctor this and she says that antibiotics will not make him any less contagious. Hopefully, they do get better on the antibiotics but they will still be contagious.

I can understand that you should keep sick kids at home but I have learned that it is just not always practical to do so if you need to work. As a result, many kids still go to daycare with a runny nose and cough. If a child has a cold for 2 weeks, keeping them at home for the first few days is a must but then as they recover, they still go to daycare. I know they do and that is how other kids get sick too. The problem is that there is not enough support and help for working parents with small children. If say your child gets sick once a month and then you need to keep them home two days, that equates to 24 days in a year. Most people who do not have the benefits cannot take that much unpaid leave from work to care for their child. The solution? Hire an on-call nanny if you can find one? Don't work full-time? In an ideal world, we would all leave our children at home until they were all better and then the sick rate at daycare would probably go down. Wouldn't that be nice!

After giving Tristan a chance to heal himself at home 3-4 days per eye without any treatment, I took him back to the doctor's for a consultation yesterday. The doctor seemed really knowledgeable about conjunctivitis. She says that since Tristan's eye does not appear pink, the infection is not on the eyeball itself. His infection is on the lining of the eyelid. When she looked underneath the eyelid, they were indeed red. At this point, it could be viral, bacterial, or likely both kinds of conjunctivitis. The only way of really knowing is to test it. We took a swab and sent it to the lab yesterday. Unfortunately, the lab results won't be ready until next week. The information will only feed our curious minds because I need Tristan to heal before then. I hate medicine and will only take it if absolutely necessary. The doctor said that we can give Tristan antibiotics to start and if the lab results are negative, discontinue giving it. Or we could just hold off and see if things will improve without anything. It's not uncommon for it to take this long to heal. Anyway, I held off for 24 hours and finally took the plunge today and filled the prescription she gave me. Damn it. If it's not bacterial at all, then the antibiotics will have no effect. It's just unfortunate we have to put antibiotics in his system to diagnose it.

It looks like Tristan will be home with me all week. That would mean he will have missed 6 days of daycare just for an eye infection. Does anyone else think this is silly? It's also crazy how this all panned out. If you go see a doctor about conjunctivitis or pink eye, they will all tell you to wait 3-4 days and if it doesn't get better by then, come back. But the way it works is that you will discover it in one eye first, then it will spread to the other eye (2 days after for us), then you need to wait 3-4 days for the last eye, then you see the doctor and if you get antibiotics, then it will take at least another day for you to see improvement. To be safe, you should then keep your child home for 48 hours after giving the antibiotics. And there you have it, you need to stay home from work for a week! For an eye infection! If you want to wait for the lab results before giving the antibiotics, then that could be a week and a half or more. For an eye infection!

No, I'm not that annoyed that I am missing a lot of work this week. I am kind of annoyed that I have had to keep him home so many days from daycare due to illness since he started in January though. I think the count is at 9 or 10 days so far. 2 or 3 colds, plus an eye infection. By the way, besides the eye infection, he is perfectly fine. No other symptoms of anything. He is as big of a little monkey as always. Just look at him!

The past couple of months has made me realize what a health hazard daycare really is to Tristan. I need to be here for him more than ever so I am going to give up looking for any new job. Once the sick rate goes down in the summer, I may start up my job search again. Sadly, that's just the reality of it for me (and for us) :(

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Baby has conjunctivitis (a.k.a pink eye)

When we picked up Tristan today from daycare, we were surprised to hear that he had goo in his eye and that we should take him to the doctors. For eye poo? Nope. Apparently, it was green and yellow in his left eye and is likely contagious. If that is the case, he is not allowed to be in daycare. In fact, I think they were trying to tell us nicely that he was not allowed to come back unless we checked him out and he is declared noncontagious. We would need a note from the doctor saying that he was noncontagious if we were to bring him back to daycare tomorrow. So from daycare, we walked straight to the walk-in clinic :( I don't really get it because he was perfectly fine when I dropped him off. Can it really happen that quickly?

The doctor examined him and said almost immediately that he had conjunctivitis or pink eye. I asked how he got it and the doctor said it is likely from someone at daycare. It's viral or bacterial but in both cases, it would resolve itself in 3-4 days. The only treatment is cleaning it, keeping his hands clean (because he will likely rub his eyes a lot), and applying a warm compress on it as often as possible. If it doesn't get better on its own or gets worst, we will need to get antibiotics. Apparently, it's going around because this was only one of a handful of cases the doctor has seen this week. Great. So Tristan is stuck at home with me tomorrow. Besides the eye, he seems ok. There are a few things that are odd but it is hard to say. He vomited his milk 2 days ago but it may not be related at all. He doesn't seem to like plain yogurt lately but again that could be something else. The doctor says that the conjunctivitis could be related to a cold in that it could be a sign that one is coming up. Terrific :( He was sick only a week ago!

So I wanted to post a picture of Tristan today but I don't think anyone wants to see his yucky eye. Instead, here is a picture of him eating part of his dinner. I made some baby sushi for Tristan to try tonight. He seemed to like it since it was a novelty for him. He was picking the rice off of the nori sheet but I think that was because I used too much nori and he can't really chew with only his front teeth. I think I will try to cut them into smaller pieces tomorrow and see if he will eat more of the nori. For the sushi, I reduced the amount of rice vinegar and sugar I added. I smeared avocado over the rice and ripped pieces off for him. It was rather messy but he doesn't care about presentation :) I also did some with papaya. If only I had cream cheese, that would be good with papaya too! Maybe next time :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Experiencing the Olympics without the baby

I really wanted to take Tristan out to some of the Olympic activities around town but when we finally started to plan an outing one weekend, he fell sick. When he was well enough, we decided to leave him at daycare and enjoy some of the Olympics ourselves. We thought he would recover faster and be much happier at daycare. Thinking back, we made the right decision. If we had taken him with us downtown, he would have been overstimulated and it would have been too stressful for all of us. With him at daycare, it was a win-win situation. It's just unfortunate that he never got to experience any of the Olympics. Jean-Louis keeps saying that he won't remember a thing anyway but I know Jean-Louis is not a fan of the Olympics at all. Too bad but I still dressed Tristan up in Olympic and Canada clothing for daycare :)

Jean-Louis took a day off work so we could watch a hockey game. We watched the bronze medal game between the women's Finland and Sweden teams. I have never watched a hockey game before but always wanted to. Canada Hockey Place is really cool inside :) The kiss cam and kids cam were funny to watch during intermission too. I used to be a huge Canucks fan back in the 90s but then I just stopped watching altogether. Because of the Olympics, I found myself following the Mens games quite closely. Yeah, I remember how exciting hockey used to be :)

We went downtown after our hockey game and I really got to see all the hype people were talking about. Exiting the arena was madness. We were walking like sardines and when we finally broke free of that, there were people everywhere. This was a Thursday afternoon too. I got to see the zip line, the outdoor ice skating arena, we hung outside the Art Gallery, we visited the Olympic cauldron, and viewed the Olympic Superstore at the Bay from outside. There were lineups for everything and they were all insane. Well, the lineup to take pictures inside the bobsled in front of the Art Gallery wasn't that long but come on! It's just a bobsled and people wanted to sit in it to take pictures! The weather was surprisingly beautiful and I was happy to have finally experienced it :) I would have wanted to see more and visit the houses set up for the different provinces and countries but we would have needed a LOT of time. We were with my family and Jean-Louis and I had to ditch them around 3:30PM to go pick up Tristan at daycare. Without Tristan with us, it sort of felt like we were a childless couple again, just the two of us. It certainly was nice having that time :)

The next two Olympic events were mine. It was on the weekend and Jean-Louis didn't care for them so he was happy to stay home with Tristan. Besides, we both paid big bucks for the hockey game and I know that he spent most of the time tweeting and playing on his iPhone rather than watching the game. Pity! I went to see the bronze medal match for men's curling between Sweden and Switzerland. My family and I got to visit the Vancouver Olympic Centre by Queen Elizabeth Park. I only went for the experience because I didn't know much about curling at all. It looks like a smart game and I would love to play it a few times to really learn it. As a newbie, I just didn't get as much out of watching it as curlers did. When I got home, I was happily surprised to find that Jean-Louis and Tristan were having a great time together. Nice!

I went to the closing ceremony. Yes, I did :) Now, this was right after Canada won the Gold medal match against the USA in hockey. We had a party over at my sister's with the family and let's say there was a lot of screaming and noise. Luckily, Tristan didn't mind but I'm a little worried he might have lost some hearing from it. I'm glad I didn't take Tristan to the closing ceremony or any of the events because the lineups were insane and it was really noisy. The closing ceremony was an even better experience after our men's hockey team won the Gold. People downtown were going nuts, everyone was celebrating, singing O Canada - there was just so much excitement everywhere! Vancouverites are crazy! The closing ceremony was impressive to see live inside BC Place. I think everyone there would probably agree with me too :) After the show ended, I was in a rush to get home. It took around 40 minutes from the time I exited the stadium to the time I got on the skytrain back home. Without the Olympics, it probably would have taken 5-10 minutes. When I got home, Tristan had already gone to sleep and everything was just fine :)

So we all made it. The month before the Olympics, I was worried how we were going to pull it all off but it worked out wonderfully. Everyone is happy and I got to have my Olympic experience. As a huge fan of the Olympics, I would have regretted it if I had done nothing at all. I really felt tied down to parenting. I'm so thankful I got to experience some of it because like I keep telling Jean-Louis this may be my only chance. How often does the Olympics host their games in your hometown? It was amazing. Our Canadian athletes won 14 Gold medals (the most ever!) and as a Canadian you can't help but be proud. Every one of the athletes is a great inspiration. We may not have had enough snow here but in my opinion, Vancouver did awesome :)
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