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July 2009 Archives

July 2, 2009

Sir, Your Kid’s Pants Are Down

Ronan has begun the wonderful part of toddlerhood where he forms complex sentences, events that delight and charm his parents but probably confuse casual passerby.

Whether it’s jumping up to shout “E-X-I-T” during a movie, or exclaiming “Oh no!” watching an interstitial for a news program that showed the Hudson landing of US Air flight 1549, his exclamations are wildly entertaining to his parents and grandparents. I’m not sure they are as exciting to other people, so I try not to share them too much in casual conversation.

We’ve all met those parents who think their kid is the most entertaining, but really, they’re not. It’s kind of annoying, if I remember my pre-parenting days. Sometimes I think my brother just barely tolerates my endless stories of accomplishments.

Now that I’m one of them, it’s hard not to delight in everything Ronan does, even when he’s being obstreperous. (Like the other night, when he wanted to watch TV and we wanted him to eat dinner. Five seconds and one cracker later, he shouted, “DONE!” despite not eating hardly anything. I had to give him points for inventiveness. However, I’m painfully aware that you probably have no idea why that was so wonderful. You just had to be there.)

As he learns to put together words, I am amazed by his vocabulary and often wonder where he got that word or this word. He still occasionally speaks in complete gibberish, and that’s cute too.

He also sometimes forgets words, or won’t use words. He loves the idea of telephones, calling his paternal grandparents almost every day since their recent visit, and now he wants to call Terry’s friends as well. But once on the phone he won’t speak. He just listens.

Often I forget that he won’t always say he needs something, even if he’s in trouble. After a long day of playground, library, and errands, we were returning from the store. I had a heavy load of groceries in one hand and Ronan’s hand in the other. We were half a block from home.

I know we made it across the street okay because I checked him visually once we crossed the street. I took his hand again when we crossed the parking lot for the local pharmacy.

And that must have been when I stopped visual contact, just to think about the groceries and a way to shift them around with one hand so they didn’t feel so heavy.

As I mentally, physically and visually adjusted the grocery bags, a young man of about twelve or thirteen came up to me.

“Sir, your kid’s pants are down.”

He said this with a nonchalance that indicated that he often encounters depantsed toddlers on our street. That nonchalance led me to my first thought, which was, “What the hell are you talking about?”

In a split-second, I turned to Ronan to find his shorts had fallen off. He had been walking for about five minutes or so without saying anything. Two fingers in his mouth, he just kept walking even though he was having some difficulty keeping up with his ankles effectively shackled together.

I dropped the grocery bags on the street and pulled up his pants. “Oh, pants are down!” Ronan said. And then he giggled.

I’m sure this entry will be the first one pulled when he’s old enough to read this blog, but he was sure cute just mildly accepting that his shorts were off. He just kept walking.

I’m immensely proud of him, even when he’s thinking up ways to get out of dinner to watch TV, but I hope he never loses his good nature. I have no idea where he got it from – certainly not from me – but it’s wonderful to experience.

And, I hope you don’t mind all the gushing parent stories either.

July 4, 2009

Happy Fireworks!

Terry made up this flowchart to help us next Fourth of July.

Ronan came down with a cold. Slight fever and chills and severe congestion. I’m convinced it’s because I bought non-refundable ICE AGE tickets a few hours before we discovered he was sick, but Terry insists that the tickets have nothing to do with it. His illness pretty much killed any hope of seeing the fireworks.

In our relatively new digs (11 months and counting) nestled between Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst, we’re experiencing our first Fourth of July, which means copious amounts of illegal and highly combustible fireworks. A few minutes after we put him down for the night the neighborhood sounded like a war zone – the pop-pop-pop of skyrockets everywhere.

While he seemed immediately quiet, and therefore asleep, I decided to check on Ronan. I’m glad I did – as I felt around for his head, a scared “Mom?” came out of the other end of the crib. Ronan had his pillow over his face and was gripping it tightly with both arms and legs. He was pretty shook up as we had left his window open because of the heat, and the fireworks sounded like gunshots. He was a little scared.

So I propped him up in the window, and we watched what were probably hundreds of thousands of dollars of fireworks go off all over the neighborhood. His terror soon turned to delight. Every time I thought it was over, it started again. It’s not like any other neighborhood I’ve lived in – this was full-blown, multicolored, un-ending professional-looking, 500-feet-in-the-air fireworks.

Terry took him outside while I locked the door, and we took him in a blanket around the neighborhood, watching the display. For a minute I thought we somehow were seeing the Macy’s display over the Hudson. But then I realized that Dyker Heights takes its Independence Day pretty seriously.

While we were out, we saw the remains of previous shootings lying in the street, their still smoking remains dragged up the street by cars, streaming little sparks as they went. Even though he’s only two I began to worry that he would try to set these things off when he’s older.

He flinched a few times from the noise but generally he was terribly excited over the pyrotechnics. He kept yelling “Firework!” every time one went off. As the clock reached 10 PM he didn’t want to go home.

When we did go home, he lay in our bed for a while, still looking for fireworks. We called Grandpa TT and Grandma to tell them what happened, but despite waking Grandpa TT up, he was too excited to tell them anything. He does love to listen on the phone.

As I type this, he’s rolling around in his crib, listening for the telltale sound of a mortar lobbing another star shell skyward. Which is better than being afraid of them, but I fear he will get little sleep tonight…

July 21, 2009

Poison PEG

 So Ronan had debatable levels of anemia, and doctors couldn’t agree on how to treat it. One pediatrician suggested we increase spinach and lentils and other iron-rich foods. But that wasn’t the first doctor we saw. The first doctor ordered iron drops.

If you didn’t click on that link, the short story is that the iron drops caused Ronan a lot of pain, especially when he pooed, and eventually he needed a laxative. So the Pediatric GI we saw put him on Miralax. The chemical name for Miralax is Polyethylene Glycol (PEG). Our regular pediatrician had recommended this, but we wanted to consult a specialist. Ronan hates the specialist because his first visit was quite painful as he performed a comprehensive physical. (I’ll leave the details to your imagination.)

We gave him the generic Miralax, which was cheaper with our prescription plan. We had three pediatricians recommending it, so I was pretty confident that this was an okay drug. “I give it to my own kids.” One of the pediatricians told me.

It’s probably not an okay drug for anyone. Well, the drug is fine, but the manufacturing process is not. Part of the process of making PEG involves 1,4-dioxane, a known carcinogen. Even the CDC says it’s not particularly healthy, and may cause cancer or liver and kidney damage.

Yipes. YIPES! (I’d swear here but people have told me I swear too much.)

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics goes further, in a report that was covered by the Washington Post and other newspapers. 1,4-dioxane is banned in the European Union.

None of the three pediatricians knew anything about the CDC report, the Washington Post article or the EU ban.

I contacted the manufacturer of the generic PEG. They responded, basically, by saying that PEG is not approved for use by children, and if we were giving it to our 2-year-old, than any cancer is just not their damn fault. They probably left out the “damn.” They also claimed their levels of 1.4-dioxane is within FDA limits.

The CDC basically disavowed their own web page, saying that they couldn’t state that PEG for children was bad. Or good. “You’ll have to draw your own conclusions.” They offered to have a CDC chemist call me to explain how and why the warning page was written. I’m still waiting for that call.

So we’re freaking out. Ronan is a happy and healthy baby, but if he gets liver or kidney damage somewhere down the line, we will hold ourselves responsible for not checking into the real consequences of PEG. Or maybe move to Europe, where they seem to take these things more seriously.

About July 2009

This page contains all entries posted to Freaks & Geeks Parenting in July 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

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