Sunday, October 31, 2010

Zenbit: Doggy Potty

This is what you do when your city has no green spaces for dogs to go potty.... you make one!

Location: Macau, China
Date: March 29, 2006

Friday, October 29, 2010

Short Stories

Tonight, I'm so tired that I don't even remember the fourth (and final) song in Pumpkin's bedtime routine. I am very well trained, though, because I woke right up when the fifth song on the CD started, and popped out of Pumpkin's bed to turn the CD off. I should be doing the dishes so that I can go to bed, but Pumpkin whined and didn't want me to leave. She's been doing that a lot lately, and I often indulge her and stay another minute or so. Tonight, I was afraid I'd fall asleep if I did that, and wake up sometime later, with my contacts half-gluing my eyes shut and a horrible crick in my neck.

So I told her I had to go, but promised to go type in the guest room for "a lot of minutes" before I started the dishes.

So here I am.

It is not Petunia's fault that I am tired- she has suddenly switched to a routine where she only wakes up once in the middle of the night to nurse. Occasionally, she wakes up again at about 5, but often she sleeps through until 6:45 or so, which is when she usually wakes up for the day. I don't know if this is due to the end of the 9-12 month separation anxiety period- her day care drop offs have gotten a lot easier, too, and she is a lot less clingy in general, so I think that period is over. Or it could be because she's fighting something of or getting over her 12 month shots- she was running a fever again this week. (It was a weird one- she got sent home from day care on Tuesday, so we flew my Mom over to take care of her. Then Wednesday and Thursday she was fine all day, but spiked a mild fever of about 100 or 101 at bedtime. The fever was gone by morning.  Tonight, there was no fever. I don't know what to think. This all started earlier than the post-shots fevers would normally start. She got both the MMR and the chicken pox shots a week ago today, and either of those could cause a fever starting about 7 days after they are given. It could be she just reacted a little differently than most. Or it could be a virus from day care. Or it could be a relapse of the fevers that I thought had cleared up with the antibiotics. I don't know. I guess it is a good thing I enjoyed my few days of not worrying about Petunia's health!)

Anyway, I can't blame Petunia for how tired I am, since I generally do pretty well if I'm just woken up once in the night. No, this is Hubby's fault. Last night, he would not stop talking when he brought Petunia in to me. I was nursing her, and trying to stay half asleep so that I could go back to sleep quickly, and he kept going on about I can't remember what. Interestingly, he can't remember either, and claims he wasn't fully awake. Well, by the time he was done, I was fairly awake and it took me almost two hours to get back to sleep. Ugh.


My Mom took a video today that perfectly captures the difference in personality between Pumpkin and Petunia. When Pumpkin was learning how to walk and toddling around with her walker she would often run into a wall or door frame. When she did, she would repeatedly bang the walker into the obstacle, as if she were trying to make that inconvenient thing move out of her way. Petunia is now learning how to walk and toddles around with her walker. She ran into a door frame while my Mom was recording her. She just backed her walker up, steered around the obstacle, and continued on her way.

I love this. Both of my girls are a bit obstinate, but they are obstinate in different ways. Pumpkin will plow over any obstacle, full of sound and fury. Petunia will acknowledge the obstacle, and the calmly move around it and keep on her way.

I'm looking forward to seeing how this difference plays out as they get older.


Petunia loves music. She will crawl over to the CD player/clock we have in her room and babble at us meaningfully until we turn some music on her for her. And then she will either sit back on her heels or stand up, leaning on the box that is still passing for a bedside table for her, and sway to the beat. She'll look over her shoulder at us and grin. And then she'll start pushing buttons on the CD player. Occasionally, she'll push a button that makes the music stop. And then the routine starts over: the earnest words that aren't words until we start the music, and then the dance party resumes.

Good times.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trip Story: Zion National Park

Last week, we took a short vacation to Zion National Park in Utah, for a family reunion. Once again, Pumpkin and Petunia were great little travelers- honestly, Pumpkin handled the annoyances of our day traveling to Zion better than I did. Let's just say that I was not too happy to arrive at the San Diego airport and see gigantic lines inside and out. %$#@! cruise ships, I muttered, over and over.  We're going to Utah!, Pumpkin exclaimed to anyone who came within earshot. I should learn from her.

We flew to Las Vegas. The flight was full of very happy people heading off for a weekend of partying. Petunia actually cried a few times, but no one noticed. We were far from the noisiest group on the plane. For anyone nervous about taking their young child on a flight, I'd recommend a short flight to Vegas as a good practice flight. It works on the same principle as the idea of eating in brewpubs- the adults are all pretty happy and a bit noisy, and tend to be far less judgy about what your kids are doing.

We got our rental car, got the car seats in the rental car (always fun), and headed out. It quickly became apparent that we weren't going to make it to our hotel in Utah for dinner with the rest of the family, so we decided to stop in Mesquite, Nevada. We bought our supplies for the weekend at the local grocery store (we'd been warned that booze might be harder to get and more expensive in Utah, so we stocked up on beer as well as the more prosaic essentials like milk and Pumpkin's favorite breakfast cereal- I have no idea if this was necessary) and asked for a good place to eat dinner with the kids. The helpful clerk directed us to our only option that wasn't fast food: a local diner called The Home Plate. It was pretty good. It was also packed with teenagers having their dinner out before homecoming, which required me to try to explain the concept of homecoming to Hubby. I didn't do a very good job. For my international readers: it is a dance and a football game, and some alumni are around. If you want to know more, ask Google. It will probably tell you more than I could.

By the time we left, it was getting dark, and we didn't see the landscape we were driving through. That is a shame, because when we drove back at the end of the weekend, we realized that it is actually a beautiful drive, particularly the little bit in Arizona:

I have now added "the drive from Vegas to Zion" to my list of things that were surprisingly nice (joining Boise, Idaho and Brisbane, Australia and probably some other things if I stopped to think about it).

Petunia slept most of the drive, and was not at all pleased when we strapped her back into her car seat after dinner. It probably shouldn't have surprised us that she was really, really, happy to be let out when we arrived, but it did. She crawled around and around in our hotel suite- which was really like a one bedroom condo- giggling, and smiling, and just generally having a good time. It was fun to watch. Everyone went to bed a little late.

When we got up the next morning, we weren't disappointed with the location. This was the view that greeted us when we opened our door:

Zion is every bit as beautiful as you've heard. Our hotel, the Cable Mountain Lodge, was literally right outside the park. We crossed a bridge into the park from our parking lot. It was a beautiful spot.

The reunion was great. Pumpkin loved meeting her cousins and aunts and uncles (really my aunts and uncles). We also did a little bit of standard sightseeing. We took the scenic drive out toward the eastern entrance to the park. That was indeed scenic. I took photos from the car as we drove (we didn't stop much because were hoping the drive would make Pumpkin nap- it didn't). Here is one of the many beautiful scenes we drove past:

We also took a short (1.5 mile) hike with the kids. Pumpkin was excited to go on the hike, and did fairly well. But it is a good thing my Mom had brought an umbrella stroller for her, because she definitely used it. The hike was to a pool that was supposed to be emerald, but was a little cloudy from the rain we'd gotten the night before. It was still very nice, and there was a waterfall you could walk behind:

After our hike, my Mom volunteered to watch the kids while Hubby and I went into town to get lunch. Springdale is a nice town, with the shops and restaurants basically spread out along one road. We ate a good lunch at a place called Oscar's. Hubby got to try the Polygamy Porter (from Wasatch Brewing Company), which was something he'd wanted to do. I had the pale ale. Neither were really memorable, but they weren't bad, either. And it is always nice to get to have a meal and a drink without anyone whining at me.

We drove back to Vegas the next day. We arrived early in the afternoon and spent the night... I'll write that up separately, I think.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Zenbit: Moon over Mountains

This photo was taken from our hotel. Really. Yeah, it was a nice place to stay! (We stayed at the Cable Mountain Lodge, but I think a lot of the places in Springdale have equally excellent views.)

Location: Springdale, Utah, USA
Date: October 18, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You Can't Send Patience, So Please Send Beer

I took the girls out for their "nap walk" today, and three different people stopped me and told me how precious they were. And they were- at that moment, sound asleep in their double stroller. Petunia had reached over and was holding on to Pumpkin's blanket, and it would have taken a very hard heart indeed not to think they were cute.

But a mere 30 minutes earlier, Hubby and I were struggling to deal with a clingy 1 year old who screams if I hand her to anyone else, including her Daddy, and a 3.5 year old throwing a whopper of a tantrum over our insistence that if she is not going to use the potty, then she at least has to change herself out of her wet pants. This tantrum went on for at least 45 minutes. She finally accepted that we weren't going to change her pants for her and got into her new underwear on her own, but then she had another accident before she could get her pants on- because of course, she hadn't sat on the potty after her first accident. We're trying yet another new approach to the potty issue around here. In this one, we don't remind her or push her to go potty. We reward her if she sits on the potty and we have her change her own clothes after accidents. This is day one of the new regime, so it is too early to say whether it is going to do anything other than add a bunch of tantrums to our life.

My ability to deal with the potty issues and the other tantrums that come with being three and a half years old is severely compromised by my lack of sleep- Petunia's sleep went all to Hell during the 6 weeks or so of recurrent fevers, and we haven't gotten it back on track yet. Some nights, she does fairly well- even sleeping 5 hours in a row sometimes. And then there are nights like last night, when she wakes up every two hours.

Now, I could feel really bad, because here I have one kid who won't sleep and another who won't pee in the potty. But I actually think we're doing better than that summary implies. At her check up yesterday, Petunia was judged to be developing well, and was pronounced a smart little baby. (I know, they say that to all the mothers. But I still think she IS a smart little baby!) She is a delight to play with, and although I think it is too early for us to claim responsibility for any of her good traits (like being such an easy baby to take to restaurants), at least I don't think we've messed anything up yet.  The clinginess is normal for her age, and I suspect it will pass once she learns to walk and decides that she wants to explore more on her own. I also believe that the best thing to do is to give her the attention she wants now, to lay a solid foundation of attachment from which she can explore later. Pumpkin was an even clingier baby, and is not clingy at all now.

And despite her infuriating three-and-a-half-ness, Pumpkin is a pretty amazing little girl, too. She doesn't always eat all that well when we go out to eat, but she almost never disrupts the meal (and I do claim some credit for this- Hubby and I ate many tag-team meals as we followed through on our promise to take Pumpkin out of the restaurant if she didn't behave). She can throw an impressive tantrum, but she is also quick to come and give me a hug and tell me that she loves me. When she chooses to argue rationally instead of throw a tantrum, she makes a good argument. She's very logical, and will catch us in any inconsistencies. I am not too proud to admit that I've lost more than one argument to her! She loves her Chinese lessons, and is also delighting in learning "pre-reading" phonics- she can tell us what letter most words start with, and is starting to get the hang of sounding out an entire word. I know that the tantrums and stubbornness are normal for her age, too, and will pass. Or at least, the tantrums will. I suspect she will be stubborn, um, I mean persistent for life. Let's just say that I see a lot of her Daddy in her in that regard.

So, I think I just need to come up with the patience to get through this difficult phase without compromising my parenting beliefs- or at least without compromising them too much, too often. Which brings me to beer. I think I should drink a beer more often- one beer tends to make me mellow and more patient. To the people who think that a nursing mother shouldn't drink (and for the one or two readers I have who aren't mothers, yes, people think this and no, they won't hesitate to tell me what they think)- I say: consider the alternatives. Cheers!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Absence of Worry and Other Good Things

Petunia's one year check up was today. She was in a great mood for the doctor, and showed off her babbling skills as well as her winning smile. She has adorable dimples when she smiles.

It was a crying intensive visit, despite her great mood- she got all of the vaccinations on offer (MMR, chicken pox, hepatitis A, and flu), and she also had to have blood drawn to follow up on her recurring fevers. We'd had an ultrasound done last week, which showed no problems, and she got so much happier after a day or two on antibiotics that we all pretty strongly suspected that the health scare was caused by a bacterial infection of some sort. However, the doctor ordered follow up blood tests, just to be sure. She called earlier this evening to let us know that the sedimentation rate test, which was the test that was most worrisome the first time around, came back completely normal. So yes- it was an infection, and that infection is gone now, thanks to the antibiotics. Phew! I hadn't realized that I was still worried until suddenly, I wasn't anymore.


After the doctor's appointment, I took Petunia for a little walk in our neighborhood. I happened to be walking past the school down the street from us when the parents were arriving to pick up their kids. It is a public school, but it is a Spanish immersion magnet. We're thinking about trying to get Pumpkin in there for kindergarten, but haven't really decided yet. So I asked some of the parents what they think of the school. They all loved it- but they told me that this year, there were 300 applicants for 100 kindergarten spots. However, they also told me that there are a couple bilingual programs in the district, including one at a school that wouldn't be too far out of the way for us. So Hubby and I have some research to do. 

I've been reading Bad Mom, Good Mom's education posts with interest (here is her latest: Economic Integration of Schools), because she is sending her daughter to public schools in LA, and knows a lot about the California education system. Her posts give me hope that we can figure this out and get our children good educations in our local public schools. In fact, I suspect that our kids would do just fine if we just sent them to the "default" public school for our area. It is really just the lure of having them become fluent in a second language that is making us look at other options. Well, that and the fact that the Spanish immersion school is only a few blocks away, while our "default" school is many more blocks away, and down a fairly steep hill. If we want to have our daughters walk to or from school in elementary school, we'd better get into the Spanish immersion school. Either that, or they'll be very, very fit from walking up that hill every day!


In other news, I have finally updated Pumpkin and Petunia's book list post.
Pumpkin doesn't attach as strongly to particular books as she used to, but Petunia definitely does!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


We're just back from a short trip to Zion National Park for a family reunion, with a single night stop in Las Vegas on the way back. I'll write up a post or two about the trip soon, but we're busy unpacking- we had our house tented for termites while we were gone, so we need to unpack all of the food and things that we had to bag before we left.

But there is something Pumpkin has been saying that I want to write down, so that I won't forget it. On our trip to Coronado, we walked past a transformer station. Pumpkin asked us what it was, and we said that it made electricity. So now, every time we see a transformer station (and we drive past a small one everyday on our way home from day care), Pumpkin says "that's less-trickity!'

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Zenbit: Night Lights

Location: Hong Kong, China
Date: April 4, 2006

Thursday, October 14, 2010

List of Nowhere Near 100 Dreams

I last posted about my life reorg quite awhile ago. Part of the delay in getting this next post up was due to how busy my life has been over the last few weeks, but that's not the whole story. The truth is, I found the next assignment surprisingly challenging. It sounded easy enough- write a list of 100 dreams. These could be big or small, they just had to be things I wanted to accomplish in life.

It wasn't easy. Not by a long shot. In fact, I still don't have a list of 100 dreams. I have a list of 25 dreams and two ongoing things I'd like to add to my life. Despite my failure to actually complete this task, I found the exercise very useful. The difficulty I had in doing this was surprising to me, and very thought-provoking. I don't think I would have had this much trouble earlier in my life. Was my trouble at this time due to my age or my status as a mother? I suspect it was due to both.

I realized as I started thinking about what my dreams are that I was assuming that my adventurous days were behind me- I was thinking that I was too old for some things. That is pretty silly. I am 38. People on my dad's side of the family regularly live- and live well- into their late 90s. My Mom's oldest brother is over 70 and still going strong. Chances are, I'm not even half way through my life. Realizing that was quite a wake up call for me. Why was I assuming that my time for achieving dreams was over when I still have at least half of my life ahead of me? That makes no sense.

I think motherhood plays a role in my problems with this assignment, too. In our popular culture, mothers aren't really expected to have their own aspirations. The good mothers are shown as caretakers, whose goals in life all involve supporting their kids. If a mother has her own goals, she is usually portrayed as being incredibly conflicted about them. This is probably related to our cultural hang up with the idea of working mothers. Regardless, I think it is B.S. I can support my kids in their goals and dreams (and even support my husband in his goals and dreams!) without completely abandoning my own goals and dreams.

So there is no good reason why I can't write a list of 100 dreams. I haven't given up. I'll get to 100 some day. But for now, I'll be content with a list of 25 dreams:

  1. Set up my travel website and put in the effort to see if I can make it a success, whatever that means. I guess I’ll know it when I see it....
  2. Learn how to take good photos. Most of the nice photos I post were taken by my husband.
  3. Write a list of 100 (or should it be 200?) major islands and visit them all. I’ll have quite a few crossed off already.
  4. Visit all of the US National parks
  5. Have a meaningful yoga practice. Bonus points if this lasts for more than a month.
  6. Raise great kids. I get to decide if they’re great. When is this “done”? I think by age 25 it is their own fault if they screw up. But maybe I'll change my mind about that when Pumpkin is 25....
  7. Visit the carribean already. Which is better? Carribean or South Pacific? I can't say because I haven't been to the carribean!
  8. Publish a book. I haven’t decided yet if self-publishing would cross this off.
  9. Read some Tolstoy. I’ve never read any. It seems like I should...
  10. Swim behind a waterfall.
  11. (Help) build a database, website, or software tool that develops a sustaining user community- the kind with power users and evangelists. This could be within a company; it doesn’t have to be a publicly available resource.
  12. Take another “big trip”- be gone for multiple months.
  13. Visit every continent. Yeah, even Antartica, even though it will be cold and I’ll get sea sick going there.
  14. Be part of a company/team that brings a drug to market. I’ll have a small part, but I still think it would be a thrill.
  15. Cruise somewhere. Probably Alaska or Fjords. But do it in style.
  16. See a concert at Carnegie Hall. Classical music strongly preferred.
  17. Spend a weekend in a hotel where the attraction is the room (eg, oceanfront condos at hotel del)
  18. Live in a house that is completely decorated how I’d like, inside and outside. My husband says this will never happen. Pessimist.
  19. See Machu Picchu. My husband is probably going to insist that we hike to it, but I’d be happy to take the train.
  20. Have conversational proficiency in another language
  21. Be The Boss. I’d love to stop implementing other people’s boneheaded decisions and start implementing some of my own boneheaded decisions. I think being an independent contractor would fit the bill, but I don’t know if I can hack the business development that would go with that.
  22. Live in a foreign country. (With the caveat that I don’t want to do this until my kids are much older- probably until they are off to college.)
  23. Take my kids to see a live performance of Beethoven’s 5th. It is still one of my favorite symphonies, and it is a good intro to classical music for kids.
  24. See the pyramids in Egypt.
  25. Take a big train trip. Maybe the Orient Express? Bonus points if I can do it in luxury.
And here are the two things I think I should try to do, but which aren't really goals because they are never completed:
  1. Have a date lunch or dinner with my husband once a month
  2. Take a walk every day. OK, most days. I do my best thinking while walking!
I also came up with some things I've already done that surely would have been on earlier versions of my list:
  1. Take a big trip
  2. Go to Easter Island
  3. See Angkor Wat
  4. Lead the informatics department at a small biotech
  5. Get a PhD
I was struck by a couple of things as I worked on my list:
  1. I didn't think of career related things to put on the list until I'd been working on it for several days.
  2. A lot of my items, both past and present, involve travel. 
Hubby thinks that these two things are good and normal. I wonder if it says something about what I should be doing with my life, work-wise (i.e., not what I'm doing now).  On the other hand, I don't necessarily think that I should try to my travel part of my career- sometimes trying to do something as a career sucks the joy out of it. For instance, I like music, but I know that trying to be a professional musician would make me miserable, and would probably destroy my love of music. 
So it was an interesting exercise, on many levels, and it was actually a lot of fun to try to figure out what I really want to do with my life in the broadest sense. And it gave me a lot to think about for my life reorg. I think my next post in this thread will try to pull a lot of the things I've been thinking about from doing these exercises together. But I make no promises about how long it will take me to get that post written. I have a lot of thinking to do first.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Petunia... Just a Little Late

So, Petunia's one.

Things have been a little hectic here, with her health scare and preparations to get our house tented for termites, so this post is late. I do have a reputation for sending my birthday cards late, so maybe the tardiness has nothing to do with the circumstances and everything to do with the author... who knows?

Anyway, I wanted to write a short post about some of the things Petunia's been up to, since one of the reasons I blog is to try to capture the things in my life and my childrens' lives that I don't want to forget.

But where to start? In her very first photo (which I can't show you, because Hubby and I have agreed that there will be no faces on this blog), Petunia had an expression that can only be described as suspicious- as if she were looking at her Daddy and the bright lights of the OR and wondering why she had been unceremoniously yanked from her cozy home for this?

She still treats us to a suspicious or quizzical look from time to time- it is one of her "trademarks"- but overall, she's a very happy baby. She is quick to give us a big grin (especially now that she seems to be feeling better). She has a wonderful belly laugh that she uses frequently. She plays a mean game of peekaboo. She waves me off to work every day with a big grin, and a big, full arm bye-bye wave. Some times, she even says "buh", too. (Hubby gets the accusatory, "you're abandoning me" tears at day care. I get the big, "glad to see you!" grins at pick up. I definitely have the better end of that bargain... until I get home and try to make dinner. But I digress.)

My parents gave her a walker for her birthday, and the smile on her face when she realized that she could walk with it was beautiful. She definitely enjoys it, but is still finding her walking legs. She often kneels to push it around, and when she really wants to go somewhere, she abandons it and crawls away:

She loves to swing...

... and to play in the water, whether that is in the bath, at the beach, or in the paddling pool in our backyard.

She loves all toys that have buttons she can push to produce music. She bops along to the music, and looks around with a big, expectant grin, waiting for everyone else to dance, too. We always do. It is not clear if she loves the music for its own merits, or because when she produces it, she can make us all react. We don't really care- we love this, and both our gift for her and Pumpkin's makes noise. Yes, we, her parents, bought her TWO noisy toys for her birthday. The force is strong in this one.

Pumpkin's gift was a baby computer, because Petunia has been trying for months to get her hands on the toddler computer we gave Pumpkin for her 3rd birthday. About a week before Petunia's birthday, though, Pumpkin relented and said that Petunia could play with her laptop. ("I don't matter if she plays with it" is how she phrased that- the misuse of the "doesn't matter" phrase is one of the few cute malapropisms Pumpkin still has- that girl isverbal. But this post isn't about her.) Pumpkin loves to make her little sister happy. Usually.

Petunia rewards her sister (an her parents) with sloppy, wet kisses. Or she could be teething on us- its hard to say. She has a mouthful of teeth, which she seems willing to use to try out some non-pureed foods. She like graham crackers best, but also eats bread and strawberries with gusto. She won't touch cheese yet. Cooked carrot sticks were an early favorite, but lately, they get unceremoniously tossed to the floor. She had her first taste of piklets, a New Zealand specialty that is similar to a pancake (but smaller and a little sweeter) and liked them. She also likes french fries (of course she's had these- she is the second baby, after all), so she seems to be embracing both her Kiwi and American heritage.

She's not really talking or signing yet, but she seems to be getting close. She's tried out some sounds to indicate that she wants a cracker, and tonight, she may have tried a sign- but she is also very good at communicating with just a meaningful look. She's quite persistent, and usually gets what she wants. She seems like a very mellow baby, but already we can tell that she isn't going to be pushed around. She is very determined when she wants something, and won't be easily distracted. She usually doesn't throw a big tantrum when we prevent her from getting what she wants. She protests briefly (but loudly), but then seems to allow herself to be distracted... but as soon as she gets the chance, she crawls right back to her original target.

She's growing fast, as babies do. Sometimes I look at her next to her sister and am struck by how quickly it is all going. Before I know it, there will be no baby in my house- no baby to chase around taking leaves and rocks away from before she eats them. No baby to play peekaboo with. No baby to nuzzle and rock to sleep. So on the night of her birthday, I rocked her a little longer than I had to before I put her down, and I got a little misty-eyed looking down at her sweet, sleeping face. Happy birthday, Petunia. It has been a wonderful year.

I Guess This Makes Up for that Damn Duck Song that Pumpkin Loves So Much

Here is the latest funny internet thing from my husband:

It is proof that the nice people at Sesame Street love parents as much as they love kids.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Zenbit: Sunrise in the Air

Location: Somewhere between Tokyo, Japan and Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Date: April 7, 2006

Friday, October 08, 2010

Not Really an Update

So, for anyone who didn't notice my comment on my last post: the tests are indicating Petunia has an infection, not cancer. We don't know where the infection is (or was), and we may never know. We're supposed to take her in for an ultrasound to look for an abscess or other GI problem (bowel obstruction? I'm guessing) but they haven't called us to schedule it yet, so I guess that isn't considered urgent. We'll call them back on Monday.

Petunia is much, much better after the antibiotic shot and a few days of oral antibiotics. This may be a coincidence, but I'm taking it as further evidence that the problem was a low level infection somewhere. Whatever the reason, she is playing and giggling and screaming at us if we don't let her down fast enough again. Which is wonderful.

Thank you all for your kind words and good wishes. Some "real" posts will be coming soon. In all this excitement, though, I missed writing a post for Petunia's first birthday, and I'm not sure I'm going to get a chance to do one. I'll try, because there are so many little things about Petunia right now that I want to remember. In the meantime, here is a picture from her birthday trip to the beach- her birthday happened to be the one day last week that she didn't have a fever and was sort of happy. She had a blast playing in the wet sand.

It was a reasonably warm, but gray morning, so we had the beach to ourselves.

That little spec in the distance is Pumpkin.

So, even though I had a frustrating week at work, and we found out on Thursday that our house needs to be tented for termites.... Times are good.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

A Bad Couple of Days

Today, for the second day in a row, I held my baby down while a technician drew blood. Petunia has been having recurring fevers, and we need to rule out some sort of persistent low level bacterial infection or something worse, like cancer or an autoimmune disease. The doctor ordered the first round of tests yesterday, expecting them to come back indicating nothing, which would have led us to conclude that she has just been getting one virus after another. She's in day care and has an older sister, so this would not be unreasonable.

But the first round of tests came back indicating that something more might be going on. So she ordered more tests. I left work early again today, and drove Petunia to the doctor's office. I held her down to get a chest x-ray (that came back normal) and then to get blood drawn. Finally, I held her down while a nurse gave her a big shot of antibiotics. (The doctor recommended that we start treating on the assumption that the earlier test results were indicating infection, which is far more likely than cancer or an autoimmune diease. Also, the side effects of the antibiotic are upset tummy, which we generally can manage with a probiotic- we use Culturelle.)

We won't have the results of the second round of tests back for a few days, but Petunia seemed back to her usual happy self this evening, so I strongly suspect the eventual diagnosis will be some sort of bacterial infection, which the antibiotic shot cleared up. However, this little episode has got me thinking about cancer, and childhood cancer in particular. When I was a kid, it was practically considered a death sentence. Now, the cure rates of some childhood cancers are above 90%. As unpleasant and nerve-wracking as the last couple of days have been for me, I probably would have been far more worried 20 years ago.  There is a lot of work left to do- kids treated for cancer often have long term issues from the treatment. Far too many types of cancers still have few good treatment options. But from where I sit, working in the biotech industry, a lot of progress is being made (I'm too tired to make this a good, link-laden post, but Google or FierceBiotech to find some stories of recent advances and setbacks in the industry.) And from where I sat this week, as a mother of a little baby who probably doesn't have cancer, but whose first round of test results weren't 100% reassuring, I am very grateful for that progress. Now let's keep going until no one has to fear a cancer diagnosis.