Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mom Lesson: Night Terrors

Karston had night terrors once (at least once: we think most of his night-time all-or-mostly-asleep screaming is because his tummy hurts), and it was a disconcerting experience. The rule of thumb is that if when the child wakes up, the parents are more upset, it's night terrors. If the child is still scared, it was a nightmare. However, I learned a valuable secret to avoiding night terrors from Daddy's cousin Kathy whose son has more frequent night terrors. The secret is an earlier bedtime! Sure enough, Karston's night terror was when we were at a family gathering and stayed up very late (midnight!) with everyone else.

Banana Muffins

I'm not sure it's worth mentioning my starting point (the Best Banana Bread Recipe at Recipezaar), but I made some tasty muffins this evening with peanut butter, bananas that needed to be baked soon, and chocolate chips.


2 bananas

mix in

1/3 cup honey

2 Tbs canola oil

1 tsp vanilla

blend in

1/3 cup peanut butter

preheat oven to 350°F

sift in

1 cup cake flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

fold in

1/4 cup chocolate chips

bake at 350°F 10-15 min until done

I made 24 mini muffins (10 minutes) and 4 regular muffins (15 minutes) with cups filled about 3/4 full. Neither the banana flavor nor the peanut butter flavor is very strong, but it's fairly tasty. I like the texture variety of the chocolate chips. The muffins rose nicely, are soft, and didn't need silicone muffin cups greased. Given that they didn't rise an exceptional amount, this recipe would probably adapt to the microwave pretty well (like this recipe, but for muffins maybe 4 minutes at half power and 2 to 2:30 at full power). Now here's hoping Karston will eat them!

UPDATE 04/05/2009: in my 1.5kW (1500 Watt!) microwave, the proper cooking time was 3 minutes at half-power, 1:30 at full power. Even then, the batch made in the dry silicone muffin pan had two get almost overdone, while the batch made in the damp (from cleaning it after the first batch) silicone muffin pan stayed out of the hard-as-a-rock zone. Mini chocolate chips are best for mini muffins. This recipe made 33 mini muffins, and it rose beautifully while "baking" in the microwave!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Prevacid and Skin Crawling

Karston has said two or three times in his month on Prevacid that bugs were crawling under his skin. At least one other person has felt this on Prevacid:

second time to try prevacid, acipex quit working, and again feel like my skin is crawling

A Good Night

Last night was a challenge to get Cale to bed, but I finally set him down in his crib at 9:20 PM. He woke up at 12:20 PM just before Karston started crying (for hours!) and nursed on one side before I encouraged him to roll over and fall asleep. Then, surprise!, he slept until 5:20 AM, nursed for 20 minutes, and rolled over to sleep again! I can deal with 5 hours of sleep at once!

So what went right?

Cale ate his usual baby food, although one was a mix (chicken, peas, corn, and rice) with his vitamin drops and a few crumbs from 2 chocolate drop cookies.

Yesterday I ate my usual cereal (Fiber One Honey Clusters with raisins, and Honey Bunches of Oats with almonds) with rice milk, tres enchiladas de pollo con salsa verde y frijoles y arroz, and a homemade pizza with turkey pepperoni, green pepper, mushroom, crushed tomatoes with roasted garlic, and vegan rella. However, I think it's usually food from the day before. That was cereal with rice milk, a sandwich wrap (and beano since I usually get gas from wraps for some reason) with potato chips, a cranberry-raisin muffin, 2 dinner rolls, and pork-pineapple stir-fry. Just in case it helps, the day before was cereal with rice milk, PT's hamburger with greasy fries and sweet tea, 3 gingerbread cookies, aqcorn squash, cranberry sauce, chicken, 2 rolls, mixed veggies (corn, green beans, and collard greens), and 1/2 chocolate-zucchini cupcake with some extra chocolate chips.

Must repeat this. Cale slept well despite a stuffy nose (and he might have a viral conjuctivitis) and no meds to clear his nose! Is it his vitamins? Me taking beano? We'll see.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mom Lesson: Ten Minutes

The 10-minute rule for falling asleep is very useful! When Karston was an infant, he followed the same pattern that Cale's on: eight to ten minutes after he first falls asleep in my arms, set him down in his crib. Any less, and he's not sound asleep, and he wakes up when I set him down. Any more, and he might also wake up. The "tilt sensor" is least sensitive 8-10 minutes after my children doze off.

Since Cale has a runny nose making him uncomfortable right now, I've had to adapt this rule to 10 minutes after that last large-scale restless motion, but 10 minutes is a real sweet spot for walking away from rocking a baby to sleep.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Managing the Difficult

A long time ago, when I started part-time work in computer support at our local Help Desk, I read the introductory training material. One point that stuck out for its perspicacity was how to handle difficult customers. The observation was that if the customer is going off on a voluble tirade, ask questions with very short yes/no answers to limit the flow of words. On the other hand, ask open-ended questions of reticent customers to draw them out into a conversation.

Last week I asked another manager how to manage a difficult employee, and I just realized that his answer fits the same model. The problem is (a serious lack of) time management, and the solution is to set requirements for progress with expectations for milestones. It's closer to micro-management than I like, but I know how to set self-management as an expectation now too.

Manage the difficult by presenting the opposite. I get it now.

Friday, November 7, 2008


As I turned into my neighborhood this evening, I saw a creature with an odd gait next to the road. At first it looked like that fuzzy gray cat from down the street, but cats have a much smoother gait. Yep, I saw a racoon tonight! I'm glad our garbage can lid has a latch, and our compost bin lid has locking tabs. They can make a mess!

Not That Kind of Cool

Yesterday I drove home behind a guy on a chopper motorcycle. He really didn't look as "cool" to me as I'm sure he intended. First of all, his hands were as high as the top of his head. How cool do you look with your arms up? Then he was wearing baggy jeans, and the wind was going up his jeans legs and making them billow. Yeah, we all think the marshmallow michelin man looks cool, right? So I laughed about that. I'm sure his legs were cool --or downright cold-- but he didn't appear cool to me.

I wasn't impressed with this guy's sense of safety either. He had one hand off of his handlebars for several minutes through a curvy section of road. Plus baggy jeans can get caught in a motorcycle's engine, so I just didn't see good sense. Oddly, though, he was driving well under the speed limit.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Not What I Expected To See

About 6 weeks ago, when I was coming in to work, I saw something brightly colored next to the parking lot. I rushed past it, but stared at the bright red plastic and shiny chrome as I went. In my defense, it isn't what I expect to see on my way to work, you know? It was a bong. It seemed incongruously out of place until I remembered there actually is a hookah shop a block away just down from the mediterranean deli. It's been losing pieces over the weeks, but I still laugh that I couldn't figure out what it was for so long. I walk past the hookah shop almost every time I walk anywhere during work.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hungry Hungry

I think my theory, Cale's awake so much at night because he's so hungry, has been vindicated. A short article on baby signs of readiness for solid food said that one sign was frequent waking at night after having established good sleep habits. [Cale's signs of readiness were (1) making his hungry cry after a long round of nursing, (2) waking more often to nurse but still on a pretty good schedule, (3) watching our forks like a hawk, from plate to mouth, and (4) opening his mouth wide whenever he thought a spoon might be headed near him.] Even eating baby food just before bed, Cale's sleep schedule has been horrible for over a month. He used to sleep 4 to 5 hours, then about 3 hours. Now he's lucky to sleep 2 hours before the 1 hour duty cycle where he sleeps 45 to 60 minutes, and needs 30 to 60 minutes of attention (mostly nursing but sometimes cuddling) to fall asleep again.

Last night and the night before, he woke around 2 am and wouldn't go back to sleep for three hours until he had had all possible nursing and a jar of baby food. Without filling his tummy, he would cry the very second I set him in his crib. (Annoyingly, he will sleep while hungry if I'm holding him; so either way, I don't get to sleep.) Other than asleep while I was holding him, he was really loud in the middle of the night. And Daddy holding Cale was even louder!

So tonight if I can motivate myself to wake up and remember this, when Cale first cries for me, I'm going to feed him a jar of baby food, then nurse on both sides, then put him back in his crib. Maybe I can cut the 3 hours of screaming down to half the time with less complaining. I miss the good old days of nursing him back to sleep, where we would both get some sleep after he finished on one side.