Scribble’s Elevated Lead Level Scare

Our family recently moved to a small, ranch-style house built in the sixties. We absolutely love the house, and although it is just a rental, we were excited to get settled in here.

A few days ago, Scribble had his 2 year well child visit. At the end of the visit, he was subject to a mandatory lead screening. I didn’t think anything of it, except to be worried about how Scribble would react to the venous blood draw.

Then this past Monday, we got some news: Scribble’s blood lead level are elevated past what is considered normal.  The CDC classifies anything less than 5 as normal, and Scribble came in at 6.

My initial reaction was panic, and then, predictably, guilt. I foolishly hadn’t considered that moving into a house built in the sixties might be an issue. The windows are new and the interior of the house had recently been repainted. The exterior is brick. I seriously thought that lead poisoning was a thing of the past. I started scanning the house for other potential lead sources.

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D’s journey part 3 – briefly home

We left off with D (finally) being discharged from his first NICU stay. Spoiler alert – this particular segment does not have a happy ending!

D was discharged with some equipment – in addition to the pump and supplies for the G tube, we had a medical grade suction machine (to clear spit from his throat/mouth), and a heartrate and apnea monitor, since he still had some alarms. He was getting breastmilk (a dose every 3 hours during the day, and running continuously at a slower rate at night), his caffeine prescription, and polyvisol. The heartrate and apnea monitor was pretty awkward; it was heavy, about the size of a shoebox, and was carried around with a shoulder strap. It worked with either stickers on his chest, or a belt with electrodes, which would often slip and cause an alarm! At this time we also always kept his feeding tube stuff on the IV pole, so that was awkward to lug everywhere in the house.

This will always and forever be my favorite picture of them – look at that face!

Having D home was a big transition for K. Although he was generally very flexible, when I was going back and forth to the NICU every day we did have some behavior issues and he had started waking up multiple times at night again. Having D at home seemed to actually improve his behavior! There were times when D first came home that he would tell me to put D down, or to “leave D over there,” but I think that is a very typical sibling reaction. D was definitely nervous around K, probably because he moved too fast and was loud and unpredictable. My MIL continued helping me a lot, often taking K for a few hours every day so I could have a break with D (who took frequent, short naps). I was pumping every 3 hours at this point, so my hands were pretty full!

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Picture Book Series

Back in the day when I used to read (who has time for that luxury now?!), I loved series. There is nothing so wonderful as to fall in love with characters or a style of writing and be able to continue the story over a series of books. These days the only books I read are children’s books, but recently Drake seems to have a passion for series as he likes books done with similar characters or by similar authors. There aren’t a lot of picture book series, but these are ones that fall in that category.

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Growing a reader – Part I

For as long as I can remember, whenever I had to list my hobbies somewhere, the only real thing I could say was “reading.” I became an insatiable book nerd at the wee age of two, when I had to live with my grandparents for a few weeks and my grandfather made it his personal mission to teach me how to read. I spent half my childhood in his massive personal library, and after we moved to the US, I spent every waking moment in our public library, the school library, or buried in a book at home. I credit my voracious reading for my ability to learn English as quickly as I did after we moved to the US, and for eventually paving my career path to a literacy non-profit.

No matter where my personal or professional path has taken me, I always found myself connected to books somehow, from working part time in a library during high school to tutoring English as a Second Language through a reading approach. One of the things that pulled me so strongly toward my current job is that it gives me the opportunity to help provide books to kids who are growing up without any due to economic or other types of hardship. Having spent my entire life around books, it’s unfathomable to me that kids could be growing up without them, and quite literally, I would do this work even if I wasn’t paid to.

One of my goals for my daughter is to raise her with a similar love for books – realizing, of course, that she will find her own path while creating an environment as she grows up where books are a vital part of her every day. One of the great benefits of working where I do is that it allows me to be around book experts (which I am admittedly not), and people who dedicate their lives to getting kids to read. Thus, with their help and through my own experiences thus far, I’m planning on a small series of posts about raising a reader, starting first with creating an early environment to get kids in front of books.

1) Start early. We began reading to Baby C while she was still in the NICU, and continued after we got home. Many folks begin reading while babies are still in utero, which is fantastic (it just always felt a bit odd to me to read to my belly), and there’s a lot of research that shows that babies do register words and sounds while still in the womb.

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Chicken Pot Pie

When I started to learn how to cook the first thing I wanted to try making was chicken pot pie because it’s my favorite meal. To me chicken pot pie was everything I wished my childhood was in some ways; it was the quintessential American meal filled with creamy goodness and topped off with a warm pie crust. It seemed so vastly different than the bowl of rice I ate every night growing up, and I just knew I wanted to make it for my family one day. To this day it remains my favorite meal to eat, but my least favorite to make as it’s time intensive and difficult with multiple pots going off because I am not the most efficient cook. This meal can take me close to an hour from prep to putting it in the oven, but I try to make it at least once or twice a month because I just love it so much.

I loosely adapted this recipe, but I really just eyeball after years of making it.

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Introducing Mrs. Pom Pom!

Hello Hive! I’m Mrs. Pom Pom, a very excited new member of the Hellobee team! At the moment I live in Washington DC with my dear sweet husband (I guess he’ll be Mr. Pom Pom!) and our 14 month old son Roman. We are expecting a second baby this January (a little sister for Roman) and couldn’t be happier about our soon to be adventures as a family of four!

For now I am a stay at home mom (albeit a domestically challenged one) who loves blogging about my experiences as such, my favorite gear, books, fashion for the littles, parenting inspiration, the wonderful craziness of toddlers… all that good stuff.

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Off to School for Scribble–and Mama!

A few weeks ago, Scribble and I both started back to school!  I work part time as an instructor at a local junior college, and this semester I am teaching two classes. Additionally, this year I started back to graduate school, and am taking classes part-time, and soon will begin interning in a middle school.  Our transition from home to school has been full of fits and starts!

Up until now, Scribble has been at home with me all day.  I worked at night when my husband was available to stay with him.  But this semester my college needed daytime instructors.  We had come to rely on the money I made, plus I really enjoyed teaching and appreciated the structure it brought to our schedule.  Scribble would be two when the semester started. Two sounded like an ideal age to introduce Scribble to a more structured environment. We decided that Scribble would go twice a week for half the day.

Finding childcare in my rural community was a little bit of a challenge!  There are only two daycare centers in our town, and one has a long waiting list, so we really only had one option. It was pretty basic, lacking the many bells and whistles I had heard about from our friends in the city. I had to check my wish-list with regards to activities, staff education, and the menu. However, the staff were extremely kind and accommodating, and we felt Scribble would be very well cared-for there. After taking care of Scribble full-time for two years, I was used to having full control over what he ate, his toys, his media exposure, and his interaction with other children.  I decided to take a leap of faith with the hope that my fears were just the unfounded anxieties of a first-time mom.

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