I took James in for his one year well-baby visit today and was reminded, yet again, that there is some good medical science behind well-baby visits, science that holds true even when up against a second-time mom. Thanks American Association of Pediatrics or whoever you are; you are smart.
I had a room filled with medical professionals on Saturday - EMTs, doctors of varying fields of medicine, and a nurse. Each one commented to me, on different occasions during the course of James' birthday party, that he was tugging at his ear and each one politely and very unobtrusively asked if maybe his ears were 'bothering him' and if he possibly 'had an ear infection'. To each inquiry I responded in my - this ain't my first rodeo - tone 'oh no, he is teething...and, well, maybe a bit tired'.
After less than 30 seconds in the exam room this morning, James was diagnosed with an ear infection and sent home with his first prescription for an antibiotic. Okay, in fairness, I have had his ears checked each time Luz had hers checked, because I am diligent that way. Each time, against the odds, they were clear. So, there was some good reasoning behind my nonchalance - not to mention that he got 4 new teeth, molars included, in the past two weeks and the books tell you that teething will cause babies to grab at their ears. Okay.
Because the doctor seemed on the ball I reluctantly brought up the fact that lately, and I am not sure what the time frame is, James has been waking up at odd times in the middle of the night and it is tough to get him back down. There is no specific pattern - sometimes he wakes up at midnight, sometimes it is 5 a.m. - but regardless of the time, Christian and I both agree he shouldn't be waking up. The solution has been to share duties using some rudimentary form of rock/paper/scissors that generally involves me kicking Christian while he fakes sleep. Occasionally he wakes up, but, more often than not, I am the one that hears James cry so I am the one that wakes up, the one that looses precious hours of sleep and then cannot wake up to run, the one that starts to take it personally that James cries in the middle of the night. We decided that milk was out of the question - it would give him more of an incentive to continue to wake up because it is so delicious - and opted, instead, to give him water. The water never really seemed to do the trick, though occasionally he would quiet down and go back to sleep. Some nights though, like last night, we are up for 2 hours rocking and chilling until he calms down enough to go to sleep.
After listening to the story and learning that James goes to bed around 7 the doctor, without hesitating, said that he is hungry and that there is no way - based on his growth chart - he will sleep from 7 until 7 without some milk somewhere in between. So, mean old mama has been Ferberizing and providing tap water when all along the poor guy is hungry, I mean, at 25 lbs I just would not have guessed he needed more to eat. I suppose there is a chance that the doctor, who was once my pediatrician, is suggesting more milk (and adding cereal to it) simply because the dark circles under my eyes and her profound understanding of what it means to rear children and work outside of the home suggest that maybe it is me, and not James, who has a problem. Either way, I am ready to amp up the milk and push bedtime back an hour to see what kind of results we can get.
In addition to the great advice about James, I learned a new way to keep Luz from getting in our bed in the middle of the night. This is a new habit that started about a month ago and is getting out of control. I am up, on average, about 4 times a night between James' hunger pains and Luz's desire to cuddle with me. To say that I am EXHAUSTED is an understatement. At any rate, I am still bribing her with quarters but if that doesn't work I will set this new plan in motion. Wish me luck.
And, for the record, James weighed in at a scale tipping 25 lbs and 31 1/2 inches. He is big and healthy - 90th for height and 80th for weight. I am holding on to the hope that he will inherit Papa-T and Pop's height genes.
James, sucking on a Tylenol dispenser, maybe I should've taken a hint: