Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas Part II: Dec 25-27, Installment 1

Overcome with stocking excitement

Santa was here
Aunt B helps with the opening (check out the Grinch diaper cover!)

Uncle M and Aunt A

Facial hair: the best gift of all

Christmas Part I: Dec 22-24

First Christmas Santa hat

Fun animal shapes from Great Grandma C, Aunt K and Uncle L

After Mass on Christmas Eve

Opening presents with Grandpa T

Showing Aunt B our new toy before bed

Six month update

Monkey's visit to Brilliant Pediatrician on Monday the 22nd went very well. Monkey weighs in at 14 lbs, 4 oz and 24 inches. While we sure about the weight, we're not convinced that the height was completely accurate. At any rate, Monkey is down to the 3rd percentile for height and weight, although he did still gain from last time. This isn't surprising given our recent issues with tummy troubles and allergy diets and all of that, but we're hoping that he catches up soon.

To that end, Mrs. Z is eating pretty much everything, although she isn't drinking milk straight up (and no ice cream either). We haven't seen a dramatic increase in Monkey's fussiness (much to the contrary, actually) and the diaper that we took to the doctor's office tested negative for blood. There was some discussion at the lactation consultant and at the doctor's office about whether the small amounts of blood that were there before could have been from the acid reflux instead of a new and different food allergy, and it seems like that is a plausible scenario. So Mrs. Z is going to resume her food diary and see if there is a pattern or particularly fussy food but in the meantime eating everything in moderation. So far, we think that steak and broccoli are likely culprits. Funny how neither of them are on the allergy lists.

Shots went fine and we are scheduled for his next visit in three months unless something else happens. We are hoping that nothing does, but we can bring in some diapers to have them checked for blood and have him weighed whenever we like. We might give it a few more weeks and do that, just to see. Right now we are just happy to return to our regularly scheduled activities and focus on growing and playing and learning. He is continuing to take his Axid and in a few weeks we will start with some new and exciting solid foods to try. Having recently cleaned up some juice puke from the couch, we're not in a huge hurry to have peas all over the house. :)

Thanks again to all of you who have been so supportive while we figure this all out. We are so grateful for you all!

Saturday, December 20, 2008


Yes, that is the sound of the season this year. Last weekend we had a sneak preview of the big day as Uncle J and Aunt M brought over their gift early. While the whole sequence of events was entirely new to Monkey, he figured out what was going on fairly quickly:

He needed a little help but was ultimately victorious in his struggle with the wrapping paper:

Thankfully, we had 4 adults to assemble the gift so that went fairly quickly (and we love Uncle J and Aunt M for NOT including batteries!). Monkey provided some invaluable assistance with the instructions (mostly en Francais)

And now we are able to fully enjoy our most excellent Christmas present (which was re-adjusted immediately following this video, so he is at the proper height now):

Thank you, Uncle J and Aunt M!

We see the Brilliant Pediatrician on Monday for shots and stuff. We'll post an update on the ongoing tummy saga after that.

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Food Glorious Food

First, a clarification: We are sorry for the confusion, but our last post referenced The Godfather picking up a pregnant Mrs. Z from the floor last Christmas Eve, when Monkey was still gestating. So no new animals are on their way to the zoo at this time.

Secondly, an update: After spending a few hours this afternoon going over the allergy diet with our friend, alto section leader and dietitian K, it appears that despite all the special foods and starvation Mrs. Z hadn't been successful in eliminating all the corn from her diet. After talking it over and taking a good hard look at how things have been around here the past week, we decided that we are going to try the opposite approach to allergen elimination, where we eliminate one thing from the diet at a time. So after we made that decision, we all headed to Noble Romans and ate the most wonderful heavenly delicious amazing pizza ever created. Seriously. It was mind-blowing. We are going to take the weekend to eat normally and get some calories and energy back, and start with eliminating an allergen on Monday. We realize that this might result in less sleep, but we've found that we weren't sleeping all that well in the last two weeks anyway, and it's much easier to deal with when you can wake up and eat some FOOD.

Happy weekend to everyone!

Mass Disturbance

See this? It's our church. It's pretty awesome. We normally sit in the choir loft (to the left of the choir, on the far right of the picture) when we go to mass.

See this? This is The Godfather. He's the Don of the Altar Boy Mafia, and he takes his work very seriously. Almost nothing makes him lose his cool during the mass, not holy day pageantry or lost belts or pregnant people falling (ahem, Mrs. Z) .

Almost nothing, that is, except Monkey spitting his paci out in the middle of mass, right over the edge of the balcony and beaning a drowsy and unsuspecting parishioner on the head! The Godfather had to excuse himself to the sacristy to regain his composure and regale the sacristans and servers with the daring exploits of The Godson.

To Monkey, we say: enjoy your notoriety while it lasts. Altar Boy Mafiosi have to exhibit a certain amount of composure during mass. And by that we mean not hitting people in the head.

(We <3 you, Godfather!)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Upper GI Scan

Yesterday's upper GI scan went just fine. Everything is the right shape, size and position. We did see some 'trace reflux', which was no surprise to anyone. Monkey did a great job sucking down the barium - he took that bottle much better than he has ever taken a bottle at home! When the nurse took it away to see how much he had drank, he protested loudly until she gave it back. Unfortunately, they did not send us home with a parting gift of barium to add to his bottles.

In a few hours we will be meeting with our Brilliant Pediatrician again, with a collection of dirty diapers for her to test. We are expecting her to find blood as they did at Prestigious Children's Hospital. Also, we expect Monkey to flirt outrageously with her, as he always does. We'll be going over everything and talking about diets and allergies and all of that. Hopefully we'll feel like we're getting somewhere with this when we're done.

Thanks to everyone for thinking of us. We appreciate it!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Goodbye, Pumpkin Pie

We saw the pediatric gastroenterologist today, and it was...quite illuminating. Monkey has been diagnosed with a protein allergy. As the doctor explained it to us, there are some babies whose intestines are a little less mature than others. That means that a higher percentage of proteins from what they eat (or in Monkey's case, the things that Mrs. Z eats) goes into their bloodstream. These proteins can be interpreted as a foreign and dangerous substance by their body, and it sets off an immune response (allergic reaction). This causes irritation and cramping in the intestines, along with the other symptoms (fussiness, starting to eat and then screaming, hurting tummy, etc.) with which we have become oh-so-familiar.

It's difficult to figure out which proteins might be causing this reaction, given Monkey's inability to speak English and his "highly processed" diet. Statistically speaking, the usual suspects are: milk, soy, wheat, corn, eggs, nuts and seafood.

Mrs. Z is going to have to eliminate all of these from her diet for the next three or four months.


Monkey is going to take a break from the solid foods for a few weeks while we adjust to the new diet and let his gut heal a little bit. So probably around Christmas we will start again and see how it goes. We may continue the acid reflux meds for a few more weeks, but we can stop them if they aren't helping him (seems like they aren't right now). We have a follow up appointment in the spring, but if the diet changes don't work we will go back sooner. All things being equal, he will most likely outgrow this by his first birthday.

In the meantime, hopefully we will get some better sleep when his tummy stops hurting.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Random Monkey Love

Who needs a boppy when you have a dog?

Just in case the other kids didn't get their germs on every part of the ball, I'll drool on it too.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tummy Doctor

We are headed to our local (and very prestigious) Children's Hospital on Monday, December 1 to see the pediatric gastroenterologist. He'll do a full exam and then take a look at Monkey's upper GI tract. Wish us luck!

We are seeing some gradual improvement with the new meds, and are getting a little bit more sleep each night. As for Monkey, he is sad that he only gets 4 doses of Carafate a day... it makes him smell like extra-sugar Lucky Charms, and gauging by the speed at which he sucks it down, it must taste Magically Delicious too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Celebrating 5 Months of Monkey!

Monkey is 5 months old today! Thanks to our old friend acid reflux, Mr. and Mrs. Z are feeling more like 50 years old today.

Brilliant Pediatrician wanted to see him to make sure he was gaining weight, so we had a surprise doctor visit today. With all of his clothes on (including his uber cute new shoes) he weighs 14 lbs and 4 ounces! Normally they make him get down to his disposable diaper for weight checks, so this is just an estimate. She was pleased to see that he is still gaining weight despite the stupid reflux, but she thinks it is time to make sure that the reflux is the only issue. So we will be heading in for an upper GI scan here in the next few weeks. Fun! We also came home with 2 new scrips: Carafate and Axid. We're hoping they are more effective than the Prilosec, but they're already much cheaper so that is good news.

Yesterday Mr. Z turned 30 and we surprised him at work with cupcakes! Monkey's birthday gift to Mr. Z was a very shiny balloon (with 'superior float time'), which, as it turns out, is a most excellent toy for Monkeys and has subsequently been commandeered. For your birthday enjoyment:

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Letter from Monkey

Dear Santa,

My name is Monkey. I am sure you know that I am new here and this is my first Christmas, since they tell me that you are watching me and judging me all the time. That's kind of weird, but however you want to spend your time is fine with me, I guess. Just so you don't get confused, I wore this shirt so you would know I've been good. (It says, 'Dear Santa, I've been good all year. Just ask Mommy')

They also tell me that it's traditional to for me to write you a letter with some ideas for things that you can bring me for Christmas morning. Apparently you are going to break into our house and leave gifts? I know, it sounds crazy to me too, but then most things sound crazy to me (again, because I'm new here).

So, here is my first Christmas list:

- Food and love for kids everywhere. Heifer International, Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, and the Indiana Mothers Milk Bank could all use your help more than I could use another toy.

- Bumkins Diaper Covers (size M) Lately the giant people have been reading me some very fascinating books by a man with a funny name. Seuss or Zeus or something. I was helping Mrs. Z shop online the other day and discovered that I can have pants that match my books! I think that Mrs. Z bought the Grinch pants. We don't have that book so I don't know who that is, but apparently he pretends to steal your job? This holiday just gets more and more confusing all the time.

- Evenflo Switch-A-Roo toys These can swap out the toys on my exercauser for even more exercitement. I hear that you can find them in the store at Babies R Us.

- Right now I really like fabric or wooden toys. Things I am getting into:
- Soft blocks (good examples here, here, or here)
- Stacking toys (good examples here, here, or here)
- Soft balls (a whole page of great ideas here)
- Sassy Earth Brights toys These are at Babies R Us too.

- Also at Babies R Us, they have these awesome clothes by Amy Coe. Monkeys and rock stars!! They clearly had me in mind. Mrs. Z says they should be 6-9 month size, as I am growing so fast.

So, that's it, Santa. I'm not sure what happens next, but I guess you'll just let yourself in to our house?

See you then - or not, I guess. If I'm awake I promise I won't peek. (Or at least I'll try.)

Merry Christmas,


P.S. - Dear Santa, I hope you remember our little chat about trying to avoid toys with batteries and/or BPA. All we want for Christmas is a healthy Monkey and a happy planet! These stores have some great ideas (and in-store pick up or cheap/free shipping!) if you're stumped.

We'll leave you some cookies!

Love, The Zookeepers

The Smoking Gun(s)

So, not so much with the telekinesis (and with sound effects, too!):

Also, possibly his longest sit so far:

The push-up/faceplant combo.
You may not be able to hear this,
but he is doing his buzzing and singing with his face in the blanket.

Align Center

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Tricks

As of Friday, November 14, Monkey has now mastered the following tricks:
  • Rolling over BOTH WAYS
  • Grabbing his toes
  • Pushing his chest all the way off the ground
  • Planting his face in the ground and pushing up his rear end
  • Bouncing for minutes on end (with assistance, of course)
  • Grabbing hair, glasses, nose rings, etc. and flinging them as far as he can
Photo evidence as soon as we can capture it in pixels! We have not actually witnessed the rolling over so it may have been telekinesis. When we looked away he was on his tummy, then he was on his back, and then he was on his tummy again.

Trick or Treat!

Our Friends S and Ladybug K

Monkey tail!

I was just asleep in the car. And now this.

Repeat performances of the Monkey costume available upon request!**

**As long as Dog doesn't actually succeed in eating it next time. Silly Dog. That's a fake banana!

Boo at the Zoo!

This is not happening to me.

But it's about to happen to YOU.

Chief Assistant Cookie Icer In Charge of Tasting

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Read Aloud with the Hungry Crowd!

We are newly signed up for our local library's Join The Hungry Crowd Read Aloud Program for the month of November. We got an awesome Eric Carle (author of the Zoo fave Brown Bear Brown Bear and others) book bag for all of Monkey's books and a great chart to keep track of our progress. For every 30 minutes we read, we get to put a bug sticker on our Hungry Caterpillar chart and when we reach 4 hours of reading time the caterpillar turns into a butterfly!

This program runs the whole month of November, but since we got a late start (and someone was too tired to fall asleep) we read for 30 minutes tonight. All of our selections tonight were from our dear friends and family who brought books to the baby shower, and we love to read the messages they wrote in the books for Monkey. The chart has us list all the books we read, so here is the reading list for tonight:

Scuffy the Tugboat
I Love You Through & Through
Guess How Much I Love You
The Going To Bed Book
Tikki Tikki Tembo
On The Day You Were Born

In less exciting news, Monkey slept through his first fender-bender today (in the new car, of course). Everyone is fine and the car is mostly fine but we spent a very long hour and fifteen minutes trying to amuse ourselves in the pouring rain on the side of the road while we waited for the police.

On a happier note, our camera has been found!! We will post the Halloween pictures and more as soon as we get it back in our hands. Thank you to our friends for finding it!

Monday, November 10, 2008

APB - Silver Camera Missing!

Dear Internets:

The Monkey Blog has been deeply saddened by the recent loss of our camera. It was last seen on Halloween, and all the adorable pictures of Monkey in his monkey costume are still on the memory card! If you have recently found a silver camera with adorable photos in the memory, please let us know ASAP.

Until then, we will try to find some alternate means of capturing the daily cuteness that is Monkey.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Monkey on the Farm

From our trip to the pumpkin patch with Aunt B (a few weeks ago):

Pumpkin, Mrs. Z., Punkin

Hayride with Aunt B

Plotting Pumpkin Domination

Whoa! Giant pumpkins!

Friday, October 31, 2008

First Bites

So far this week, Monkey has had two tablespoons of rice cereal!! Yay! While we are giving the credit for improving his acid reflux to his larger dose of medicine, we've seen very little throwing up this week, which is great! No sleep miracles or anything, but this is just for fun and to see if it helps the acid reflux any. He was kind of hesitant at first (that spoon normally carries bubble gum flavor, except for that one time... ) but he is now an enthusiastic if not very precise eater. His cereal is so watery that we are using the medicine spoon for now, but we will thicken it up a bit next week and see how it goes. After ten minutes or so with the spoon we put it in the bottle and he finishes it that way. Here's a little clip from that momentous first feeding (Sunday, October 26):

Happy Halloween from the Shrieking Shack!

Wishing you all a spine-tingling evening
which we can guarantee if you watch this video with the volume cranked up!

Watch out for El Chupacabra!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tummy Troubles

Well, our old friend acid reflux has been back again and worse than ever the past few days. We are upping his dosage on the Prilosec and hoping that brings him some relief. And some better sleep. Because, dude. Seriously. We are tired.

All sorts of fall goodness to be posted soon!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

4 Months of Monkey

Monkey has survived for four full months now... so we celebrated as we usually do, by prodding him, shoving things in his mouth and stabbing him with needles.

All carefully supervised by our physician, of course!

Monkey is doing great. His height, weight and head measurements are all hanging out in the 5th -10th percentiles, but his growth curve is 'textbook perfect'. He weighs 12 lbs, 13 oz and measures 23.25" (so not much change from last week). Brilliant Pediatrician says that he is doing well developmentally (as she should, since he flirts OUTRAGEOUSLY with her) and if he is expressing interest in food he can try out some rice cereal, just for fun. It may help him with his acid reflux by keeping his food in his tummy instead of on our clothes, so we'll see how it goes. The vitamin drops she recommended did not stay in his mouth at all, as he thought they were the most horrible thing we had ever done to him. So we'll have to figure out some other delivery device.

All in all, it was a big day full of excitement (i.e., errands) and Monkey is trying to sleep away the memory of the traumatic vitamins:

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cousin Extravaganza

As part of his goodwill campaign, Monkey has enjoyed a parade of cousin activity lately. His paparazzi kindly provided the following:

Mrs. Z's Cousin A and her daughter, H

Mrs. Z's Cousin A and her new son, D
(why are they nearly the same size??)

Mrs. Z's Hard to Capture on Film Cousin C

Mr. Z's Aunt K and her grandson, L

L's mom, Mr. Z's Cousin A
(yes, same name as Mrs. Z's Cousin A)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Letter from Monkey

Dear Mr. Zookeeper:

I like you. You are fun and warm and much more scientific than the other giant person. Thank you for letting me try your oatmeal. It was a most excellent experiment and you know that the other one would never have let me have some of hers.

Thank you also for letting me sleep on you at the pumpkin patch. It was windy and chilly but you are warm and cozy. You were much more interesting than the lines of people and pumpkins anyway.

I always appreciate it when you tell me that I look silly or that the other one has put me in some ridiculous get up. I am new here and no one else will be straight with me about what looks good. That onesie and navy socks combination you cooked up was pure sartorial brilliance, even if the other one keeps saying 'best look in the world' and laughing. You are so right, I look like someone so advanced in years that they are sure to serve me at the bars. (Can they serve me more oatmeal??)

So I will miss you this week when you are ... somewhere I have never heard of before. I'm not sure I like it when you leave the room, so I am sure I will not like it when you are even farther away. I hope you come back soon.

Peace out.