Sunday, July 22, 2007

Plumbum (Retro Post - July 13)

We were back at the pediatricians office today; Pequita was due for her 9 month well visit, and Monito had his 1 month visit. Both are healthy. We had few questions, and in response to them the Doc had good advice about how to minimize Monito's spit up problems (feed him at a 30 degree angle on my chest, as the esophagus enters the stomach from the back) and some comforting but useless help about Pequita's constipation. Then they did the regular 9 month blood test on Pequita. Here she is exiting the exam room, having demanded to walk out of her own volition.
Lead. Pequita has an elevated lead level, according to her finger stick & the portable, admittedly less reliable tester machine. Elevated only one point above the acceptable normal range, but since we live in the 150 year old homestead, we are concerned. Her exposure could be nothing - we were told to go to the hospital on Monday for a real blood draw & to have the test run on a regular machine vs. the portable one in our pediatric office. However, the predictions are dire for kids who have lead poisoning. She could have been exposed in a myriad ways, but the most likely culprit is our own home. I bought some lead tests and have been swabbing everything in the house. We removed almost all the original woodwork in the house during the renovation, as we knew it had lead paint on it (and it would have taken months to delicately remove it, strip it, and reinstall it). We still have a few original doors in the house, admittedly with their original paint on them. Also, we have 2 step-back cabinets that test positive for lead paint. The one in the living room I bought for a song at an auction and we have begun stripping it already, the other is original to the house in an out of the way place and we'll get to soon.
When Monday rolled around, my mom and I took the kids to the hospital to get Pequita's real blood test, as Homestead Mama had to go to work. It nearly broke my heart to lay down next to my daughter on a hospital gurney and hold her still while the tech stuck her in the crook of her arm to draw a huge vial of blood. I'm not sure if Pequita cried harder because of the needle stick or the act of being pinned down by strangers. There were two nurses doing it, as she was a baby and they are famous for thrashing around. Afterwards, she recovered quickly and we all went to lunch in the hospital cafeteria for lunch - this was a planned reward for Pequita's suffering. The only thing that made her stop picking at her bandage was pureed squash - mmmmmmmm.
The food is quite good for a cafeteria, cheap, and there is no one to care if the babies melt down or H-mama and I are both whipping boobs in and out while we breastfeed. I am not kidding when I say that Homestead Mama and I will likely be eating out there with some regularity when we need to get out of the house. Restaurants are very hard for us these days - Pequita always manages to overturn a beverage, and we are starting to leave a mess in our wake as she insists on helping feed herself. I usually tip more the bigger the mess we make, but it isn't relaxing in most restaurants. The sacrifices one makes as a parent - sheesh! Gone are the days of our yummy adult restaurants with lovely wine cellars and fantastic table service. Our standards are so different these days.

On the plus side, Monito has begun smiling in response to us smiling at him. He is adorable, we have decided. We figure we'll keep him. Wouldn't you?


Momma Penguin said...

OMG!!! What an absolutely gorgeous boy!! Totally delicious. I think they learn to smile right before they just might be put out with the trash...

Homestead Mom said...

You crack me up, Momma P. Yes, they are programmed to redeem themselves JUST before overstaying their welcome.