When your baby’s teething is so bad that she won’t eat anything

“When a child refuses to eat, it can destabilize the whole family,” Solid Starts writes on their site.

Yep. That is so damn true.

I really enjoyed those weekend mornings throughout the summer and fall when I would sit with Kaia and introduce endless new foods to her. She was so curious, always willing to try and eat pretty much everything. Even the things she wasn’t a huge fan of then, like sweet potato, potato, avocado, banana, she happily eats now. I took endless videos of her eating and was so proud when again and again, she’d gobble up all her green vegetables and eat spicy chicken curry, dal, and everything else with lots of fervor. I thought I was doing all the right things to prevent picky eating. I was going to be the Super Mommy, the one whose baby loved to eat EVERYTHING. I HAD this, I thought to myself each day, preparing her a mini “tasting menu” for each meal as Chris called them.

And so, yes, it felt very destabilizing, if you want to call it that, to watch her suddenly, out of nowhere, start rejecting foods she always loved in December back in Australia. And it felt even more frustrating to watch it continue to happen after we got home this month. I just didn’t understand it: what the hell snapped in her in those weeks in Australia to suddenly have her turn on all the foods she once embraced? Was it really just the fact that she turned one year old, and thus overnight, developed opinions and preferences on what she wanted to eat or not…?! And now, coupled with endless teeth all seeming to pop up at once, she’s in pain, which makes her refuse even more food. Today at dinner, she didn’t eat a single thing and cried endlessly in her high chair. She even refused her favorite things, like rice noodles and blueberries. That’s when we REALLY knew it was teething and not just a preference for certain foods.

It made me feel so sad to see my baby not eat a single thing I had prepared for her, not to mention cry and yell nonstop. No parent wants to see their child go hungry, but for me, it was especially brutal because of how much I love food. And my stomach still wasn’t 100 percent today, so even I barely ate. It has not been a great start to the weekend — that’s for sure.

The mysterious stomach bug

I woke up this morning at around 2am from stomach pain. I wasn’t sure what was causing it. I just knew it bothered me enough to wake me up. I tried going back to sleep, but I never did. Around 6:30am, I got out of bed to use the bathroom, and I realized that my entire body was aching. And 30 minutes later, it erupted into a full on, pounding headache.

UGHHHHHHHH.

I decided to skip the gym and see if I could still get through the workday and sleep a bit. I still never fell back asleep but laid there on the bed, resting. When 9:30am rolled around, I still felt miserable. The pain in my stomach and body weren’t going away, so I took the day off.

I tried to think about what was new that I ate yesterday, and I thought… was it really the crispy pork that Chris brought back from Chinatown? We’d gotten roasted meats from this restaurant countless times, and it was extremely popular with high turnover. It was the only new thing I ate the previous day. Either way, I still felt awful. I managed to go out for my scheduled eye appointment and to buy a few things at Whole Foods, but it was a huge struggle. I felt super heavy, extremely lethargic, and pretty useless.

Woe was definitely me today. And then because I forgot that if I eat less, I pump less milk… I barely pumped any milk today. Or, maybe it was just because my body knew I was sick. Either way, I was screwed.

Baby Bjorn, take 2

One of the items I had put on our baby registry when expecting Kaia was a Baby Bjorn bouncer. Based on all the types of baby seats/baby activity centers out there, this seemed to have had the best reviews, and on top of that, it also seemed to last the longest. Based on the description, it is supposed to last until your baby is about 30 lb, which is approximately 2 years of age. So I added it, and lucky me, some good friends were generous enough to get it for us.

Well, by the time she was 8-9 months of age, we had already lessened our use of it. She didn’t like to be sitting in one place for too long, as she far preferred crawling and climbing on everything. I had forgotten that I hadn’t put it on the highest (toddler seat) setting, so when we got back from Australia, her weight was really pushing it to floor level, which didn’t seem good or safe at all. She definitely was not comfortable sitting in it. So Chris decided to post it for sale on Facebook Marketplace.

He told me this morning that someone was coming to buy it from us today. So I went to the Amazon site to review the description one last time, when I saw a photo of a toddler age child sitting on the chair, in a higher position. I realized we hadn’t increased the setting, so I did it after he told me and put Kaia in it. And I realized… weee, this actually looks like it’s fine again! She was giggling a bit as she bounced in it, though at this time, she has a hard time understanding how to get out given the way the seat is positioned. But I insisted to Chris that we keep it for at least one more week to see if she enjoys sitting in it. We already have it, so why rush to get rid of what we already have if the Pookster can still get use out of it? It’s further ROI on our friend’s investment, so why not?

It has been interesting to see her in the bouncer on the toddler seat position because it makes it more obvious and apparent to me how much she has grown in the last year. It was literally around this time last year, at the end of January, when I first took the bouncer out of its box and strapped her in it. She was once so tiny in this bouncer, wondering what the hell kind of contraption she was placed in. And now, she’s sitting in it almost like a tiny adult. The weeks have passed way too quickly with my sweet Pookie Pie.

Farewell, glass coffee table

When we first moved into this building about 6.5 years ago, we had to buy all the furniture in our old unit for a lump sum to take the apartment, and since we had no attachment to our old furniture, and we also hate shopping for furniture, it seemed like a good idea. One of the items that I really liked that we got was our glass coffee table. It’s a bit asymmetrical. It’s not a design that you see that often. And I’ve always loved glass coffee tables. But once Kaia arrived, it wasn’t really the smartest thing for us to own a glass coffee table anymore, especially once she started crawling and becoming more mobile. Plus, when I was under the age of 4, I smashed my parents’ glass coffee table top with Ed’s bat, so… I know karma has it in for me, and if we were to keep this coffee table, Kaia would remind me how mischievous I was when I was her age. And I’d prefer not to let that moment, in that form, come.

So Chris posted our coffee table on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace, and a serious buyer came today to pick it up and take it off our hands. I dusted it off and we moved it out from behind the sectional couch to our front entrance. And Chris helped him carry it downstairs into the station wagon he apparently borrowed from a friend. I gave a short little speech to the table, letting it know how much I appreciated it, how I enjoyed it the last 6.5 years we had it, how we got great use out of it. But now, it was time to go. Because now, we had actively made a choice: we were choosing our baby over this glass coffee table, and the decision was made, final, done. Goodbye, glass coffee table. We enjoyed you and got great use out of you the last 6.5 years, and now, you will go off to another person’s home, where hopefully you will be loved and appreciated just as much, if not more. We hope you have a good, long life, and get lots of good use. Goodbye, old friend.

A day spent in Chinatown, post pandemic

We had the day off today since it was MLK’s birthday, so we spent the afternoon in Chinatown. I wanted to buy some groceries to make some things for Lunar New Year coming up, and we also had a late lunch down there, as well. On our way home, I stopped by one of my favorite bakeries and was surprised to see that they had taken down all of their COVID coverings. Their workers were no longer wearing masks, and I could actually clearly see all of their baked goods once again. I honestly could not remember the last time I was in there before the pandemic, but I almost did a double take around the bakery: it didn’t look or feel like the same bakery to me anymore. It almost felt new and improved even though it was the exact same space! It felt more open, brighter, and like it was more approachable than before, especially if you were unfamiliar with Chinese baked goods before entering. It would be a lot less intimidating, and you could look to see what you wanted and take your time deciding instead of needing to know ahead of time before entering. During the pandemic, it always felt so rushed. Because there was such limited standing space, you really had to come in and out quickly to allow for others to come in and buy their baked goods.

It feels nice to see things more open and seemingly “normal” down there again. I was really worried about a lot of the businesses in Chinatown, especially given all the “China virus” racist nonsense that idiots were spewing. I hope this will make the shops of Chinatown seem more welcoming to those who may be unfamiliar with all their deliciousness once again.

Living in a luxury apartment building – where everything is not so “luxury”

In our last unit in this building, we were in a “model” unit that had mostly sun shades in all the rooms. It made pulling them up and down really easy. Unfortunately in the rest of the units in this building, they use blinds, which we not only hate, but are frustrating to use, and are really, really easy to break. I get that there are different types of blinds, but these are just… awful. Also, how the hell are you supposed to clean them?

A few weeks ago, our nanny said the sun was in her eyes and also shining on Kaia while on the play mat, so she’d been pulling them down in the living room in the afternoon as the sun was setting. When Chris went to adjust it up when he got home, the entire thing snapped and fell apart. The handyman came the next day and had to replace the entire thing.

Oh, and then yesterday, I pulled the blinds back up in our bedroom, and the main piece that holds them all together snapped and fell down. The handyman had to come to put it back. He said they were just cheap blinds, so it’s easy for this to happen. Well, isn’t that nice to know that we have cheap blinds in this expensive building?

I also asked the building manager to have the painter to come do a few touch ups. He told me that the paint, while technically the same color, is not the same “type,” (in other words, the new paint is cheaper because our management company is getting cheaper), so the paint may not match 100 percent. I said whatever, just touch it up anyway. It’s not like we own this place…

It’s always fun to know that while your rent is always going to go up, even in a “luxury” apartment building like this, the materials they use to put these units together is only going to get cheaper. What better way to show tenant appreciation than that?

Wheelchair/stroller accessibility

A couple of months ago, the long awaited Singaporean style hawker center finally opened here in New York. It’s called Urban Hawker, and the idea is to replicate the experience of the famous (and hygienic) hawker stall centers that are found and loved in Singapore. We went to visit and try some of the food today, and it was PACKED. It was a challenge to find a table, and we noticed many other people waiting seemingly forever to sit down with their food… to no avail. Many people left or just ate their food standing. We ate most of our food standing, but at least we had an area to set our food down on; Kaia ended up eating in a high chair Chris found hidden in a corner, and we just fed her while standing up. There are two levels of the center, and on the ground level is where all the food is. But, one thing to note is that even though it’s technically one level, to access one part of it vs. other other, you need to go up a few stairs.

Before we had a baby, this never would have phased me. I would have just seen it as a few stairs to go up and down. There are situations like this indoors all over New York, and I never thought about it much until I got pregnant and started thinking about my future, going around the city with a baby in tow. But now that we have a baby (that we are pushing around in a stroller), it made me realize how inconvenient this can be not just for parents and those with young children, but also wheelchair users and others who are not as mobile to go up and down stairs. Wouldn’t it have been just as simple to set this up with a slightly inclined ramp…?

Doctor’s appointments in New York

My previous primary care doctor stopped accepting Aetna insurance, which is just completely insane when you think about it: Next to United Healthcare, Aetna is likely the largest health insurance provider in New York. She has stated on her website that for new patients, she is only accepting them as “out of network” or with no health insurance. Well, isn’t that nice for her and awful for the rest of us. Even though I did like her and found her to be one of the best doctors I’ve had in terms of patience and bedside manner, all this just feels very greedy to me, and it made me mad to see this on her website before I had attempted to make an appointment.

So I ended up going to ZocDoc and choosing the least terrible GP option with availability in the next week, along with less than 10 blocks walking distance from the apartment (because… why would I travel for a doctor who I was unlikely to stay with?!). The doctor I ended up seeing belongs to Summit Health, which merged with CityMD. And when I walked into the office today, I couldn’t believe how swanky it was, not to mention how spacious. How do these people afford this rent??

It was a straightforward appointment, with little surprises or interest anywhere. The doctor seemed nice enough, but she wasn’t the kind of person I’d want to see again unless it was really necessary. She asked all the usual questions and had an assistant with us the entire time. I just feel like finding a good doctor you want to stick with, who you actually think cares about you even remotely, is nearly impossible. That’s why finding a doctor stinks. That’s why making the appointments isn’t fun. It’s like you can’t even pay people to care about you.

Back and neck aches

The last couple of days, I may have slept funny, which has resulted in my back and neck feeling extremely tight. Rolling my neck feels really tight and uncomfortable, and my back… well, it just feels like it needs someone to walk on it, but that wouldn’t be such a great idea since it’s my upper back area near my shoulders. That thought made me remember a time a few years ago when I worked in an office, and a colleague had some knots in his back and asked if any of us were willing to stand on his back to help him get them out. Everyone else did a double take and stayed silent, and I said, hey, if it works, then I’m happy to do it if you want! So I did.

Twenty years ago, I had no idea what it was like to have weird knots or stiff feelings in my neck or back, or even to get little injuries in my legs or IT band or piriformis muscles. It’s like all these things started happening to me once I hit my 30s. I’m still physically active and in good shape, relatively speaking, but my body is just getting older. And I’m definitely feeling it. And thank goodness for tiger balm.

How “baby friendly” is New York?

I always feel a little conflicted when I hear this question, or when I even think about it from my own experience. It always comes with an assumption that New York, given how urban and dense the city is, is not baby friendly. It’s not that it’s baby unfriendly: you see endless babies in strollers and carriers literally everywhere you go. Public transportation actually exists here and is functional, so you technically don’t even need a car to cart your babies around. The issues that always come to mind first for myself are the fact that if Chris weren’t with me, there’s pretty much no way I could carry Kaia and her stroller up and down the subway stairs by myself, not just because I lack the physical strength, but more because of my wrist/hand problems. Plus, when you go into the majority of restaurants, they will not have changing stations/tables for you in the restrooms to easily change your baby’s diaper, so I end up having to put her changing pad on some dirty bathroom floor and change her there. Once, I even let her sit down on the dirty bathroom floor (well, she refused to sit still on the changing pad!!) because I (ugh) smeared poop on my hands, and there was no way I was going to get it off just by washing one hand at a time as I usually do when I have changed her. And the latest realization: a lot of restaurants here just don’t have high chairs because they do not assume you will be bringing a baby with you to dine. And many restaurants, especially the further downtown you go, will not be spacious enough for you to push your stroller inside.

But the United States is not baby friendly overall for endless reasons that I won’t go into here. But if it is unfriendly for no other reason, it’s that the vast majority of people who live in this country need to have a car to get around… it’s an absolute necessity. And that’s kind of annoying. It seems easier to have a car when you have a kid because you can just leave the car seat in the car, dump the stroller broken down into the trunk. That’s what my friends who have children always say, and they say they cannot imagine being me, hauling a stroller up and down subway stairs every weekend. But is it actually easier to live in one of those places that requires car ownership… when this means you have to… rely on yourself more and less on society itself?