Addicted to Change

Some people are deathly afraid of change. They won’t get rid of things. They live in the same house year after year doing the same things. They stay in a job they hate because they’re afraid that any job they went to would be worse. Sometimes they even stay in an abusive marriage for fear of the unknown.

 I’m about as different from those people as one can be. I find that no matter what I do, I want variety. I love how life is never the same from day to day. I’m the sort of person who changes her hairstyle drastically every year or two and never keeps it the same way two haircuts in a row.

I loved my post-graduation job because I knew that no project was permanent. If I hated one, I had the assurance that in a few days or weeks or months, I would start on something entirely different. My first project was doing a very heavy edit (rewrite) of some medical software user manuals. My second was doing tech writing for Zions Bank’s call center. In between, I proofread some manuals about braking systems for the Alaskan railroad.

Even when I do get into a routine, I tend to mix it up a little. For instance, Jon Boy and I order a 5 Buck pizza about once a week or so. He always gets the same toppings on his half, but I alternate between two combinations: ham and pineapple or pepperoni, green pepper, and olives. I know, big change.

But sometimes I feel that my obsession with change can be dangerous. Jon Boy and I spent the end of May and some of June browsing apartment listings in the area to see if we could find anything bigger, cheaper, or both. We looked at one place that was bigger and had lots of storage (something this place does NOT have) and was cheaper. However, it didn’t have a bathtub, something we will need once Lego is big enough not to use his baby bathtub.

Well, I got all excited about moving to this place, even despite the bathtub thing. “We’ll figure something out,” I told myself. “The storage and the price are too good to pass up.”

Luckily, Jon Boy has more sense than I do about such things. We ended up making a list of the pros and cons, and we quickly saw that they balanced out. If that place would only be as good as this one, not better, why move?

I felt that staying put was the right thing to do, but I still spent the next few days pining for that place, feeling dissatisfied with our lack of storage.

The whole thing happened again when we looked at a place even bigger than the first and even nicer than our current place (which is very nice). The rent was a little cheaper than here. It was perfect.

Except it didn’t have a dishwasher. Everyone who has lived without a dishwasher knows what torture it can be. The decision was tough, but eventually we decided, once again, not to move.

During the decision-making days, though, I found myself picturing where we would put our couch in the new place, how we would use the storage, what it would be like working in that kitchen, and how we would manage the move. Once we’d decided not to move, I couldn’t think about these things anymore. It was back to the boring old laundry, dishes, and vacuuming. I felt quite a letdown, actually. I had been looking forward to new problems, new challenges.

On Monday, though, I completely rearranged the furniture in the living room. In doing so, I solved quite a few decorating problems the room had had. Suddenly my craving to move is gone.

I think I just needed a break from more menial jobs, a chance to use my creativity. I’m glad I found a productive outlet for my changelust.

A year without chocolate ice cream?

About three weeks ago, Lego came down with diarrhea. That day, he also slept all day long, with only brief periods of semiwakefullness in between long naps. Since I had been told in the hospital that infants with diarrhea ran a risk of dehydration, I called his pediatrician’s office and asked if there was anything I should do (other than breastfeeding him as normal) to take care of my little guy. They said I should come in. I was a bit surprised, since with stomach bugs, there really isn’t much to be done and since I had told the nurse on the other end of the line that Lego was still wetting a normal number of diapers, but I followed her advice.

 Lo and behold, the doctor said he probably had a stomach bug and there was nothing to be done but breastfeed Lego normally. 

 The next day, Lego spit up a lot, so I figured the doctor had been right. The day after that, Lego seemed all the way better. Then, five days later, he started showing the same symptoms. This time they lasted three days before going away. On the third day, I called his pediatrician again and asked if I should be concerned, considering he had gotten better and then gotten the same symptoms again.

“No,” they assured me. “Sometimes a virus will just come back after a few days. It’s perfectly normal for babies.”

This rang a bit false to me, but I tried to stop worrying. After all, the next day he seemed to be getting better.

Four days later, sick again. This time I’m pretty sure it’s not just the same virus. Something was wrong with Lego. Not wanting to cough up another copay but not knowing what else to do, I took him back in.

This time, a different doctor told me that diarrhea is very hard to define in breastfed babies. Some babies simply have very watery stools, and that’s normal for them. Feeling a bit intimidated, I didn’t mention to him that watery stools weren’t normal for my baby. Then he drew a diagram of the digestive system (even though there was one hanging on the wall) and gave me a detailed explanation of what acid reflux is and how babies often get it because their stomach muscles aren’t well developed yet. Feeling a bit intimidated, I didn’t mention that babies with reflux don’t also get diarrhea on their spitty days.

I did ask whether an allergy could be the problem. I said that I had given Lego formula a few times and he seemed to do all right with it, so I didn’t think it was milk. I asked if there were other foods that might cause digestive problems in an infant. He said there weren’t and that a milk allergy seemed very unlikely.

So, the diagnosis was that I had a baby with reflux and looser stools than most. Great.

I went home and looked up the symptoms for milk allergies in breastfed babies. My search led me to La Leche League, worldwide champions of breastfeeding. The page I found listed common allergies, common symptoms, and ways to find out what your baby is allergic to (if anything). I realized that if the pediatrician had asked me questions like, “Does he have problems sleeping on the days when he has diarrhea and is spitting up?” and “Does he sometimes have red around his eyes or a jelly-like substance in his eyes?” and “Does he cry when offered the breast?” I would have emphatically said yes. I had noticed all these things but kind of assumed they were normal for babies. Instead, he ruled out allergies without giving the matter a second thought.

So. To figure out what Lego is allergic to, I have to go off each suspect food for a week. If his symptoms improve, I can be pretty sure that that food is the culprit. To be absolutely sure, I reintroduce it to see if he gets sick again.

This week I’m off milk, since it is the most common allergy and thus the most likely. In fact, I was allergic to cow’s milk as a baby, so that makes it even more likely.

Next week, I’m off chocolate. The next week, eggs.

I really really really really hope he’s not allergic to chocolate. Can you imagine a year-long Lent? No chocolate cake. No chocolate chip cookies. No chocolate ice cream. No 60% cocoa Ghirardelli squares. No chocolate milk. I’m craving chocolate just thinking about it.

The thing is, though, I’ve been off milk for two days now, and Lego seems sicker than ever today. And I had four of the aforementioned Ghirardelli squares yesterday.

Pray for me, dear readers. Pray for my soul.