May 01, 2005

Club feet update

Last Thursday was Nathan’s appointment with the pediatric orthopedist. It was his first appointment in eight weeks.

It was quick. Dr. Lincoln looked at his feet, and said that they were good, but not perfect. In both of them, the heel still isn’t all the way down, which we had also noticed. He said in a lot of cases, that just finishes correcting itself on its own without further treatment (such as more casting or surgery), so not to worry. We’re going to leave the braces on full time for one more month, then take them off during the day. One month after that, we’ll go back for his next appointment.

Meanwhile, Nathan has gotten to the point where he can pop out of his shoes on a whim. This is somewhat frustrating for us, since keeping him in those shoes 24/7 is the best chance we have of avoiding more casting or surgery. I’ve considered super-gluing his heel to the bottom of the shoe, but that’s probably not the best idea I’ve ever had.

Posted by Mike at 08:31 AM

Trail of destruction

Pippin is very appropriately named.

In the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Pippin is the Hobbit who knocks things over a lot. He wakes armies of orcs.

In our house, Pippin is the cat who knocks things over. All the time. In the last few weeks he’s managed to destroy:

  • A giant Brita water tank. It was completely full, and he managed to shove it off the counter. Twice. The first time didn’t actually destroy it (although it did dump over a gallon of water on the floor), so it did it again a couple of days later. Mission accomplished (gallon of water plus complete destruction of the tank). .
  • A sugar bowl. Well, not completely destroyed – he just broke part of it off. He’ll have to try again.
  • A china salt shaker.
  • More glasses than I care to recall. In fact, as I type this, I’m wearing a band-aid on one finger from the laceration I got picking up the pieces of the most recent destroyed glass.

All of this happens, of course, while we’re home. What’s the point of destroying things if there’s no one to show your powers off to?

Posted by Mike at 11:43 PM

May 14, 2005


Finally, some more pictures of Nathan are posted.

Posted by Mike at 12:47 PM

And more pictures

Oh, and some more pictures from earlier.

Posted by Mike at 06:25 PM

May 15, 2005

Our son, the freak?

It’s just two more weeks before we take Nathan’s brace for his club feet off during the day. It won’t come a day too soon. There are many reasons for this (some less obvious than others), but one of the reasons we’ll be glad is the attention that it gets.

Certainly I’m used to people looking at Nathan. Hey, I think he’s the cutest baby ever, so who wouldn’t want to look at him? But after a while, understandable thought it may be, it is sometimes tiring seeing people look at Nathan, smile, then see the smile fade to a frown as their eyes track down to the brace.

Even more amazing are the comments that people make. A couple of weeks ago, a man sitting next to us in a restaurant turned to his teenage daughter and asked, “What is that thing?” (Meredith turned and answered him, and then watched the teenager try to melt into the floor in embarrassment.) Last week, someone walked by, looked down at the brace and exclaimed, “Oh my God!”

It’s not like he has an extra head, or four arms or something. It’s a metal bar that runs between his shoes. That’s it.


Posted by Mike at 10:26 PM | Comments (1)

May 16, 2005

Nathan not loving the heat

This week, it has suddenly become warm in Mountain View. Not even really hot, really, but much warmer than it has been, with temperatures in our house getting up into the upper 70’s. And, since our house doesn’t really cool down at night, it’s still (at 9:30 at night) in the upper 70’s in our house. Our house doesn’t cool down at night because we can’t open our windows. We can’t open our windows because we have indoor cats, and the windows do not have screens on them.

And, we don’t have air conditioning. Because our house has no crawl space to speak of, we can’t easily install central air.

But Nathan, he does not like the heat. He expresses his dislike by refusing to go to sleep. Or, by going to sleep, then waking up 20 minutes later, grouchy as hell because he really, really wants to sleep, but can’t. (Can you tell this child was born in the winter in Salt Lake City?)

So we’re trying to figure out what to do. A couple of the contractors I’ve talked to have no real interest in digging out the crawl space, because the job sounds both too small and too complicated. Excavating it ourselves isn’t an appealing option, as the only obvious way to do it is to walk down the narrow staircase and start hauling dirt up. Presumably there’s some way to take the siding off the house and do it that way, but that’s getting far beyond my skill set.

Or, we give up on central anything and just put an air conditioner in somewhere in the house in a window.

Or, tell Nathan to suck it up and deal with the heat.


But if anyone has ideas on digging out a crawl space, please let me know.

Posted by Mike at 10:07 PM

No, really, he doesn't like the heat

Nathan is still refusing to go to sleep. It is now 11:40 PM. His parents are getting very sleepy.

Posted by Mike at 11:41 PM | Comments (2)

May 20, 2005

New ways of sleeping

Nathan decided last night, at about 1:30 AM, that he did not want to be sleeping lying down. He shared his feelings with his parents clearly and without equivocation.

Nathan’s father last night, at about 1:30 AM, wanted to sleep very much. He expressed his feelings clearly and without equivocation. But that was irrelevant, of course.

The curious thing was that Nathan did, in fact, want to sleep. He just wanted to sit up for the occasion. As soon as I would sit him up, his head would instantly droop – I mean within mere milliseconds of his back being brought to a vertical position – and he’d fall asleep.

I’d wait a few minutes, start to lie him down, and as soon as his back passed about 10 degrees off vertical, he’d tell me that that was NOT OK. 5 degrees off vertical, OK. 10.1 degrees: right out.

We played this game for a little while – me sitting him up until I started to doze off, at which point I’d start to ease him back down, at which point I would not be about to doze off anymore. This went on until Meredith asked if we might not be able to play this fun game somewhere else. Say, in the other half of the house, with as many closed doors between her and us as possible.

It was a long night.

Posted by Mike at 06:45 PM | Comments (3)

May 21, 2005

More pics

More pictures … including Nathan’s first meal of something other than straight formula.

Posted by Mike at 10:35 PM | Comments (1)

May 26, 2005

On parenting

When we were in to see Nathan’s orthopedist a few weeks ago, he asked if we were still keeping Nathan in the brace. “Umm … yes, since that’s what you said to do.” “Really? Oh, that’s good.” He was surprised.

Recently, a woman noticed Nathan’s brace for his club feet and decided to tell us the story of her kid who had been born with “a crooked head”, which required wearing a helmet for a year. “But he didn’t like it, so we only used it for three months. I guess we should have kept it on, because now he’s nine years old and his head is still crooked. Oh well!”

I called Nathan’s doctor yesterday to say that Nathan was kicking out of his shoes about every twenty minutes or so, and I thought we needed new shoes because the leather in his current shoes had stretched so much that we couldn’t keep them tightly buckled anymore. The nurse who called me back thanked me profusely for noticing this and acting on it. One study of club feet showed that the recurrence in “compliant” families, i.e., those who actually do what the doctor says, is 6%. Otherwise, the rate is 80%.

What the hell is wrong with people? You can’t make parenting decisions based solely on what an infant does and doesn’t like. Nathan doesn’t always like to have his diaper changed, but it’s a really good idea to do it anyway.

I don’t mean that what he wants is unimportant. When he cries, I pick him up (even at 2 AM, although I may grumble a bit about it). When he wants to eat, I feed him. But when he cries because of his orthopedic shoes being put on … well, tough. Obviously, it’d be great if he liked them, but he needs them regardless. Nathan can’t make tradeoffs between short term and long term, so it’s our responsibility to do so.

Ignoring a child’s long term medical needs for the sake of short term convenience is a sin.

Posted by Mike at 08:25 PM | Comments (4)

Club foot / Ponseti treatment resource

I finally found a link to a pretty good paper with a lot of information about club feet and the Ponseti treatment.

Posted by Mike at 08:27 PM

May 28, 2005

Tennessee state senator arrested had a headline about a Tennessee state senator being arrested. Before opening the link, I correctly guessed who it was. Even back when I lived in TN, it was obvious that this guy was dirty.

Some things never change.

Posted by Mike at 09:50 PM

May 30, 2005

No shoes!

This morning, Meredith took Nathan’s brace off. Starting today, no more special club foot shoes in the daytime.

Nathan is VERY happy.

Posted by Mike at 11:02 AM | Comments (1)


I see in the news that Cheney is offended by Amnesty International’s claim that the United States is commiting human rights violations.

He also said he believes that the insurgency in Iraq is “in the last throes.”

Lastly, Cheney added that he absolutely believes in the tooth fairy.

Posted by Mike at 10:04 PM

May 31, 2005

Nathan and no shoes

Nathan totally loves having no shoes on in the day.

Totally loves it. It is way fun to watch him.

Posted by Mike at 11:15 PM | Comments (1)