We’ve got Giardia! (warning: poop ment.)

I was trying to decide if it was ok to write a post on the singular topic of my son’s GI system. Well, actually if we look at it historically, then it is about my son and daughter’s GI systemS. I decided it’s my blog, so I can talk about their poop all I like. I just hope that this post is lost in the outer web sphere in 10 years time, when they may actually begin looking up what I wrote about them early on.

Happily, Matan seemed in much better shape than Karen when it came to poop. It took us a whole year to get her diagnosed and treated. This time, I asked our pediatrician to do a FULL workup, not the several tests he did on Karen that showed no problems. I specifically requested Giardia and anything else that Flagyl kills, since we never got a firm diagnosis on Karen, just found that after the Flagyl, her poop became “normal”. When we were getting her tested, the dr. suggested that what I saw as diarrhea was actually just mushed poo, which is how all poo looks if it’s been sitting in a diaper.

Today I picked up Matan’s lab report on recent blood work. Seeing the results, I decided to quickly drop in for a surprise visit to the pediatrician. Positive for Giardia explains why his poop smelled so rank, and why it looked like regurgitated dinner. Granted, Matan doesn’t chew yet, and is eating mostly mush, but anything semi-solid seemed to come out looking almost completely undigested.

The good news is that he’s gained at least a kilo since we brought him home, and he’s also grown 6 centimeters, at least, based on the numbers we got from our doctor who examined Matan at the baby home. The size of his head has also increased by 1.5 cm. I was so excited to learn about the increase in hight, but then DH reminded me that some growth would have occurred naturally, even at the baby home. Still, it is almost a month since we brought him home, and I’d like to think that we are having a positive affect on his growth. Based on how much the kid is eating, it’s gotta be going somewhere, and not ALL of it is coming out his butt.

The boy loves touch

One amazing thing about Matan is his strong desire to feel, and sense any new thing he comes across. Part of it is his stage of development, but he seems to take a huge amount of pleasure in simple sensory actions.

Matan picking pieces of grass for further sensory exploration


He loves walking in the park. His favorite part is getting out of the stroller and trying to walk in the grass, up and down hill, and putting his face directly into a clump of grass that looks particularly lush and green. Sometimes he just likes to sit in the grass and select interesting greenery for further examination.

One of his favorite activities for me to pick him up and hug and dance around with him and then dump him on my feather bed. He likes me to tickle him by running something soft and furry around his tummy. We have a fur collar that has officially become his tickler, but if it’s not around, he’ll be happy enough if I just blow on his hair and tickle his belly lightly. Sometimes he just lies back and pulls up his shirt, pointing to his tummy and indicating he wants me to tickle him there. This is a great activity to do about an hour before going to sleep so he doesn’t get too over excited by the tickling to fall asleep, yet is still able to take those great feelings to sleep with him.

Tech geeks

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it before, but I work for a wonderful company called Zend. If you are into web apps then you know them as the PHP Company.

While I’ve been on maternity leave, they just announced some interesting news about the PHP app community. They recently polled Zend Framework users and discovered that:

· More than 70%(!) of ZF developers are using it to build business-critical applications

· High level of satisfaction with ZF across a diverse group ranging from independent consultants to organizations with 5,000+ employees

· Approximately 27% of respondents said they now use Zend Server or Zend Server Community Edition during development

· Close to 70% of respondents said they use Zend Studio or Eclipse PDT for development

· 46% of respondents said they plan to sit for the Zend Framework Certification exam

I will be going back to work in a few months, and I don’t even want to think about how hard it will be for us to juggle 2 full time jobs and 2 kids who need and deserve special attention. I’m just grateful that Zend, as a company, has already supported me greatly during both my first, and now my second international adoption so I’m confident we will find a recipe that will work well for all. GO ZEND!

I don’t really need all my fingers anyway

You know your addicted to blogging, tweeting or FBing when you’ve got the blade of a blender stuck in your finger and your thinking of how you will blog it later. That was exactly what I was thinking when my ambulance was stuck in traffic on the way to the ER, with the blade of a handheld blender firmly lodged in the first finger of my left hand. Sorry, no photos. I don’t have a 3G phone yet, otherwise I promise, I would have snapped at least one shot.

It all goes back to the mushy food issue. I was trying to blend rice and corn to mix with crumbled hamburger for Matan’s lunch. I love my handheld blender. It’s so convenient and easy to use. I have a food processor I’ve never used because taking it out, attaching the components, and later washing all of them, is usually too much of a chore for me. I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but while I was trying to get stuff out, my finger was inside where the blades sit, when it started whirring. Somehow I managed to turn the thing off but couldn’t pull my finger free easily.

What do you do when you’re stuck in your home alone with a baby and your finger just got chomped by a blender? I ran into our hallway, holding the blender with my right had while my left was attached to it, and yelled out for help. Luckily, a neighbor two floors down was home and heard me. He ran up, called the ambulance and then kept me calm by feeding Matan while we waited for ambulance and DH, who I somehow managed to call and who arrived along with the ambulance.

Mostly, I’m surprised I wasn’t in hysterics. But Matan thought it was all a game, so I pretended. I just knew I couldn’t look at my finger, otherwise I knew I’d lose control. The neighbor told me he was a medic, which also calmed me down. Medics in this country mostly got their training in the IDF, so it’s easy for them to keep calm when it’s only a finger in a blender.

Apparently, I’m very lucky. The blade came out without much work on the part of the ER orthopedist. Not even a broken finger, much to their surprise. The doc said it looked like the machine probably had a safety feature that meant it stopped spinning if it hit something hard, like bone. They cleaned me up, bandaged me, and sent me home, warning me to have it checked in 2 days for infection.

I blame the Ukrainian Dept. of Social Services for making the kids eat mush for so long! And yes, after I got home, I broke down, cleaned the blender that the ER staff had kindly put in a plastic bag for me, and ground up some yummy mush for Matan’s dinner.

Breaking out of his shell

Matan at a playground with sand

Now that he’s beginning to feel better, and has become acclimated to our home and immediate surroundings, Matan seems like an amazingly happy little boy. His needs at this point are pretty simple and straightforward. He needs healthy food and lots of one-on-one affection and cuddlies.

Exploring our park


I know I’ve mentioned it in previous posts, but it amazes me how much Karen and Matan seem to love each other. It seems that Karen would rather come home and play with Matan than spend time with girlfriends. She wants to show him off to adults, but gets jealous if her friends pay him too much attention. I’m not sure if she’s jealous of the attention he’s getting, or that other children are taking up his attention span when she would rather he focused only on her. She even seems to want to prove that she’s a better mother than I am. She would be thrilled to take over his feeding and changing and bathing and all the other activities she associates with caring for him.

Matan has lots of toys and books at different levels, gratis Karen. He is calmer than Karen, and I’ve been able to sit with him for up to 5 minutes with a board book. He especially likes one book with animals and fuzzy fur that he can touch. He loves rubbing his face in different textures. When we go for walks, he likes to look at the grass, trees and shrubs. But what he really enjoys is putting his whole face into a leafy bush or directly against the grass so that he can feel the textures. I took him to the playground yesterday. He liked the swings and carousel, but best of all, he loved playing with dried leaves that had accumulated on the ground. He also loves touching sand. Luckily, we have a lot of sand here.

And now for some photos

Karen's first day returning to preschool after Ukraine

Karen and Matan, as she leaves in the morning for her birthday party at preschool

Matan opening gifts from Grandma and Grandpa in the US

Angel to demon

Someone stole my little angel and replaced him with a demoniacly kvetching toddler. Having a suspected lung infection or pneumonia may have something to do with it. He’s constantly tired and whining. He want’s to be held all the time, but usually tries squirming away just as you begin to find a comfort spot. At least he’s eating any mush I put in front of him. Chicken soup with LOTS of vegetables tastes just great for lunch and dinner. Blended gives him all the vegees that Karen won’t touch. Consomme only for my little girl.

Poor Matan has been sick since last weekend, when he first began coughing. On our third visit to the doctor this week, and after Matan had shown a low fever, we finally got a ‘script for antibiotics. His cold symptoms and fever began disappearing within 24 hours of the first dose. Karen’s been carrying on her coughing, but with no other complaints. Her inhaler helps a bit, and so does sleeping on a raised pillow.

I hope to announce some exciting news regarding this blog within the next few days.