ABOUT ME

About me: I'm 40 and eight months pregnant. My husband Chuck, our 7-year-old Junior, our 4-year-old Everette and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Teething, take 2

I never should have publicly trumpeted the ease of Junior's teething. He's been a mess. Drool everywhere. Crying while eating. Poor guy.

Our all-natural, homeopathic-loving friends recommended Hyland's Teething Tablets. We used them as directed but didn't notice much of an improvement in his level of discomfort. Then I found the following thread on a website forum:

My DH and I just returned from the ER with our 5 month old. Prior to purchasing Hyland's, I did research and spoke to a physician about the safety. Everything I read online, including personal experiences on BC, indicated that it was safe. I was highly concerned about the Belladonna Hyland's contains. All the websites that exist reviewing the product RAVE about it. I decided to use it. We gave our LO the recommended dosage on the days that he was having a hard time teething. We NEVER gave him more than the suggested amount. He never had a problem until last night.

We purchased a new bottle to keep upstairs. We used this bottle for the first time yesterday. We gave him a dose during the early afternoon and then one at around midnight. At 1 am he began to toss and turn in his bed. He was very restless but never cried. I picked him up and offered him the breast. He refused to nurse. He didn't fuss or make a sound but was WIDE AWAKE. My DH took him downstairs to rock him and he continued to move constantly. It was like he was moving involuntarily. My DH brought him up to me again and I noticed that his pupils were dilated. He could not focus on either of us. He kept looking around. He wanted to touch every thing and was fascinated with his hands and our clothing.

He appeared to be having a petite mall seizure and exhibited other anticholinergic effects that you typically see when someone is "tripping" on LSD or other street drugs. Because he would not cry, coo, babble, smile, or anything we decided to take him to the ER. He had not slept, had a wet diaper, nor nursed in 14 hours.

My son experienced Belladonna poisoning from the recommended dose of Hyland's Teething tablets. The preliminary tests they did on random samples of tablets in the bottle we were using showed a variance of 50 to 1000% of belladonna. The national poison control center stated that they are seeing more and more of this and they are trying to get stores to stop carrying this product.

This product is not regulated by the FDA or any other organization so there is no way to know how much belladonna is in each tablet regardless of what the bottle says.
My son could have died if ingested any more of this product. Please take the necessary precautions. No amount of sleep for you or your child is worth the potential of going through what we just experienced.

Mary Anne


Hyland's Communications Manager, in turn, provided a lengthy reply (excerpted below):

We have not heard of the forwarded incident directly so cannot respond to the actual incident in question.

As with any medication, there can be unique experiences; however, in the more than 60 years that Hyland’s Teething Tablets have been on the market, we have received no significant adverse events reports related to the product. We do actively monitor any and all reports concerning our products.

1) Homeopathic medicines are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as drugs, and have been so since 1938 (http://www.fda.gov/ora/compliance_ref/cpg/cpgdrg/cpg400-400.html). Our products are not regulated as herbs or dietary supplements. As a drug manufacturer, Hyland's adheres to the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) Regulations promulgated by the FDA under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. "These regulations, which have the force of law, require that manufacters [sic]...of drugs...take proactive steps to ensure that their products are safe, pure, and effective. GMP regulations require a quality approach to manufacturing, enabling companies to minimize or eliminate instances of contamination, mixups, and errors." (http://www.gmp1st.com/gmp.htm) Hyland's is proud of its history of safety and attention to the quality of our products.

2) The American Association of Poison Control Center (AAPCC) has made no attempt to remove Hyland's Teething Tablets from store shelves. Neither the AAPCC nor its staff has made any statement to that effect according to our conversations with them late last week. The AAPCC also verified that it has not had any severe adverse events reports related to Hyland's Teething Tablets, in 2007 or before.

3) In researching Belladonna, it is important to note the difference between the Belladonna in conventional drugs and homeopathically-prepared Belladonna, as included in our Teething Tablets. Extensive notes can be found on our website from our Director of Scientific Affairs, Iris Bell, MD, PhD (http://www.hylands.com/news/teethinginfo.php). However, as a brief synopsis - homeopathic Belladonna is manufactured from the whole plant, of which a small portion is Belladonna alkaloids, the component sometimes associated with side effects. Each of our Teething Tablets contains only approximately 0.0002 mg of Belladonna alkaloids (or 0.0003%). This is a very tiny amount. To put this homeopathic dosage in perspective, typically a 10-pound child would need to ingest 1,000 Hyland's Teething Tablets to exhibit even the first possible side effect of Belladonna, dry mouth. A single flawed Tablet containing the amount of Belladonna alkaloids necessary to cause any adverse side effects would in all likelihood be brown in appearance rather than the standard chalky white.

Mary C. Borneman

It sounds unlikely that Hyland's would cause Belladonna but why chance it?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Just wait

My son got his first tooth! Unfortunately I can only see it for a microsecond because instead of letting me hold his tongue to the side he tries to lick my finger. From what I can see it's the size of half a match head. If that.

If I hadn’t been feeding him mushed banana with my finger I wouldn’t have even known he had it. Which is quite a pleasant surprise. People swore that teething was one of the most miserable experiences known to man. Our friends snickered and said knowingly, “Just wait.” There may as well have been thunderbolts and pelting rain in the background for dramatic effect.

The longer I am a parent, the more see that other parents, while feigning concern and a commitment to the exchange of helpful information, really get off trying to scare the bejesus out of you. First there were the breastfeeding horror stories. Then the labor horror stories. Now this: teething, which was supposed to rival passing a forty-pound kidney stone in terms of enjoyment.

I suppose if I had had a bad teething experience I would want to forewarn unsuspecting parents, much in the same way I recently told an expectant mother that labor made me understand how excruciating bodily pain can make you long for death.

But still. Does every parenting experience have to be hyped in such a dire manner? Is it because the nature of parenting is, itself, so intense?

I’ve already been forewarned about the next ghoulish milestone, crawling. But I have a great solution for Junior’s curious, wandering hands and feet: a nice cardboard box in which he can play and a lovely Rioja for dear old mom.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

What's for dinner?

I’ve been making an active effort to get out of the house a few times a month to socialize. Last night I went to a “gourmet night” get together. There were ten women, of whom I knew one, Diane (the one who invited me).

Everyone was so cordial. I don’t know if it’s the new mom in me or what but lately when I meet new people I want to get the formalities out of the way and get on with it. Enough with the farty-fart chit chat.

Anyway. Diane brought the party thrower a pretty bouquet of tulips and a fancy Spinach and Asiago cheese dip. She had also baked her own bread, then turned the bread into seasoned crisps, which were perfect, symmetrical triangles. I brought a six pack of beer I like.

“It’s ok,” she said. “You’re a mom. No one expects you to make anything.”

“Bull. They at least expect me to bring cut up food in little containers.”

“They know you’re busy.”

I allowed myself to be convinced. Then I met the two other moms in attendance. One had made a strawberry tart with homemade crust; the other had crafted little pizzas with gourmet olives, tomatoes, and four kinds of cheese.

I could lie and say that my guilt prevented me from making a pig of myself but it didn’t. I stuffed my face. Most nights Charles and I eat Special K with red berries for dinner. This was a culinary-challenged person’s dream.

When I got home I told Charles how I was the only one who didn’t make anything. He reminded me of a picnic we went to and how I had made a homemade apple tart. It was dry and lumpy, and we took most of it home with us.

“It’s better not to bring anything than to bring something that sucks.” He laughed. "That was really gross."

Thanks.

At least for now Junior is eating better than we do. Just the other night he had organic turkey and corn casserole. For dessert he ate wild blueberries and pear.

Imagine if I had shown up at the gourmet get together with carefully disguised Gerber baby food? Wild blueberries with pear as ice cream topping? Corn casserole dip for a lovingly arranged tortilla chip platter? Would anyone would have known?

Probably. Maybe Charles is wrong about the apple tart.

Friday, April 4, 2008

On second thought

I don’t want to talk babies. I don’t even want to commiserate with other moms. What I really want to do is fly to an island—alone—and spend a week at the wet bar. And for anyone who knows me—the-sunburn-after-two-minutes-in-the-sun me—it must be serious for me to crave a sunburn.

Although.

I’d have to wear a bathing suit. And, because I can’t wear my pre-pregnancy ones (thank you extra baby weight), I’d have to buy one of those horrible suits, like the tankini. Or worse, a suit with a little skirt to hide my bigger butt.

And I’d have to get a top with a built-in push-up bra because my boobs have deflated quite a bit. Let’s be honest, no one likes perkless jugs.

While we’re painting the mental picture, let’s add the streaky fake tans lines I amass come summer. They’re uneven, they’re overlapping, and they turn my body into a sophomoric geometry lesson. Nothing better than the Pythagorean theorem on your asscheek.

Maybe I can find a wet bar where you have to wear blindfolds.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My mom dry humped my purse

Today is a good day for a shot of whiskey. First, the sun has been eaten by the moon. I haven’t seen it for days; I’m convinced that’s what has happened.

Second, my poor mother was almost eaten by the escalator at the Westfarms Mall.

We decided to take the stroller up the escalator instead of walking all the way back to Macy’s to use the elevator (it was at least 15 feet, you know). My mother assured me she could handle the stroller so I held my son while she went ahead of me. About halfway up the contents of my very large purse, which was resting in the tipped stroller, started to spill out. Sticks of gum showered the steps. Lipsticks. OB tampons. Credit cards and wallet. Compacts. Pens.

My mother screamed, “Oh shit!” and, just as we got to the landing, fell on her ass and yelled, “Help!” I tried to grab her shirt but it slipped from my hands. Junior started bawling. Thankfully, two nice gentlemen ahead of her grabbed her elbows before her head hit the ground.

My mother then proceeded to sit there, like a crab, and use her legs and feet to drag the contents of my purse toward her crotch while people bottlenecked and tried not to fall on top of her. Someone was kind enough to chase my lipstick across the floor and recap it. No one, however, touched the little OB tampons that were swirling and eddying on one of the grates.

Two security guards appeared. They told us nicely—if not somewhat condescendingly—that there is a handy “stop” button on the escalator should this happen again, to which my mother replied, “You mean anyone can stop the escalator? Just anyone? I don’t know if I like that.”

She shot me a look of disbelief—like terrorists were crouching behind the potted plants, waiting for the perfect opportunity to strand mall goers mid-flight. I shook my head in mock agreement; I was trying to block the image of her fanning her legs as she tried to dry hump the contents of my purse into her lap.

But I have to give her credit: Not one of the compact mirrors broke.