Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pebbles, Leadbelly

Pebbles had a so-so doctor's appointment today. Her weight was 16 pounds 10 ounces, which they told me was up 3 ounces from her last visit. The doctor was ok with that, because she showed me on the chart that she was keeping up a consistent growth curve, since her illness. We'll be back again in May to make sure that is happening.

Her 1-year lead test came up at 4.7, which the doctor also said was fine, since anything under 10 is considered ok, but I was not thrilled with it. Nutmeg's had always been described as "too low to measure," "as low as the scale goes," etc.

In fact, a quick Google search yields this page, which says the 5 mcg/dl level should actually be considered the "level of awareness" and goes on to call kids who tested 5 or above "lead poisoned."


Two paragraphs from a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story first raised, then dashed my hopes of complacency on this subject:

Happy quote:
Before 1970, anything less than 60 micrograms was considered safe. The U.S. surgeon general changed the threshold to 40 in 1970, followed by change by the Center for Disease Control to 30 in 1978. The standard was lowered again to 25 in 1985 and finally to 10 in 1991.

Sad quote:
A 2003 study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that there was a greater drop in IQ - a surprising 7.4 points - between children with 1 and 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood than between 10 and 20 micrograms, or 20 and 30 micrograms and so forth. The study, which adjusted for factors such as maternal IQ and the quality of the home environment, found drops of just 4.6 points for each 10 microgram increase above the federal threshold.

I know it's because Pebbles has spent most of her life in our new old house, where the walls have been continually open or being opened due to Epu's project to wire the whole place for Ethernet. Fortunately he has sealed the final hole on that project. I also noticed several paint chips lying on the dining room floor today; they had come off the heating grate which does have some peeling paint on it. Yes, great, old, peeling paint on a part of the house through which air is forced out into the room. Epu suggested removing all the grates this summer and stripping them down to bare metal before refinishing; I suggested new damn vintage-style heating grates. They don't open and close, anyway, because they have been painted shut probably 10 times over.

That said, Pebbles sure doesn't seem like a lead-poisoned kid. She once again wowed the doctor, this time by successfully pointing out her belly button.

She's also been joking around and playing lately, which is so much fun. One thing she likes to do if she is set on a bed, or today, the exam table, is to put down her head and say, "Nigh-nigh." A couple days ago, I put her on Nutmeg's bed to get her into her pajamas, and she grabbed Nutmeg's turtle, which Nutmeg sleeps with, laid her head on the pillow, pulled up the blanket, and laughed and laughed. She was "being" Nutmeg.

Yesterday she also got to play with a Mylar balloon at a Nutmeg playdate. She loved it, as babies that age do, and kept saying ba, ba, lala. Then, on our way back from a little walk to CVS, Pebbles saw a woman and a kid getting into a car across the street with a couple balloons. She stopped in her tracks, pointed, and began shouting, "ba, ba, lala." So loud that the woman looked over at her, and I had to laugh and explain what was attracting her attention.

Guess the Easter Bunny's going to have to hop on over to Jewel after bedtime Saturday night, to make an addition to the Easter basket for our little leadbelly.

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