Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Question Mark

Sometimes there are moments in parenting that I find leave me feeling like I"m stuck in a comic strip.  You know the type.  The ones where the adult is left shaking their head, and with a large speach bubble over their head, filled with question marks.  The ones where logic and reason no longer prevail, and all you can do is sit back and enjoy the ride?


Had one of those last night!

So as E has finally gotten completely entrenched in toddlerhood, our evening routines have changed.  The weather is nicer and more time is spent outside.  Pretty much all time is spent outside, from after daycare, until dinner, bath and bed time.  E races through bath, and runs, full of more energy than I think I've had in the past 5 YEARS of my life, through the house and up the stairs.  Bouncing, and yelling, running, and hollering, saying "BYE" to everything and anything that will listen.  And sometimes, even to things that won't listen.  We've finally replace the rocking chair with a cozy upholstered chair, so that after changed for bed, E and I can snuggle down, and in the last dim light of Spring, we read stories together.  She's still just getting there, patient enough to do it.  Sometimes too impatient to sit still for it.  But I can see the change of a phase.  The time of rocking her into slumber is gone.  The time of enjoying those 15 - 30 mins of Mommy and Daughter snuggling, although small, is precious.  And then, a usually WIDE awake, bouncing about E, is popped into her crib.  Where she works it out in her own time.  And goes to sleep.

Last night was like all other nights, right up until popping her into the crib, giving her good night kisses, and leaving the room to the sounds of her nightly protest over bed time.  But by the time I got downstairs it had already softened, and as I sat outside with Daddy, beneath her window, we heard no tears.  So we declared bed time a success.  After a few quiet moments outside, planting plants in our pots, as we discussed the events of the day, and the plans for the weeks to come, we headed back inside.  The house was peacefully quiet.  You know...  the way it only can on a spring or summer evening.  With dusk leaving the house in an quiet darkness.  Out of habit, more than need, I took a peak at the video baby monitor.  And...  much to my dismay...  the silence was THOROUGHLY misleading.

E was NOT asleep.  E was laying in her crib, appearing to count sheep.  Which in itself wouldn't be a bad thing.  The strange thing was her missing pajamas.  Laying in her crib, babbling to herself, trying to pull the blankets on herself.  From all accounts (Daddy's and mine), it looked like she regretted the decision to disrobe and was trying to warm herself up.

So upstairs we trudged, and back into PJs she went.  And back downstairs we went.  She seemed to think this was a good choice.  She stayed in them this time, and resumed her count of sheep.  And finally, close to 9 PM, the little voice stopped, and our toddler drifted off into dreamland.

Being a parent is sweet.  But sometimes it just leaves you with a big QUESTION MARK?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

It's not Unique, but it's still funny...

So we tried to suggest E take a nap on Easter. She didn't make it 3 mins in the car after church before she passed out. She let me carry her ALL the way upstairs, and as SOON as she hit the crib she jolts awake and starts SCREAMING bloody murder. So I try, then put her down. I try again, and put her down. Daddy tries, and puts her down. Then I tell him, bring her down, give her some lunch, maybe she's hungry. The child wolfed down a sandwich (because apparently the sleeve of ritz crackers she ate during church wasn't enough (yea don't tell anyone about that part either)). So back upstairs we go. Daddy tries to put her down. He tries for 20 mins. And still she won't go to sleep. I say: "FINE! Just leave her there, we've got guests coming in 20 mins and we've got stuff that has to get done. She'll cry herself to sleep. 20 mins later. No noise. I go look at the baby monitor... she's just playing her crib. Walking around. Throwing things over the edge. WHATEVER. She's quiet. I'm busy. I don't care. I go on my merry way. Another 20 mins later. Still no noise coming from upstairs, guests expected ANY minute. I look on the baby monitor (maybe she's FINALLY fallen asleep)... she's standing in her crib, rubbing her hands together, looking at them and then rubbing them together. I can see brown stuff all over her hands.

I storm out the back door and yell at Daddy who is out hiding easter eggs... "OH NO! I can NOT HANDLE THIS! YOU GO DEAL WITH YOUR DAUGHTER" He comes inside and asks what's the problem. I say: "She's playing in her crib." Daddy: "With what?" Me: "POOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP"...
Upstairs he goes, downstairs he comes holding her as far away from him as he can. Dumps her in the tub fully clothed, and begins DOUSING her with cold water. She starts SCREAMING, I hear: "WELL! That's what HAPPENS WHEN YOU PLAY WITH YOUR POOP!"

A few minutes later I hear:  "I can't WAIT till you're old enough for me to tell your friends! 'And one year, on Easter...."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Cups are a difficult Concept

As adults we take them for granted.  Cups.  Particularly, cups without lids.  But when you take a moment to think about it, imagine a child.  A nursing child never had to worry about spilling all the contents on the floor.  Neither does a child who uses a bottle.  Then we move them to a sippy cup.  Which again, might leak, but certainly, one careless gesture does not sacrifice all of our choice beverage.  Perhaps you then move to a straw, and once again, the contents are safe from our careless adventures. 

So, as a child, cups, are a difficult concept.

Yesterday afternoon was a nice mild Spring afternoon.  And as Ellie played outside, I sat in the sun, enjoying the warmth after our long cold winter.  I finally caught on that (much to my dismay), Ellie was finding sources of rain water, sticking her finger in them, and licking her fingers.  ICKY.  So inside we both went to get a cup with actual water.  Acceptable, healthy, drinking water.

At any rate.  I couldn't find the lid to the cup, and I decided, oh heck, it's warm, we're outside.  Let's just give this a whirl.  So back outside, I gave Ellie the cup.  I explained that it had no lid, and that she had to carry it carefully like a big girl, or the water would come out.  And she listened intently, took the cup in both hands, and ran off across the driveway.  Only, to learn, that, well, liquid moves with motion.  Running, causes motion.  Running causes liquid to be in motion, and well, of course, all the water splashed out all over the place (mainly all over her).  So again, I gave her some more, and she listened intently, and then spent a great deal of time drinking her water because she walked off.  Finally, getting the cup to a very low level, she deemed it "safe" to tuck in the small of her arm, so she could bend over and pick up something off the ground.

Come on, you all see it coming right?  Bending over, tipping the cup on it's side (nearly upside down), causes the liquid (per gravity), to end up on the ground.  I watched in amusement.  It took her several minutes to realize that A) her water was gone, and B) where it had gone to.

She was soaked when we came inside.  But like I said, it was warm.  And she'll have to learn at some point.  And as initially indicated, cups, are a difficult concept.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Too much... too soon...

For Mommy that is.  It seems like my little baby E has done way too much growing up in the last 7 days.  Much to my great relief E has given up the pacifier.  It was virtual a non-event.  A day or two of some sabotaging and replacing "Binky" with "Blankie", and E is walking tall.  I think I could have handled this change, at least better, if it was the only one. 

But then this week she's also started making progress in potty training.  It's not something we're working very hard at.  But it's a part of her bed time routine now.  Dinner -> Potty -> Bath -> Bed.  And it's been working.  She uses the potty before bath about 75% of the time, if not more.  And last night, was no different.  She used the potty.  And then we were getting ready for bath.  I scooped E up and put her in the bath tub, and for a totally inexplicable reason she started SCREAMING at me, and crying.  I checked the water (urgently), was it to hot?  no.  What was wrong!?  She was standing there, trying to get out of the bathtub.  Calmly, I was asking her what was wrong.  And then, standing there, she looked down.  And started going peepee in the bathtub!  My heart broke, she looked at me, so dismayed.  I guess she hadn't gotten all her business done!  And she was thoroughly distraught over the fact she KNEW she WANTED to use the potty, but I had her in the bathtub!  I wanted to cry.  I kept going, I'm sorry honey, it's ok, if you have to go, you just need to tell mommy!  "Peepee", or "Potty".  She doesn't say the words.  No matter how often we try to help her say them.  All the words she says, those are not 2 that she's ready to have in her vocabulary.  Knowing that she understand what the feeling is, and the consequences of those feelings, and the need to be ON the potty when you have them.  Was overwhelming for me.  E is not even 18 months old.  She's "too young" to potty train.  But she's shown signs that she's ready, so we try to offer her the opportunity without any force.

Anyway - as though giving up Binky, and using the Potty were NOT enough. 

When E gave up Binky this weekend, she started toting around a stuffed puppy, and Blankie.  This seemed like a reasonable trade.  And since last Friday, Puppy and Blankie have gone to daycare with her.  But my to my amazement this morning, she insisted on going back upstairs, right before we left the house, and placing them in her crib.

So now, she's not only Binky free, but lovey free.  And I'm just not sure how I feel about it.  I know she'll want to go get Blankie and Puppy when we get home from daycare.  But the fact that she didn't want to take them with her, really hit home for me.

What happened to my baby?  I love her more than life itself, and enjoy every second with her.  But sometimes I just look, and think, there was a time, when I couldn't get off the couch, for all you wanted was to sleep in my arms.  I could hold you for hours, and stroke your sweet face, and snuggle you close, and keep you warm.

But now you're a little girl.  And I'm so proud, but it still makes my heart ache.

Some of my friends would say:  "Guess it's time for another one".  Maybe someday, till then, I'll just have to adjust to my little girl.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Straw That Broke the Camel

I feel like I need to share what happened to me yesterday.  I feel like my voice of the difficulties of motherhood are powerful to all who read them.  In today's world, we strive to find other voices that sound like our own.  And I know that what I went through yesterday will ring true to so many of you.

As I mentioned earlier, E was sent home from daycare this week.  We believed the cause to be the shots, but E was running a very low grade temperature yet again yesterday.  And I got "the call" from the daycare to come pick her up.  I don't know what snapped inside, but it was just the straw.  I raised the total to 15 total days, because E had made it half way through the day, so I only missed a half day of work.  But then I began to weigh the situation.  Not only was E getting sent home today(yesterday), but she couldn't go back to daycare tomorrow (today).  And as I pulled my car out of my parking space at work.  I started to cry.

I cried the entire 30 mins from my job, to the daycare.  And then spent a good 5 mins in the car, pulling myself together before I went inside.

I cried because I felt like a "bad" mother, because I couldn't just be there for my baby when she needed me.  And I cried because I feel like I am not there for my job to show I am a good and productive worker.  I felt like in the attempts of being a working mother, I was failing on all fronts, and that I was not working to capacity at ANY of those jobs.  I finally called Daddy and told him I could NOT miss another day of work, and that he would have to take a day to take care of E.  And then after I got E, I cried some more, because part of me, of course, WANTS to be home with her.

E and I had lunch.  And thankfully, it was nap time.  E and I BOTH crawled into our bed, and slept for 3 hours.  I figured, if I was eating up my vacation time, I might as well be doing something I would do on vacation, and being productive was just going to HAVE to wait.

I woke up feeling better.  And this afternoon, the whole incident is behind me.  E had a wonderful day home with her Daddy, and is feeling much better.  The two of them spent the whole day playing outside together. 

But as I walked into the building this morning, I felt like I HAD to share this experience.  Because I know we are all there at one time or another.  Where we just feel like there is too much on our plate, and that we are letting people down all around us.  So I promised to share, the good, the bad, and the funny.  This is the bad.  And it just is.  Now I'm going home to a lovely day, and play with my baby, who I miss so dearly.

So we all just have to hang strong, stick together, and thanks for listening. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Working Mom Guilt...

I have a dear friend who's been traveling for business a lot the past couple of months.  With more travel in the near future, and she said something that triggered this post.  I hope she doesn't mind if I post it here:

"Mommy guilt has driven me to make a reservation for Big Bird's Birthday Bash at two on Sunday after coming in at five a.m.that morning..."

Mommy guilt is powerful.  I'm struggling with it myself, as we speak.  Poor little E had some shots yesterday, the Measles, and the Mumps.  And she was not herself last night.  But today is a new day, so I was hoping for the best.  When you're a working mom, in March, of a long winter, with a 16 month old, and you look at your days missed of work.  It forces you to hope EACH day is a NEW day.  And that you can somehow push forward.  Out of work 14.5 days.  Between half days, and sick days, and "vacation days", I've missed over 2 weeks of work.  HOW is that possible?

So off little E went today.  And then it happened, you know, the same thing that's been happening for MONTHS now...  "the call".  Temperature of 101.6.  We get the benefit of the doubt today, because E had her shots yesterday.  And it's clear on the sheet that a temperature is a side effect of the shots.  But, what about the RED EAR, the dr had noticed yesterday. 

So drs have been called, day cares have been checked in with, managers have been put "on notice".  And now E is napping at daycare, and Mommy is just waiting.  And thinking.  And feeling guilty.  There is nothing I want, like I want to run out of here, and go get my clingy, needy, not feeling 100% little girl.  But then I look at my work calendar and remember, 14.5 days. 

And so...  here I sit...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Working Mom Moment

We've had a rough few months.  Between things going on in the family, holidays, weather complications, and illness, I don't think I've had a full work week since November. 

A friend passed around a link to an article, that after the past 4 months, had me laughing so hard I was crying.  And it brought me full circle with all that I struggle with on a daily basis.  It was in my face, larger life, impossible to ignore...  the battles that I do not struggle with on a daily basis, but had been literally struggling with in the past couple of weeks.  Not the last of which included the "Dreaded Daycare Phone Call".  You know the one.  The one where you're minding your business, having a normal work day, your work phone rings and it's the daycare.  "Come pick your child up, they are 'sick'".  Now, I'll be the first to tell you that if E is ACTUALLY sick, I don't SEND her to daycare.  But daycares have very firm policies, for good reason I'm sure, and therefore an even seemingly otherwise normal child must go home.  While, a seemingly MISERABLE child can remain.  Anyway, I digress.  E had a fever.  Over the "magic" number 101.  Mind you, the pediatrician doesn't want to hear from me unless it's over 102. 

So off I went to get E.  I learned that the "mystery fever" was going around daycare.  No other symptoms.  Just a "fever". 

Anyway, this was the 2nd - 3rd time in 2 - 3 weeks that I had to miss work for either illness myself, or illness with E.  And again, it was a "lost" week.

I was happy this week to have a "normal" week.  And then IT happened.  The OTHER working Mom moment.  As I drove home from daycare, and listened to E scream "BINKY!" the whole ride home.  I mean really, it's 3 mins, under a mile!  As we pulled in the driveway, I looked at the clock.  5:30.  Bedtime, is 8, and the daycare is open till 6:30.  "Maybe I should bring her back!""

You spend all of this time away from them.  Then you get to enjoy them when they are LEAST enjoyable.  It doesn't mean we don't love them.  Just means we're a working mom.  So I have to say this article really put their finger on the essence of the situation.  No matter WHICH situation we are in, they are BOTH miserable sometimes, but they both hold benefits. 

And mostly, there are times we ALL want to send our children back!

To read the referenced article:  Lesson 12:  Working Moms Vs. Stay-at-Home Moms