Hospital Stays, Jesus is my Homeboy, and Betty White

1. Don’t keep your credit card close to you. Since you can’t move around a lot and are hooked up to little machines some of the time, not being able to reach your card inhibits much of your would be online spending.

2. Bed rest exercises are hilarious. I’ve been moving my feet and arms in the shape of the alphabet and trying to figure out where to enter the calories on My Fitness Pal.

3. You can watch quite a few episodes of Hot in Cleveland while still feeling good about who you are. I’ve been saying to myself, “Well, what else are you going to do right now?” And the answer is just more of that darling Betty White, every time.

4. Take the medicine they give you to help you sleep at night. You’re not trying impress anyone here. Its a weird bed in a weird hall in a weird place. It helps to have some artificial drowsiness. In fact, if you let it, it could become one of the highlights of your day, which goes pretty much like this: 9, breakfast. 11, snack. 1, lunch. 3, snack. 6, dinner. Nighttime, Ambien.

5. Be optimistic, but with no expectations. The doctors might feel good about a test, but until they do it and know the results you don’t know whats going to happen. I’ve found that rather than thinking, “I hope I get to go home tomorrow,” that its easier to think, “Lets keep this little man in and safe as long as possible. If that involves being bored at the hospital, then so be it.” And then I can feel positive about things, but I can also be alright if I need to stay a bit longer.

6. Try not to take healthy pregnancy’s and babies for granted. It can seem like something thats so common, but its really just a miracle when everything goes easily and well. Its ok that our journey is a little bit different. It brings appreciation and perspective, and there are so many other things that could be worse. I’m thankful for such a great hospital, doctors, husband, family, and friends, US and/or People magazine, and Hot in Cleveland.

7. Reading a lot about your situation on the internet isn’t very helpful, mostly in the sense that all doctors and patients seem to have a different idea about what is best. I’ve found that I’m much more content letting go of the reigns and just asking MY doctor what would be best for the baby, rather than getting my sights set on how I think things might need to be done, or might be being done elsewhere.

8. I didn’t realize what a crazy micro manger I was until I got laid up in the clink (as I’ve been affectionately referring to it). Tony showed up in a shirt on Friday morning that I really dislike. Whenever I’m at home and he puts it on, I suggest he wear something else. Talk about an insane waste of energy. So what if Tony likes to don his ‘Jesus is my Homeboy ‘shirt from time to time. He’s still hot. It has very little affect on life as I know it, except that I might squint a little when I look at it. For that matter, its okay that he and Addie have eaten from various weird food groups while I’ve been gone, though to his credit, he has done an excellent job getting in the veggies. Its also alright that I haven’t picked out outfits, done Addie’s hair, supervised really anything about what Tony’s done or changed at the house. I didn’t realize how frustrating this probably was to him before (or how ridiculous it is that even use the word ‘supervise!) until I let go and watched him run the house, his job, our kid, all with tremendous success, doing it the way he thinks is working. It turns out I may not be an expert at everything, although I will say that tonight for my hospital visit my 2 1/2 year old daughter showed up running down the hallway in a bright green midriff shirt, I kid you not. I like to think I could have prevented that.

So, for the time being, I’m content to drink hospital decaf, laugh at canned comedy, and feel my baby kick. This life is just not that bad.

 

Providence Living with Toddler Classes. Harder on Mommy.

My daughter isn’t walking yet. At 15 months (just a few days ago), I guess this isn’t common. Deep breath. Okay. I’m actually  (mostly) okay with that. There are so many things Addie does well. She loves, so much. She hugs everyone she comes into contact with. She’s not shy (except with the girls from the Y, which I’m convinced probably have some sort of demonic mean streak or my daughter would reach out her arms to them instead of cry in short hysterics). Addie hugs every toy she picks up, before she plays with it. It’s like a rite of passage. “Here, let me hug you. MMMM, Loves. Now lets play.” Seems respectful to me.

So, today Addie and I went to her first “Living with Toddler Class,” through Providence Children’s Center. Addie gets to go through the classes for free because she qualifies for services through Providence Children’s Center (an absolutely a.maz.ing program with amazing staff, FYI).

Usually, I’m all for meeting new Moms, new kiddos, learning some skilz…today I was shaking in my booties. I walked in and it probably didn’t help that my daughters nose is running like a faucet (I’m pretty sure that she is teething, although I am also pretty sure that we parents use teething as an excuse for most everything), so I have a few thousand kleenexes in my pocket to gather the residual snot that exits with grandeur at each sneeze.

As I sit down, it becomes evidently clear I am the only new mommy, for, probably 17 years (it feels like.) Usually I love being thrown into new people situations, but today, all the walking kiddos, barely older than Addie, had me petrified. Right or wrong, this is simply how I felt. Perhaps Addie could pick up on my feelings because she clung to my neck tightly and refused to let me stand her on her feet.

I tried to awkwardly make conversations with other Moms, I asked, “So, where did you all deliver, Providence?” (Usually a go to question for Moms, and then you talk about how amazing/or horrible your doc was, totally ridiculous), and they all said, “Yeah.” And that was it. No follow up, nothing. It was intensely awkward, and then they all continued talking.

I don’t personally think I’m the geekiest girl to walk the streets, but this morning was horrible. Moms pulled toys out of my babies mouth (because apparently more mature babies no longer put things in their mouth), and talked about other things that I apparently have no business talking about because as hard as I tried to be included, it. just. wasn’t. happening.

Heres the thing. I don’t really think these mommys did anything wrong….do you know what I really think it was? I’m so ashamed to say this, but I will, in case in some future tense it heals or helps another mommy out there. I was so ashamed of Addie’s abilities I turtled. She had a snotty nose, she couldn’t walk, and I felt like everyone was judging us. To be very completely and totally honest, I do very much think some of the mommies were looking at Addie’s crawling as a weakness. Well, screw them. And shame on me for letting others perceptions of my daughter affect how I think of her. She is absolute-flipping-lutey amazing.

I hate what I stereotypically refer to as “PTA” Moms. I felt like I ran into ten this morning. Since when does your ability to be exclusive make you superior? It doesn’t. Next time, I don’t care if my daughter has a snotty nose and hands you the same toy 20 times, please smile and tell her thank you because she is 15 months, and you’re much, much older.

I’ll be going back to this class next week. Please pray for me:).

peek-a-boo with your fence

I know there are responsible things to do. And then there are things you have to do. And then, well, there are things you just do. This week I had a quick and dirty lesson in ‘the do’s.’

A while ago I had a baby. Actually, lets jump back a few steps.  Before that, I went back to school, incurred a ridiculous amount of student loan debt, graduated, and then I had a baby.

I decided I wanted to stay home with Addie. Scratch that, by default, I stayed home, and I did want that, but I wasn’t entirely sold. She was born in early December, and I didn’t think it would work very well to start a school counseling position and then almost immediately take maternity leave, though it could have been done, it didn’t sound like something I wanted to do.

I wrestled a lot with staying home for a bit. There was a lot of joy and certainly a great amount of convenience in staying home, but I would constantly scour school district websites for jobs, think about little things I could do to work; basically, I spent my time peeking over the fence and never really settled into being there.

At the end of last year I was offered a job, not in my field, but close enough. It was a great deal for a working mom, almost as good as you can get, wonderful people, great program, in house daycare and all signs seemed to point towards, “You’re a dope if you don’t take this!” So take it I did. And I did it, gratefully, and then things started to slowly fall apart.

Addie got sick…all the time. Not just the sniffles, but the barfs. Fevers. And then the sniffles in between. I’m fairly sure that I left butt marks in the chairs at the walk in clinic. Sleep came in short doses…Tony stayed home, I stayed home, my mom drove down, and it just got ridiculously sucky hard.

At some point I lost my joy because it became clear that things just weren’t working. Tony got to a point where he couldn’t work from home anymore, I got to a point where I was slacking in planning because I was slacking in life, as a mom, tired and giving half to everything, and then Addie got sick again. I met with my boss for coffee last weekend, who’s just a classy lady, and she released me from my position. I never would have quit. I just don’t…to my detriment, and I think at times to others, I just wouldn’t quit something, but to be gracefully released from this was a blessing. I sat at coffee surprised, but relieved. Everyone was getting what they needed.

As I went back and read this blog post, I’m grateful. I know that I got a chance to be a working mom, and its not right for this time in my life. That doesn’t mean it won’t ever be, but right now, its time to be home. For a day or so, I went back and forth wondering if this is the responsible, prudent thing to do. And then we decided that this was just the thing that needed to be done, and that was that. I’m home, I’m in with both feet, and thats a great feeling.

On another note, working moms are amazing. If you know one, you should tell her she’s amazing. Give her a Starbucks card, a hug, a compliment. I didn’t do it that long, but man. They’re incredible.

 

 

bavarian bliss

Tony and I were sitting on our couch this morning and we realized that we had  n o  plans today.

Nothing that had to get done, no errands that needed to be run…and thought, what better way to end a lovely weekend but with a drive to Leavenworth? Have you ever driven there in autumn? I can’t remember a more gorgeous strip of road. So with a fresh Starbucks Americano in hand, we set off this morning and started a new family tradition.

                                    This is my favorite time of year to go enjoy the village.

                         We went out to lunch with our daughter…blissfully diet free for the day

                    We walked down to along the river, enjoying the sunshine and crisp fall air.

We took off in the late afternoon after a day of a few shops, some good food, a fun walk, and some good family time. On our drive back we realized that so often we feel that we can’t just take off because theres so much to get done at home…but really, if a late night at the grocery store, letting go of caring about the messes in our house, and realizing that we’ll all be ok if I don’t get everything ready for the week until, hrm, tomorrow morning (?) is all I have to do to enjoy a day like this with my cute little family, then I would do it every weekend. It would be a lot of gas money, but it would be worth it.

Life with Lovey

Our babe has her first cold. I’m not sure if this is more difficult for her or for us. Sure, she notices her nose is stuffed up and that she constantly has snot running down that cute upper lip (coincidentally, these past few days have been the only ones where a fit doesn’t ensue when I wipe off her face), but your heart hurts when your little one can’t sleep. Last night as I woke with her at 5am (I had it easy – the previous evening my fantastic husband awoke almost every two hours to help pull boogers out of our babes nose), I handed her a lamb from her stuffed animal bin. We haven’t given her a traditional security object yet, mostly because it has slipped my mind and she generally goes to bed so well that I haven’t wanted to change whats working. Although last night as I put her down in her crib, I let her hold onto her little lamb. She held it with tiny fingers and I was greeted with such a ridiculous grin that I turned off the light and thought, “Maybe we’ve just started something.”

Now as I watch her in her video monitor playing with the lamb, she seems pretty happy. If this is all it takes, I’m wondering why we don’t all just have security objects into adulthood. I think perhaps I do, and its probably a hot cup of coffee (I say hot because cold does nothing for me). I remember when I was in grad school and we would do practice counseling sessions, I would always hold onto my cup of coffee. I had one professor who would take it away from me or keep telling me to put it down (I remember hating this too), because he said it was my security object. I guess so. I realize back to most situations where I might feel uncomfortable or unsure, I’ll grab a cup of coffee before I go. And its not so I have something to do with my hands, it is literally because I love coffee and it makes me feel better when its there. You could call that an addiction I’m sure, but I’m okay with that. If I meet someone new, its usually over coffee. If someone buys me a cup, I know I’m loved. Its strange what we decide our love language will be, but once we do, its sealed.

The arrival of the pumpkin spice latte has made the transition into fall alright for me. Back to work, back to routine, goodbye (for the most part) to the sunshine, but the other day when I drove through the lovely Starbucks Drivethrough on the Mukilteo Speedway (I love the baristas there), they put it into my hand and instantly I felt comforted by thoughts of pumpkin patches, changing leaves, drives to Leavenworth, thoughts of skiing, fall walks with Tony, and putting on my fleece and going to the beach with a hot cup of coffee to watch the fog over the water. These are things that are happy.

They say that there is a connection between whiffs of smell and episodic memory – apparently there is a privileged part of our brain that is devoted to olfactory associations – remembering these much more strongly than auditory or some other sense. “They” say this is because the olfactory cortex has a direct neural link to the hippocampus, whereas our other senses are processed somewhere else in the brain. So apparently this is why we sometimes cannot remember a memory until it is triggered by our sense of taste or smell. And THAT was your PBS lesson for the day.

Bottom line, Addie has a new lovey. It’s her lamb. As we go into fall, I embrace my old lovey. Coffee. A trip to the Red Twig in Edmonds. A drive through to Starbucks for an Americano or a horrendously overpriced Pumpkin Spice Latte. I’ll take it all. Life with lovey, for myself, and now for my dear Addie with a cold, just sometimes makes life a little bit easier.

 

 

 

 

 

The Deadman from Death Valley

A month or two ago, I could sling my baby on my hip, grab the carrier, diaper bag, look put together and even remember to brush my teeth. I would head out the door, to arrive somewhere (what?!) on time. My baby would be all smiles and as I sipped my coffee and chatted with friends I would revel in the nice 8 hours of sleep I got in last night. I would think, “Gee, what’s all the fuss about?” What I should have been thinking is, “Uh oh. Whenever you get all smug (Oh, I got this), that usually means the universe is about to check you big time.”

Now I look like this.

I learned a lot about what my baby was doing and how she (and I) were growing during pregnancy, but I feel like along with all of the other information the doctor’s office gives you, they should also hand out a pamphlet that says

Congratulations! This next few months will be heartbreakingly wonderful. You’re going to love this little one so much it will surprise even you.

But, be forewarned, you’re going to look gross for like, 7 months. Your daughter is going to pull out one of your earrings on a daily basis and you’re going to walk around looking like a pirate. And everything you think you know? Be ready to chuck it. You don’t know as much as you think you do. Get ready, you’re going to love it.

And I do. So much. But these past few weeks have been an adventure in me adjusting my perceptions of myself, between what I said I was going to do and the reality of what I really am doing, and of what I’m able to do. Between the feelings I have when I walk by the kitchen and know there are dishes that need to be done, but that I also need to call a friend and catch up on life.

Today Tony and I took Addie to the pediatrician because of a few things, least of which is our angel who formally slept 8-10 hours a night does not anymore. Its been going for a while and I’m a my wits end. There are very few things I need to function, but a healthy amount of sleep is one of them, and coffee is the other. Our regular pediatrician was out, and the Doctor we saw talked us through the ‘crying it out’ method, something we’ve been doing this week, hence the reason I look like the Undertaker.

I know theres really nothing that the hospital, a friend, or a book, can tell you to get you ready for all that parenting entails, and I’m only four months in. All I’m truly learning is that I can never say never, thats ‘rolling with the punches’ means so much more to me now, and that I should have deeply appreciated those tropical vacations and nights of uninterrupted sleep when they were here. Although I wouldn’t trade stumbling out of my bed blindly at 3:30 in the morning to calm a crying infant for any of it.

 

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