Life happens, regardless.

July has been a wild month in our house.  My never-gets-sick baby has had an ear infection which required a round of antibiotics, then a chest cold which required not only a round of antibiotics, but also twice daily doses of Albuterol.  But I’m not here to lament the “oh, poor daycare baby” spiel again (because we’ve already done that).  No, this month has brought a new revelation to light.

Earlier this week, I received a call from Miles’ school, letting me know he’d awoken from his nap and was running a fever of 101.4.  Not high, but still cause for concern when you’ve already made three visits to the pediatrician’s office, AND we haven’t even had his 15 month check-up yet (that’s next week).  An early pick up from school and a visit to our pediatrician was definitely in order.

Working parents, you know what happens next.  You call or email the next higher person on your corporate food chain to let them know you’ll be leaving early.  You change your voicemail greeting, and turn on the out-of-office response in your email.  You let your co-workers know you’re heading out, to which many respond with comments like, “Oh, poor baby!” and “I hope he feels better soon.”  Right?  Riiight.

The problem with your departure is that it could inconvenience someone else.  And you know this, because you can already feel that knot of guilt building in your stomach.  But you hope that those who might be inconvenienced are at least understanding; after all, roles reversed, wouldn’t they want the same?

Suffice to say, one of those folks who could be inconvenienced just might be located in an office in which I possibly work.

Maybe a comment was made.  Maybe it pissed me off.  Maybe rightfully so.

Yes, my son is in daycare, the place where his teachers provide care.  They are not, however, his parents, and there is an absolute difference between providing care and parenting.  When his caregiver lets me know that a fever has reared its ugly head, Mama Cat (that’s me, obvs) takes over.

I chose his school for many reasons, one being its proximity (two blocks) from my office.  It takes longer for Miley Cyrus to stick her tongue out when she sees the paparazzi than it takes for me to walk out my door and get to my son’s school.  So that when the time comes for the daycare provider to step out, and the parent to step in, I can be there in a moment’s notice.  And you, inconvenienced co-worker, should have seen that one coming.

My husband and I started a family, knowing it would bring many, many easy and wonderful sunshine days filled with smiles and rainbows, but that it would also bring challenges as well.  I want to be there for each bruised knee, fall off the bike, broken heart and, yes, fever.  There is no place in the entire world I would rather be than snuggling my sweetest boy, whether it’s a hug in the morning or an up-all-night in the rocking chair under a humidifier.

I realized that, no matter where we are, life happens.  Whether you’re standing behind a stove preparing dinner, or sitting at a desk consulting clients, things occur that will require your immediate and full attention.  There is no separating work from personal; these two portions of your life will bleed together, just like throwing a red sock into a washing machine full of whites.  It’s inevitable that you’ll get some pink.  And while we can hope that people are understanding, I have also realized that some people just aren’t; and even more than that, some people are going to be jerks about it.  Not everyone understands that your life is still occurring (how dare you!) outside of those office walls.

After lamenting this via email to a good friend, I received a response that encompassed all of the thoughts and feelings I had, but could only put into four letter words…

Even though we have the careers we do, it never trumps our families.  Our careers enable us to provide for our families, but the job is not a definition of who or what we are.

Yes, yes, yes…a thousand times, yes.  I am blessed and thankful for my career, for it has afforded me the opportunity to do so much for our family…but my career is not who I am.  Not by a long shot.

I am a wife, and I am a mama.  (also, a cat mama.)  I am here, present, involved and ready in an absolute instant for whatever life brings our way, no matter when or where it happens.

And those, friends, are the most important things of the very, very many things, that I am.

XX,

K

PS – Miles is totally fine, but we’d like for his molars to come in now, thankyouverymuch.  I, however, am still possibly dealing with some static in the office that I just might have made worse by opening my slightly hot tempered mouth and maybe making a comment.  Maybe.  Mama Cat’s claws come out very easily, ya know…

“Oh, poor daycare baby!” and then I want to punch things.

I told you all that I was sick, right?  Well it’s not just me, it’s the entire house.  First it was me, then Miles, and now Evan…all with the funk.  The funkiest funk to ever funk it’s funking way right into your funking lungs and funk things up.  Get it?

I know that Miles has an ear infection in his left ear because we visited our pediatrician yesterday.  I know that the ear infection was caused mostly by the build up of fluid in his ear, which was caused by the sharp bones stabbing through his gums (otherwise known as teething).  With one secondary incisor, one eye tooth and one molar jamming their way out, something’s gotta give, right?  Ears.  They give up first.  So we started the Amoxicillin, and today he’s back to Hurricane Miles status.

As usual, I visited WebMD for my own diagnosis of what the funk I have.  Turns out it could be…

  1. Sinusitis (highly possible)
  2. Laryngitis (definitely possible)
  3. Hay Fever
  4. Viral Pharyngitis
  5. COPD
  6. Asthma
  7. ASBESTOSIS (!!!)
  8. West Nile Virus
  9. 473 different types of cancer
  10. “Plague” (non-specific plague, my favorite kind)
  11. Pleural Effusion
  12. And a dozen things that I’ve only encountered when playing Oregon Trail.

So, yes…of course I feel reassured that it’s just a minor summertime cold.  OF COURSE.  Thank you WebMD. (it’s important to know I trust WebMD because they told me my appendix was rupturing and it was…and that’s a post for another day)

My symptom checker results aren’t actually what I wanted to write about tonight, though.  I found it extremely important to stress that I was sick first – not Miles.  Know why?  Because if I hear one more person say, “Oh, poor baby, it’s daycare causing this!” then I just might flip.

I get it, I really do.  Daycare can be a cesspool of germs.  But do you know what else harbors these same germies?  EVERYTHING.  The mailbox, the bank, the post office, the handle of the shopping cart that your adorable child is chewing on when you aren’t looking.  Germs are everywhere, people.  And while there are germs at school, it’s not always school that causes the illness.

It obviously burns my biscuits to have a guilt trip laid on me because our son is in daycare.  Some of those “oh poor daycare baby” people really sound as if they’re saying “oh poor neglected child, I can’t believe your parents abandon you for eight hours a day.”  Yes, that’s it…poor baby, spending eight hours a day in a school that is certified by the State of Florida and inspected by the Department of Health, full of teachers who love these children as if they were their own, with a curriculum that has allowed my son – at 14 months – to begin speaking in simple sentences, eat with a spoon and fork and use sign language.  Our kitchen overflows with arts and crafts.  He is excited to see his teachers and friends each day, and guess what?  He’s still even more excited to see me in the afternoon.  Miles missed two days of school this week; when we returned today, three of his “friends” squealed, clapped and smiled when we walked into the room.  Yes, his friends.  Poor baby.

It’s not about SAHP vs. working parents; it’s about doing the best you possibly can with your own unique and individual situation.  Because even if I were a SAHM, I can easily see the benefits of part-time enrollment in daycare or preschool.  I’m as entertaining as they get, and I like to think I’m a pretty good educator for Miles, but there are things he learns and does in school that I just know I probably wouldn’t come up with on my own (or without hours on Pinterest).  And the socializing…so important and beneficial.  So for us, two parents who work full-time, daycare is the bees knees, even if we pick up a cold every once in a while (which we would also pick up just going to Publix)

Parenting is the greatest and most important thing we’ll ever do, and I know that we’re doing an awesome job.  I can see that reflected in my smart, funny, sweet and loving boy, every single day.  Whether you work full-time or part-time, or have chosen to stay at home, we’re all on the same team.

Choose your words wisely.  It’s easy to sound like a Judgey McJudgerson; try not to, though.  Every family is different, and that’s a good thing.  Imagine how boring the world would be if we all cloth diapered, completed every project we pinned, and made all of our meals from scratch – organic scratch, at that.

Working Mom FTW,

K

Word.

Word.

Thoughts on Sewing, Stomach Flus and Irrational Fears

A week has come and gone, and it’s been quiet here, right?  That’s because I’ve been fighting off the death plague of laryngitis, with my voice slowly sinking from Sexy Kathleen Turner to Barfly Sipping G&Ts and Smoking Unfiltered Parliaments (probably before noon on a Tuesday).  Having this funk has been so lame.  If I laugh too hard, I cough.  If I talk too loud, I cough.  If I do my favorite Goodnight Moon voice, I cough and Miles laughs at me.  And if I cough too hard, I cough more, then I get dizzy, my vision blurs, and I forget where I am…

I am surviving on a diet of sugar free Ricola cough drops, saline nasal spray, and two glasses of merlot with a Sleepytime Tea chaser.

Last week, I jotted down a few thoughts to turn into a lazy post so my favorite readers wouldn’t forget about me.  Said note was jotted post-wine, so it said things like “sewing is hard” and “food binge.”  So it took me a while to re-gather those fractured thoughts, but here they are…

Sewing Project  My awesome husband got me a sewing machine for Christmas two years ago, and I was super excited.  I had lists upon lists of things I would sew.  But I was pregnant, which meant these projects ended at curtains and a crib skirt.  Then, last week I stumbled across a fabulous patchwork skirt on one of my favorite online shopping destinations.  I was in love.  Handmade, recycled fabric, with glitter dust from baby unicorns (sustainably harvested, of course).  GIMME.  Oh wait…you want $78 for the Goodwill skirt?!

A SEWING PROJECT WAS BORN!

I know what some of you are thinking…of course I have time for this project.  So maybe I didn’t brush my teeth until 4pm this past Saturday.  And maybe I seriously contemplated just not brushing them at all, since it was so close to bedtime anyway.  But we went to Target, and because I obviously care about my appearance and scent when it’s the weekend, I brushed them.  I also put on jeans that had zero yogurt stains on them.  I am a mom who has it together.  I can sew a skirt.

Stomach Flu  I haven’t had a stomach flu in a few months, but I was on an antibiotic recently that felt like the stomach flu.  The label had specific instructions to take the pill either one hour before eating, or two hours after eating.  It took me five days (out of a seven day prescription) to figure that out.

Listen, we all know why the stomach flu causes weight loss, and it’s because you should be eating all of your meals (read: sipping your stupid chicken broth) in the bathroom.  You might as well dump the broth directly into the toilet, because it has the same effectiveness as eating it.

So you drop a few LBs.  If you’re like me, that means think you’ve won the Skinny Award which comes with a free pass to eat half a pound of hummus every night for a week.  I knew I had a problem when my husband, whom I love and adore for his thoughtfulness, came home one night with “snacks” for me: two blocks of cheese, pitas, a large tub of hummus, some fruit and a bottle of wine.  Snacks that I eat at 9pm.  You know, when I should be in bed, but I’m up watching stupid Catfish on stupid MTV with their stupid loud commercials.  I love hummus, SO MUCH.

Irrational Fears  I hate driving.  I harbor a fair amount of fear and anxiety when it comes to operating a motor vehicle.  Here are some of the things I’m afraid of:

  1. The wheels falling off my truck.
  2. Someone driving the wrong way on a one way street.
  3. Not being able to unbuckle my seatbelt.
  4. Lightning striking my truck.
  5. Freak airbag deployment.
  6. Explosions.
  7. Brake failure.
  8. My truck turning into “Christine.”
Juuust in case you didn't catch that reference.

Juuust in case you didn’t catch that reference.

Of course I’m still afraid of the regular things like flat tires, pumping gas, locking my keys in my car and people hiding in the backseat.  Those are just some of my irrational fears.

Promise to be back later this week with more coherent thoughts.  Until then, send warm thoughts of Vicks, vaporizers and hot toddies.

XX,
K

SUMMAHTIIIME!

Ah, summertime…in Florida.  The snowbirds have flown the coop.  Rainy season has arrived, bringing a daily monsoon lasting 30 minutes.  Temperatures hit the high 90s, and our humidity is 1,487%.  Mosquitoes, love bugs, no-see-ums and tiddlywinks abound.  And summer vacationers have arrived.
 
Even though we are parents who work full-time, and our child is not yet old enough to experience summer break from school, the feeling of summer is still there, thanks to daylight that lasts until 9pm, summer television like Food Network Master Chef Iron Chopped Cutthroat Mega All Star, and of course…the Dairy Queen S’mores Blizzard.  SUMMAHTIIIIME!
 
One evening last week, I was sitting on our back porch enjoying the sun dipping below the palm trees, and I started reminiscing about summers past.  I realized how much has changed in our summer routine from ten years ago…
 
2004: Bikini.  Very tiny bikini, in fact.
2014: Super hip mom one piece that provides maximum boob wrangling.  Because we have enough flotation devices in our pool, thankyouverymuch.
 
2004: SPF 15 (because even in my gingerness, I still thought I might get a tan).
2014: SPF 55.  Also, big hat and sunglasses.  Do they make sun socks?  I would like some.
 
2004: Pool time consisted of me deciding I’d like to float on a raft for two hours, then putting on my bathing suit, sunscreen, grabbing a beer and a book, and floating.
2014: Pool time consists of chasing a toddler to apply sunscreen, swim diaper, bathing suit, swim shirt, hat that he will turn upside and fill with water then pour on his head, then attempting to put on my own sensible bathing suit and sunscreen, find my sunglasses that said toddler has been wearing for the past week, locate fifteen floating/squirting balls, toys and various inflatable animals, and five towels because you never know how many towels you need.  Get in pool.  Get toddler in float with canopy.  Swim with float.  Toddler wants out of float.  Swim with toddler.  Toddler wants to sit on steps.  Sit on steps for five minutes.  Get out of pool to play in the water table because it’s more fun than the pool.  Get back in the pool because all water table toys have been thrown in the pool.  Toddler says “ALL DONE!” after 20 total minutes.  Dry off, attempt to remove swim diaper, take shower together.  Get dressed.  Check “cardio” off the list of today’s activities, and realize Jillian Michaels has nothing on parents of young children.  NOTHING.
 
2004: Summer TV is the best.  Stay up until midnight watching cooking shows, dating shows, dancing shows, singing shows, True Blood, Entourage (RIP),  SATC (also RIP), whatever crap Fox has thrown together (do you remember Paradise Hotel, The Swan or The Littlest Groom?!) plus reruns of Roseanne and Friends.  Still have to get up for work, but it’s so worth it to see the dancing poodles and Gordon Ramsey.
2014: Summer TV is still the best; however, we are still trying to finish the first season of Orphan Black.  Our DVR has allowed room for cooking related shows only, and True Blood.  Staying up until 10p is pushing it, which has resulted in our new refined taste in our programming choices.  I still watch Roseanne, though. 
 
2004: Shirts requiring strapless bras.  Inappropriately short shorts.  Flip-flops.  Something cute and festive for Fourth of July.
2014: Still looking for star spangled yoga pants.
2004: Of course we will come to your barbecue!  I’ll bring lots of beer, and I’ll also make macaroni and cheese and an epic four layer chocolate cake from scratch.  Would you like me to help you set up and clean up?  Done!
2014: What time is your barbecue?  During nap time?  Hmmm.
 
2004: DAAAY DRINKIIING!
2014: Nope nope nope.  Wine only, one glass after 8pm.  Two if it’s the weekend, maybe.  Snooze > Booze.
 
2004: Let’s go kayaking!
2014: Let’s go to the zoo! 
 
2004: Let’s have a picnic!
2014: Let’s have a picnic!  Do not eat the grass.  Do not eat the flowers.  Take that sandwich off your head.
2004: The beach + sangria + Publix hoagie.
2014: Toddler friendly water parks + bottled water + PB&J + apple slices + cheese cubes + grapes + Cheerios + graham crackers + carrot sticks + hummus + raisins + everythinginthefridge. 
 
Fourth of July 2004: Begin cook-out at 5pm.  Eat at 7pm.  Decide after four margaritas that playing Marco Polo at 9pm is a great idea.  Then decide climbing on the roof at 10pm to watch the fireworks is an even better idea.
Fourth of July 2014: Begin cook-out at 3pm.  Eat at 5pm.  Marvel at how tired I already am.  Bathe Miles at 7pm, bedtime at 7:30pm (sun is still up).  Watch fireworks in DC on TV.  Go to bed at 9pm.  Get pissed off at neighbors who are shooting off fireworks at 11pm.  Consider knocking on their door and confronting them when they are still shooting them off at 1am.  Wonder how many bags of sugar would fill their gas tank when they’re still shooting them off at 2am.  Mutter the word, “whippersnappers.”  Call the police at 3am to complain about possible gunfire (lies).  Wonder how it’s possible for the kid to sleep through all of this, then immediately stop wondering because if you think about it too long, he will wake up and you only have two hours and 45 minutes of sleep time left!
 
2004: Think about what an awesome summer we had, then go to bed.
2014: Stand in our son’s nursery, watching him sleep peacefully, marveling at the wonderfully exhausting days of finger-painting, swimming, swinging, beaching, grilling and day tripping.  Wonder what summer was like before we had Miles; realize it was nowhere near as fun as it is today.  Thank God that we are tremendously blessed.  Also thank God for naps and Roseanne.  Collapse into bed, smiling.
 
Yes, today’s summer is much different from yesterday’s, but in a really flippin’ awesome way.  Ah, summertime.
 
SPF 55 FOR LIFE,
K
Not mine, but not a bad idea...

Not mine, but not a bad idea…