Friday, December 30, 2011

3 months

It's been quite a while since I posted... with good reason. Life around here is nuts. Ladybug is more wiggly and therefore more likely to bash her head against the keyboard stand while I try to balance her on my lap. And frankly, right now, there are twenty other things I should be doing rather than typing here. But, I'm tired. And it's Friday. So therefore, I type.

We've been through our first sickness, which transitioned into our second sickness, which led to our first round of antibiotics. Poor kid. The cold was pretty miserable, with fever and stuffy nose and much crying. She wasn't even over it when she got a case of the runs... and they're still running. Over ten filthy diapers on Christmas day... from a kid who normally has one a day. Apparently, I stayed remarkably calm when on day three of diarrhea blood appeared in her diaper. We're now on day six, and while I thought she finally seemed to be getting better, they said she was extremely fussy at day care today.

Thanks to the poop that I worked very hard to collect in a specimen cup, we've determined she does not have a parasite. She does, however, have a nasty bacteria; now we wait on the sensitivity to see just how nasty it is. Frankly, I'm simply relieved that something showed up as wrong. With the colon problems that run in my family, I'd much rather have a simple bacteria than our other options.

She's smiling a lot now, and over Christmas began vocalizing. She'll have a full blown conversation with you now, which is pretty fun. I caught her gazing at her hand the day we came home from Christmas, although I've not seen her doing it since. She loves her Whoozit, and while her glowing sea horse doesn't stop the tears at bedtime, she likes it as long as I'm holding her. I've also gotten her to hang onto a stuffed candy cane; maybe our next step can be a rattle. We have a ton of new-to-us books which I'm looking forward to reading to her... if we ever get back to having time between screaming and sleeping. Diarrhea and belly ache really need to go away!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Jonah days

If you've ever read L.M.Montgomery's Anne of Avonlea, you might recall Anne's exclamation that she'd had such a Jonah day. I believe it started with a toothache, which one can't help, and ended with over-reacting to a troublesome student, which one can help. Like Jonah, you take a bad situation that just happened and make it worse with your choices.

I feel I've had quite a few Jonah days recently. One day I had a flat tire before I ever got out of the driveway on the way to work. Another day I was barely on time to work (in my mind, late) because my car doors were completely iced over. I've overdrafted my bank account and am crossing my fingers it doesn't happen again. My house is disaster, I'm losing bills, my child's ears and eyelids are cracking, and I barely see my husband. I check my e-mail and find I've somehow been included in a family email that says someone had surgery today and they think they got it all. Sounds like cancer, and I'm glad I at least landed on one email even if it was accidental. But it makes me question again whether contact will only cause others more hurt.

December's been rough for me for a number of years now, but this one's been easier than any in the last eight years. The little baby in the swing next to me has made a world of difference. She reminds me of the good things in life, of having two people to love and serve. At the Christmas party at work yesterday, I was reminded that I have much to be thankful for. We may not have a lot right now, but we have more than many. We have a roof and our next meal. We have income. We have sound minds and healthy bodies. We have clean clothes, soap, and toothbrushes. You don't have to go to Africa or India to find people who are without these things; they're in your own town.

I told the lady at daycare one morning, it'll get better. But what I need to remind myself more often, is that it is good. Right now. Life is good. There are bad parts, but overall, life is good. There are bright spots to be found, if you're just willing to open your eyes and see them.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

I started back to work last week. My first day the Mechanic was off, so he kept Ladybug at home. That day wasn't too bad; it just took a few patients before I remembered how to use the recently updated computer system. I didn't get upset leaving the house, although I did get a little sad when I called home at lunch and heard Ladybug crying. The Mechanic assured me she was just fussing a little, but it didn't matter to me; her mommy wasn't there to fix whatever it was.

The second day, though, was much worse. It was the first time I'd left her with anyone but family. I thought I'd be able to hold it together. Not so much. It wasn't so bad walking in, or walking out... but driving away was horrible. I could barely see the road and probably should have just pulled into someone's driveway till I could stop the tears. But, if I stopped I was afraid I'd lose the nerve to keep going. It's strange. I knew she was in good hands. I knew she wasn't crying for me. I can't explain why it was so bad to those who don't have kids. I don't know if all moms understand either, for that matter.

Thankfully, it's gotten easier; otherwise I would probably have already quit. Still have no idea how to balance work and home, though. I wasn't good at it before baby; now I'm just lousy. With her sleep schedule I pretty much come home, feed/change/bounce baby, then collapse on the couch with her on my chest and try to doze, and then feed/change/bounce again once the Mechanic gets home from work... and by then it's 1am and I have to get up at 5am to get out of the house on time. I try to keep up with her laundry, but even the dishes are falling behind. I've tried not napping in the evening, but then I end up running on 3-4 hours of sleep... and that's just bad news for all involved. Somehow I'm supposed to cook and clean too? And be a decent wife?

The Mechanic's opinion on how his parents and other working families do it is this: they work the same shift. That way, they can tag team when they get home and more gets done. Maybe. But what we do sure doesn't work, especially when she becomes mobile and the piles of dog hair and junk in the floor become tasty snacks for the exploring Ladybug. So, we're looking at budgets and debt and trying to decide what is best for us. I'm pretty certain, and the Mechanic's 100% certain; I'm just afraid to commit to it. I like money in the bank. I like lots of money in the bank. It's my security blanket.

In other news, Ladybug has developed a beautiful smile. Makes the whole day better when she grins! Can't believe she's over 10 weeks old, and weighs nearly as much! She's growing up way too fast...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving '11

A few thankful thoughts. In no particular order:
  • Healthy, beautiful, baby girl: This time last year I wasn't even imagining I'd be sitting here bouncing Ladybug on my lap; for that matter, I was still on prevent-a-baby meds! My, how life can change in a year!
  • A wonderful husband: He has put up with a lot in the last year. Just read "The Dude's Guide" to get an idea.
  • Awesome in-laws: Everything from loaning cars to helping with barf bags.
  • Two fuzzy tail-wagging critters: They provide laughs and teach patience.
  • A running vehicle: One is better than none.
  • Understanding landlords: I can feel free to beg them not to cash the rent check just yet...
  • Insurance: Babies cost $16,000. That doesn't include what it cost to create the exit and then close it back up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

*Climbing onto Soapbox*

From Michael Shannon's article on

"For those in two-in­come households who have been wondering what the long-term effects of parking children in daycare would be, the results are in and the news is not good.

Quite a few members of the daycare generation are currently occupying Obam­avilles in New York City, Washington, Oakland and points in between. This is a natural outcome of society's reliance on strangers to raise our kids.

The daycare generation's formative years led them to become accustomed to large, mostly benevolent third-party organizations that dried their tears, filled their tummies and enforced the rules for sharing.

Inside this primary colors utopia the daycare genera­tion finger-painted signs, beat on the furniture, sang songs and it was absolutely free! At snack time Juanita never charged little Belgium or Saskatchewan for the goldfish or juice boxes.

It's only natural, now that the daycare generation no longer depends on Kinder-Care, that they turn to the largest organization of all and ask Uncle Sam to make everything all better."

As a mother who will be placing her child in day care in less than two weeks, I find this offensive for two reasons. One is the assumption that I am relying on strangers to raise my kid. I will be raising my child. I call upon others to assist me. I will be disciplining and training at home, in the car, in the store, and as we walk into day care. I will be receiving reports of my child's behavior, and when my child is old enough to remember what they did wrong they will have repercussions at home. I will be giving suggestions for how to discipline my child. And the people caring for my child will not be strangers after a short period of time, any more than the Sunday School teacher in a large church is a stranger.

Second is the assumption that the Occupy movement is a natural response to day care. No, the Occupy movement is a natural response to the parenting that occurred, or in this case, did not occur. A two year old can be expected to clean up his room whether he's in day care or not. A quality day care will assist in training children to clean up after themselves. Yes, my child will be in daycare 50 hours a week. There are 168 hours in a week. That means I'm with her 2/3rds of the time. That's a majority, if my math skills are still intact. That's when I train my child, and if I can't make an impression on her in that amount of time, 50 more hours probably won't help either.

The other problem with this "natural response" idea is that it assumes the mentality for these kids was set by the time they were five years old. What about the school systems? The kids spent 13 years in school, but I see no criticism of parents handing their kids off to strangers in school. Even if they are placed in day care as infants, they are in the school system three times as long as they are in day care. And let's be honest. For an infant, things are free. I'm going to guess that things remain "free" at least until the kid becomes able to crawl. And even then, they don't "earn" their milk by putting their toys away. What parent (unless they follow the Pearl's system) is going to deprive their young child of food because they didn't put their toys away? You make it a game, so that it's fun to clean up. Especially in the first year, what they learn is that their needs are met. For free. Because someone loves them. I do not believe I am raising a child fit for Occupy camps by picking her up and changing her diaper when she cries. When she's three and I help her clean up when she has an accident, I'm not going to make her do something to pay me for my service. But I will train her to be a productive member of the family. That's what's missing in children these days. It's parents training. I'm a firm believer that those parents who don't parent when their child is in day care, wouldn't parent if their child wasn't in day care, and the result would have been the same if not worse.

I'll get off my soapbox now...