Monday, January 9, 2012

Watching and waiting

I'm a nurse. And a mommie. This makes for a bad combination. I'm not exactly a hypochondriac myself, but some might think I am concerning my child. Given that she's already had MRSA and campibacter, I think this is justified.

So I'm watching this lump on the back of her head. Now, I keep telling myself to feel the flat spot on the other side of her head. And I keep telling myself that this flat spot is why there is a lump on the other side. Flat spots aren't a big deal. I really hoped my child would not get one, but when she sleeps in her car seat at day care she couldn't help but get one.

What concerns me is her daddy's scars. And her uncle's scars. And her grandpa's scars. And her cousin's scars. And her other cousin's frequent doctor visits. All caused by a lovely little syndrome called Crouzon's. A form of craniostenosis, this is when a child's fontanels and sutures harden and close too early, leading to football shaped heads and bulging eyes. If not treated, it leads to insanity and death.

Now, it's treatable. And no one in the USA goes insane from craniostenosis now. We know what to look for and how to treat it. As I tell people, as much for the shock value as the educational value, they chop off the kid's head, fix it, and put it back on. Easy enough, right?

Still, I'd rather not deal with this. I'm hoping we can luck out and not have any kids with the syndrome. But given the 50/50 chance for each child... well, we just don't have that kind of luck.
So I watch. And feel. And check soft spots. And measure her head. And wonder when she wails if her head hurts. Or if she's wailing because she's over tired. Or hungry. Or wet. Or has a bellyache. Or isn't getting her way. Or is bored. Or is just being a drama queen.

In a similar but more pleasant note, heard a song on an Andrew Peterson album that rings true...
"It'll fall like rain on your parade
and laugh at the plans that you try to make
Wear you down till your heart just breaks,
And it's a good thing, love is a good thing.

It'll wake you up in the middle of the night
it'll take just a little too much
burn you like a cinder till you're tender to the touch
it'll chase you down and swallow you whole
it'll make your blood run hot and cold
like a thief in a night it'll steal your soul
and that's a good thing, love is a good thing

It'll follow you down to the ruins of the great divide
open the wounds that you try to hide
there in the rubble of the heart that died
you'll find a good thing, cause love is a good thing

It'll break your will, it'll change your mind
loose all the chains and the ties that bind
and if you're lucky you'll never make it out alive
and that's a good thing, love is a good thing

It can hurt like a blast from a hand grenade
when all that used to matter is blown away
there in the middle of the mess it made
you'll find a good thing,
yes it's worth every penny of the price you paid
it's a good thing, love is a good thing."

Friday, January 6, 2012

Life change

So, for the first time since I graduated high school, I will be neither working nor attending school. I turned in my notice today, effective in two weeks.

First, for all posterity, I would like to say that this had nothing to do with my workplace. I like my work. I love being a nurse. Some things irritate me, yes. That's in every single job out there, and there were not enough irritants in this job to make me leave. I enjoy my co-workers, I have about the most laid-back provider imaginable, and the hours are as sweet as you can get. How many jobs can you get your child from day care and bring her back so you can finish up late night duties without getting charged an arm and a leg for being late to day care? Holidays off, no weekends, kick-awesome. So we deal with druggies and watch our backs when we leave after dark... I got more physical harm done to me in the nursing home. This was the best job imaginable for my pregnancy; they covered for me during my doctor's appointments, and I could sit and stand as often as I needed.

This also really has nothing to do with whether it's best for a child to be home or in day care. I think there is no absolute best there. There are positives and negatives to both situations. Lots of germs in day care. Builds up their immunity. Strangers take care of them. They get used to other people and those people don't stay strangers for long. Mom misses them. This can also mean mom enjoys them more when she's with them.

Ultimately, this decision is what is best for me and my family at this point in time. Frankly, quitting work is an admission of inadequacy on my part. I can't do it all. I'm losing control. I was hoping that after a month I'd find that I was adapting, finding ways of getting things done, making it work. Nope. I did improve. I learned to accomplish some things on my lunch hour, like paying bills and ordering pictures. I learned it wasn't really that nutty to run and get my child before returning for my late night duties. With the assistance of a day here and there to get caught up, I was managing to stay on top of my work duties.

There were just too many other things that I wasn't handling fast enough. Like my house. I would finally get around to cleaning off my kitchen table and find bills I didn't know were there. And occasionally un-cashed checks, which is a nice surprise. The Mechanic does a lot of laundry, and that's helpful... except I can't get around to putting it away. The dishes tend to get done on an as needed basis until the weekend. Cooking? What's that? Using the oven for something besides canned biscuits or frozen dinners? Who does that? Grocery shopping happens sporadically. Seasonal decorations are a joke. Sweeping, mopping, dusting, vacuuming? Changing sheets? Hah. And poor hubby might as well be a dustbunny under the couch for all the attention he's getting.

I told one lady at work today she must have a cape under her t-shirt, because she has to be super-woman. Twin 2 almost 3 year olds and works full time. Has horses and dogs. And actually dusts and vacuums. And is married. All I can say is, wow. And wow again.

So, my goal for my time at home, besides the obvious one of enjoying my child and husband, is this: get myself organized so that I can return to work. How soon will I return? I don't know. When needed, or when I want to, whichever comes first. Part time at some point would be awesome. I'm also going to try to be careful not to become the "stay at home mom's are more awesome than working moms." I hate that attitude. It goes both ways. Both are hard, in different ways. I find myself stiffening when I hear people say "she's a stay at home mom, what does she need a break from?" or "she doesn't work so she has time to watch lots of tv." It depends on your season of life, and what you do with your time. I love one organizing book I read that listed a way of getting multiple household chores done efficiently. She ended the instructions by saying "Congrats. It's 9am and your basic chores for the day are done. For those with no children, it might be 7am. For you moms of infants and toddlers, it's 3pm." Being with your children nearly constantly is exhausting. Working full time and coming home to children is exhausting.

Being a mom is always full time, whether or not you work outside the home. What I've decided is if you work outside the home, something else has to be given up. Less cooking, more outside help, husband has less leisure time, something else has to give. With me coming home, I hope to cook, a lot. I hope to have a cleaner house. I hope to mend my husband's clothes instead of letting them sit in the basement till we remember to take them to his mom to fix. I hope to read my Bible, at least a little. I hope to get back to exercising. I had a lot of "i hopes" for my eight weeks maternity leave too, and they didn't all happen. But, we'll give it a shot.

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...