Category Archives: randomness

A moment in the fog

My two year-old daughter is in the backseat and we’re driving to the pediatrician.  She’s fine, but she just had a birthday so it’s time for a well visit. The morning is foggy; not a magical, mystical fog that dances with random beams of penetrating sunlight, but a depressing, heavy, bland sort of fog that makes everything seem the same color and makes it onerous to even sing along to the radio. We have to drive over this little mountain to get to the doctor’s office, and the road winds as it rises. As we get higher, the fog gets thicker and we keep passing cars that don’t have their headlights on.  Each one makes me just a little more crazy.  How could anyone forget to turn on their headlights in a fog like this?  Do they WANT to die?! The fog’s dreariness has made me grumpy and I complain in a sing-songy voice to my daughter. “Oh, these silly people who don’t have their headlights on!” The cars that most vex me are the gray ones. “Hi there, you are the same color as the fog! Turn on your lights!” We crest the mountain and descent the other side, and as the fog loses some of its density so does my mood.  

We get to the doctor’s in one piece and the visit lacks any real surprises; my daughter is still tall, and she still cries at any poke and prod by a nurse or the doctor.  A cute addition, however, is how she hides her face in her stuffed tiger when the pediatrician enters the room and that she refuses to even look at him. 

Going home, the fog is no less heavy, and the mountain road is no less undulating.  I continue giving the stink-eye to every car without its headlights on.  Then right about when we reach the highest point on the road, I realize that I, noble crusader for proper headlight use, have failed to turn on my own.  I correct the situation and promptly die of embarrassment.

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Motherhood (n)

A perpetual state of worry, frustration, and joy.  Nurturing and nourishment.  Living for someone outside yourself.  The complete lack of any personal space.  Not generally caring about the complete lack of personal space, but occasionally feeling just touched out.  The unhesitating willingness to boldly deal with any myriad and combination of bodily fluids.  Snuggles.  The miraculous power to heal any pain with a kiss.  Mysterious smells.  Laundry.  The feeling that your heart might just burst right out of your chest.  An unending cycle of meals, school bus stops, extracurricular activities, and “just one more” bedtime stories.  Finding the balance between selflessness and selfishness.  Wondering how you ever thought you were happy before.

Bear with me

I know I haven’t been around much.  BUT!  I’m being forced to write “creative nonfiction” for a class titled, appropriately “Creative Nonfiction” that will fulfilled a general education requirement as I continue to pursue my graduate degree in education at a snail’s pace.  So if I write anything interesting I shall post it.  🙂

That time with the kid and the puke

Babysitting.

Growing up, our babysitter was Holly. She lived next door and was, perhaps, the coolest person in the history of ever. She would sunbathe outside and listen to KISS 98.5 FM, which was way more cool than Magic 102, don’t you know. She would give me her hand-me-down clothes and how awesome is it to get hand-me-downs from the coolest person in all of eternity!? I loved being babysat by Holly. I don’t remember much of what we did, or how often it happened, but I remember she was fun and kind and didn’t treat me like I was an annoying little shit. (Once Holly got too old to babysit, Denise from down the street took over. She was fine, but she was no Holly.)

Once I got to be 12 or 13, man, did I want a babysitting gig. I would rock the socks off that shit, because I had Holly to emulate. Plus I was a 7-years-older sister to my younger brother so I had practice with little kids. I hooked up with my first babysitting opportunities through a family whose son, Andy, was on my brother’s t-ball team. Two little boys, 7 and 5. They were ADORABLE. I babysat for them once or twice, their parents paid well (back then, babysitters didn’t demand a rate like they do now — or if they did, I was certainly too timid to do so! I took whatever people wanted to pay me and I was grateful for it, mostly. One family was really quite obscenely stingy and I didn’t sit for them again. I was conveniently unavailable – it’s amazing how timidity can translate into passive-aggressiveness, even as a 13 year-old.)

Andy and his little brother were a bit mischevious but nothing I couldn’t handle. I daresay we had fun.

Then, one time, I came over to babysit for an afternoon. As they were leaving, Andy’s mom mentioned that Andy said he was feeling a little “icky” earlier in the day and hopefully it would be nothing, and they would be back in about three hours.

About a half-hour into the afternoon, Andy says his tummy hurts. I get him a bowl, just in case. Ten minutes later, BAM, FIREWORKS. Ungodly amounts of vomit erupt from the nether regions of this child’s digestive system.

I am certain I inherited from my mother an innate ability to keep my shit together on the surface in the most disgusting of circumstances. I had a nasty bout of food poisoning when I was 13, the results of which, well, I’m just shocked my mom didn’t just say “fuck it” and tear out the whole bathroom. Is it a woman thing? I certainly can’t say for sure in a statistically significant way, but the fact of the matter is I’ve only witnessed men actually throw up when faced with disgusting crap (figuratively and literally). I have a tendency toward hysterics when faced with stressful situations but when shit gets gross, I get downright stoic. Puke and crap are literally my husband’s Kryptonite. They will crack his impenetrable exterior faster than a cold dish in a hot oven.

Regardless of how I came to have the ability, I kept on my big-girl pants and soothed this little person through his puking into the bowl. (Doesn’t this kid chew his food? I’d wondered throughout.) Once he’d finally wrapped up the pyrotechnics, he volunteered to take the bowl and dump it in the bathroom, because I think he felt bad for throwing up and wanted to help, sweet boy. I followed just behind him, far enough behind that he felt he was doing it himself, close enough that I could help if he needed it. Not close enough, however, to intercede in his cat-like stealth to dump this vast amount of very chunky vomitus into the SINK instead of the TOILET.

NO NO NO NO NO!! MOTHER OF GOD WHAT ARE YOU THINKING?!?! PUKE GOES IN THE TOILET ALWAYS IN THE TOILET!!!

That’s what I thought. What I said was, “Thanks, Andy. Hey, next time, dump that in the toilet, OK?”

“Oh. OK. Sorry.” He apologized and then I felt awful for even saying anything. We rinsed and dried the bowl and I sent him back to the couch.

But then I turned back and stared at the sink and dug my fingernails into the palms of my hand as I thought about how the hell I was going to clean that up. I certainly didn’t want to touch it. In the end, rinsing as much as I could down the drain and then getting whatever was left with paper towels was my chosen strategy. It worked OK, but I swore up and down at Andy and his parents the whole time.

This was the pre-cell phone era, and the parents were out running errands so they didn’t leave a number where they could be reached. So, I called my mom. “THEY LEFT YOU WITH A SICK KID?!?” my mom asked, rhetorically and disgustedly. “They better pay you double!!” She offered to come over and help me but I declined. This was my gig, after all. I didn’t need my mommy to bail me out. But it was nice to vent to her a little and hear that she had my back.

Andy threw up once more, and *I* took the bowl that time.

When the parents returned, they did apologize but they didn’t pay me double. But they did make me appreciate my mom just a little more.

Who is losing their ability to choose, really?

A dear friend on Facebook posited to me the thought that the whole Latch On NYC initiative being promoted by Mayor Bloomberg takes away a mother’s choice in how to feed her baby.  

I want to point out first that this is a VOLUNTARY program that NYC created and it does not forbid formula feeding; it simply restricts formula marketing in hospitals. You can read more about it here: Latch On NYC (via the City of New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website)

The reality is, most women are not choosing to formula feed. The majority of women who give birth do initiate breastfeeding. Most women do NOT choose to formula feed, rather, it was their only alternative after  breastfeeding failed. That’s NOT really a choice, that’s a fallback. But formula marketing is *proven* in studies to reduce the rates of breastfeeding in women who WANT to breastfeed. Who’s to say that if that formula marketing hadn’t woven its fingers into the very workings of the hospital where a woman who tried to breastfeed and then gave up, if her outcome would have been different; however, studies show time and again that it might have been. And if any mother perceives that sort of outcome as a personal failure then the formula marketing has REALLY been effective, because they’ve managed to sabotage it without any sort of implication.

Study after study after study after study demonstrate that free formula samples adversely impact breastfeeding rates in women who choose to breastfeed.

I absolutely agree that the decision to feed formula vs. breastfeeding is a personal decision and every mother has the right to make that decision for herself and her baby. However, if (like studies show) the presence of free formula, misinformation from formula companies, and the implied endorsement of formula by medical staff through merchandise and freebies sabotages womens’ efforts to breastfeed and get help when they need it, then who is losing out on really having a choice?

Too good not to share

The Baby Guy is having this 12 days of Christmas giveaway, and my gosh, they are too good not to share.  Here’s a link to an archive of all his December posts so you can get to all the days of the giveaway.  Today’s is for these super high-end booster seats from Clek.  Check it out!

Our new girl

So, hi. 🙂

Life with three has been fun. Things are going well, and Catie is a complete joy. She turns 7 months old tomorrow! She has been sitting for a couple months, and is now doing that hands-and-knees rocking back and forth that forewarns us to babyproof our house, again.

Here’s a quick look back on her progress from tiny baby to bigger baby!

Here she is, brand new!

 

A couple weeks old

 

2 months old

 

 

About 3 months old, with her sister

5 months old

Just a couple weeks ago!

Photo of a photo, but here's the whole crew a month ago!