Monday, April 12, 2010

Blog stuff

To help ensure more regular and thought-provoking posts (WHAT!?! You gasp. Yes, I know, reading about vomit IS so very thought provoking, what was I thinking?) I'm adding a little structure to the blog. This means regular-themed posts throughout the week (in addition to my reguarly-scheduled posts of mommy randomness), which you will see pop up moving forward. While I'm not sure yet what these are, a few I'm noodling are Friday Fun Facts (you know, fun things about me and my family that you COULD NOT SURVIVE THE WEEKEND NOT KNOWING) and Mommy Lesson Monday. If there are other things you'd like to read weekly, let me know and I'll consider adding it to the rotation.

So, yeah. That is it for now. Longer, and (hopefully) more interesting post coming later. Like, maybe tomorrow. You know, when the weekend wears off.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

It's a dog's life

So before Kate, there was Jackson. He was my fur-baby and the dog I raised on my own, and had been with me through college, through a move to big, bad Dallas and finally, through marriage. He is the best dog on the planet, and if you disagree, I dare you to show me a better one. I love that dog like a fat kid loves cake.

Then there is Dex. 

Dex is a recent addition to the family. As in, we adopted him exactly one (ONE!!) month before I found out I was pregnant. In fact, it was probably those very early pregnancy hormones that made me all mushy and lovey and AGREE TO BUY A DAMN DOG.

Dex is... weird. And difficult. And frankly, while we thought he and Jack would bond so Jack wouldn't feel sad about my love being diverted to little Kate, instead, Jackson has now felt betrayed by me not ONCE but TWICE. He pretty much detests Dex, and nearly two years later, that has not changed. 

So now we have a family of two dogs that don't really like each other, and a baby, that both dogs probably prefer wasn't around. Jack ignored Kate from the moment she got home, and Dexter couldn't stop licking Kate, which always got him in trouble. So while I had dreams of photos of my new baby with the dogs (which other people are always posting on Facebook or Flickr because their dogs aren't high-strung), I couldn't get the dogs to sit next to Kate, let alone give me the time to jump back and snap that perfect photo.

Flash forward to today, and slowly a relationship is forming. Dexter is still weird, constantly licking her face and then running from her, but you can tell he would miss her if she wasn't there to give a tongue bath. And Jackson has started to understand that she is an important member of this family, and he better get on board. He started tentatively sniffing her a few months ago. Then, she started crawling and would crawl over to him and lay her forehead to his, her early "kissing." And finally, now that she is up and walking around, Jack will patiently allow her to pull up on him and pat, hug and kiss on him. It warms my heart every time I see Jackson starting to love her a little more. And, I finally got my picture of at least one dog with Kate. The one I love best. But don't tell the neurotic one (who by the way is hiding under the desk at this very moment because a FLY WAS CHASING HIM. And yes, I am for real). 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Kate's no good, very bad day

So anyone following the blog may notice that I have been constantly writing about things that have happened in the past, like a few weeks ago, instead of writing about, you know, timely and current matters. This is because I'm behind on my blogging, and frankly, nothing interesting has happened today, so you can either read about how I did two COUNT EM -- TWO -- loads of laundry this morning, or you can suck it up and read about something that happened a month ago. Your choice.

Okay? Those of you still with me now get to hear about projectile vomit. And while I can almost HEAR you sighing and saying "jeez, AGAIN?" I say to you -- yes, AGAIN, because GOD HELP ME, if I keep getting puked on, I'm going to keep writing about it. But at least I let you know up front where this was heading. That has to be worth something...

So anyways, poor Kate. The day after her birthday, she had to go for her annual appointment to get three shots and blood drawn. She also picked up something else while she was there.

A stomach flu.

The next day while she was at Mothers Day Out, she sat up in one of her caregivers laps, made a tiny little noise of distress and then proceeded to projectile all over the floor. I went to pick her up, and on the way out to the car, she then puked all over me. This was NOT shaping up to be a good day. Ben was traveling, so while I would have liked to call for reinforcements, I was all alone on this one.

We went home and she snuggled into me for a little "I'm sick" comfort. I was worried about dehydration, so I gave her a bottle of milk which she promptly sucked down and then immediately went all exorcist on me. I mean, I had regurgitated milk IN MY BRA. At this point, I'm starting to lose my cool. Like seriously, lose my ever loving shit. Not because she was throwing up on me, but because she couldn't STOP throwing up on me. After a few more episodes, I was really worried because there wasn't anything left in her poor little tummy, and all she could do was whimper at me in between gagging and spitting up stomach acid.

I went into SUPER PANIC mommy mode. I scooped her up, jumped in the car and called Ben from the road, telling him to give me directions to the closest children's hospital. She was getting dehydrated (I know, because while I don't have a medical degree, I DO have GOOGLE, which told me all the signs to watch for) and I was taking action damn it. Ben talked me down and insisted I take her to the pediatrician instead. I called the doctor on the way to the office and a nurse called me back with instructions to go home and give her a teaspoon of Pedialyte every 10 minutes. If she couldn't keep that down, to call back.

I drove BACK to the house, with Kate continuing to retch and whimper in the back seat. We did the whole damn Pedialyte test and when she couldn't keep even a teaspoon down I called back and basically said "I TOLD YOU SHE WAS SICK, NOW SCHEDULE ME AN F-ING APPOINTMENT!"

So they did, and we headed BACK (BACK!!) to the doctor's office. And, what did I think was going to happen? Well, I guess I thought I'd go in, they would see she was sick and would administer some drug and maybe give her some fluids with an IV. Yes, I'm that stupid, I thought the pediatrician would actually TREAT my daughter.

Silly, foolish woman. Instead, I waited for 45 minutes in the "sick room" with Kate who continued to vomit on me to see a doctor, who looked at her, said "Yeah, she is a little dehydrated, I'm going to send you to the EMERGENCY ROOM" for some fluids and then sent me on my way.

You've got to be friggin' kidding me.

I was covered in puke, tired after four hours of stressful worrying and frankly, more than a little pissed. So I promptly called up my husband as I drove to the hospital and berated him for making me go to the pediatrician instead of the emergency room in the first place. Lets just say that didn't go over well. And while he snapped back at me because his flight home was all delayed and he was all mad he had to hang out in an airport somewhere, I was all, "I'M COVERED IN VOMIT AND I HATE YOU." Because, I mean, yeah -- a delayed flight is a bitch, but seriously? YOU SUCK.

But by the time he got home and to the ER, we had pulled our collective shit together and refocused on what was important. Getting our poor, sick, puke-tastic toddler well. The crew at Medical City Children's Hospital were fantastic (HOLLA!) and took great care of Kate. And yes, while I was, like, uber concerned, I still had piece of mind to take a before and after picture. Because... yeah. I knew I would blog about it later. I'm THAT kind of mom.
Kate is normally a ball of energy that is pinging around the room in a restless search for entertainment. This baby? The one who passively LET PEOPLE STICK NEEDLES IN HER HAND? I didn't know this baby. This is dehydrated, sick and miserable Kate. But, 30 minutes and an IV of saline later...
Ta-DA! Kate was ready to get a move on. Just the fact that she was sitting up on her own was a relief, and once she started slapping the crap out of that toy and pointing at my Dr. Pepper frantically, I knew she was on her way to recovery. Once we got the okay, she chugged a glass of water and half an apple juice and then continued her pursuit of play while we nervously waited to see if it would all come back up in a waterfall of "kill me we have to stay in the ER for a FEW MORE HOURS."
Luckily, my champ kept it all down and we hauled butt home where I could burn every single item of clothing I was wearing and Kate could sleep off her no good, very bad day.

Next evening, I had the pleasure of throwing up all the contents of my stomach and then some. Guess that is what wearing baby puke for an entire eight hours will do to you. Thanks Katie, mommy loves you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Finding the new me

Before Kate was born, I wrote a post about my decision to leave my job and be a stay-at-home mom. It was a painful choice honestly, and nearly four months after Kate was born, I was desperately afraid I had made the wrong decision. Not that I didn't love Kate, but I felt like the things that I had always used to define myself were slowly slipping away. I didn't really have a sense for who I was anymore, and while I loved Kate more than anything, lets talk straight for a moment... babies don't really DO anything. Except for the occasional gas smile, all I was dealing with was bodily fluids, screaming and mind-numbing TV (seriously -- who programs this stuff? I would feel better about myself if I spent an afternoon watching a bunch of monkeys in diapers wash cars than if I watched a half an hour of daytime TV).

Anyways, when I got THE CALL from my previous employer offering me a part-time contract gig, I was ecstatic. I didn't even have to think about it, I nearly screamed "YES!" before the offer was completely out of her mouth. It seemed too good to be true. I would be working 20 hours a week, but most of it from home. I could put Kate in a Mother's Day Out program for two half-days a week to go into the office for in-person meetings and I would get ADULT INTERACTION! I would have MENTAL STIMULATION!

The offer came in October, when Kate was just turning six months old. I felt really good about the arrangement, even though it was only for two months.

Fast forward to March 26, 2010. Just a few weeks ago was my last day of contract work... exactly SIX months after I started. The arrangement had been extended several times, and I was so lucky to have the best of both worlds for half a year. I was a stay-at-home mom who still got to do what I loved, what I was passionate about. Sure, it wasn't perfect. When the project started, Kate wasn't even crawling yet. She had tummy time and I had email time. But as she got older and more adventurous, finding time to get work done got harder and harder. I even found myself getting annoyed with her for things that I should have been praising -- because it made it harder for mommy to do work. And while I'm not proud of how I handled every situation, I am proud of finding a way to balance my needs with my child's needs.

Now, the contract is over and I'm feeling slightly lost. Part of me is excited to just take a few months and focus on Kate. She is growing up so fast and changing so much and is now this little person with a personality and ATTITUDE and I want to make sure I don't miss this time. But the other part of me, the part that got exasperated yesterday because she was fussy and forced her to take a nap even though she wasn't tired because I was tired of HER, that part of me feels like I'm not cut out to be this person I'm trying to be.

But I think that is the point. To be a good mom, I have to be happy and feel good about where I am in life. And while I know I don't want to go back to work full-time, I don't know what I need to make me fulfilled and balanced. So I guess what I'm going to be doing for the next few months is finding the new me. Finding a way that I can be a Super Mom and Super Me at the same time.

Suggestions are welcome, criticism will be ignored and job offers will be considered.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hitting the bottle, one last time

As you blunder through life as a mommy (or daddy) you make judgement calls along the way about certain issues. I like to call this "parenting" -- and while it is hard to say if there is really a "right" or a "wrong" when it comes to making these decisions, somewhere down the line you may realize you made an earlier judgement call that is coming back to bite you in the ass... BIG time. That ass-biting is happening in our household right this VERY INSTANT.

You see, we had some trouble getting Kate to sleep as a newborn. Shocker right? Baby NOT sleeping? We were total amateurs who expected more from our little bundle of newly born perfectness. Now we know better. Newborn = no sleep. Got it. But after several months of little sleep, Ben and I were frankly ready to do anything, including running away to Mexico to leave the other parent stranded with the sleepless baby... SUCKER!

Long story short, by the time Kate was six months old we had taught her to sleep through the night. She just had to have her lovey and a bottle before bed. THATS RIGHT I SAID IT. A bottle before bed. We were desperate, and sleepy, and frankly, if my baby wants to hit the bottle before bed, who am I to tell her no? But it worked, Kate sleeps 10-12 hours a night. The only time we have sleep issues is when she is teething or sick, and she is easily rocked (or bottled) back to bed.

Even during the day, Kate loves to just unwind with a bottle. It is her early morning and mid-afternoon veg time. Like mommy and happy hour. And while she will drink water from a cup like a champ, if you put milk in that same cup during bottle time, girlfriend looks at you like she wants to run you over with a steam roller. Basically, the cup isn't the issue so much as the lack of bottle during appropriate bottle drinking times that causes much wailing and gnashing of sharp little baby teeth. By teaching her to unwind and relax with a bottle at night, we've caused her to become dependent on the bottle to relax and unwind during the day as well. My baby truly is a bottle milk-aholic.

But now, she is a big girl. She is a one-year old toddler and I have been informed by Kate's pediatrician that if she doesn't get off the bottle, she is going to have hillbilly teeth for the rest of her life and no one will love her. Ever. So starts the battle for the bottle.

I tried to cut her off last week when Ben was out of town. I wasn't strong enough. After much crying and pointing and wailing and sleeplessness, I gave in. But today, with Ben back in town, we are starting it again. And all I can think is that Kate got her last bottle this morning with Ben and she didn't even really know it was the last time she was going to have that pleasure. I feel like we should give the bottle a going-away party, or at least let her know that "Okay, this is the LAST TIME... so savor it."

And, maybe I'm making it a bigger deal than it is, but like anything that I've seen go by the wayside, it marks another part of her childhood, her babyness, that is ending and I find it really bittersweet.

But if I never have to wash another damn bottle in my life it will be SOOOO worth it.