Tag Archives: worry

Power of the Pen

This weekend Daddy-o had to work all weekend. And I mean all weekend. And there was a nasty snowstorm and the roads were in bad shape. (All contributing to the long winter of my discontent.) As a result, Boopsie and I had three days of intense, home-bound togetherness. Yesterday, I seized on a moment when she was reading aloud to her stuffed animals in her room to write for a few minutes.

After seven minutes (yes, I counted) she found me on the living room couch. She quickly joined me, in a purple hooded fleece jacket, pink ladybug-print pants and pink and white striped socks, setting up across from me to do her own “work.” I was taken aback by her working by me and loved watching her “write.”

For the first time in a long time, in those moments across from her on the couch, I felt like a successful mom. Like I was showing her a path worth taking. For the first time in weeks, weeks that have been filled with battles and tears and struggle, I was totally at peace with my parenting.

I took a moment to breathe it in… and then I snapped a few good photos:

Preschool girl with crayons and paper

“Working” on the couch

Scribbles on paper

Boopsie’s “writing”

Here’s to the power of the pen. (And the crayons.)

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Filed under adventures, creativity, lessons, mom guilt

Pacifier Fairy, Part 2

Wow. I was supposed to write this post more than two months ago. In fact, I even drafted it. It was going to be about how we sent a couple of “prep notes” from the paci fairy, and how Boopsie helped pack up all the pacifiers into a plastic bag, and how she helped me set them in the yard. And how she cried some at that bedtime, but slept all night and went on to get over it really quickly.

But then something happened. On the day after I posted Pacifier Fairy Part One, all hell broke loose with our kid. What do I mean by all hell breaking loose? Well, let’s see:

  • She went on a sleep strike… bedtime became a multi-hour battle, naps were treacherous
  • She started having epic, violent tantrums including throwing things, hitting and kicking
  • Her personality changed into one I didn’t really recognize. Boopsie became much more anxious, whiny and angry.

I’m not sure how to convey the impact this had on our family, in part because we are still trying to find our way out. Our attempts to find our way out have included:

  • Scouring the interwebs
  • Hiring a parent coach
  • Positive reinforcement
  • Negative reinforcement
  • Putting a lock on the outside of her door
  • Multiple trips to the pediatrician
  • Reading books… lots of books (more on those to come)

We’re still trying to figure out if we’re somewhere on the continuum of “normal” or if there’s something else going on with Boopsie that we need to address. But that’s what’s been happening in the silence — stress, fear, anger, exhaustion and worry. So much worry. Thankfully, there’s been joy, too, and fun. And I think (and hope and pray) that we’re getting back somewhere more familiar.

All that to say… hello, strangers. More soon.

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Filed under adventures, lessons, mom guilt, relationships, sleep

The Pacifier Fairy… Part I

Pacifiers

Our little junkie’s brand of choice. Oh, and despite what the label says, they can move kids’ teeth out of whack.Way back in July, we mentioned to our little paci-addict that the “Pacifier Fairy” would be coming to take her pacifiers and give them to little babies who needed them. In exchange, we explained, Boopsie would receive some fun surprises. This did not go over well.

Way back in July, after Boopsie’s first (disastrous) trip to the dentist, we started discussing a visit from the Pacifier Fairy. The Pacifier Fairy, I explained to Boo, would come and take all her pacifiers away and give them to little babies who need pacifiers. In exchange, the “Paci Fairy” would leave fun surprises behind.

My sister was visiting the first time this conversation came up. She put Boopsie to bed one night and they had a long conversation about the Paci Fairy. Boopsie was concerned about the PF coming in her room, and about having to give up her pacifiers… you name it. So we let it ride for a while.

We were prompted into all of this by Boopsie’s dentist, who noticed her teeth going out of alignment and recommended we ix-nay the pacifiers ASAP. We thought about it, but after her negative reaction in July, we basically wussed out and decided to let it ride for a while. I mean, the pacifiers were her COMFORT OBJECT(S). Boopsie liked to go to bed with one in her mouth and one in her hand. And when she was especially tired, she would rub the one in her hand along her cheek. She did not, however, use a pacifier at day care, so we knew we had this going for us. Unfortunately, her regular routine was that when we would pick her up at day care, Boopsie would dig through her bag until she found a pacifier and stuff it in her mouth. And when she’d do that, you could see the relief wash over her, like a smoker taking a long-overdue drag from a cigarette. Yes, we were in deep.

The months dragged on, and Boopsie transitioned to a big girl bed (well!) and started preschool (well!) and in October we realized we could literally see her front teeth starting to “buck” out a little. Ruh-roh. It was time to get serious. I over-thought the whole thing (as usual), plotting what “gifts” the Pacifier Fairy could bring and the deciding which weekends were possible targets for a visit. Finally, on the way back from a family trip to visit family and friends in Chicago, we asked Boopsie if she wanted the Pacifier Fairy to come and she said, “Yes.”

Yes? Really? Yes.

Gulp. We picked Friday, just a few days away and I upped my activity around frantic research on the interwebs. I looked up tips and tricks and things to say and e-mailed them to Daddy-o. We both committed to stay the course. I cleared our weekend schedule, shopped, and “discovered” a note from the Pacifier Fairy in the mail box Thursday morning that let Boopsie know she’d be coming the next night…cue the dread.

The dread was not Boopsie’s. It was mine. I couldn’t stop worrying. What if she wailed for hours straight? What if she started waking up at 5:30 a.m. again (that was a brief and crappy period this autumn)? What if she stopped sleeping through the night? Or napping? What if this was a huge mistake? My stress mounted.

To be continued…

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Today/A Lesson

Today was not a great day at work.

Today, work sucked. I made an error (a dumb, frantic error). No one died or got hurt (and no one will), no money was lost and no milestones will be missed because of it. But because of the nature of my job, this error was very public. And it meant I received a follow-up phone call from an executive who was frustrated and wanting to “problem solve.” (He was very fair and solution-oriented, but it still wasn’t fun.)

By the time the end of the day rolled around (after my 5 p.m. meeting didn’t show, and the video I needed to upload failed), I wanted to crawl under a blanket and hide for a while. But Daddy-o had evening plans and we’ve got a busy week so I picked up Boopsie and took her to the grocery store. (Because I guess I wanted to flog myself a little.)

When I picked Boopsie up, I immediately realized I was going to be in for a long evening with her. She was wild and defiant. She’s spending most of the next two weeks in back-up care through my company because her day care closed for three weeks (starting last week) without warning. She was exhausted when I got to her (at nearly 6:00 p.m.) and was a scoundrel in the grocery store. By the time we drove home she was stripping off her shoes and socks in the car and whipping them at me from the back seat.

Every part of the evening was a battle. Going potty? Torture. Washing her hands? Despair? Dinner? Well that started with a meltdown and a demand for me to hold her and feed her. I was standing there, calculating my options when it hit me… I needed to drop all the crap and baggage from my day and face her with as much compassion as I could muster. She’s two. She’s exhausted. Her schedule (and therefore a big part of her world) has been completely upended. She went from a home day care to a preschool setting, with an established class of kids she doesn’t know. While she’s doing great (lots of positive reports from the teachers) she is fried. Toast. And frankly, I get it.

So I dropped my expectations for one night. I held her in my lap and spoon fed her sweet potatoes and macaroni and cheese. I stopped doing the dishes to help her draw a turtle. I brought my focus much more to her needs. And you know what? It worked. It wasn’t all smooth sailing, but I got her fed, bathed and in bed with minimal additional melt downs.

For me, this was just a good reminder that no matter where I’m at, my job is to try and meet Boopsie where she’s at. This was not the night to force issues. Hopefully tomorrow we’re both a little more rested and upbeat and she will go back to feeding herself. And going potty without a hissy fit. And she’ll make it home without throwing things at me in the car.

Until then: Amen, she’s in bed. And I’m going to have a glass of wine.

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Filed under day care, drudgery, feeding, mom guilt

Things That Happened When I Got Pregnant

In sort-of chronological order, numbered for my own comfort:

1) I cried. (I was not sad, just a little surprised and overwhelmed. Within one hour of taking the pregnancy test I literally had to walk out of my house and get on a plane for a business trip to effing Las Vegas.)

2) I lost all my mommy-grody-mojo. Remember when I couldn’t handle anything even remotely disgusting? And then I had Boopsie and could handle lots of it? Yeah, that disappeared again. One night she had the stomach flu I couldn’t get within 10 feet of her without retching. It was 3 a.m. and Daddy-o had to do comforting and clean-up while I ran from room to room in our house gagging into the kitchen sink, the upstairs toilet, the downstairs toilet, a trash can, etc. I didn’t even have the flu yet (that came later).

3) On a related note, I started barfing (or at least retching) at the drop of a hat. Generally, I felt better this time around (as compared to Boopsie) but I was barfing a lot more. Go figure. Taking out the diaper pail? Puke. Catching a whiff of a bag of dry cat food? Gag-o-rama. Drink caffeine? Yark-tastic.

4) My dreams got… wow. Intense would be one word. Almost every night I was treated to a feature length movie with plots and subplots. There was the one where Boopsie was 14 and got kidnapped by sweet potato farmers. It was the same way when I was pregnant with Boopsie. Both times, my dreams were my first “tell”… vivid and memorable are both understatements.

5) I was convinced it was a boy and started name-storming. I find boy names much harder than girl names and was stressed about that. I was also worried about getting Boopsie out of the crib, potty trained and off the pacifier in short order.

6) I was sick as a dog, virus-wise. The stomach flu took 4+ days to get over. The doctor said, “You’re pregnant. It takes longer to recover.” Then I got a respiratory flu-like virus. I missed a week of work. I could only take Tylenol and I coughed so much I bruised my ribs, which was intensely painful.

7) I had a miscarriage. (Sorry for the Downton Abbey-like plot twist.) I started spotting and I went to the midwife and he couldn’t find a heartbeat and ultrasounds confirmed the shitty news. After all that barfing and all those dreams and slogging through all that illness and just before the holy grail of the second trimester it was done. Becoming undone. The fetus stopped developing at about 6.5 weeks and I miscarried at home just before 12. And it sucked. It was much more physically draining than I expected, on top of all the other physically draining illnesses that made up January.

In the days surrounding the actual miscarriage I was a hormonal mess. I was insanely nauseated and drained to the point where getting through each day was a physical battle. (Sleep on the floor of an unoccupied office? Why, yes I think I will.) My theory is that my body was finally catching on that things were not going well, and I know (based on multiple blood tests) that my HCG counts were in a total free fall. I had more insane dreams, but they were more ominous than usual. Right after the miscarriage I had one in which I was caring for a bunch of little babies and I was doing a crap job of it. CRAP. There was a little baby boy, and I didn’t know his name. I should have known his name. He was hidden in a crib in a closet, as happy as could be, but when people asked me who he was, I didn’t know. In the dream I was panicked.

I went about my life, letting people know on an as-needed basis and I was shocked at how many women had gone through at least one miscarriage. It’s so common, and yet so few people talk about it. For me, there’s something about it that makes me feel a ever-so-slightly ashamed. Rationally, I know that I couldn’t have done anything differently. And I’m not walking around feeling broken, or scarred, or in emotional pain. I’m living my life as I normally would. But deep in my gut, there’s one tiny, ugly voice that sometimes whispers, “You failed.” And so I tell it to shut the eff up.

This was way back in January. I don’t have any lingering health impacts (and my ribs finally “healed” about six weeks ago). I’m fortunately not overwhelmed by sadness and I thanked my lucky stars every day that I had Boopsie to distract me and Daddy-o to hug me. We haven’t decided what this means for our future family plans, but I do know I need some more time to get my physical act back together and my mental game “on” if we decide to try again. Because if there is another pregnancy, it’s going to be a long 14 weeks of trying to stay calm (while barfing).

Why am I sharing this? Like I said, no one talks about this. I don’t think women should feel like they have to talk about it, but I think they should feel like they can. No shame. No drama. Just be. Godspeed to all you pregnant ladies, and to all the ladies who are mourning/have mourned little ones. Hugs to you.

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Springing Forward

So tonight I was folding Boopsie’s underwear and suddenly I thought, “Holy CRAP… I’m Folding. Boopsie’s. Underwear.” You read that right. And it’s true. Last weekend a small miracle happened: Boopsie decided she wanted to wear underwear. Then we put her in undies. And she peed on the floor. And we put her back in a new pair of undies… and we went for it.

Dora the Explorer undies

“D-D-Dora! D-D-Dora!”

After a panicked call to a friend whose potty-trained three kids and some good advice from her, we decided to go for it. I’m not going to lie. It was a really stressful, cooped-up weekend. But Boo did great. There was a lot of pee on the floor, but also a lot of pee in the potty. And no pee in the bed. (Amaze-balls, people.)

Potty training threw me for a huge loop. I sent frantic e-mails to my friends, who told me to hang in there. I blathered on about it at work. I laid awake worrying she’d wet the bed. And I was in the hot seat most of the time. Boopsie decided that she didn’t want Daddy-o in the bathroom and she wanted my attention every single minute. In short, I went bonkers for a few days. Okay, like six days. We crossed the final frontier when I took her to the Minnesota Children’s Museum Friday night… and she used the potty in a public restroom. BOO-YAH!

Here are some things that helped:

  • Character undies. Boopsie was sort of invested in keeping “Dora” dry. Even so, get like 14 pairs or you’ll be doing laundry every six hours.
  • Random rewards. What worked for us at different times, to incent her to sit on the potty: plastic animals, stickers, Dora the Explorer Band-aids and ice cream.
  • MAKING her sit on the potty. This was harder than it sounds. She was resistant and I was terrified I would give her some intense complex about going potty, thus ruining her life forever. (Yes, I’m serious about this. I really worried that by MAKING her sit on the potty when she didn’t want to she’d end up in diapers and a therapists office for the rest of her life.)

When I reached out to my friends to thank them for the help and advice, I admitted to them that potty training threw my for a loop. One of them pointed out that as a parent, it’s one of the things you have the least  control over. So true. And we all know how well I do (or not) with a lack of control… (Ehrm…yeah.)

We have two more big adventures to contend with some time in the coming months — moving into a big girl bed and getting rid of the pacifier. For now, I’m going to enjoy a glass of wine and then fold some more undies.

 

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Filed under drudgery, firsts, lessons, poop

Five things….

Here are five things I’m thinking about today:

  1. Is there a problem with my kid eating ketchup? I don’t mean she dips something into ketchup to eat it, I mean she eats ketchup. With a spoon. Nutritionally not great, but do Daddy-o and I have to hide the ketchup when we use it as a condiment?
  2. How can we get Boopsie to stop crying every time we drop her off at day care? She stops before I get to my car (I can hear her turn it off), but it’s a daily bummer.
  3. Since when does taking a bath = torture? And why?
  4. Will she EVER stop throwing food? Seriously, this is totally out of hand.
  5. Where is her other silver sandal??

That’s my list, what about you?

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Filed under adventures, day care, drudgery, feeding