Thursday, July 31, 2008

A fine gentleman and then some

Ada is a lucky girl. During her seven months here on earth, she's been blessed to get to know a lot of people, but especially her Great Grandpa. He passed away this week from cancer that finally got the better of him. But he didn't go down without a fight-- she gets her stubbornness from him.

Ada's Great Grandpa was the best there is. He lit up every time we saw him, even though his treatments were draining most of his energy. He still managed to give the best hugs, share the best stories, and make you feel like you were special. His laughter was contagious, his smile bigger than any I've ever seen. And Ada loved sitting on his lap and just staring at him. She was in awe. He'd smile at her and she'd smile right back in the big open mouth smile that said, "Hey, I like you. I'm not sure what's going on but this is really fun."

I'm glad they had the chance to spend a little of what time he had left together. After all, that meant I got to spend more time with him too. He will be greatly missed, and remembered often.

Moral of the story: Babies are a great excuse to spend more time with the people you love, and the excuse never gets old. Use it often, you won't regret it.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Running the Baby Gauntlet

Once you have kids, or have babysat for/visited someone who does, you'll know what I mean by "baby gauntlet". Yes, I am referring to all of the crap that somehow turns your home into an obstacle course.

Heaven forbid the phone rings when you accidentally leave it in the other room as there is no chance of getting to it while avoiding bodily harm from baby stuff.

Say goodbye to straight toes as many a toe has been broken running the baby gauntlet. And I must say, the bouncy chairs are the worst with their thin wire frames that are perfect for splitting toes and hurting like a *#%$@^! And I thought it was normally tough to stop swearing around the baby but this makes it impossible!

On any given day in our house, I end up bruised and battered by the plethora of baby toys that litter our home. From the exerscaucer, to the bouncy chair, the high chair, the playmat with the danglie things, the swing, the stroller, the car seat--and we aren't even in Ada's room!

My house is overrun with her stuff. Her laundry has invaded the bedroom, her diaper pail now occupies the bathroom--in addition to her towel, her rubber duck, and her baby shampoo-- she has her own shelf in the kitchen, her own slot for baby spoons in the drawer, and a large portion of the fridge and freezer dedicated to storing her milk, jars of baby food, and the ever elusive teething toys. The hallway is typically strewn with soiled burp cloths as they fall during the chaos of the day, awaiting retrieval when the all clear has been sounded as Ada goes to sleep for the night. A chair in the dining room is dedicated as her high chair, and it's parts are usually found scattered across the dining room table, frequently with a slimy bib, wash cloth, and the remnants of her most recent meal crusting over as we overlooked putting it away in our haste to serve our new ruling member of the household. The living room floor is her own personal playground with toys that seem to rotate like planes in and out of O'hare. Outside her bedroom door is the holding area for laundry and items that need to go into her room, but we don't dare open the door whilst she sleeps or we'd wake our little angel. And then there is the area right in front of the front door-- aka where we park the stroller when we are too lazy to move it into the closet or collapse it into the corner until our next adventure out. The only place she hasn't conquered is the hall closet and the back porch-- but it's only a matter of time. We're already talking about putting the baby pool on the back porch and I'm sure her towels, lotions and baby oils will soon commandeer the hall closet too.

But at least it's obvious I have a baby. And it's a great way to tell who your true friends are. They are the ones who still come over and don't scowl at you upon entering your baby's new kingdom of chaos. They don't mind that you have stuff everywhere and haven't had much time to pick up, let alone clean for them. And they love you anyway.

Moral of the story: You might bang up a few toes and feel like your home has been invaded, you'll miss more than a few phone calls due to the hoards of baby stuff, but babies have a great way of weeding out your true friends, and they are still worth all the chaos.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Splashmat Pee

Following up on my observation that babies are messy - especially since Ada started eating solids - I've been on the hunt for a splashmat or something to protect our rug and floors from her messes. I found a few that were neat. One that I really like if you want to splurge is from Mimi the Sardine and I really like it because the fabric is recycled or environmentally friendly in some way. But... I wasn't willing to drop $40 on a silly floor mat. I started using a big sheet of plastic but was worried that my little rolley polley baby would get wrapped up in it. So, I was struck with an idea. A vinyl tablecloth from Target for $6 that is enormous and covers half of my living room.

I unwrapped it last night and decided I'd put Ada on it today for some naked baby time--her favorite. And within a minute of me setting her down, she peed on the tablecloth. Then, a few minutes later, had managed to roll herself off near the edge of the mat and peed half on and half off the mat/rug. So I still had to clean up the rug, but at least it was only 50% of one pee spot instead of 2 full pee spots. Better than nothing. Silly kid.

Moral of the story: Creativity can save you a bit of money--not always for the good of the environment but it's good to try -- and can help your carpet or rug last a bit longer when you have a baby.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Childcare Update

Okay, so I don't even know what to call the people who watch Ada. Right now it is a "babysitter" because I think "nanny" is more of a professional who does this for a living whereas babysitter is more temporary. Either way, whoever is taking care of my child is only temporary as I found out last week that sitter #2 who comes on Thursday is no longer available, and sitter #1 who comes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays is done as of September 10th when her semester starts back up. So here I am, still juggling the sitter crap. Which again makes me really thankful for my boss and my job and how flexible things are in my life right now because I couldn't do it without that... and I get by with a little help from my friends. Sorry, couldn't resist. :) But really, I do. I have friends that are willing to cover for me in a bind and that is really helpful since grandmas Ba and DD are over an hour away.

So what am I on? Plan F at this point? Daycare didn't work, hodge podge grandma coverage was temporary, the nanny interviews failed, sitter one will be okay for a bit, sitter two is done, sitter three comes Friday, so I guess this is Plan G since I know sitter three is temporary because I'm trying to help her find a job in Human Rights here in Chicago - Anyone know of anyone looking for a new grad wanting to get into Human Rights work or general administration work at a University??? I'm thinking these younger "sitters" aren't taking this as seriously as I'd hoped, which is to be expected since they are "sitters" and not "nannies". At least they are giving me notice instead of dropping the ball completely.

From my experience so far, I'd have to say maturity goes far when dealing with infants. And if I were a nanny/baby sitter, I'd only take jobs where the kids are one year or older and aren't sick. It wouldn't be worth it for me to deal with an infant that screams all day because they are teething. I once babysat for a little girl, just a few months old, who had an ear infection and was asthmatic. Her parents had just adopted her and I was shocked that they would leave me with her when she wasn't feeling well. But they did. She screamed the whole time and her older sister kept saying "This isn't normal, you should call my parents." So I did. I called them about ten times during their movie and they were pissed. Then they went on to tell the other sitters how awful I was because I couldn't handle their baby. I vowed at that moment never to do that to a sitter. And I have a lot of guilt now that Ada is teething because I can't predict when she'll have a screaming fit and when she won't. But at least I leave them with 5 teething remedies and a fresh bottle of infant Motrin so that

And not only can I not get this daytime baby coverage all smooth and stressless, but I can't find a sitter for a saturday night this week. I'm going to have to try and let you know how that goes. We'll see.

I still can't complain as I have a friend in Colorado who is having a mess of a time with her sitters and has given up going out altogther until her regular sitter comes back from summer vacation. So it could be much much worse. And I'm lucky that I live in a city with great mom networks, great friends, and so much to do. Chicago rocks!

Moral of the story: Childcare is a neverending battle so you might as well look for the humor in it all, learn as you go and hope that your child is learning all of the good things and none of the bad from each person who cares for her.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Stranger Magnet

For some reason, unbeknownst to me and my friend Colette, if you are our walking with a baby -- especially in a baby carrier on your chest, random people must talk to you. They just can't resist. I don't know what it is about babies but they make everyone your friend instantly.

Today for instance, Colette and Eva, Ada and I were out on a long walk. We started off casually headed to the CVS to pick up photos. CVS was too busy but while we were in the store, a woman stopped me to ask about Ada and to tell me about sunhats back in the day. She said they used to have sunhats secured with elastic chin straps. As I stand there with my feelers out for any sign of weirdo-wacko danger, she tells me about how one day her son was wearing one of the hats with the elastic and he proceeded to grab the strap, pull it far from his face and then let go of it before she could intercept it from the painful retraction into his chin and the blood curdling scream that followed. Poor kid. Thank goodness for Velcro and snaps that we have nowadays.

Then we saw a guy playing music on a guitar. He told us his kid was a teenager now and then said something about how it is important, once the babies start standing up, that we read to them. We assured him we already read to them and continued on our way.

As we rounded the next corner, a middle age gentlemen was walking the same direction as we were and said "Is that carrier comfortable?" To which I replied. "Yeah, it's not bad. I've only had it a few weeks but it is an Ergo designed to be good for the back... I have a few herniated discs in my neck and so I try to be careful as much as I can...". He walked with us about 100 feet toward his place and explained that he is always mindful of his posture as he has had back surgery and has a cage in his spine or something that sounds painful. But he was very nice.

Then near the bike path on Lake Shore Drive, a car didn't wait for us at the crosswalk and a woman proceed to tell us how you always have to watch for them because they are unsafe. Then she gave us a lesson on watching for bikers on the path because they will run you over as they are going too fast and so unsafe.

And just the other day when we were out walking, another random guy asked us if it was weird that we once had the babies in our bellies and now we wear them on our chests. We told him we hadn't really thought about it but that is an interesting thought.

So if you are looking for ways to improve your social skills or attract more random people and wackos, just strap a baby to your chest and come for a walk in my neighborhood. It's always a good time.

Moral of the story: Babies attract weird people. Just go with the flow, smile, nod and when all else fails, keep walking.

Car seats -- "I want the pink one!"

Never before have I given much thought to a car seat. Once you have a child, it becomes a big deal. If you get the wrong one, you could be putting the life you worked so hard to bring into this world in danger. You wouldn't want your baby to be in an unsafe car seat would you?

Of course not. So, being the busy mom that I am, I have passed off the process of researching and purchasing Ada's new car seat to none other than my wonderful husband, Rick.

For those of you who have never shopped for car seats before, watch out. What a task. And it isn't something that you just do once and move on. No. It turns out that you have a baby, and then that baby grows, and grows, and grows. And what no one tells you is that it isn't just their cute little clothes that they outgrow. No sir e bob. They outgrow their strollers and their car seats and their toys and their shoes and everything in between.

Car seat 101 abbreviated- The highlights from what I understand since I haven't really researched all this stuff myself.

You have a baby, then you have to have a car seat to take the baby home from the hospital. It will typically fit a newborn up to 22 lbs. You should get a little u-shaped padding bumper to go around their tiny heads when you first use it. I got lucky and have a friend with twins, Michelle, who sold me her Graco Snugride -- probably the most popular car seat out there. I trusted her judgement and didn't ask questions knowing that she researched everything baby and is now a pro since she's successfully managed to get her two-year-olds to age two. Amazing! (Terrifying too!)

Once your child approaches 22 lbs--depending on the car seat (sooner for some kids like Ada who are bordering on being Amazonian), you need to get the next size up. Some car seats then go up to 35 lbs or 55 lbs or whatever, but kids have to be in a car seat until 85 lbs or so. (This is all from memory so check my facts and feel free to comment that I am an idiot.) And then you get to buy a third car seat for the last stretch of growth. You lucky duck! Unless you get the second car seat to go from 5 lbs to 85 lbs - which is what Rick suggested.

Okay, so now that we have that out of the way...

My darling Rick started researching, and I starting throwing every link I could at him so he could make an informed decision. He even watched the videos on YouTube of the parents who had lost a child because they picked the wrong type of car seat or were unlucky. Apparently booster seats and seat belt only car seats are bad. 5 point harnesses are the only way to go. And wait to turn the seat forward as long as possible. Facing backwards is best for as long as the seat is designed for it.

After about two weeks of intense research, Rick found the seat of Ada's dreams. The Radian 80. Ohhh, ahhh. He made his decision after carefully weighing the pros and cons. And after reading posts from loving mothers everywhere that their daughters just adored their pink car seats, Rick was hooked. Ada should have the pink one - the Pink Princess to be exact. Not the grey version that matched our car's interior and would be less obnoxious, but the bright pink one that screamed girlie.

Fine. Whatever you want honey. After all, she'll be in it until she's several years old so she might as well like it. It isn't like she'll be passing it on to a little brother or anything so who cares if it is pink?

We head to the store to get the new car seat, and they only have the grey one in stock. And it's the last grey one they have. And it's been open and on display for four days so they are willing to give us 15% off. 15% off a $300+ car seat is a big deal. So we quickly say, "Sorry Ada, screw the pink one. We're getting the grey one." Rick's bummed but you can tell he is excited to get the discount. We waited for the guy to find all of the parts for the seat. We tested it out in our car to make sure it fit and it does, sort of--assuming I never sit in the front seat again or that I enjoy having my knees at my chin for long car rides. And then the guy comes back to say, "We don't have the bumpers that go around her head in stock. We must have given them away with the last car seat so I'll order them and they'll be in next week. I'll give you 25% off and call you when they come in."

"SOLD!" Rick replies.

Sorry Ada. It just wasn't meant to be.

While the sun shines brightly on us (or not-so-bright-pinkly), our neighbor Colette isn't fairing so well. She has the Orbit travel system that her husband thought was "so cool" and is now less than excited about finding out that the handy dandy "system" just means that she has to buy 3 car seats over the growth of little Eva as the 2nd car seat goes to 55 lbs and she'll need the third one after that. The second one has been on back order for about a month now and she finally got one after paying a premium and getting aggressive about tracking it down. And now she found out that she has to buy a separate seat to attach to the stroller or Eva will be sitting straight as a board as they stroll the neighborhood. In the end, the travel system is costing her the travel budget! :)

Moral of the story: When it comes to doling out the big dough for large purchases for baby, do your research and try to plan ahead.

Here are a few tips and things to keep in mind when looking for car seats in case you are in the market...

safety rating
size - will it fit in your car? what if you have more kids?
portability - is it heavy or awkward? does it have travel carrying straps or a carrying case?
Does it look cool? (pink? grey?)
Are the seat belts easy to adjust?
Think about the color... black will heat up in the summer
Will it fit in the trunk if your child isn't with you?
Covered metal hooks so kids don't get burned if it has been in the sun
Is it compatible with your car:

Endangered Species: Date Night

Now that we have Ada, Rick and I rarely go out by ourselves. And when I say rarely, I mean that I can sit here and write about each and every time we've gone out without Ada --just the two of us-- because the number is very small. Four actually. We went to a movie for Rick's birthday in March--he picked the ever romantic "No Country for Old Men" which I proceed to rate the most disturbing movie I've ever seen. Then to our big date back in our hometown that involved a fancy steakhouse, Target and the local custard shop while Grandma Ba watched Ada sleep. For my birthday we went to Indiana Jones and had pizza. And finally dinner at a local restaurant two blocks away while my mom was babysitting Ada.

Sure, we've been to parties and out to dinner with friends, but most of the time we go in the afternoon, take Ada with, one of us stays home -- she's a great excuse for not attending things when we'd really rather not--and on rare occasions, we find a sitter.

But not just any sitter mind you. No. We've done our best to work the system of friends who always offer "Anytime you need a sitter. Just give me a call. I'll gladly come watch her." Unfortunately for those who offer, she has been going to bed at 7 or earlier these days and they just come to our house and hang out while she sleeps. It helps that we have a lot of movies, high speed Internet, and encourage them to bring books along. I just can't bring myself to pay someone $10 an hour to sit in my house and read for 3 hours while we go grab a bite to eat. It just seems silly. And so many of our friends don't mind or at least haven't told us they are busy washing their hair.

So my many thanks go out on this one to all of those wonderful friends and family members who have offered to help and who we've actually been able to take up on their offers. We really appreciate all of them and how they contribute to our sanity. And how they aren't a drain to our wallets.

Moral of the story: When you're ready to have kids, be sure to have a collection of single friends who don't mind getting their baby fix at your house. It does wonders for your sanity, and helps those who just aren't ready to be parents but love kids to fill their baby contact quota. Everyone wins.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ada's Sleep Schedule

Someone commented asking how I got Ada to stop feeding to sleep. So here goes...

I sprinkled her with fairy dust.

No. I just stopped feeding her before putting her in her crib. She sort of adjusted to it, and then didn't. Her naps are all messed up because she went and played at grandma's for a weekend after getting pulled out of day care and now has two new daytime babysitters who are trying to figure out the best way to get her down for her naps.

Here's what has worked (sort of) for us...

I must mention that Ada has always been a good sleeper for us and has been sleeping through the night (6 or 8 hours at a time) since she was 10 lbs or so, and really all the way through the night (10 to 12 hours) at about 13 lbs --experts say that is the "magic number". But she came into this world sleeping 4-6 hour stints when most kids were up every three hours. She might be a rare breed.

And at 6 months, she gets up around 7, eats (she's on solids), plays, goes glassy-eyed and slows down, gets a little more fussy, rubs her eyes against your shoulder when you pick her up and takes a 45 min or longer nap around 9. Then she eats, plays, glosses over again around 1 and goes down for an hour or more. Again, gets up, eats, plays, maybe grabs a cat nap for 20 minutes around 5 pm and then is out for the night at 6:30 or 7. The trick to getting her to stop feeding right before bed is that we were in an eat, play, eat, sleep routine and I swapped the second eat portion out with a sway, shhhhsh, sing, bounce for a few minutes in front of the crib, then put her down to scream for 5 - 10 minutes as I occupied myself with dishes or other housework to avoid focusing on her screaming. To keep me out of her room while she settles down, we have an egg timer on the fridge that I have to wait for her to hit 15 minutes before I can go rescue her. If I have to go in, I settle her down for about five minutes and then try the cry it out thing again with the timer. If that fails, I go get her and give up until she goes glossy-eyed again.

Some days it all falls apart but most of the time it has been working well. She's teething now too so if she is having a really bad day and spazzing out so bad I don't know what to do, I admit that I cave in and nurse her. But then I try to wake her a bit if she falls asleep, I read her a book or poem and then put her in her crib. Or even change her diaper one more time in between. Anything to get her to break the eat-to-sleep association.

I'm going to give this schedule a few weeks too as it is something that all of her sitters and I need to get consistent about before she'll understand where we are coming from. And I try not to ever leave the house during nap time. That's just asking for trouble.

Moral of the story: Feeding your kid to sleep is bad (it can rot their teeth and cause ear infections), but sometimes bad things happen to good people. Just try your best and see what works for you and your child. What doesn't work today, might work tomorrow.

Who's gonna watch my kid?

Drama Drama Drama... (it's a long one...woah!)

I think I left off about a week ago saying that Ada is done with day care, we were off to interview nannies, yada yada yada.

Thanks to help from my friend Colette, we contacted a nanny/caregiver search agency and they sent over three very nice women to interview to be Ada's super nanny. Candidate #1 had no prior experience with infants - even though that was part of what I requested. And boy did we ever look dumb in the interview! My husband and I had no clue what we were doing. We weren't prepared, didn't print out a list of questions and I just kept saying, "hmmm, what else do we need to ask about. Umm..." Like an absolute moron. Thankfully Rick is better at making stuff up and asked some good conversation questions. Here is a mini list to get you started in case anyone ever has to interview a nanny. I'm told the trick is to sit down and figure out what you want from them beforehand as it is a real help. (Which I did but the printer ran out of ink.)

Nanny Interview Questions

Why do you want to be a nanny?
Are you looking for full time or part time?
Do you know CPR? First Aid?
Are you willing to do the baby’s laundry and dishes?
How do you put a baby down for a nap?
What do you do when they are fussy?
Are you willing to give the baby medicine? What kind?(Prescription, OTC, teething gels --For liability some won’t do it at all.)
What is your prior experience with infants?
What is your education level? Are you in school? What are you studying?
Are you typically on-time, late, early?
Are you available from 8am – 5 pm?
Can you stay 15 minutes late or a half hour if we’re running late?
Will you sing to the baby? Go on walks? Play? Listen to music?
Can you teach her a foreign language?
Can you lift more than 30 lbs?
What will you do with the baby during the day?
What is your hourly rate?
What days can you work? What times?
When are you available to start?
Can you drive? Do you have a car?
Can you baby sit at night occasionally if needed? Weekends?
Do you watch TV?
Do you have references we can call?
Do you smoke?
Do you have siblings?
How would you get here? Drive/Public Transit?
How long does it take to get here?
Where do you live?
Will you be supplying your own meals?
Can you swim?
Do you have kids?
And most importantly – watch how the interviewee interacts with the baby and if the baby likes her/him.

So as I was saying... Nanny #1 was nice but had no experience and was holding Ada all wrong. The kid was so uncomfortable it was just bad. And her English was mediocre.
Nanny #2 was great. Even though I am really against smoking, she does smoke but never while at work and she didn't smell of smoke. She had experience, good personality and spoke English well.
Nanny #3 was okay. Her experience was with her nephew or something. She was a little late, nervous, and just didn't have any confidence. She is married, lives with her parents, wants kids, wants to go back to school to be a nurse or something... tons of ambition but no backbone to actually do anything about it. That bothered me. Plus I already liked #2.

I called the agency back the next day to report on the interviews - which we scheduled for a 1/2 hour each and that was just right. I'd do 45 minutes each next time just so we aren't rushed in between. We got the references for #2 and she checked out. I called to offer her the job but she had two more interviews for full-time work and we were only offering part-time work so, she'd have to let us know. My gut said she wouldn't pick us so I went to plan B -- which I also have to credit Colette with.

Being a member of a million mommy groups does have it's advantages. Colette's friend had a niece looking to babysit this summer. She's a student at Depaul, babysits a ton, has two younger siblings. Great. I contacted her to come over for an interview. If the nanny came through, I'd be able to use her as a night/weekend babysitter as needed. We met and she was really impressive so I hired her on the spot, without my husband. He met her at the end of the interview and liked her too. After she left, I asked him if it was okay that I hired her because I was sure the nanny would fall through and he said "Honey, I trust your judgement." -- Straight out of "How to be a good husband and father 101". I laughed at him and said "good answer". The catch with this deal is that this babysitter can only watch Ada 2 of the 3 days I needed her. But, she's in a sorority and knows 2 other people that could do Thursday. Great. So I set up a meeting to meet and train them both the Monday before they start.

They showed up a 1/2 hour late. Mind you she was 1/2 hour late for her first interview too but I had been wish washy about the interview time and said I was free all night and she called to say she lost track of time, just got out of the shower and would be right over. Okay. So she isn't punctual. I know and can prepare for that. Rick and I go through the training stuff. All goes well. Her friend is super nice and Ada seems to like them both. We make plans for them to come at 7:45 on their given days and they are off on their merry little ways. BUT... before they leave, Rick gets in a little "Please be on time and if you are running late, be sure to call so we can plan accordingly."

It's Tuesday, 7:45. She's not here yet. 8 am. Not yet. 8:10. Serious? WTF? 8:13 the phone rings. "OMG, I am sooo sorry. My alarm didn't go off. I am coming over right now." 8:30 She finally gets her and apologizes. What can I do? I'm 45 minutes late for work at this point and still need her to watch my kid. So we'll deal with it later. I walk to the bus, and wait. Ten minutes pass and I get on the bus. At 9:30 I finally get to work. An hour late at this point but whatever.

I work. La te da. La la la. 4:30 I leave for the bus. Get to the bus stop. 4:40 La la la. See a bus. Nope. Not my bus. 4:45 my bus arrives, full, and doesn't stop to pickup or drop off any passengers. Hello CTA! I have to be home at 5 to show my new babysitter what a good example of a punctual person is. This whole bus crap isn't helping! I wave down a cab and pay $14 to get home. I arrive 5 minutes late. So much for the example.

Upon getting home, the sitter downloads Ada's day for me. All went well on day one. Baby is in one piece and alive so the sitter gets credit for that. Then I ask, "Are you usually late?" And she says, "Oh no. Never. It's just that the two times I've come to meet with you I was coming from my parents house in the suburbs and miscalculated traffic, and this morning I tried to use my alarm on my palm pilot for the first time and it was confusing..." So I made a few jabs and references to being on time and here by 7:45 for Wednesday and she assured me she wouldn't be late.

It's Wednesday. 7:45. She should be here but that would be a miracle. 7:50. Really? Not again please. 7:55 she pulls up and buzzes the door. Then she proceeds to ask if she needs to move her car because 1/4 of it is overlapping with the temporary loading zone. Ug. If she just would have gotten here at 7:45 like I told her to, there was a nice spot open right across the street. So I suggest she moves her car. But we don't see any spots so I suggest that we drag Ada outside in the car seat so I can set her on the sidewalk as I pull out of my spot to leave and she can take my spot and then bring Ada back inside.

As soon as we get outside, a prime spot opens up, but once the sitter starts to pull out, Joe Schmoe takes it. We do the car in/out switch and all is well with the world. (Mind you my car is covered in Mulberries as I parked under a Mulberry tree. Yuck!) I must digress here as my morning was kind of interesting. And to back up to Tuesday night, Rick and I sat down and did a cost analysis to see if it was worth it to take the bus vs. the car to work and surprisingly the car won. Yippee! I don't care for the bus and get motion sick if I read. Anyways... I'm driving my berry covered car to work while aggressively using the window wash and wipers to clean the gunk off the windshield as I go. Fifteen minutes later, I pull into my soon-to-be new daily parking lot--except the lot attendant isn't there. I debate leaving my car with a note, coming back later to check on it and paying the guy if I see him but don't want to chance it as towing fees are huge. So I circle for a meter. While circling, I almost run over a bicyclist. I was turning left at a stop light and he was oncoming through the light, I think he was hidden behind some traffic, and I was so worried about avoiding the orange scooter in oncoming traffic that I didn't see the bike until I was about 4 feet from him. I stopped knowing that I wasn't going to hit him but he freaked out and put his foot down and was so sure he was a pancake. He may have wet himself. Then he gave me the finger and rode away cursing me. I had the windows open in the car so I took that chance to yell back at him that he was in my blind spot and I stop four feet before hitting him, so there. Fifty feet later a guy on the local construction sight yelled "You almost hit that guy!" So I yelled back "He was in my blind spot and I still had four feet to go!" I wanted to yell "oh go shove it up your @$$! but I didn't." Of all people, I know how serious it is to watch for bikers. Another digression -- hang on -- my coworker just saw a biker get killed about 3 weeks ago by a car so that is still fresh on my mind, not to mention my first week in Chicago when I flipped a biker over my trunk while being stopped at a stop sign partially blocking the bike lane, I was stationary for that one, mind you. And I myself am a city biker and know how bad it is. Plus, I once got up in a biker's face for saying the F word to a kid on Michigan Ave that he almost ran over because he was going too fast and the kid wasn't watching the walk signal. I really let that guy have it.--So don't tell me that I'm an insensitive driver when it comes to bikers in the city. Whew... Okay. Back on track, which is still off track, but we're almost there. So I am looking for a parking spot and notice the cheap meters are open -- some are $.25 gives you 15 mins, some give you 30 mins. This was a 30 min. Yes! Lucky day. I missed the biker and get a good meter 1/2 a block from work. All is well. Then I notice throughout the day, after thinking I'm momentarily imagining things, that the meter really is eating every third quarter I feed it. But not consistently. Over the course of the day, the meter "accidentally" ate a random quarter here or there without giving me the 30 minutes for it. Whatever. Can't rain on my parade.

And we're back to the regularly scheduled program... It sounds like today went okay but Ada didn't take an afternoon nap and was pretty fussy. The sitter called at 3 for suggestions on how to calm her since she was out of ideas. I suggested milk and that may have worked a bit because it sounds like things got better. I got home (after checking on the guy across the street who just so happens to have had a car run over his foot because he was riding his bike on the sidewalk and she didn't stop soon enough - he was doing okay and headed to the ER for some x-rays) and Ada was famished and fussy but still alive, healthy and happy. So, I'm going to give the sitter another shot next week. Two more days to see how things go and after that, I don't know what I'll do. But I didn't know what I'd do when I pulled her from day care either.

Moral of the story: Boy scouts know what they are talking about when they say "Be prepared", otherwise you tend to look like an idiot. Have faith that things will work out in the end, they always do -- just not always how you'd like them to. And try your best to just go with the flow. You can't control the world so don't stress yourself out trying.