Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Always Go, Go, Go, Rush, Rush, Rush

As a mother who is the primary adult in charge of a little munchkin, it is my duty to make sure someone is always caring for and protecting my precious Ada.

That's great, fine, and dandy... until you really realize what all that entails.

Walking home from work today, briskly I must add, a thought hit me like an El train. Why am I always in such a hurry? Why am I always running late? Why am I stretched so thin and exhausted? And why are some of the most popular words in my vocabulary "Hurry up.", "Go, Go, Go!", "Quick like a bunny!", "Can you do that any faster?" and "Let's get a move on before we're too late."? Why the rush?

Partially to blame, I think, are my own parents. Impatience, you see, happens to run deep in my family gene pool. Growing up my mom's most popular phrase (okay, second only to "I love you") was "Quick, like a bunny!" but she didn't even pause for that comma that should follow the whole "Quick" part. It all ran together. And she is notoriously late. I can't remember her being early to anything, except maybe my wedding... which I'll come back to.

My dad is even more impatient. My mom knows she is going to late and just accepts it as fact, but tries to be on time. My dad, on the other hand, goes out of his way to get us all rounded up so that we are always early and have an extra half hour (fifteen minutes at the very least) in case we run out of gas or get a flat tire or have to stop to help an elderly person who has fallen and can't get up. His favorite phrase to get us moving was "Chop, chop, chip, chip, choop, choop." and was accompanied by a swirling movement of his hand with his pointer finger drawing imaginary circles in the ground at his feet.

I've never really psycho analysed it, or gave it any thought for that matter, until now.

This will make sense now that you know a bit about my parents...

My wedding (are you sitting down?) started EARLY.

No, really. I kid you not. I was crouching by the limo behind a bush in my wedding dress (hiding from the guests--who were still arriving and walking into the tent to be seated) when Dad's watch said it was time to go and he said, (here comes his third favorite phrase) "Let's get this show on the road." Followed shortly thereafter by "chop, chop, chip, chip, choop, choop". (His second favorite phrase is "Bring back the change." said in a stern, "I mean business" and "you'll never see another dime from me if I don't get back every penny you didn't spend going to the movies and getting ice cream with your friends" kind of way. He didn't care how much we spent, just wanted to make sure he was getting the leftover change.) I laugh about it now with friends who got lost on the way to our wedding and ended up standing up in the back of the tent and missed half of the ceremony parking the car (all twenty minutes of it or however short it really was). I must say, I've never been to a wedding that started on time (but Rick and I did show up to a wedding a week late and were slightly alarmed by the hearse in front of the church. I blame that on Rick reading the fancy wording on the invitation wrong. Whoops!)

Once you think about it, it's really quite clear why I rush from one thing to the next and am always in a hurry to get to tomorrow and check things off my lists and get Ada moving. That's what I'm programmed to do.

Sadly, with all of this rushing around like a crazy person, I'm still constantly late, and getting later, with an occassional early streak -- but I tend to care less these days about being late... especially now that I'm pregnant. But it doesn't surprise me that it takes my pregnant condition to actually force me to slow down a little bit. I don't sprint up the stairs to the El anymore. This morning I think I audibly said a naughty word as I slowly made my way up the stairs with other commuters sprinting to catch the train arriving at the station. Non-pregnant me could have made it with time to spare and get to my preferred train car. Pregnant me got to the platform five seconds after the doors closed, muttered another profanity under my breath as the trail pulled away and I went to sit on the bench to await the next one. Sitting there, I was presently surprised when I actually noticed the individual snow flakes that were sticking to my wool coat. They really are all different. How neat is that? I got to experience my own little moment of zen...which was ruined shortly thereafter by the arrival of the next train and my mistaken seat choice in which I sat next to a smoker who's scent lingered in the stuffy air, tempting me to swap seats (or even train cars) but I didn't want to be rude, and then it was too late, none were available. (I instead pulled up my scarf and suffered.)

The train took me to work, where I was again rushed by a deadline (oops, speaking of which, I'm supposed to be working on that right now. Darn pregnancy forgetfulness! I'll add that to my to do list. Crap. I have to make treats tonight too and it's already 9:09! I'll have to wrap this up. See, rushing again, darn it.) So work. Right. Deadline. Rush rush. At 2:30 I went to get lunch(finally), convincing myself that the longer walk to Subway would be worth the cookie I'd get with my sub versus no cookie from the place just across the street. Little did I know that they would forget to put the cookie in my bag, but charge me for it anyway, causing me to have a small fit at my desk upon realizing the mistake and then wasting the next five minutes writing emails to Rick and a friend to complain about my poor luck having not been able to eat much since having the stomach flu and now not being able to eat my "Fing cookie" as I referred to it, since it was still at the store. Not my best moment of the day.

I then continued to rush, rush, rush through my work to meet my morning deadline, or get closer to meeting it, and then looked at the clock to see that, crap, I was already going to be late to pick Ada up from the sitter's house. I dashed out of the office, gingerly approached the stairs to the El and, of course there was a train pulling into the station. Repeat of the morning El situation above. I waited for the next train, which was packed, and squeezed my way in. No one noticed my big belly so I stood. And I arrived at my stop two minutes before I had to get Ada, but I was still about 10 minutes away. No sense in rushing. I was already late. Tough luck. I'll vow to do better tomorrow.

And then, finally, once I got Ada and we started our walk home, what did I hear myself saying? "Go, go, go!" "Quick like a bunny!"(notice no comma pause) "Mommy's cold so get a move on!"

Moral of the story: Our parents have an enormous effect on our behaviors throughout life. If you really think about it, you might gain some insight into why you are the way you are and become more self aware of things you may, or may not, want to pass along to your children.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'm bringing clumsy back...

Justin Timberlake might have brought "sexy back", but I'm bringing clumsy back... in a big way.

I thought about keeping track of my clumsiness, just to prove a point...but then I realized that it would only depress me to know how bad it really is. This is what happens when I'm pregnant. Not only does my brain turn to mush such that when trying to tell Ada not to drop her doll in the toilet, I first call it the garbage, something else I now can't even remember, and finally get "potty" on the third try. Whew! Talk about needing to S-L-O-W D-O-W-N!

Even if I tried moving at a snail's pace, I don't think it would be of much help. Not even five minutes ago, I had a near miss between my elbow and my water glass--which is now permanently plastic whenever I am at home or at work due to my breaking 2 glasses last pregnancy (one at each place)--lucky for me this time, it just teetered and didn't topple. I wasn't so fortunate two nights ago when I knocked over the glass next to our bed with my pillow, or the day before that when I kicked it while trying to move Ada to the couch(that's what I get for putting it on the floor - I know), or the night before that when I, again, decided the top of my dresser--and what the heck, the whole wall and floorspace behind it--needed a nice dusting/cleaning/scrub down just before we tucked in for the night. Surely I'm just getting warmed up. I mean, I still have 22 weeks before this baby is born. Last pregnancy was so bad that a co-worker bought me a sippy cup for Christmas and I had a full roll of paper towels on constant guard at my desk. Beyond ridiculous.

And for some reason that is completely beyond me, pregnant or not, I can't seem to figure out how to stay focused on the refrigerator in-door water dispenser long enough to pay attention to when it is nearing the cup's full point and remove the glass from the door. Nine times out of ten (I kid you not) it overflows onto the floor. It's such a habit now that I just laugh and have a dishtowel permanently placed at the foot of the refrigerator. Sad. Poor Rick still puts up with me even though it drives him INSANE. Hey, at least that one kitchen floor tile is constantly clean, right?

And it isn't just water. Two nights ago I spilled a bowl of dry (thank goodness) cheerios all over the hallway when I was trying to balance them on an empty soup bowl, with a water glass in the other hand. I would have been fine had I not then used the hand balancing the cheerios to attempt to turn on the hall light. Damn multi-tasking and trying to be efficient! I then went on to curse Rick (sorry honey) for not noticing that I'm a total and complete nutcase, incapable of balancing all of these things and he should pay more attention to what he can carry back to the kitchen from the living room in an attempt to save my sanity. Sad part is, it's really only about 30 feet between the two rooms, if that. Not sure how "efficient" I really am, especially if you calculate in all of the spills I've had and the clean up time. Surely I'm negative overall.

Then there are all of the new bruises that just happen to appear when I'm pregnant. I run into doors, door handles, walls, door frames, bed frames, coffee tables, counter tops, and dining room tables. I hit myself with the car door, the front door, and the bathroom door (it's a small bathroom and the damn diaper laundry bin limits its range of motion, so there!). Either my hips widen (which I really don't think is the case) or my brain just shorts out (much more likely). And this time there is the Ada factor. So far this morning I've received a puffy lip, several blows to the face, chest, and abdomen, and surely others that I can't even remember. She doesn't quite have control of her body and, while we try to teach her not to hit, she's still learning and most of it is accidental. But put the two of us together and you've got trouble.

And why is it that she insists on scooting all the way back whenever she sits on my lap? She tries to sit, literally, on top of my belly and then slides down to my lap. That doesn't feel so good. It's like she can't get close enough so she just goes back as far as possible and hopes she ends up with a comfy seat.

Needless to say, I've got a long 22 weeks ahead of me. But at least I can take credit for making clumsy cool again -- or I can try.

Moral of the story: Pregnancy does all sorts of weird things to your body that you just have to adjust to. Slow down. Relax. Learn to laugh it off and accept that yes, you are crazy--but that's normal.

Friday, January 22, 2010

The 24 Hour Bug

It's finally here. We've been fearing it all winter and it finally arrived. Ada caught a 24 hour flu bug and it hit her yesterday afternoon. Talk about a rough 24 hours for the poor kid, not to mention tough on us (and our plans for the weekend now that we are contagious and awaiting the full-blown cootie invasion ourselves). Gesh.

We've done eight loads of laundry. Changed the sheets on our bed, her bed, her bed again. Covered the couch in blankets, towels, more blankets and more towels. Wiped up the floor in the kitchen, the floor in the hallway, the floor in the bathroom and the floor tiles in her room all due to messes caused by (what I call) the stomach flu. I've changed shirts and pants more times than I can count, both hers and mine, and finally took a nice cleansing shower at 10:30 last night when I was so covered in yuck I couldn't bear it any longer. Luckily, I suggested Rick change out of his work clothes, including his new dress pants, prior to tagging in for some Ada cuddles after work. Shortly after he changed, she begged for "wa-wa" and he succumbed to her whines, being careful not to let her have too much. But after awhile, she had worked him down and "not too much" became "more than enough" when it ended up all over him, his pants, and the couch--which got nailed three or four times even with all of the blankets and towels we could find to cover it and ourselves (Next time I'm getting garbage bags or a plastic drop cloth).

After changing her outfit three times in the first hour, I decided our house heaters, and her temperature, made it okay for her to don a diaper and a blanket or towel as needed. At one point, we had barely pulled the towels out of the dryer in time for her and Rick to dry off after her second shower of the night.

You know it's bad when, after draining the tub and wrapping her in a towel, she curls into the fetal position while still in the tub and hunkers down as if for the rest of the night. That was my sign that she desperately needed some rest and was too tired for me to even bother with a diaper at that point. She was so dehydrated that the diaper wasn't going to do any good and I knew she'd be up in three hours anyway.

I highly recommend you have a "tag team" system in place for sick kid days. I, once again, have no clue how I would have handled it all without Rick. Between running up and down the stairs for laundry, across the street to pick up dinner and, later on, shakes. Lifting Ada up and down out of the crib, off the couch, into the tub, out of the tub, into our bed, out of our bed. And then there is the whole task of waking up in the middle of the night with her. Rick got the first two times as I was a worthless lump in the bed at that point. I got the early morning wake up call at 6 am, which turned into me being the "wa-wa" sucker and having it come back to get me, literally, half-an-hour later in the form of a mess on the kitchen floor.

So if you want to see your heart break, just spend time with, or even look at, a sick child who doesn't understand why her little body is expelling a bunch of crud from her tummy. She just doesn't understand yet. All energy is drained and she can't understand why you won't give her water, even when she asks politely. It's awful.

On the bright side, I learned a few more tricks to add to my Mommy-arsenal.
1. Cover large areas with bath towels - or even beach towels if you get desperate- and then layer them with smaller hand towels, cloth diapers, or burp cloths that are easier to wash and replace.

2. When your child is demanding water, give them a few sips and then rub a piece of ice on their lips. Wrap the ice in a thin washcloth or a handkerchief and let them suck on it.

3. Consider raising the heat or just keep them covered so you don't have to wash their clothes every five seconds. Turns out that sick kids hate being dressed and undressed.

4. Have a lot of blankets and backup bed sheets on hand whenever possible, just in case.

5. When in doubt, just keep feeding movies into the DVD player while snuggling on the couch. Ada highly recommends Finding Nemo, Cars, and Toy Story 1 and 2.

Moral of the story: Sick sucks. Call in backup for help with mess reduction and pull out your patience reserves. You're going to need them... and a nap.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Path to Potty Training

We are one step closer. Ada can now say "Poop" and "Pee". She can't tell us when she needs to do either, but that's something we are working toward. She also can't tell me when she has a poopy diaper, which would have been REALLY helpful this week when I made her walk home from Alison's house after work. She normally enjoys the walk as it tends to be uneventful. This time she was screaming her head off and wanting to be carried. I'm not carrying her (or at least trying my best not to) at this point since she's 35 lbs and I'm 17 weeks pregnant--not a good combination.

What I thought was her whining in order to be carried, later turned out to be her screaming at me because her poopy diaper was causing a rash on her leg due to it's acidic content. Oops! Bad mom points for me. At least now I'll know for next time.

On a positive note, she does like to sit on the potty. She also likes to play a game where she sits down on the potty, then stands up, then sits down, then stands up, all the while laughing. I take that as a good sign since she seems to like the potty. Now if only we could get her to connect the idea that the poop and pee go into the potty, we'd be all set. Wish us luck with that.

Moral of the story: If your kid is screaming at you, it's a good idea to check their diaper before assuming the are just being needy.

Prenatal Yoga

This past Monday I started doing prenatal yoga with a group of moms who happen to mostly be due around the same time as me, or within about a month. I've found it to be quite a challenge to sign up for a prenatal yoga class in the city that meets at a time that works with my schedule and is easy to get to. The one I finally found happens to meet at an infertility center. It shouldn't have been a surprise to learn that out of the nine pregnant women in the room, four were having twins. Yes. That means 13 babies for 9 mommies. And one of the women is due a day after me. And two moms having twins are best friends and due within a week of each other. Bizarre, I know.

So now I'm a little sore, and a bit more relaxed, and excited to go back since it is a good group of moms and I really enjoy the instructor. I just hope that this time, when I come home all relaxed and rejuvenated from a nice yoga session, we don't have to go to the ER to get anything removed from Ada's nose.

Moral of the story: Yoga when pregnant is good for the mind, body, and soul, not to mention the calming effect it has on stress levels and there is that tiny benefit of focused breathing practice which comes in handy during labor. All around, good stuff. (Did I mention we get a cookie at the end of class?)

The Compact Update

So far so good. I'm halfway through January and I haven't bought anything I don't need that isn't part of the Compact. I've been very tempted by the fancy store windows as I walk by, but continue to resist. My most recent struggle is what to get a 5-year-old for his upcoming birthday. I'm likely going to get a gift certificate to the local ice-cream shoppe since that counts as food, supports a local business, and will encourage him to get out of the house for walks with his mom and new baby sister due in late May.

In response to comments made by my bookclub, I have cancelled my subscription to the Chicago Tribune which was delivered three or four days a week. I don't read it and it just ends up being recycled. I originally got it for the Sunday coupons but now that I'm trying to eat better, it's doubtful that I'll save much money with those coupons since they really tend to be for products we don't buy. Hopefully we'll save since we won't be paying for the paper, and we won't be buying products just because we have the coupon. That's the goal. And we'll have to drop off the recycling less often since we will have 3 less newspapers a week filling our paper bin. Nice.

I've also unsubscribed from about a dozen shopping sites that have been bombarding me with discounts and product newsletters. Less email makes me happy and less temptation is always good for my budget. But... I just got a $10 gift certificate for a yarn store in the loop for any $25 purchase and I have to say... I didn't delete it. Yarn and craft supplies are the number one most likely item to make me stray from the compact. But, I have a good supply saved up - more than I can possibly use this year- so I just have to be strong and work with what I've got.

It helps to put everything into perspective when you see the massive destruction in Haiti right now. I'm thankful for the safety of my family and friends, and to have what material things I do possess including a warm home.

Moral of the story: The Compact is more than just reducing your consumption. It provokes thought and consciousness about what you're using and why. A brilliant mental excercise.

Crayon on the Couch

So not only did Ada stick peas up her nose on Rick's watch this week, but she also got crayon on the couch cushion. How do you get that out? No, seriously, I'm asking. I don't know how. I'm assuming I start with a paper towel and a blow dryer so I can heat the wax and absorb it with the towel. But that's just a guess. I'm assuming it is sort of like candle wax.

Either Rick has been slightly pre-occupied or Ada's just giving him a dose of the terrible twos. At least it is only a 4 inch mark and we have a durable couch fabric that resists most stains. That's my task for this weekend.

Moral of the story: If it can leave a mark (or fit up a nose or in an ear), keep it out of reach of your two-year-old or don't let it out of your sight.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The $100 Pea

First off, Ada's fine.

That's a rule in my house that has been passed down from my mom. As long as you tell her her kids are okay, she'll listen to you. And if you are a police officer at the front door, she'll drill you until it is clear her children and husband are fine, then let you talk. So, Ada's fine...


At dinner Monday night while I was out enjoying pre-natal yoga and Dad was on duty, Ada stuck several peas up her nose. "Several" being 6 6hat we know of. Rick removed five. He thinks she re-inserted two when he wasn't looking, and one is still there. I came home to find Ada watching a movie, the couch cushions on the floor with it's covers removed, and a husband saying "Ada's fine...but..."

Not only did she stick peas up her nose- and a carrot, she also had loose stools that caused not one, but two accidents. Rick just happened to put her on his lap or pick her up both times, resulting in his need to change clothes twice as well. Ada beats him for the most wardrobe changes since her shirt got wet when Rick splashed water in her eyes to try to get the pepper out of them. He was using the pepper near her nose to try to make her sneeze the pea out, but it somehow ended up in her eye and, well, that didn't go so well either.

I got to call our Doctoress who recommended the ER--it's 8;30 pm mind you. She was worried about the wet environment of the nose. If it was her ear, she could wait until morning. So, off to the ER. I got to wear one of those attractive face masks since I'm pregnant and it's flu season. Yeah. Ada thought that was awesome. The ER doctoress tried to remove the pea with no luck. She called an Ear Nose & Throat specialist who said to leave it alone and see him in the morning. "As long as it isn't a battery, and she's breathing fine, it can stay in there overnight." Too bad that wasn't our doctoress' advice or we'd still have our $100 copay.

So, we came home hoping that the pea would fall out overnight and prevent us from having to see the ENT in Skokie and scheduling a "surgery" to have it removed on Friday. Lucky for us all, while changing her this morning, the pea fell out of her pajamas and onto the bathroom floor. Yeah!

Now we just have to keep her from having a repeat performance.

Moral of the story: Kids stick stuff up their noses. As long as it isn't a battery and they can still breath and act normally, it probably isn't an emergency.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Resolution and Pregnancy Update

So tired. Oh so tired. Just want to nap.

This will be short since Ada just went down for a nap, which means it is time for me to nap too.

New Year's Resolutions:
So far, it's 8 days into the new year and I haven't bought anything except food. And I'm reusing what I've got. And I have an appointment to pick up some quilting fabric I am getting from a fellow freecycler so the compact is in tact. -Albeit my book club is a bit concerned that I have gone crazy because the whole idea of not buying anything new for a year just blows them away. It made for a really great discussion this past week though --which was needed since Up In The Air by Walter Kirn left much to be desired.

Monday was a cooking marathon. I went to Costco and learned how to shop Costco and find good deals on whole wheat pasta, organic canned tomatoes, and even bought some quinoa. We then chopped, diced, and sauteed, and I learned to make a mirepoix to create a yummy pasta and bean soup. And we cooked up the quinoa and added some beans, tomato, avocado, hard-boiled eggs and a vinaigrette to make a delicious lunch salad. So yummy. Then we reorganized my kitchen cabinets to make my pantry more efficient and accessible. Love it. And Sarah even emailed me a homework assignment using all of the contents in my pantry to make a black bean soup. I hope to get to that tonight or tomorrow. Then we'll be back at it Monday with Spaghetti Bologonese.

and the pregnancy update...
Little to report. I'm getting bigger. Now moved into my maternity wardrobe. Tired. Having the weirdest dreams, so much so that I'm wondering if I ever accidentally did acid at some point in time or, if anyone has ever studied the similarities between hormones during pregnancy and chemicals in the brain induced by drugs. (Seriously, a big brown bear bit me in my parents front yard. Ada and Eva got kidnapped. And I can't tell you how many times I've been attacked, chased, or otherwise pursued. SO beyond weird.) Picky about what I'm eating. Repulsed by smells. And my favorite... unable to complete thoughts, finish sentences, or come up with common words like "dishwasher" "basket" or "door". It's awesome. Did I mention the headaches? Yeah. I've had several hangovers without having touched a drop of alcohol in my pregnancy... and yes, I'm hydrating.

Moral of the story: All is well and I'm too busy living life in the new year (and napping) to write about it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Now available in a Book

For those of you who follow my blog, my father insisted that I compile it all into a book. (He's also insisting I hand deliver it to Oprah at Harpo Studios but I know they have MANY levels of security preventing such silliness so that's out of the question.)

So here it is. Volume 1 is available featuring Ada's first year, minus the 3 months it took me to realize I should blog about all of this mom stuff. Volume 2 will be available shortly.

It's a softcover book. Rick designed the cover - and accidentally left my brother out of the photo montage so we'll be paying for that for the next decade... oh well. :)


Feel free to pass it on to friends who are expecting or just had their first child, or who are considering procreating. This just might scare them silly. It could be a great contraceptive if needed as well.

Thanks to all for your support. (and sorry for any typos. i'm my own editor and my grammer ain't the best.)