Friday, March 26, 2010

Ada's Airport Adventure

Last weekend, I took Ada to the airport so I could fly to Minneapolis for Cadence's bachelorette party and she could go to grandma's house for the weekend. My in-laws were kind enough to meet me at O'hare to make the trade and it worked perfectly. When Ada saw them, she lit up and emitted high pitched squeals of joy. That made it so much easier for me to leave her for a weekend. That, and I really needed a break.

I thought I was getting a break but instead, I was up until one am on Friday morning, and then two am on Saturday morning. Cadence knows how to keep me going and after eight hours of shopping, wedding errands, long and delicious dinners, and a bachelorette dinner, drinks (water for me) and dancing, I was whipped. She did let me take a nap on Saturday and Sunday, thankfully. At least I didn't have to change any diapers.

I must admit that I did miss Ada and Rick while I was gone. It's hard not to when you spend so much of your time tethered to your child. It was so great to see them at the airport. I found them hanging out in the baggage claim area having a grand ol' time. Ada, in her light pink waffle fabric, tight fitting pajamas with white polka dots and her pink winter boots was quite a sight to see. She had the best time waiting for me as Rick entertained her with the stairs, escalators, and moving walkways that serve the baggage claim area. That running hug and scream of joy with outstretched arms is the best feeling ever after being squished onto a plane, in a seat that barely is wide enough for your hips, and even worse when you are a row from the back and pregnant.

Moral of the story: It's good to get away from the monotony of life if even just for a little bit, so that you can come back refreshed and more appreciative of what you've got.

The Compact Update

Another month of The Compact almost complete. My friend Amanda just made me buy covers for the knobs on our stove so Ada doesn't blow up the house. I consider them a necessity and an insurance policy more than a splurge so I don't think they break the intention of The Compact at all. If they do, again, I just say Rick bought them.

My biggest temptation of the month was at Costco of all places. They had the New Moon -Twilight Saga DVD that was just released for $17. I just saw it again today at Blockbuster for $27. But I resisted and hope to buy it once it goes into the "previously viewed" bin. Otherwise, Rick might just have to get it for me for my birthday or something. Maybe I can download it online instead of buying the DVD. I'm so addicted to the whole Twilight series it is kind of ridiculous. Oh well. There are worse guilty pleasures.

Victoria's Secret has also been tempting me with their Free Panty offers. I have been meaning to give them to friends but instead just have been letting them expire. It is really hard for me to pass up a free deal but I don't really need them and don't need to be tempted in that store anyway.

A visit to Minneapolis last weekend included a trip to Nordstroms, the Mall of America and a fabric store. Absolute torture, but again, I resisted. I bought an ice cream cone while my friend Cadence bought wedding shoes and other wedding essentials. It really wasn't so hard not to shop since I'm pregnant and only had a tiny suitcase with me.

My challenge now includes what to wear to Cadence's wedding in a month. A book club friend loaned me two dresses and another offered me access to her closet to see what will fit. Cadence gave me three tops she had in a goodwill pile and a purple scarf that I'm enjoying. So I'm good on clothes for the most part. My friend Alison also just returned the last of my maternity clothes so I have a few more items to chose from in my daily struggle to get dressed.

And in a random search on the Internet for "reclaimed fabric", I was inspired by a craft website that showed several projects made from vintage sheets and old jeans. I'm hoping to get to go shopping this weekend for some fun fabrics so I can make baby gifts for friends. I have a backlog of baby gifts to work on and so getting a few more fabrics would be super helpful, or at least researching ideas for what I can make with the fabric I do have.

Mason jars to hold all of the new foods in my pantry has been the other issue. My mother-in-law gave me a few smaller jars for jelly that have come in very handy for spices and seeds. And a free-cycler just offered me her husband's collection of Nescafe jars with plastic lids so I hope to pick those up this weekend as well.

I've spent a mint on food this month, and stocking up at Costco on dried fruits, grains, and canned goods helped that bill mount quickly. But I think I can spread that over the next few months as these bulk items should last us quite some time. It's a great time to be learning how to cook and pregnant since I can spend on food and save on clothes.

April is the Sycamore kids clothing community garage sale at the school so it is my opportunity to get anything we need for Ada for the summer. And maybe a few things for baby boy in the belly too... I doubt that though. He already has a ton of stuff. We'll see.

Moral of the story: Month three of the compact wasn't so bad. And surely I've saved more money and a ton of time, and become even more creative than before.

Less Easily Embarassed

One thing I hate about pregnancy is the resulting incontinence. It's common among women and all doctors recommend doing kegels, kegels, and more kegels to strengthen the pelvic floor and prevent leaks. Nobody tells you these things until after you get pregnant and it is too late to go back. It wasn't bad during the first pregnancy, but I don't think I did enough kegels between pregnancies (Bad Amanda!) so I'm paying for it now.

With so much pressure on my tiny bladder, each cough or sneeze could cause a little leak. It used to be that I'd laugh so hard I'd pee. I wish that was the case and someday I'll get back to that point. Until then, you might notice that I cross my legs and pray that I've remembered to go to the bathroom recently each time I cough or sneeze. Poor Rick tries his best not to laugh at me, and I try not to cry or yell at him because it is funny...but in a sad way, not a ha ha way.

Some days I change underwear three or four times a day. Most days I don't have any problems at all. But if my allergies are acting up or I catch a cold, watch out.

Two weeks ago, we were walking back from a nice dinner out as a family and I happened to sneeze on the walk home. A big sneeze on a full bladder. Thankfully I was wearing black pants and only four blocks from home. That was by far the worst of it.

That episode encouraged me to now carry a backup pair of underwear in my purse. It happened to coincide with my recent trip to Minneapolis and it is always wise to travel with a change of underwear handy in case you lose your luggage. I learned that the hard way in Germany and went underwear shopping for both Rick and I within a few hours of landing. Not how you want to start a trip.

So now I carry nude underwear in my purse. It's just part of my normal purse contents. I think nothing of it. Or I thought nothing of it until we were at Costco this past Monday and Ada was sitting in the cart as I strolled through the frozen foods section. La la la. "What do you have there Ada?" I notice that she's managed to get into my purse in the seat next to her and pull out a pen and, of course, my nude underwear. Pre-Ada, I might have been slightly embarrassed. Post-Ada, it didn't even phase me. I quietly chuckled under my breath and stuffed them back into my purse... and zipped it up this time.

Moral of the story: Things you once found embarrassing, just aren't as bad once you've been exposed to a dozen people during labor and delivery. One of the many perks of having a child.

The Uncomfortable Phase

There are several phases of pregnancy. I have just entered that which I like to call the Uncomfortable Phase. My belly is significant. My body is stretching and sore. I'm not sleeping very well so I'm tired. My diet is super sensitive and still causes a good deal of heartburn when I eat poorly. I barely fit in a plane seat (and I'm not even big! What about big people? How do they do it?). Crossing my legs causes all sorts of trouble. My legs fall asleep when I sit for too long. Bending forward tends to make the belly mad. And I can't stay out late--not that I really ever could. My bladder has shrunk to nothing, and I tend to leak when I sneeze or cough. Ug.

Then there is the whole issue of the baby kicking me. A friend said it is like having a bag of microwave popcorn in your stomach for a few months. I agree. He is SO active. With Ada, it was so new and exciting, and I didn't notice the movements as much or until later on in the pregnancy. Now it is much more noticeable and annoying when I'm trying to get some sleep. I think first pregnancies are all so new and exciting and unknown that they are less annoying. I feel bad saying that this pregnancy is annoying, but it kind of is. It just isn't as easy. And I'm impatient and just want to fast forward to the whole part where I have the baby and we live happily ever after.

I will say that, today, holding my friend Alison's newborn daughter Ella, I was again reminded of why I've chosen to have a second child and go through this Uncomfortable Phase. I'm doing it for that little noise a baby makes when they sleep. That "ahhh, ahhh, ahhh" breathing noise. I vowed today that I will record it and save it forever and always. It is the most beautiful sound in the world to me. So calming and reassuring. Seeing her baby puts things in perspective. And it was nice to see Ada sitting there with baby Ella in the Boppy on her lap. Ada was good about being gentle with her and she pointed out Ella's eyes, ears and nose. She messed up her hair and touched her feet, but all in a loving and tender way. I think most parents fear their kids will reject the new baby and get violent so it was nice to see that Ada's first reaction to Ella was positive.

Moral of the story: It is hard work being pregnant. Find something positive to focus on to make it all worthwhile. I suggest that little "ahhh" noise a baby makes, and the peaceful faces they make when they sleep. That does it for me.

House Go Boom!

How do you explain to a two-year-old that they are NOT to touch the knobs on the front of the stove due to the threat of a gas leak that could cause the house to explode? I tried today but don't think Ada really understood. This all came just minutes before we left the house for day care and I just happened to be standing at the stove packing my lunch when I smelled gas and noticed the right back burner knob was turned on to low with no flame. Luckily I saw it, turned it off and opened the back door for a few minutes to air out the house before we had to leave. I also left the bathroom window cracked open an inch for the day to air things out, just in case.

Once I got to work, I realized just how dangerous her little knob turning incident was when my neighbor Kelly called to tell me that she and two other neighbors smelled gas in the hallway this morning. I quickly fessed up via email to calm all of my neighbors' fears -- or ignite them knowing that they have a two-year-old pyro living in their building. I did let them know to always check my stove first if they smell it in the future and I'm willing to give them all a set of keys to our unit, if that helps at all. Yikes!

I tend to think I'm good about keeping the knobs off when we aren't cooking, but in my exhaustion following my 6 hour grocery shopping and cooking marathon on Monday, I must have forgotten to remove the knobs. Talk about a lucky break. And now I want to just punch the person who designed my stove in the face and tell him or her and their design team that they are a bunch of idiots. I'm just glad I'm not responsible for buying the stove new because then I'd just have myself to blame.

Moral of the story: Don't buy a stove with ignitor knobs that can be easily turned on by a child. Invest in safety features to prevent them from accidentally being turned on. And be sure to check them often, and first whenever you smell gas... or just get an electric stove.

First Cookies, Now Brownies, What Next?

I'm learning how to cook this year. Some days are better than others. I am not however, learning to bake. I feel like I know how to bake and do pretty well as long as I follow directions. And I'm proud to say I'm the only person in my family that can make my grandmother's divinity, which shocks even me since that's a candy and way above my level of expertise. I'm getting to a point where I don't think I should be allowed to bake when I am pregnant because I am just too distracted or forgetful. I don't know how baking is any different from cooking per say, but that distinction seems to be relevant for some untold reason.

For example, I'm always craving chocolate chip cookies. I made them a few months back and accidentally put in a whole stick of butter instead of half a stick and they came out flat and greasy, but still kind of good. Rick made a batch to make me feel better and, of course, they were perfect and fit to be sold at a bakery. He disgusts me. In my attempt three weeks ago I was determined not to foul them up...but I also wanted to get them cooked quickly so I could eat them since I'm doing my best not to eat the dough containing raw egg (raw egg = bad for baby). In my rush, I put the pans in the oven side by side and, according to my brilliant husband, caused all of the oven's heat to be trapped below the pans, thereby causing ALL of the cookies to burn on the bottom. I then proceeded to make my husband bake the second batch of that evening. Do you see the pattern here?

Last night, again, I gave in to my weakness and baked a batch of brownies. Triple Chocolate Ghirardelli brownies actually. Brownies happen to take much longer to cook-- 50 minutes versus less than ten for cookies-- and thereby make me even more impatient. Unfortunately, I forgot to add the egg to the brownie mix this time (Yes, I know it only needs three ingredients added to the mix--water, oil, and an egg--I just got distracted) and when Rick pulled them out of the oven as the buzzer went off, he looked at me like "How can you really screw up box brownies?" My response, "So the egg is important, huh." It isn't surprising that the second batch didn't come out until 10pm and I gave in to the temptation of the brownie mix -- raw egg and all this time -- before the brownies were done. Yeah, I admit I felt some guilt, but it was delicious. Then I forced myself to eat the first brownie when they came out even though I was headed to bed and had quenched my craving with the raw mix and some of the ruined egg-less pile of oily brownie mush that was the first attempt. Sad. So sad.

Moral of the story: Cravings while pregnant can lead to poorly executed cooking attempts. Be sure to have twice the ingredients a recipe calls for to prevent late night emergency grocery runs, and complete mommy meltdowns.

Tantrums in the City

The worst part about Ada acting up and getting fussy in the city is the number of people around to witness it. The population here is so much more dense that chances are, you aren't going to have a fussy spell go unnoticed. It's hard enough being embarrassed by your child as they scream in the middle of a restaurant or on the sidewalk, but it's even worse when you have, what feels like, a million people watching you.

After the tantrum Ada just threw at our neighborhood Noodles and Company, I feel like I need to go back in and apologize to all of their patrons for ruining their lunch atmosphere. She used to be so good about sitting quietly and eating her lunch. She would use the fork and drop her mac and cheese onto her lap occasionally but it was okay and manageable. In the beginning, she would feed herself almost the whole meal and have me load up the fork for the last few bites. Each time we've gone since, the time she feeds herself has gotten shorter and the time I have to load her fork for her, longer. Today that translated into her taking four bites herself and then passing the fork to me. Being the mom who wants to foster independence in her child, and who wants to eat her own food at some point within the next hour, this didn't bode well with me. When Ada passed me her fork, I passed it back to her and encouraged her to eat her food. She started to cry, loudly. I took her food away and she cried even more. Then I offered it to her to try again, and she still cried. We repeated this process again with no luck. At that point, in a public place, I just give up. It was time to pack it up to go and deal with her at home. In comes the calm breathing techniques I practice at yoga. Very handy for staying calm as I packed up our lunch.

On the way out, with her screams echoing throughout the restaurant, I got a few sympathy looks, but I think most people tend to side with Ada and give you the stink eye as in, "What did you do to that adorable child to make her so sad? You must be a mean mommy." I find myself wanting to explain that it isn't my fault, or at least I hope it isn't something I'm doing wrong, but there is never time for that and it is really none of their business. Her screams were so embarrassing that I no longer have any desire to take her back to Noodles until she is old enough to eat the whole plate of food on her own, with her fork. So for now, I have to live in a sheltered box and can't take my daughter out in public for fear that she just can't behave. That's the phase we've entered. It's awesome.

Luckily, I have hope. My friend Jen just happened to give me an extra copy of The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Can anyone guess what I'll be reading this weekend?

My goals for the next few weeks are to figure out solutions to many of Ada's most recent fussy triggers including:

Diaper Changes -
She won't sit down for them anymore and fights them like crazy. Diaper rash could be causing an association with painful diaper changes? Or maybe she's allergic to the wipes they use at daycare and they sting?

Getting Dressed -
She hates taking her shirts off and putting a new one back on. Maybe because her noggin gets caught in the neck of the shirt and she hates being stuck? We've tried taking them off more slowly and doing one arm at a time. Now I'm going to try putting her in polo style shirts that have a few neck buttons to make that process easier.

Hand Washing -
This is a new challenge. Maybe the water was too hot at some point and now she fears being burned? I can't get her to put her hands under the faucet on her own.

Coming into the House -
When we get to the front porch, the crying starts and continues all the way up the steps, through both vestibule doors and into the house. She is either exhausted and cranky from all of the fun we had while we were out or doesn't want the fun to end. I just want the whining to end.

I think that's enough to start with. We'll just have to see how it goes, maybe set up a meeting with her day care providers to see if they have ideas or notice similar issues, and take it one day at a time. In the meantime, I'm just going to keep eating cookies and brownies to cope since that's what the little boy in my belly is telling me to do, and I tend to agree with him a lot these days.

Moral of the story: Your child can't always be an angel, but you can keep trying and hopefully prevent them from becoming too much of a devil.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Amazing, Powerful Photographs

When you have a free moment, check out this website. This photographer, Chris Jordan, tries to depict the vastness of the impact of the way we live. It's a bit like Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth, with less harping and more evidence.

Intolerable Beauty is my favorite, but each is moving.

Enjoy. Recycle. Be cognizant of what you consume.


Monday, March 15, 2010

The Longest Week Ever

Ada survived day care week two.

I almost killed Rick on Wednesday though...

You see, Rick dropped Ada off at day care in the car since he was driving to a client meeting, and he forgot that I'd be walking Ada home so he didn't leave a stroller at day care for me to do so. I easily could have made the same mistake so I wasn't so much mad at Rick but at the fact that it is six blocks between our house and day care and at the end of the day there is no energy left in Ada's little body to make the trek home on her own. At five months pregnant, with her being 35 pounds and me having herniated discs in my neck, carrying her is NOT an option. I've never wanted to hire a stranger to carry her home so badly in my life (or hers).

In an effort to break up the walk, I decided to take her three blocks to dinner and then four blocks home. That might have worked well but... the ladies at daycare didn't notice her bag on her hook at nap time (her hook changed at some point this week so there was some confusion) which contained our new strategy to encourage Ada to take naps. The bag held not one, but two secret weapons: her bug blanket and her stuffed piggy. Without these comfort measures on her cot, there was no way she was going to nap.

Result: I picked up a cranky, unrested, hungry, exhausted child, with no stroller, six blocks from home.

We started toward the restaurant and encountered a series of fits. She hollered and cried as I tried to sing and encourage her. She'd cut me off and say "up, up" with outstretched arms. I'd crouch down to her level to explain yet again how I can't carry her and it was just a little further. People were staring, their eyes burning me with feelings of judgement as my daughter goes screaming down the sidewalk as I pull her along. After two blocks, I potato sack her over my shoulder hoping that is a low stress way to carry her since putting her on my hip only works for about four or five steps and makes we worry about hurting the baby in the belly. I made it about twenty steps to the corner and put her back down to be distracted by the sliding doors at Walgreens. We eventually made it to the restaurant, ordered dinner, and went to the bathroom to wash up. She cried while I ordered and paid and a nice employee tried to entertain her with a page of stickers and paper but she wasn't having it. She was too crabby by that point and there was no turning back. Once at the table I went to get water and get settled into a booth. Somehow, over a distance of about eight feet, Ada managed to clobber her jaw against the corner of a table and got a bruise on her jawline, causing even more of a scene as she cried from real pain. She was fine during dinner, but the walk home was pretty bad. Again, I had random people stopping to tell her not to cry. She threw a good size tantrum on the sidewalk at one point. And finally I found a trick that worked and motivated her. A new game I call "Do you see a puppy? Let's go find a puppy!" She still broke down every half block since the dogs out being walked were all hiding within a block of our house but it finally paid off once we got to that block and she got to pet four dogs within 100 feet. And I got to commiserate with parents strolling down the street with two infants hoping their children wouldn't throw street tantrums like Ada. I just looked at them and said "Naps are your friend, and strollers are a must."

Moral of the story: ALWAYS have a stroller, or someone--preferably that you know-- who can carry your child a decent distance, with you at all times. Consider keeping an umbrella stroller in the trunk of the car for bad parking days too.

Break Down #2

There was a lot of rain in the forecast last week but that had nothing to do with Friday's flood.

Sometimes, when you are a parent, especially a pregnant, hormonal parent, you just get overwhelmed. Friday was one of those days.

For starters, I'm not sleeping for about two hours right around four in the morning each day. I've got a cold, with an occasional cough, a small bladder that interrupts my sleep with frequent bathroom visits during the night, and my diet is still wonky which tends to result in four am heartburn-like symptoms.

Combine all of that with Rick working crazy hours on deadline after deadline and being stressed out at his work with me not having Internet access for a week and trying to get my work done when I'm short on hours and trying to meet a deadline of my own.

Then you pile on Ada's adjustment to her second week of day care and her new found ability to be sassy and test my limits, with my impatience and short fuse and what do you get?


A full on meltdown when the AT&T technician calls to say they want to set up a courtesy appointment to check the Internet jack when they come to install our "dry loop" on Monday after they clearly PROMISED me I would have an Internet connection by midnight on Friday (after promising it would be by Wednesday morning originally). Can this big American corporation be more out of touch with its customers? Or any worse with customer service? I think not.

So what did I do after learning I wouldn't have Internet until Monday? I called Rick. I vented terribly, frequently using swear words I'm sworn off of now that I'm a responsible adult and parent, surely sending my blood pressure to the moon and causing my child-in-utero to think his momma has completely lost it, and then I started crying. And boy did it feel good. Poor Rick just listened and probably feared for Ada's well being as I was clearly having an unstable moment as she was mashing a sticky apple wedge all over the couch and coffee table. It was AWESOME!

Thankfully, when you have a crazy mom meltdown in front of your two-year-old, her response is to try to cheer you up because she doesn't understand why you are sobbing uncontrollably but wants it to stop so the focus will again be on her. Once I wiped the apple of the couch, table and her face and hands, she was actually quite funny and made me laugh a few chuckles... but... as soon as my tears were dry, she went right back to being sassy by refusing to get her diaper changed or to settle down for a nap. All she wanted to do was play. All I wanted to do was scream.

Moral of the story: When tough days happen, have faith that tomorrow will be a better day.

Death of the Home Phone

We finally did it.

We cancelled our home phone service. I've had a home phone my entire life. Back in the day... before cell phones existed... when we had to walk to school uphill both ways, barefoot in the snow... or better yet, when pay phones still existed and took quarters...

The only real reason we had a "land line" was in case of emergencies. It was worth a couple of dollars a month for that "peace of mind", knowing that I could always try to reach whoever was here watching Ada (typically Rick) if their (his) cell phone died or the ringer was turned off by mistake. It was nice to know that they could always make an emergency call if they needed to. And it was convenient when our cell phone coverage in our house was so bad I'd drop 90% of my calls (that's why I don't have AT&T as my cell phone service provider).

Recently, I noticed that our land line phone bill was creeping up a lot higher than I originally thought. Ten dollars a month for that emergency access line was a good deal to me. But when I looked at the actual breakdown of our bill, I learned that it was really costing us $25 a month. And about $18 of that was taxes. We had the most basic, bare bones service possible and never even used the phone (except for that one month our nanny made a bunch of long distance calls and ran up the bill...) So it was time for it to go.

I did some research and learned that for $10 less each month, I could double my DSL Internet speed and drop my home phone. Great! What a deal! After all, I've been getting a lot of wrong numbers, solicitations, surveys, and calls that I just didn't want--all at really inconvenient times, like during naps... mine and Ada's both.

All would be fine in the world had I not been connected with a series of poorly trained customer service staff at AT&T. To make a VERY LONG story short, my phone was cut off a week ago Tuesday and I just now got my Internet connection back at 8 pm on Monday night. It's a VERY SORE subject at my house right now so avoid mentioning AT&T around me for the next twenty years or so -- unless you're trying to push me into labor. At least wait until I get to 38 weeks, please.

All of this drama for what? Well, in theory, we'll save $120/year and a bit of my sanity since I won't be woken up by wrong numbers and telemarketers anymore -- until they get ahold of my cell phone number anyway. The only call I will miss is Beverly from the Doctoress' office who calls the day before to remind us of our appointments. I'll have to remember to give her my cell, or just remember the appointments myself.

And now that the Internet is FINALLY up and running... (after I've spent 2.5 hours of my life on my (Sprint) cell phone with tech services, most of that on hold)... I will say I already missed my land line for about 5 minutes today when I couldn't remember where I put my cell phone down and I realized, I can no longer used the land line to call my cell phone to help locate it. And I can't call Rick to call my cell phone to locate it, because I can't find my cell phone to call him with and I no longer have a land line. So I just can't misplace my phone anymore. Talk about being thrown into new levels of responsibility I never knew existed.

Moral of the story: Times change, technology changes, but AT&T customer services will always be atrocious.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

More Teeth? Seriously?

On top of having a kind of tough week starting day care and all, Ada is apparently teething. She spent all day yesterday with everything in her mouth she could get her hands on. I already packed away most of her teething toys and was tempted last night to get her a big stick. I do have one teething ring left in the freezer and we tried to explain that her hand won't freeze if she wraps a wash cloth around the part she holds--which she later went along with.

She was like a puppy with a rawhide bone. I've never see her crew so aggressively before.

I'm sure it's her back teeth --2 year molars?- but she is gnawing on the front ones. I made the mistake of putting my finger in her mouth to examine her back molars and she darn near bit it off.

Poor kid. At least she is sleeping better and happy that she has a four day weekend with Mom and two days of Dad.

Moral of the story: Just when you think you've learned how to deal with something, like teething, it comes back and bites you in a different way, so you have to adjust your strategy and start all over.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 2 and 3 - Not so hot

We were off to such a good start, and then it was time to go back to Ada's new day care.

Day 1 went off beautifully. No complaints and a happy, smiley kid greeted me at the end of the day.

Day 2 on the other hand, started with the most awful "No Mom, don't leave me!" face I have ever seen. She screamed and grasped for me while in the arms of her new care givers. She might as well have just ripped out my heart and stomped on it. Ouch.

I thought I'd find a happy child waiting for me at the end of the day... but no. She ran to me and then started crying and wanting to be held in the "How could you abandon me all day? Don't ever leave me again." way.

Which makes it utterly unsurprising that she woke up screaming for us three times last night, first insisting that Daddy watch a movie on the couch with her at 11pm, and then only settling down when Rick tossed her into our bed after her other two wailing episodes. The second shocked me the most as she scurried across the bed and forced her way between me and my body pillow to get as close as she possibly could to me. She's a daddy's girl 100% so this was a huge shocker.

For Day 3, I made Rick drop her off. She did the whole miserable screaming thing again as he dropped her off, got her settled and signed her in. And when my turn came to pick her up at the end of the day, her little face twisted into a cry as she raced toward me, and then quickly became the look of relief as she realized that I'd come to save her. She then did a happy dance, said goodbye to her new friends and bee-lined for her coat.

The staff reported that she did well for her first week. She is eating well, participates in circle time and pretends to sing along even if she doesn't know the words to the songs yet. But she isn't napping well. We're thinking that next week we'll try taking her stuffed animal piggy or kitty with her to see if that helps give her a sense of belonging. Poor Ada.

I've also never seen her so excited to hop into her stroller for the ride to and from day care. She'll sit in it at the top of the stairs before we have a chance to even get out of the house. Either she is that tired, or just realized she could have been riding in the stroller to Will's all these months if she'd only played her cards right.

A tough three days, but it could have been much worse. Next week, we'll try a new strategy with the help of some stuffed animal friends. I'll try to add in a few play dates with her standard cast of neighborhood tots, and we'll just have to see how it goes. Kids are resilient and I think we just have to be supportive, give her a little extra love in the coming weeks, and see how it all shakes out. Hopefully, she'll be eager to go to day care in three weeks time. But maybe it will take four weeks since the 14th is daylight savings time and that just messes everything up.

Moral of the story: Change unsettles everyone no matter how much you prepare. You just have to do your best to adjust and be supportive of one another.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day Care Day 1 = Success!


What a load off. Ada started day care today and the transition could not have been smoother. I've been a little nervous since she really liked being with Will and Alison these past few months. And I'll admit that, even though I mentioned to Rick that we should take the umbrella stroller, I still forgot and the walk is 2 blocks father than she is used to. Luckily we were able to distract her with puppy dogs and a round of the ABCs.

Once we arrived at the daycare, Ada was ready to start her day and absorb all of the new experiences. We were there maybe five minutes, likely less, when she ran off to play and left us to do our thing. We had enough time to take off her coat, hang it up, sign her in, see her new classroom, and walk her into the morning gathering room. That's when she ran toward the other kids and Rick and I decided it was best to just let her play instead of doing a long drawn out goodbye. Then we left. On the sidewalk, I almost teared up, but then I reminded myself that I was just so darn happy that she seemed happy and this might work out after all. AHHH!

Then I walked to the corner and thought I was going to miss the bus that would take me to the el but as it turns out, the stop is about half a block from the corner and there was a long line of people waiting to board the bus. Yeah! A quick kiss to Rick and off on our separate ways we go.

I admit that I thought about her at 2 and hoped she was taking a nap and ate her lunch. And that was it. I really didn't worry about her because she is so outgoing that she really thrives in that environment. When I went to pick her up, she was in the back with the "leftover" kids as I call them -- they consolidate the rooms after 5pm once the parents start to pick them up and the numbers dwindle. I headed back to see her and got a glowing review from the staff. They were very impressed that she joined in the circle for story time and acted like she's been there all along. They noted how surprised they were that she knew how to say "No, no, no," and wag her finger when "the Dr. says, 'No more monkeys jumping on the bed!". And she participated during the itsy bitsy spider too. I wonder where she gets her extroverted nature? Couldn't possibly be from me...

And the biggest shocker was that they were able to get her hair up into a half ponytail. Amazing. She will barely let me touch her hair let alone put it up for her. I got it into a full ponytail this morning but she was not happy about it and let me know it.

So the day was a great success. Yippee!

The walk home on the other hand... let's just say it was slow going, she looked like she was drunk at times the way she staggered and stumbled (I think she's exhausted from having too much fun all day) and, I ended up having to carry her two blocks when I ran out of milestones for her to walk to (like dogs being walked up ahead, kitties in store windows, etc.). She gave up completely when the electronics store down the street had Finding Nemo playing on the plasma screen. Insta-zombie. And then she saw kids with balloons coming out of the playgroup next to our house and just lost it. Ba-loo, Ba-loo. We walked over to see the balloons but they were all tangled and the mom couldn't stop to give her one since it was cold out and she was trying to get her 2 and 4-year-olds to the car after a birthday party. I didn't blame her at all. And once we got inside, Ada was just fine -- after she ate her second full banana of the day that is. And you won't be shocked to know that I quickly popped in cartoons for her to unwind after a long day. She'll get used to it and then her days with me are going to be so boring.

Moral of the story: You just have to go with the flow of things. Try to make transitions as easy as possible. Talk to your child beforehand to let them know what's going on and hope for the best.