Requiem for a Breakfast Sandwich

This weekend…

It was baaaaad, y’all.

I suppose you could say that it all started Friday afternoon. I’m fortunate enough to work on a team that has something called “Summer Fridays” where we leave around noon every Friday until the end of August. It’s lovely. In my previous non-baby days, I would get an iced coffee and stroll. Maybe get home by 3:00 and take a nap.

So far this summer I have spent them manically doing whatever it is that I can’t manage to accomplish during the week. These things include cooking, cleaning, putting away Chick’s old clothes, dropping things off at Goodwill… you get the picture. By the time dinner rolls around, I’m exhausted and twitchy.

This Friday was no different. I mopped the floors, sorted through some of Chick’s baby things to donate to a local family, and made dinner. Perhaps there is some lingering resentment because I remember how carefree these afternoons used to be. But I was not a happy ostrich by the end of the evening.

We put Chick down, and I read for about 20 minutes before falling asleep. At 4:15 am, Chick woke up crying. No, make that wailing. So I went in, reacquainted him with his pacifier and lovey, and went back to bed. This kid knows how to self-soothe. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, so I had no idea what his damage was. And yet, the crying continues. On and off for TWO HOURS. Either Mr. O or I checked on him periodically to make sure nothing horrible was happening. At 6:30 am, I said “Screw it.” and took him into bed with us where he thrashed around for another hour until we admitted defeat.

I was a zombie the whole morning. I bitched out the utility worker who asked me to move my car because he needed to do construction, and proceeded to bitch out every living creature I came into contact with. In a fit of frustration, I actually punched my breakfast sandwich. That happened.

On our list of to-dos that morning were going to the farmers market and opening a checking account for Chick– we needed somewhere  to officially put his birthday money, rather than just hiding it in our mattress.

The farmer’s market was hot and sticky. We got a late start, so missed the baby-friendly drumming circle at 10. Though I love our farmer’s market, I also sorta hate the process because I’m usually doing the actual shopping. Mr. O sits back with Chick in a stroller while I decide what we’re eating for the week and (wo)man-handle the produce.

After this, we go to the bank to open the account. I will spare you the gory details, only to say that this took an hour and a half to do. At first, I was pleasant with the banker since it was her first time setting up an account for a minor. Then Chick started to fuss. Then she kept trying to get me to sign up for ancillary services I didn’t need. Then Chick freaked the f*ck out. Then I became surly.

Once at home, we all ate lunch and then all took a much needed nap. (Aside: There are few things sweeter than napping with a baby.)

In the afternoon, we installed Chick’s new car seat and did a few other home-related stuff. I harrumphed a little because the day felt like such a let down. Mr. O felt it was a success because we “got shit done.”   

The next day was a little better. We went to a fellow one year old’s birthday, where there was a pool. Chick was the most adorable, loved playing in the water with a bright red ball. For that fleeting 30 minutes, I was light. Watching his little face light up when we tossed the ball toward him, or when he splashed in the water… I don’t know how to explain it other than to say I was grateful to that family for inviting us to their kid’s birthday so we could have a few minutes as a family just being happy.

Idyllic.

And then we went back to reality.

Folks, I’m just going to come out and say it. I’m not happy. I don’t get how other people do this. Why can’t I just hold on to that 30 minutes at the pool and build my life around that? Instead, I feel the collective weight of the dirty floors, the chores, the inept bank tellers, the meals that need to be made, the unending cycle of the STUFF that needs to be done or our little family can’t function.

Earlier, I picked a fight with Mr. O where I was nitpicking what he spends money on each week. It was a total dick move on my part. I don’t know where it came from, but it wasn’t a color that looked good on me. After we cooled down, I sat in the living room crying because I just don’t enjoy anything anymore.

I feel like I’m drowning. In the last few weeks, I’ve had trouble eating. I’ll be in the middle of a meal, and I’m all of a sudden just off my food. I kept thinking that this would go away once I was past Chick’s first birthday and a big project launch at work. But that was weeks ago, and I still feel like I’m on an hamster wheel.

I punched a sandwich, for Christ sake. Not everyone resorts to abusing breakfast foods because they’ve got shit to do.

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Mini-post: Appointments

With Chick’s first year down and an egg in the freezer, Mr. O and I decided to start talking about the possibility of Chick Part Deux.  Of course, in order to do this, I need to talk with a medical professional. Having a baby is kinda a big deal for your body and I want to know how I’ve recovered, outstanding concerns, etc.

So I took the first step and called my OB-GYN’s office for an appointment.

The soonest available appointment at her office (with ANY available doctor) is September 22nd.

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On Controlling my face

This is not baby-related, but life-related. In case you find office politics boring, you can skip this one.

I just learned that this guy on my team got a promotion, one that I cannot fathom he deserves. This person has been mostly innocuous– I don’t have to deal with him on the regular, and he is pleasant enough as a person. Just not someone who I think is terribly good at what he does for a living. But my “live and let live” attitude towards things has made this bearable.

Recently, he has been poking his nose into a lot of my projects. Not in a judegy way, just asking for updates which seems odd since I don’t report to him and he manages a different side of the business. After it happening again this morning, I pulled a coworker aside and asked what the deal was. And this is how I learned of my mediocre coworker’s rise to power.

(Aside: Dear senior management: you really need to do a better job about announcing promotions and changes in responsibilities. I shouldn’t have learned about this from my COWORKER.)

There is more to it– this promotion was available because my good friend left, which I’ve found difficult professionally and personally. The idea that this person has moved into her role makes me nauseous because she is ten times more talented than he is.

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Totally afraid my face will get me into trouble… 

I know the world isn’t fair, workplaces aren’t meritocracies, etc. But for the love of Pete, how am I supposed to control my face every time he says something pointless, which is pretty regularly? I’m gonna have to work on not rolling my eyes every time he says something.

We’ve all run into this at one point or another. How do you deal with situations like this without completely losing it?

I’m a Fighter! (Or Am I?)

Why, Universe?! Why must you keep punching me in the face?!

So daycare is quickly imploding. That’s happening.

About a week ago, I got a text saying that daycare would no longer be allowing our Early Intervention coordinator to visit Chick on site. Less than 24 hours before her scheduled weekly visit.

The reasons given were weird– a combination for “too many kids in the classroom” and “another kid is having anxiety issues.” Regardless, the results were the same. No Early Intervention. No way, no how.

On short notice, Chick and I were able to meet with the EI coordinator at my home, but I ended up being two hours late for work. Daycare was all “This was a great solution, let’s just keep doing this!”  I was all “My being two hours late for work isn’t a solution at all. Let’s find a way for him to meet on site!”

Still no dice.

The emails back and forth have been so frustrating. With each and every one, my daycare seems to be showing that they don’t understand the regulations that are laid out by the state. It’s a little unnerving. Not only is it illegal (yes! ILLEGAL!) to deny services to children with developmental delays, it’s downright shitty that they are prioritizing the needs of other children to the detriment mine. This part is a little bit selfish, but as Chick’s parent it is my job to be selfish.

Through these emails, they have also divulged information about other children and families that I’m not supposed to know about. I’m not a childcare professional, but damn it, I even know this.

Last night I got an email which basically says it would be totally okay for us to find care elsewhere. A nice way of saying “Take you and your needs out of my classroom.”

Today I met with the EI coordinator and her office’s child care advocate (basically the liaison to daycares.) They were helpful and supportive, reiterating that I’m in the right here.

The trouble is… I don’t know if right really matters.

I’m caught between doing what’s right and doing what’s right for Chick.

What’s “right” might be educate them on how children with developmental needs should be cared for and what is covered under the law. Perhaps even point out that they are in violation of the licensing board and force them to see Chick on site.

What’s “right for Chick” might be to remove him from this place entirely. Start over somewhere else that understands the value of Early Intervention. (That also has availability, extended hours, and is in my price range. Ahem…)

There is a part of me that just wants to take my toys and go home. This is bullshit and I don’t want to deal with it anymore. Another part of me wants to stand on principle and fight. Because this can’t be the only EI kid they will ever care for. Maybe next time, they’ll understand the level of care and flexibility that they are required to provide. (BY LAW. Did I mention that?)

Not to mention I really don’t want to find another daycare. This one was working so well, until… well, it didn’t work out at all.


A little Early Intervention PSA: These are programs supported by states that help children who are identified as having developmental challenges. Since Chick was so early, he qualified for the program fairly quickly as is the case with a lot of premature babies. Fortunately, he is meeting all his developmental goals despite his premie-ness. For this I am grateful. Still, most programs don’t recommend ending services until the child is walking and talking.

If you suspect your kid may have developmental delays, I would totally encourage seeking an evaluation. It breaks my heart when people don’t want to get their children evaluated because they think this means that their child isn’t “normal” or that they are “stupid.” Yes, your child may need different kinds of support, but this makes them no less perfect.

 

 

Grumpy Cat

So… my cat has started to pee on things. It started a few weeks back (I think?) when a neighbor’s cat got stuck in our stairwell. Ever since then my kitty has steadily refused his litter box.

About two weeks ago, I took him to the vet and asked them to run some tests. My thinking was “Let’s just make sure this isn’t a real health issue behind all this.” After $300, I now know that my cat isn’t sick. He is a perfectly healthy 15 year old jerk.
62385788The pee fest continues.
I’ve tried everything- from an additional litter box, a new litter box, new litter, old litter, feliway, some organic “calm the f*ck down” cat spray… Though he is now only peeing in one place, he is still not peeing in his actual litter box. He will only pee on pee pads. Oh, and the place he wants to pee? Right in front of the door.
A manager at my local PetSmart thinks this may be my cat’s way of “protecting his pride” after the neighborhood cat got indoors. He sensed a disturbance in the force, and wants to make sure that his humans are safe from the intruders. He has also taken to sleeping in the hall right between our room and Chick’s room, as a sentry on watch. Cute, but could we do it WITHOUT THE URINE?!
Anyone else out there who has dealt with crazy cat behavior? I’m about to loose my shit with all this pee. (Yes, I do see why that is funny. Even in the midst of a pee-fueled war with my cat, I can find the humor in things.)

ARTICLES: The Do Nothing Summer

In the past few days, a few posts have popped up in my Facebook feed that make me want to roll my eyes. Or punch something. It entirely depends on where my pregnancy rage is at these days.

They go a little something like “This summer, my kids are doing nothing.” These articles expound the virtues of not over-scheduling your kids this summer and embracing the art of slow parenting. Here are two that have been making the rounds:

The aforementioned “This Summer, My Kids are Doing Nothing”

“I’m Opting for a ‘Slow Parenting’ Summer”

Admittedly, I’m not currently searching for camps. Chick will be attending Camp Uterus this summer, where I am the one and only counselor. However, when I read both these articles, I just had to wonder who these parents are and who they think the rest of us parents are.

Over all, I agree that kids these days seem to have a lot of extracurriculars. I remember having hours of free time in the summer to lounge around in bed and read all day. It was glorious. I also, however, had parents with exceptionally flexible schedules. Unless something drastic in my life changes between now and when I’m facing this dilemma, I will still be working 9-5, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. Into the summer camp fray I go.

So yes, it sticks in my craw that these articles imply not sending your kids to camp is some how “better.” They fail to address the reality of working parents– camps aren’t about making sure your kids are always busy, but also about making sure they have a safe, engaging place to be while you’re at work. It isn’t because we want our kids to be over scheduled, more like we don’t have a choice.

It also echos the larger debate over daycare. I’ve lined up daycare for Chick because I have to. Neither my husband or I want to give up our jobs because they are the foundation of our financial security (yes, even with the obscene tuition rates of infant care.) For some, being a stay-at-home parent is a more viable choice. If that is something a family can afford and prioritize, fantastic. It is equally fantastic if a family can arrange to have affordable and safe childcare outside the home when the return to their jobs. For many, this isn’t optional– going back to work after having children is the only way to provide a stable future for them. Can we just get away from this whole parenting-pissing contest, please?

Do I begrudge these parents for having their flexibility for a slow summer? Not really. If they can be around with their kids in the summer, that’s wonderful. But for the love of Pete, I do wish that people would realize the act of parenting is complex, and certainly not a one-size-fits-all job.

#rantover

On Rage and Jogging Strollers

Thanks to all for your support and validation over the drama with Mr. O’s ‘rents. No, they have not called or written, despite both Mr. O and my reaching out to them over phone and email. It blows my mind, really…

But as I’ve discovered, pregnancy waits for no one. Not funerals, not adult temper tantrums. So we move on.

I’m not really a “stuff” kind of girl in general, but apparently babies are. Though tiny, they come with an entourage of monitors, breast pumps, bassinets and strollers. In an effort to get a lay of the land, Mr. O and I went to a baby mega store. It was purely a fact-finding expedition… that went heinously ary.

I’ve been mostly fixated on the stroller. There are just so many different options, and with them so many different opinions. People seem to be extremely passionate about their strollers too– they either love them or loathe them. I have two primary criteria: I want a stroller I could take for walks/runs in the park, and something that wouldn’t take up a ton of space. I live in a two bedroom apartment in a city– space is limited, and walking is a way of life.

I had done some research, and narrowed down to a few options. On this ill-fated day, I was focusing on the Baby Jogger City GT. From most reviews I’ve read, people really like it. I’ve seen several people in the park jogging with them and had actual humans tell me they loved it for jogging. The odd part is that this is technically not a jogging stroller, according to the manufacturer.

As Mr. O and I were milling around the stroller section, we were approached by a sales associate named David. Note: I hate shopping. In particular, I hate sales associates who talk to me while I’m shopping. I know this is strange, but whatever. It’s my thing.

So David comes up, asks if he can help. I say I’m all set. He lurks around, sees me looking at the Baby Jogger City GT, and inserts himself into a conversation I’m having with Mr. O.

“So what kind of stroller are you looking for?”

[Said while glaring] “We’re looking at something we could take for short walks or runs, and won’t take up a lot of space.”

[Said while pointing to a bank of strollers that are $150-$200 more than what I am looking at.] “Oh, you’re looking at the wrong stroller then. You want to check out those over there, because this is NOT a jogging stroller.”

“We did look at them, but they are too big for our apartment. We can’t get something that bulky.”

“They aren’t as big as you think. You can dismantle them, and put it away really easily.”

“I don’t want to deal with dismantling the stroller every time I bring it inside.”

“But these strollers are made for jogging. The one you’re looking at isn’t.”

“Look, I know you can’t tell me that these are good for running because the manufacturer says this isn’t a jogging stroller. I get that. But I’ve seen people running with this exact stroller…”

[Cutting me off] “Well, I promise you they were regretting every step.”

At this point, a white-hot rage ran through my body. Either I was walking away from this conversation, or I was going to end up arrested for assault. I have never wanted to punch another human being more in my life.

Me in a Baby Stuff Mega Store

Me in a Baby Stuff Mega Store

So I left mid-sentence and refused to go back to the stroller section. Very mature, I know.

After I calmed down a little bit, we went over to the bassinet section. I specifically wanted to check out co-sleepers to see what the hell they are. I’ve heard these can be handy, especially early on. While we’re looking at them, a sales associate comes over and starts talking about the latest and greatest in co-sleeper innovations. The one I’m looking at, it seems, is simply not as convenient for the baby. She recommends this one over here… which is $100 more than the one I’m looking at. Again, I had to back away slowly.

I was so mother-f*cking annoyed with everyone at this point. As if baby stuff isn’t inanely expensive to begin with, every single person in this store was ready to tell that I will regret my life choices if I don’t upgrade. I had to leave the store and spew expletives the entire way home.

One of the delightful side effects of pregnancy for me has been an incredibly short fuse. I’m not really an angry person, and Ithink I do a decent job of keeping fits of rage within legally acceptable ranges. However, in the past few weeks, I have gone from “Zero” to “Flames Shooting from My Eyeballs” in seconds.

For now, I will stay far away from mega stores. I have also enlisted the help of my friends and family for items that they actually used. The goal is safety and sanity, not just spendy.