Saturday, April 26, 2014

Little Activist

I'm in mommy Heaven.  Eating gelato and watching House Hunters International...all by myself.  HHI is the best show on TV.  I love watching naive Americans in places like Guam asking things like "Will there be air conditioning?" and "Is that the refrigerator?"  Oh oh oh -- just overheard: "You mean we're gonna have a baby on this island?"

It's been so long since my last post I forgot my login info.  But things have been so crazy lately there are some things only a blog can understand.  Like the fact that I started a new job this week and under much duress, found a new nanny a week later than I really needed one.  Let's just say we've been living off of canned soup and the house looks like a tornado ripped through it.

Since the fridge is barren and, though exhausted I feel a need to maintain some semblance of housewifery, I took LO to the grocery store today.  She just turned 4 and is fully asserting her own wants and opinions.  LO fussed the whole way, trying to convince me to buy silly toys and Lucky Charms and singing "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" at the top of her lungs.  I got my share of nasty looks from old ladies in the aisles.

By the way, when I'm an old lady, I pledge to be nice to young moms.

Passing though the meat section, she turned activist.  "Mommy, are those animals?!  People should not eat pigs!"  She couldn't get past that and it only got worse when we saw the fish and yelled to the butcher that he should stop hurting them.  In fairness, I can see how it feels like we've killed Nemo.  Then we get to check-out line.  LO sees something on a magazine cover that prompts her to ask if pets die.  Then she asks if people die.  I say yes.  Then it's "Are we going to die?"  I tell her we can talk about it when we get home, but that's not good enough.  She throws a mini-tantrum, demanding loudly that I explain whether we're going to die.  I'm completely flummoxed with all eyes on us.  I manage to distract her but I know this question will crop up again.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Allergy Mom

I'm a mother of a child with severe food allergies.  LO was diagnosed with a laundry list of them when she was 1.5 years old after we gave her peanut butter for the first time and instead of delight on her face, she started screaming and breaking out into hives after just touching it to her tongue.  I think since then, I've been in a bit of denial about the seriousness of all of this while secretly holding my breath every time she tries a new food, eats at a restaurant or even goes to school.  Yes, we have EpiPens in every corner of the house and a set goes with her everywhere.  We've never had to use it but I fear the day that we do.

So we're only an hour into week 2 of preschool and I get the call.  It's her new teacher who very calmly  said LO had ingested a few soybeans at snack time.  It was 10 minutes ago and she seems ok, but she wanted me to know.  10 minutes?!  That's an eternity so I ask politely if next time they can take action immediately.  I tell her the allergist's advice, which is to administer Zantac and Zyrtec and keep a close eye on her.  Soybeans are a 4 out of 5 on the scale for LO and not anaphylactic, but I worry about the doctor's statement that each exposure can bring more severe reactions.

When I was a kid you worried about strangers, now it's everyday foods that can get you, for some kids that is.  The biggest challenge for me so far in this journey of being an allergy mom is keeping my child safe while avoiding being too overprotective.  I'm always the one going early to brief caretakers, teachers, etc. and sizing up anyone who doesn't seem trustworthy, as in unable to deal with LO's needs or handle an emergency properly.  I adore LO's school and her teachers and they do a great job, so I know she's in good hands.  The school is nut free and even though I had a long conversation with the teachers and parent who supplies snacks, I can't be there to read every label or keep quick toddler hands from grabbing food that has been set out.  Today's call was just a reminder that I must always be on my toes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Nanny Wishes and Caviar Dreams

I think the best way to describe LO is as a "force of nature."  She's extremely outgoing to the point of stopping complete strangers in public places to tell them about her bug collection.  When we go out to eat, she ends up sitting with families nearby just chatting and having a grand time showing them her coloring books or whatever toys we've brought.  On our last flight, she made friends with the girl sitting by the window.  Cute, except the girl was 25.  And yet, she had so much fun she wanted to take a picture with LO when we landed.

Force of Nature is officially 3.5 years old now.  We reached a major milestone this week that I never saw coming.  We were riding in the car and she was looking out the window pensively.

ME: What are you thinking about?
LO: I'm thinking I wish I had a nanny.
ME (remaining calm): What makes you say that?
LO: Nannies pick you up from school, they give you snacks...
ME: But Mommy does that.
LO: I wish I had one Mommy, one Daddy and one Nanny.

And there you have it.  Sure, she's just responding to seeing her friends with their nannies.  (Hell, I wish I had a nanny).  But there's a part of me that's wondering if I'm TOO accessible.  I will remind her of this one day when I'm back to work full-time and she misses all of the baking projects, museums, play dates, afternoon swims, infinite hugs, etc.  

Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Haves and Have Nots

There are two kinds of people in this world: the Haves and Have Nots.  What do the Haves have that others don't?  KIDS.  I was reminded of this recently since LO is refusing to take naps.  Not just simple defiance but full-on screaming, flailing tantrums like a demon possessed.  Some days I can overcome and get her down; others I give in and we run errands or hit the playground.  A part of me is distraught at losing my hour and a half of solace in the middle of each day.  But I'm starting to see the light.  Literally.

We ran errands the other day and it occurred to me that the afternoon daylight is quite nice.  There's a whole world out there between 2-4pm!  People who are not on kid schedules are out and about while there's a whole subset of the population that's rushing to get back home by 1pm to make the nap.  The upside of not napping is that LO will go down earlier and we can actually have an evening.  So far this is going down very well with us adults, who just the other night fulfilled our dream of making it through an entire movie without falling asleep.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Christmas Sprint

Santa Claus came to our town last weekend and LO was more than excited to sit in his lap and chat.  She brought him a few Post-its she had drawn on as a present and declared that for Christmas she wanted a tree, ornaments, a nutcracker and toys.  Funny what a difference a year makes because last year she was terrified of the big man.

What's significant about this picture also is what happened before it.  I took LO to the tree lighting ceremony with some friends in our village.  The ceremony was on a triangular patch of land in the village center off of Sunset Boulevard.  The tree lit up, everyone was amazed and the crowd of little children enjoyed running circles around the tree.  LO's neighbor friend was there and the two of them were delighted to play together.  I looked up for a second as one of the parents spoke to me, then I looked over and saw LO and her friend running out of our area.  His father shouted to him and I shouted to LO to stop as we ran after them.  LO, however, is a runner.  This kid is destined to become a track and field star given the way she can sprint.  Never has she been the type to hold our hands and just walk with us; she's always darting in whatever direction she can.

LO heard me shout and took that as a cue to run away FASTER.  She rounded a corner, putting hedges in between her and busy Sunset Blvd. and everyone else.  I was in full sprint and would just be able to reach her in the nick of time if I was quick enough.  I felt myself slip and that moment while I was falling seemed to last forever as I watched helplessly as she kept going away from me, toward the busy street.  There was nothing I could do but hope she had the sense to stop.  I hit the ground HARD, flat on my face but still with my eye on LO.  She didn't stop at the street -- she turned right and headed toward another intersection!

I don't know about you, but this was the stuff of my nightmares playing out for real.  What flashed through my mind as I fell was how I would scoop her up out of the street and take the hit, but I'd have to quickly lift her up high enough to keep her away from the impact.  As soon as I hit the ground, I got right back up, rounded the corner and, from what they tell me, I wiped out again.  This time as I fell, I got a hand on LO and knocked her down with me.  Finally, the toddler train stopped.  She was fine, just a little scratch on her elbow and a lot of tears.  My knees are pretty banged up but I don't care.  It was a teachable moment and I'm thankful it turned out the way it did.  Next time I'll be wearing my running shoes.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mommy Smackdown

I saw this on CNN today.  A Florida woman boarded a school bus and got into a fight with her son's bully.

Sure, I laughed at the part when she says "He just needed a good old fashioned whoopin'!"  But there was a large part of me -- larger than I expected -- that was actually rooting for this woman.  I feel like this is a more and more common occurrence that gets buried somewhere in the CNN home page as part of the freak show news stories of the day, but it's really telling of a bullying trend that isn't going away. I worry about bullying in school and imagining LO subjected to it makes me want to board a bus and open a can of whoop-ass like none other.  I can only hope incidents like this turn into change in the community rather than focusing on punishment.  Until, then, I know it's wrong, but YOU GO, Florida mom!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mommy's Working and Other Issues

I stared into her eyes, trying to discreetly find something the background check did not.  As we exchanged niceties about the weather and traffic, little did she know I was sizing her up faster than you can say "nanny cam."

The news in our house is that Mommy's working full-time.  Okay, I freelance, but this is a long-term gig with long hours and frequent weekend shoots.  And so we entered the world of nannies.  We borrowed a friend's nanny on occasion last year, but I was always working at home when she was there and still very connected to what was going on.  That lady disappeared back to Mexico without a trace.  This time, we wanted to find someone legal since, hey, don't Americans need jobs?  We were under a time crunch and ended up having to use a posh West side nanny service.  We settled on a bubbly, twentysomething part-time student and LO already loves her, which makes me feel good.

What doesn't make me feel good is that feeling that I'm hiring someone to do my job of being a mother. Just farming out my motherly responsibilities and abandoning my child.  I miss her during the day.  I'm jealous that someone else gets to hang out with her.  Yet when I had the luxury of being a SAHM, I guiltily yearned to get back out there in the working world.  I think being a SAHM is much harder than the paid working world.  There's no one patting you on the back saying "Great job!" and nobody evaluating your performance for a possible raise.

In other news, in the week that DH was at home keeping LO, she picked up some new vocabulary.  I came home the other night to find her saying "F*ck" after dropping her Play-Doh.  Just in time for preschool!  Potty training is going at a snail's pace and we only have a couple more weeks until school starts.  I'm just picturing her peeing on the classroom floor and yelling "F*ck!"  Can't wait to get that call.  But then again, I guess I don't have to stress TOO much about fixing her vocab and toilet habits -- that's the nanny's job!