Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What's In Your Bed?

There's been a lot of talk lately about bed bugs on the East Coast of North America.  It is a serious issue which is cause for concern, especially if you're a frequent traveller.  Luckily, I am not a frequent traveller, nor is my husband (I say that with a heavy heart as part of me would love to be a frequent traveller).  The concern around my house is not bed bugs, but child pee.  Yes.  Child pee.

When my husband and I were first engaged we decided to splurge on an awesome king size bed.  It is truly delicious and we love it.  Sadly, over the years, there have been many incidents where our little ones have spat up, peed, vomited, etc., etc. in our bed.  Because that's the kind of stuff that happens when you have little kids.

I had hoped we were mostly past that phase as I feel truly sorry for our beautiful bed which has been shown no mercy.  Yesterday I was reminded that we are most certainly not past that phase (silly me).  Yet again, my son, who climbs into our bed around 6 am every morning, managed to soak through his overnight diaper and leave a nice big pee spot in the middle of our mattress where we generally rest our weary heads.  He and his sister usually snuggle up and watch a 20 minute (educational) cartoon every morning while I throw myself together.  Most mornings I will change his diaper before he sits up to watch TV.  As you may have guessed, I did not do that yesterday.  I had given him a quick bum pat and decided he'd be OK for the 10 minutes it would take to throw my jeans on and brush my hair and teeth.  I came out of the bathroom to find him sitting clueless in a damp circle.

This is NOT what you want on a Monday morning after a 5 day (i.e. very, very long) weekend with your 4 person family.  So I stripped the sheets and grabbed a wet and soapy towel and tried to remedy the situation.  At this point I'm not sure what else I can do.  Our beautiful mattress has been abused for so many years, but as long as we have anyone in diapers or toilet training around this house, I suppose pee in my precious bed is a possibility I'm going to have to live with.  Not that I'm trying to make excuses.  I admit that I'm going to have to be more dedicated to the early morning diaper change.  I can't expect a sleep induced laissez-faire attitude to keep my mattress safe.  While pee isn't in the same ball park as bed bugs (thank goodness!), my mattress just can't take it anymore.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Another Holiday Celebration & Another Anniversary

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans!  I am always thrilled to celebrate this Holiday right along with you.  While Canada celebrates Thanksgiving in October, it has always seemed like a way bigger deal here.  I enjoy all the festivities (especially our traditional smashing dinner hosted by our generous and wonderful friends I and D--thank you in advance!), but I also like taking some time to dwell on all my blessings.  I have so much to be grateful for and I'd like like to say thank you to the universe for everything I have.  Right now I am especially grateful to my husband for taking my energetic kids to the park and for the sun which has decided to shine after days and days of rain and gloom.

Secondly, I would like to tell you about a special Anniversary I am celebrating.  Last night, as my husband and I caught up on all the shows we had DVRd (is that a word?) throughout the week, I realized that it had been five years since I left my job.  The babe was due around Thanksgiving, so I had decided to work until the day before Thanksgiving and then go on official leave.  Five years ago yesterday I organized my office, said my good byes, and went home with the hopes of having a baby in a few days.  Little did I know that my baby wouldn't make her debut until December 7th.  Little did I know it was to be my last day in an office for a very long time.  And little did I know that my home would become my new "office."  There's a lot I didn't know five years ago that I know now! 

At this half decade point, I am finally relatively comfortable with the notion of being a "stay-at-home" Mama.  I take pride in all I do to keep my four person family functioning.  And while I don't know what the future holds, I know that I have made it through what have been some of the most challenging and beautiful years of my life.  And today, I am giving thanks. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Snots

The little guy has a cold.  He is snotty, coughing, and generally kinda gross.  I feel bad for my little love bug.  But I also feel bad for my husband and I.  On Saturday morning my husband caught the little guy wiping his snot all over the pillow case--my husband's pillow case, that it.  We wash our sheets on Saturdays (it's just what we do), so everything was going to be tossed into the hot cycle and the snot didn't seem like that big of a deal.

Last night the kiddos were watching a little Dinosaur Train after dinner and my husband and I were taking 20 minutes to actually try and read something.  I happened to look up after my son let out a big sneeze and catch him wiping his snot onto the cozy couch blanket.  Perhaps that needs to go into the hot cycle as well, I thought to myself with a smile.

But the jewel of the snot story is this:  After a nice hot shower (and a nice long day), I climbed into our bed with its lovely clean sheets.  I looked at the space between where my husband and I generally lay our heads and saw a priceless collection of little hard snot balls.  I would like to clarify that they weren't my snot balls and they weren't my husband's snot balls. 

I have to admit that I love cuddling with the little guy when he climbs into our bed at 6:15 am every day.  I am annoyed that I am losing valuable sleep, but I cling to him because he is so warm and cozy and I know it will not always be this way.  One day my little boy will not be interested in cuddling with his Mama or watching cartoons under a cozy blanket next to his sister.  I suppose if snot in my bed and snot on our blankets is the price I have to pay, then so be it.  Snot eventually goes away, especially in the washing machine.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Belated Thank You

I never told you the story about the woman I sat next to on the train from DC to NYC last month.  She was in her 50s, I'm guessing, and was on her way home for a one night get away.  She was extremely excited as she was going to see her boyfriend and go out on the town. 

So why was she going home for only one night, you ask?  This woman, a mother of three, has been living at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center for the past three months as her son recovers from injuries sustained while serving in Afghanistan.  She has not left his side since the day he returned.  She has helped him through the twelve surgeries he's had since coming back home.  He is only 20 years old. 

I meant to write this on Friday, Veterans Day, but didn't manage to get the computer turned on.  I haven't stopped thinking about that Mother.  While talking to her I couldn't help but picture what it would be like to watch your boy go off to war and then to return in that kind of pain.  It brought tears to my eyes and I asked her to tell him thank you for everything he has done.  I just don't think I'd be able to let the little guy go off to war.  Yet Mothers all around the world have to experience it every day.

I don't want to get political with this post.  I just want to say thank you to all the men and women who sacrifice so much.  I also want to acknowledge all the strong men, women and children who are left at home while their family members are off serving their country.  Thank you.   

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Co-Op

When you send your child to a co-op nursery school it is significantly cheaper, but you have to actually co-op.  I was supposed to co-op for the first time in October but switched my "shift" with a pregnant Mama who was trying to free herself for her baby's arrival in January.  As the little guy is only in school two mornings a week, I technically only co-op once every six weeks.  Not bad, right?

My first shift was scheduled for November 17th and I have been silently preparing myself for the prospect of hanging out with twelve two-year-olds for weeks.  I have to admit I've been quite nervous.  I have never done this kind of thing before, and while in theory it sounds great (kinda), how was I really going to do in reality?

Last night I got a call from my shift switching Mama colleague asking for a favor.  She was wondering if I could help her out by taking her co-op shift today. I decided to bite the bullet and say "yes."  I pulled together some juice, crackers and veggies to bring in for snack time.  I went to bed early so I wouldn't have a foggy head.  I got up early so I could get a cup of coffee (instant) in me before our regular chaotic morning routine kicked into full gear.  I dropped the babe off at the rope line (which was not a smooth transaction).  I braved rush hour traffic.  And I made it to my shift just in time by 9:14 am.

I now realize that these nursery school mornings go by fast whether you are at the school with the kids or racing around town trying to fit in as many errands as you can in two hours.  I honestly didn't have a chance to worry because I was working/playing/swinging/singing/cleaning/crafting/hand washing/changing poopy diapering/wiping snotty noses/marching and having a grand 'oll time from the second I walked in the door until our time was up at noon.

While I would never want to be in there every day, or even every week (I don't know how preschool teachers do it), I did have a pretty good time.  It was fun to talk to other kids and to watch the little guy in his element.  By the time we made it home for lunch I was wiped out (as was he).  I was starving (as was he).  And I really had to pee (he still wears diapers, what can I say?).

I've caught up on some chores around the house, downed a cafe au lait from my fancy home coffee maker (that's another story), and am really just enjoying my few minutes of peace, quiet, and computer time.  Today, I deserve it.  It feels good to have my first shift under my belt.  And it feels good to be an official "co-oper."


Friday, November 4, 2011

Mama Brain

Once you get "Mama Brain," does it ever go away?

I have heard a variety of pretty impressive Mama Brain stories in the past few weeks and just have to share.  I am not naming any names, except my own.

The week before last was the bake sale at the babe's school. I whipped up some nut-free chocolate muffin cupcake kinda things during the little guy's nap time.  At 3:00 pm, we ran out the door to pick up the babe.  About 5 minutes into our journey, I had a panic attack.  Did I turn off the oven?  What to do?  Do I risk being late for pick up (for the first time ever) or do I swing around and go check?  As we were headed to an after school play date I decided I had no choice but to turn around.  It's a good thing I did, because the oven was on.  And there was nothing in it.  This was not good.

I recounted this story the next day to another Mama while purchasing tasty treats at the bake sale.  She one upped me (and I was thrilled she shared this story with me so I could share it with you).  This Mama, who will remain nameless, had gone for a manicure in her precious down time.  When it came time to leave the salon, she couldn't find her keys.  After retracing her steps and walking to the coffee shop she had visited just prior to the salon, she walked back to her car (which was parked on a major road) expecting to see the keys in the ignition.  Yes, the keys were in the ignition.  But hold on.  It gets better.  Not only were the keys in the ignition, the car was on and the doors were unlocked. 

Last night an email message came in from one of the school list serves I am subscribed to.  A Mama admitted to leaving her stroller in the parking lot of a grocery store and was wondering if anyone had an extra they could spare?  At least she didn't forget the kids, she joked.

And another Mama I know just admitted she had left her Snap and Go in a folded down position by the side of the road for a few days before she realized what she'd done.  It was still there when she went back to pick it up.

No one was hurt in any of these stories.  And hopefully you feel better about yourself now.  Because remember, "we're not perfect...no we're not."

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Halloween 2011

I really like Halloween.  My kids do too.  The few weeks leading up to it are filled with such beautiful anticipation.  I love seeing it though my kids eyes and remembering the good 'oll days of my childhood. 

We spent a good part of Tuesday dealing with the fact that "Halloween is over."  The babe asked, "Mama, how many more days before we have Halloween again?"  It hurt to tell her 364.

I have taken down the spider webs from the bushes out front.  I have packed away the costumes.  But I still have a lot of candy.  Too much candy considering I have a daughter with food allergies and a son who is not used to eating food his sister can't eat.

The tough part about Halloween is sorting through my kids stash at the end of the night.  I take away all the candy and chocolates my daughter can't have.  Reese's Peanut Butter Cups being a prime example.  She remains seriously allergic to peanuts and tree nuts and can't eat dairy products that haven't been baked at 425 for 25 minutes or more.  I am too paranoid to give her things without labels and usually end up taking away most of her trick or treating collection.  I am the bad guy.  I would have hated myself now as a kid.  Luckily she is good about it and doesn't lose her cool. 

I try to replace the candy I take with approved candy I have bought in advance.  So I guess that makes me the good guy.  The kids still get to sit at the dining room table after they eat dinner and eat too much sugar.  They still get to experience the sugar highs and lows of a normal post-Halloween childhood.

Although yesterday was a reminder that perhaps my kids aren't that used to getting loaded up on sugary candy treats.  Our first incident was during nap time when the little guy barfed up chocolate I had given him after lunch (his sister was at school and I figured she wouldn't know the difference).  The little guy sadly knew the difference.  This barfing episode may be due to the fact he doesn't consume much dairy or that he doesn't consume much chocolate.  Regardless, no more dairy chocolate for that kid. 

The second incident was before bath time.  Both kids had consumed a good chunk of candy after dinner so were a tad ramped up by bath time.  I was on my own last night and was sorting out pajamas, etc. for after bath when I heard a horrific cry.  The crying continued and before I knew it I had a sobbing little boy in my arms.  My hyper daughter had managed to close the bathroom door on my hyper son's thumb.  We had a solid 20 minutes of theatrics and I broke a sweat worrying that his little thumb could be broken.  By 8:25 pm everyone was safely tucked in bed....clean and calm. 

Oh, and by the way, the babe was a witch for our neighborhood party on Sunday and then an astronaut for Halloween on Monday.  The little guy, my crustacean, was a lobster.  They were both darn cute, if I do say so myself.  Another successful Halloween under our belts with a few lessons learned to boot.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I Show Well

I got a compliment last week.  Although I'm not sure how accurate the compliment is, I appreciated receiving it.

I was dropping off the babe at school and trying to deal with the little guy having a bit of a melt down at the top of a rather dangerous staircase.  I am not sure what I was doing which looked like "appropriate mother type behavior," but one of the Moms passing by commented on how patient I was.  I looked at her and started laughing.  I told her that I am not an exceptionally patient parent and if they sold patience at the store, I would spend my retirement savings on it.  She laughed and told told me that "I show well." 

I happen to know she is a real estate agent, and having recently purchased our first home, I am familiar with the term "showing well."  What I don't understand is how I could ever "show well."  I think that's because I am always stuck inside my head and dealing with a trail of crazed thoughts and occasional (OK, frequent) expletives.  Drop off is just not an easy thing to do with the little guy in tow.  This kid has gotten rather big and rather strong, and when he doesn't want to cooperate, well, he doesn't cooperate. 

I am pretty jazzed that I managed to pull off the "patient Mama" look on that particular morning.  Now I just have to aspire to pull it off every morning (Just joking. I'm not perfect!).  Maybe "patient Mama" will help bring out "patient little guy."  Or maybe not.  Either way, I show well.    

I'm Not Perfect

You know when a song gets stuck in your head and you just can't get it out?  Well apparently this happens to kids as well.  The little guy has been wandering around the house, and everywhere else, singing, "I'm not perfect, no I'm not."  If you didn't know what he was singing, you may think there's some messed up stuff going on at our house.  But in reality, he's singing a great song by the Laurie Berkner Band and if the little guy were to sing the whole song, folks may think we have a pretty cool home with just the right attitude. 

The song's message is just as important for the little ones as it is for us big ones.  In fact, it's such a great song I think I'll share the lyrics with you:

I'm Not Perfect by Laurie Berkner

I'm not perfect, no I'm not
I'm not perfect, but I've got what I've got
I do my very best, I do my very best
I do my very best each day
But I'm not perfect
And I hope you like me that way

We're not perfect…

You're not perfect, not you're not
You're not perfect, but you've got what you've got
You do your very best, you do your very best
You do your very best each day
But you're not perfect

And you know

I love you that way

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

I've been thinking about Erma...

I recently read a thoughtful piece by Erma Bombeck.  One part in particular hit me like a slap in the face.  A few hours before reading the collection below, I had told the babe to get back in her seat and finish her dinner.  The thing is, she had gotten out of her seat to come over to give me a kiss.  At the time, I was more concerned with getting dinner wrapped up so I could clean the kitchen before bringing the kids upstairs for a bath.

Reading the piece below was a reminder that living in the present and appreciating all the little things is so much more important than stressing out about the next few steps on our "to do" list.  When someone comes over to give you a kiss, especially when that someone is your precious little girl, you should stop and savor it.  These are the kisses I will hopefully remember when I'm sitting in my rocking chair one day.  I don't think I'll remember if I managed to get the entire kitchen clean after dinner and before bath time, though.


I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the "good" living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather rambling about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television, and more while watching life.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick, instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment, realising that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love you's" and more "I'm sorry's"

. . . but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute . . . look at it and really see it . . . and never give it back.”

― Erma Bombeck