Friday, August 27, 2010

Cancelled: August Get Together for DC Area People

Update: The get together is cancelled! Sorry, but the people who had actually responded that they could come have had to cancel. Which is actually good for me, because my son is sick (again) and I was having trouble getting childcare coverage. Maybe next time it will work out better!

Don't forget that tomorrow is the DC area get together for the grown ups! We're meeting for lunch at Gordon Biersch in Tyson's Corner II, McLean, VA, at 11:00. Table will be in the name "Cara." Anyone else able to make it? Comment or send me an email so I know if I'm getting the right size table!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When It Rains...

It's been pouring over here at caramama's house. Not literally. Well, actually literally right at before last week started we had an insane storm with pouring rain, including a brief power outage that happened while the Pumpkin was sitting on the potty in the bathroom without any windows. That was a fun way to start the day.

But this past week was pouring more in the figurative sense. I was just going list what's been going on day-by-day, but it's just depressing me to write it all that way. Let me try to sum it up.

Last Monday, Londo called me at work to talk with me about something that came up at his work. He was asked to manage a project/task that would last a week, but really good for his career, but mean insane hours for 7-8 days straight. As in, out the door before kids are awake and home after they are asleep, working all weekend, long hours. I told him to do it. I could handle a week of kid care by myself, and it would be very worth it for him. I just needed to rearrange my week so I could do drop offs, pick ups, morning care, dinner times bedtimes, and childcare and meals all weekend long. That's all.

(As an aside, wasn't it awesome of him to consult with me before saying yes? Not everyone would have! He's a thoughtful guy, and that's one of the many reasons why I love him.)

So I did the solo parenting thing from last Tuesday at dinnertime until Tuesday morning of this week (aka yesterday). Londo almost always leaves the house before the kids wake up, but Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Monday he didn't get home until after they were in bed. That was tough for everyone, including Londo. He's not used to not seeing his kids for days at a time.

Luckily, he was able to work from home on both Saturday and Sunday. He had business calls, deadlines and long hours in the home office, including working until midnight or later both nights. But at least he was able to let me sleep in on Saturday morning, give me an hour break later that day, feed the kids on Saturday night, and put the Pumpkin to bed on Sunday night.

Those long hours with the kids? Exhausting! Especially with one kid sick. The Pookie threw up Thursday evening as I put him in his highchair. He spewed on everything! Twice! I stuck him in the tub and sprayed him off, cleaned up the highchair enough so that the dog wouldn't keep licking it (why are dogs so gross?), set the Pumpkin in front of the TV and put the baby to bed early. Poor sick boy had also developed a fever and was tired and cranky. Once he was asleep, the Pumpkin and I finished dinner, I put her to bed, I took the highchair outside and hosed it down in the dark, and I rinsed and put in the washer the chair cover, clothes and towels which were all covered in vomit. All the while, I was making frantic calls to family members and friends to find someone to watch the Pookie the next morning. Oh, that was a fun night.

But that wasn't the only health issue I got to deal with during the past week. Oh no. Not the only one at all.

I got a call from my mom on Tuesday saying my 95-year-old Grandma fell and was in the hospital. She was okay and recovering, but she has three broken ribs and needed to be transferred to a nursing home on Saturday while my mom was out of town. The last few years, she's been living with my mom, but my mom can't take care of her, physically or otherwise, with broken ribs and in need of physical therapy.

On Friday morning, the Pumpkin had an appointment with an ENT which I did NOT want to have to reschedule. That was why I frantically called around to find some Friday morning coverage for the Pookie so I could take the Pumpkin to the ENT. I'll write a longer post about that, but the short story is that the Pumpkin's adenoids are enlarged, and we are going to schedule a surgery for October. Wheeee! Actually, this could be a very good thing. But just another thing to deal with.

Meanwhile, we learned that another family member is having a serious health issue. It's not my place to talk about, so I'm not going to discuss any details. But it is not good and affects Londo and I mentally and emotionally, and it will affect the kids and our scheduling. To say nothing of how it affects the family member and other family members.

But the kids and I did have some really good times. When I tweeted that I didn't know how single parents, parents with partners who work long hours or SAH parents do it, I got a response from awakingsleep that said I would find my own single-parenting rhythm. She was absolutely right. And even though I breathed a sigh of relief when the weekend was over and I headed back to work, by the end of the day on Monday I was dying to pick up the kids and see them again and spend time with them again. I will have more solo parenting coming up soon, and--I can't believe I'm going to say this--I'm even looking forward to it a little bit!

Okay, maybe I really have lost my mind. Or maybe I'm delirious with fever. Oh, didn't I mention? Yesterday the Pumpkin came home from school with a fever and is home sick today, luckily being watched by my mom since I have NO time left to take off and hubby has to do his actual regular work. And the Pookie was up for two hours in the middle of the night.

And the hits just keep on coming!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Question of the Week - Thank Your Parents

We looked into a lot of pre-schools before deciding on the Montessori school where the Pumpkin will start next Tuesday. Londo and I both really felt that this school was the right one for her (despite it not being a nut-free school). But although we think it is the right place to send her, there are some drawbacks for us.

Money is the big one, especially with the application fees, the registration fees and the advanced payment schedule. Whew! That's been tougher than I care to blog about or even hint at to most people. So I'm going to pretend like our finances all just fine and move on to something else.

The school is inconveniently located. For those who live in or are familiar with the DC area, you know that traffic is a HUGE pain. Just getting to work and back can take up way more of your day than should be legal! Add in school drop offs, and it gets more frustrating. Now add in two different drop offs, plus one of those that is 10-15 minutes (depending on lights) further north when you work south, and you start to get what I mean by inconveniently located. We will do it, but it will take more time away from being home with the kids having fun.

Anyway, I said all that to say this... About a month or so ago, I dropped off both kids at their current place and then headed up to the Montessori school to drop off paperwork. As I did that, I was able to foresee what my morning commute is going to be like this fall with the added location. And I thought back to the year I went to private school, about 20 minutes away from my house. Instead of walking to a bus stop and taking the bus to the local public junior high school, my mom drove me to and from the private school every morning and afternoon. Then I started thinking about all the times I missed the public school buses and my mom took me to or from school. And all those activities that I did? She drove me to them, and my sister and brother to theirs. Not to mention all the trips for me to visit with friends, including two of my best friends who lived in the next town up. Wow. My mom did a lot of driving for me.

There I was, driving up to this new school just to drop off the paperwork. I put in my hands-free earpiece, and I called my mom. "Hey, Mom. I'm driving to the Pumpkin's new school and I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for all the driving you did when I was younger, especially to the private school. Thank you for doing that for me." She laughed and said I was welcome and of course she would do those things for me. We talked about how great that private school was, and how I hoped that the Montessori would be a good fit for my daughter.

Then I told her, "I think everyone should have a kid, not just cause kids are wonderful, but so everyone can actually understand what their parents did for them! Having children has been the biggest eye opener for me about things I previously took for granted."

So this week's question of the week is:

Now that you have kids, what do you want to thank your mom or dad for doing for you as a child?

On that same phone call, I once again thanked my mom for putting up with my physical sensitivities. One of my family's stories is about me as a child and my shoes. I could not STAND IT when the socks weren't exactly right or if the shoes were tightened the exact same amount. I would throw a fit. Not because I was some temperamental diva. But because I simply could not leave the house and function unless my socks and shoes were just right. Now I know that at times I have bordered on having Sensory Processing Disorder, but back then I luckily had a very understanding mother.

On that same phone call, after I thanked her once again for putting up with all that, she said she understood because she has skin/physical sensitivities also. And then I realized that I could now see signs of those sensory issues in her as well. In fact, I believe that the search for the perfect nightgown for her continues to this day!

For my dad, I have before, and will again, thank him for treating me like I was capable of doing anything. He did not assume that my sister or me couldn't do the things my brother did just because we were girls. No, he taught us how to fix things and build things. He had me help move the couch and finish dry-walling the basement. He passed on his love of power tools and football to me, which has come in very handy over the years. Having a daughter and a son of my own, I see how it could be easy to treat them differently based on societal expectations of gender, even when it's not reasonable to do so. I'm so glad my dad knew that my sister and I were able to do most things that our brother did, as long as we were interested.

What about you? What did your parents do for you that you wish you could thank them for now? What struggles are you discovering in parenthood that give you new or more respect for what your parents did? Do you call them up and thank them? If not, you totally should.