Friday, February 26, 2010

My mommy guilt

I hear and read stories from other working moms all the time describing the guilt they feel when they miss something their kid does while they're at work, or when their kid gets upset about them leaving for work, or when they have to go to work rather than staying home and playing with their kid. I'm not one of those moms (shocking, I know).

Rather, work has always been an escape for me. In the early days of constant screaming and no sleep, I looked forward to going to work - even though I had an awfully damn shitty working environment - because it got me away from the screaming and the constant nursing for eight hours a day. Now that I have a job I love, I like going to work even more. It's a nice break from the constant demands of a clingy toddler. Mothering is draining in a way that my occupation is not. I'm much better at coping with the demands of lawyering than the demands of mothering.

That's not to say that I don't have my own special type of mommy guilt, though. I do. It's just not...conventional...With W being sick this week, I was lucky enough to get calls to come pick him up from the sitter's in the middle of the workday not once, but twice. The first time, the sitter called right at the end of my lunch hour, and I had a meeting that I absolutely had to attend at 1:30. I told her I would be there to get him as soon after my meeting as I could. It was about an hour and a half after her call that I finally got there.

The second time she called, I was at the OB waiting for my check-up. I obviously wasn't going to get up and walk out, so I told her I would be there as soon as I could after the doc saw me. Before I could go to the sitter's, though, I had to go back to work to get my stuff, get some files so I could work at home that night, and tell my boss that I needed to leave. It took me an hour to get to her place.

In both of these scenarios, I felt some guilt. Not necessarily about not getting to my sick kid immediately, but more about putting my job before my kid. I've noticed that there are days when I tend to do that. But I feel it can't be helped sometimes. In my line of work, there are days when my absence makes no difference, and then there are days that I cannot miss. On the cannot miss days, work comes before kid to the greatest extent possible. I think part of that comes from me still trying to impress the boss. Even though I've been there for over a year, I'm still the newest employee, and I want the boss to like me. I'm also innately an overachieving people-pleaser, and it's much harder to please an adult with authority over me than it is to please my kid, so I try harder to please the adult.

Look at me trying to justify my behavior to assuage my guilt. Looks like I learned at least one useful skill in law school.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


W has been sick this week. Apparently it's just a virus, so there's nothing we can do about it, but it's given him a nasty cough, runny/stuffy nose, wheeziness, and a fever. He caught it from the sitter's kids, who manage to catch everything going around, and then pass most of it on to my kid. The sitter's son actually has walking pneumonia. I'm glad W doesn't have that.

I am, however, done with this sick baby crap. This is the longest-lasting illness (other than colds) of W's short life so far. He started coughing a bit on Saturday night, spiked a pretty high fever on Tuesday morning, seemed to be back to normal today, and then spiked a fever again at lunchtime. I've now been off work for a total of two whole days between Tuesday and today to stay home with him, and it's looking like I'll be staying home again tomorrow. The sitter is being all weird about taking him (even though he's got the exact same thing her kids have), and I don't think I can convince B to take the day off.

His logic goes something like this: Emily gets paid sick days, I don't. Therefore, Emily should always be the one who has to take time off to care for the sick kid. Normally, I would agree with his logic (to some extent) and wouldn't bitch too much, but right now, every hour of sick time that I use is taking away from my paid maternity leave.

I have been doing everything in my power (skipping lunch, making appointments during lunch, working from home in the evenings, coming early, staying late) to avoid using my time off for appointments, baby obligations, etc. Until this week, I've been doing fairly well at it. I'm just so annoyed that I have so little paid time off for maternity leave to begin with because I'm having this kid so damn close to the first one and I haven't been in the workforce long enough to accumulate much time off, and I feel like I'm wasting the little I do have by staying home this week. Especially when W seems to be pretty much ok 98% of the time. He only seems really sick when his fever goes back up, and for about an hour after I give him drugs. Otherwise, he's running around and being mostly normal.

He's also cutting about four more teeth, which is making him super pleasant, and he has to have breathing treatments, which he hates and fights like I'm trying to pour acid down his throat. I'm so frustrated with the tantrums, the fighting, and the screaming. I could not, not, NOT be a stay at home mom and deal with this stuff every day. I mean, it's only been three-ish days, and I'm already about to snap. I begged B to take me with him to math class tonight, but he wouldn't do it. If I'm volunteering to attend a three-hour-long math class, you know things at home are bad.


So, readers, what do you do when you can't sleep? For me, catching some zzzs used to be as simple as vegging on the couch watching bad late-night TV. Unfortunately, the couch has become less and less comfortable for me, so this strategy hasn't been working so well lately.

Tonight, there's nothing on TV and I'm caught up on my DVR shows. And the couch is killing my back. I'm half tempted to go clean my bathroom to try to wear myself out, but I'm worried about making too much noise and waking the boys. I have no desire to deal with cranky toddler and a cranky husband who were roused in the middle of the night because I felt the urge to clean.

I'm feeling half pukey tonight, too, and I'm not sure why, but it isn't helping me get any closer to sleep. And I have to get up in five or so hours. Blech. Honestly, a sleeping pill of some sort would be fantastic right about now. But that's not an option, so I'm going to have to come up with something else. Maybe I'll read for a bit. My current book is boring enough that reading just might work.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

His presssshussss (Alternate title: When lovies go bad)

I'm getting a bit concerned about W's relationship with his pacifier.

For the longest time, I thought we were fortunate enough to not have a lovey that he was obsessed with and dragged with him everywhere. Then, one day, the babysitter made some comment about his pacifier being his lovey, and I realized that she was right. He loves that thing, takes it everywhere with him, screams if we take it away from him, and, on those glorious days when he can get his hands on two of them, he'll walk around with one pacifier in his mouth and one clutched in his chubby little hand.

Unlike most kids and their lovies, though, if he puts it down and finds something else entertaining, he tends to forget about it. We're trying really hard to break him of the daytime pacifier habit, so if we see one unattended on the floor, it gets put up until bedtime. But when he's thinking about the pacifier, he'll go to great lengths to find one.

And he always manages to find one. I swear the kid has a secret stash somewhere. Sometimes it's actually kind of funny...when B and I are desperately searching for one at bedtime, W usually wanders off and shows up a few minutes later with a pacifier in his mouth. He's also taken to shoving his crib away from the wall when he gets up because he's figured out that's where the pacifiers tend to fall while he's sleeping. Any time he's looking and can't find one, the first thing he does is go up to his room and search behind his crib. No one ever accused this kid of being dumb.

While this probably all sounds like pretty normal toddler-lovey behavior, what caused me some concern was the scene I witnessed this afternoon. W had found one of his secret stash pacifiers, and had one in his mouth while he was sitting on the floor in the living room playing. Next thing I know, he's taken it out and is holding it in his hand and talking to it. He had quite the conversation with it before popping it back in and going back to whatever he was doing.

Next thing you know, he's going to start petting it, calling it "presssshussss," and going completely crazy when it's taken away from him.

Can you see why I'm concerned?

Monday, February 15, 2010

An update on The Deuce

As I've gotten to a point where I can't really ignore the fact that I'm pregnant any more - try thought I might - I suppose I should maybe start paying some attention to this kid.

I had my 30 (I think...I still don't really know how far along I am or anything) week appointment today. Everything looks good. I passed my glucose test, and actually had low blood sugar, which the OB told me to be aware of. I guess that might explain why I felt like I was going to die when I didn't get lunch until around 3:00 on Sunday afternoon. Unfortunately, I'm not anemic. I was hoping I was because that would have been an easy solution to my extreme and utter exhaustion. She told me if I'm still feeling as tired at my next appointment, we'll have my thyroid checked. Yay. I also gained a shitload of weight, and I'm pretty sure I've almost hit my total weight gain from W's pregnancy with 10 (or so) weeks left to go. Actually, now that I really think about it, I think I surpassed it. Ugh.

This baby is beating the crap out of me physically, which even the OB thinks is bad this early on. I've been having killer headaches (without the swelling and BP issues this time), my pubic bone hurts every time I move or breathe, and there's a spot on my right ribcage that spends most of its day screaming at me (and it's not one of the baby's preferred kicking targets). My physical ailments did score me a prescription for some Tylenol 3, though, so I guess all the suffering isn't entirely in vain.

I start going every two weeks now. The bi-weekly appointment schedule is starting at a terrible time. My trial schedule is nuts for the next couple of months, which makes finding time for OB appointments a major pain. I'm dying to do some of these trials, and if I have to bump OB appointments to make it happen, so be it. I already had to screw with the schedule to make my next appointment, as we have a two-week-long murder trial that interferes with the 32(-ish) week appointment. I think I've moved things around to the point that I can go before and after this murder trial, but then we have another two-week murder trial that will probably cause issues because we don't have enough of a break between the two trials for me to get to the OB. My OB really needs to have some evening hours. Or an office in the city where I work.

Oh, and if this kid decides to show up early and makes me miss either of these trials, I will be pissed (as will the coworker who will have to take over trial duties in my absence).

Slimey doesn't have a name yet. Nothing is really striking my fancy. B hasn't come up with too much, either, though he has picked a middle name.

In other news, B and I bought a new mattress yesterday! It was a sorely, sorely needed purchase. Our old set was older than both of us (probably older than both of us combined), and one side was completely flattened and had a ginormous crater. It did not make for comfy sleeping conditions. We weren't really planning to buy yesterday, but we got a pretty good deal on a Simmons set that we could walk out the door with, and even got split box springs, which made getting the whole set-up upstairs to our bedroom much easier (no hauling this stuff up through the breezeway). Now, we just need to remember that this mattress is a few inches taller than our last one...every time I got up to pee last night, I about fell on my butt because I was expecting floor to hit my feet much sooner than it did.

We shopped for paint chips yesterday, too (talk about an exciting Valentine's Day). Now, we have about a million different paint chips and not one idea about what we're going to end up doing with them. I really want to get the nursery and W's room painted before the baby gets here, but I'm so freaking awful with decorating. I don't know what I want or what might look good, and I'm not finding any inspiration online. All the pictures I'm finding are so theme-y. I don't really think the boys' rooms need themes. They just need paint. And maybe some pictures or wall stickers or something. And definitely some shelving. They certainly don't need to look like a bedding set puked all over them, and I have no idea how to accomplish that.

I also had another counseling appointment today. Honestly, if I had known (or, maybe, admitted to myself) that counseling would be so helpful and therapeutic, and so easy, I would have done it years ago. I felt great when I left, and got a great new perspective on a few things. I have a couple of things I want to discuss with B, but that would mean actually telling him I've started counseling...we'll see if the topic comes up between now and my next appointment.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sweethearts, you disappoint

While I was out and about today, I decided that I wanted to get my yearly fix of Sweethearts. Sweethearts are the chalky, heart-shaped candies with cute little messages on them. I'd heard that the candies had been overhauled this year, but didn't think anything of it when I was making my purchase.

My first complaint: they apparently don't sell single boxes any more. I just wanted one box. That's all. Just one. I couldn't find single boxes ANYWHERE. I ended up buying an 8-pack (which I'm really regretting now that I've actually eaten them).

Complaint two: they've freaking changed them! Before, these hearts had pretty bland flavors, which was fine by me. Now, the flavors are overwhelming. I almost gagged on the purple-flavored ones. Next, they got rid of the white ones!!!!! The white hearts were the best ones! They were pretty much the only reason I would even buy a box. Instead of white, they now have blue (which are extremely blue...raspberry?...flavored), two shades of purple (flavors of super-strong-grape and, uh, slightly-less-gaggy-grape?), and two shade of yellow (lemon and perhaps banana).

Overall, all I have to say is blech.

If you haven't tried out the new and (ostensibly) improved Sweethearts, I say don't. If you insist on trying them, though, I have seven boxes sitting on my table that I'm more than willing to pass on to someone else.

Friday, February 12, 2010

While I'm discussing my crafty crap...

I just rediscovered the pictures I took for a little pre-Christmas project of mine. My coworker's kids got Zhu Zhu Pets for Christmas last year. In case you don't live with a tween or work with someone who lives with a tween, Zhu Zhu Pets are battery-operated hamsters. Yes, they're as stupid as they sound, but they were the toy of Christmas 2009. And, of course, if you got a Zhu Zhu, you had to get the play sets and accessories and other random crap. As these things were the toy last year, stuff was difficult to find, and when you found it, it was expensive (all this is coming from my coworker...we heard many tales of Zhu Zhu woe throughout November and December).

One day at work, Coworker showed me the bed and blanket sets she wanted to get for the kids, but refused to pay $25 for. I, stupidly, opened my mouth and said I could totally sew something like that for less than $25 a piece. And Coworker took me up on it. It took some searching, but I found measurements for the damn Zhu Zhus, instructions on how to make a blanket and pillow (which I really only needed for the measurements. I mean, how hard is it to make a hamster-sized pillow?), and instructions for a guinea pig bed that looked a lot like the Zhu Zhu beds.

I used the instructions to make my own patterns, and adjusted the guinea pig bed instructions to fit a 6" long fake hamster. The first bed I did (for Coworker's three-year-old) didn't turn out perfectly, but it was passable for a three-year-old. The one I made for the eight-year-old turned out much better, as I learned from experience and clarified some of the ambiguous guinea pig bed instructions for myself.

They didn't turn out perfectly by any means, and I apologized to Coworker profusely for that, but she loved them. And so did her kids. And now, those beds, blankets, and pillows are filled with unused, un-played-with fake hamsters.

At least the kids got a month of use out of my handiwork before getting bored with the fake hamsters they just had to have.

Valentine's Day treats

I saw this post for easy Valentine's petit fours the other day, and I became obsessed. I had absolutely no reason to make or do anything for V-Day this year, but I had to make these. So I did. This was my project for tonight (you know, the thing I did rather than clean, pay bills, or do anything else useful).

I'm showing them to you as photographic proof that someone with no creativity and not an ounce of artistic ability can make cute treats. I wasn't brave enough to try the royal icing decorations, but I did use fondant for the first time in my life (it was a lot like playing with chewed gum).

So there you have it. Now I just have to figure out what to do with them (and get over the massive heartburn the one I taste-tested gave me).

Monday, February 8, 2010

Gagging on memories

A friend of mine went to the hospital to be induced this morning. I've been getting updates periodically throughout the day, and every time I do, it makes me want to hurl.

When I was pregnant the first time, everyone told me that as soon as you hold the baby in your arms, you forget about the labor and the pain. I call bullshit on that, my friends. I have never, never forgotten how awful labor was, how unbelievably painful it was, and how much I wanted to die and/or rip off B's balls with every contraction. Time hasn't dulled the memory, either.

Hearing about my friend's progress brings up all those awful memories for me again. I remember what I was feeling when I was at three centimeters, and at five, and thinking of her going through that right now makes me cringe. Thinking of me having to go through it again in a few more months literally makes me sick to my stomach because I don't want to do it.

I don't want to do any of this. The pregnancy, the labor, the recovery, the newborn, the infant, the toddler. None of it. As the day of reckoning gets closer, the knot in my stomach gets tighter and tighter. Hearing other women's stories doesn't help, either. Ugh. I just want this all to go away. I know it won't, but I still dream of that

As far as I know, my friend hasn't gotten to six-seven-ish centimeters, which is when I got the epidural, and labor became bearable. I'm hoping she's there before the next update because then I might be able to think of her without fighting to keep my dinner down.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

I know he's not doing it for me, but I can pretend

After I put W to bed tonight, I started digging through the cupboards. You see, I've been craving brownies for a few days now, but we don't have any brownie mix. I thought ice cream would be an acceptable substitute, but I wanted something to put on it. Hence the cupboard search. All I discovered was that we don't have any ice cream toppings (or any facsimile thereof) or sprinkles. I was really hoping for sprinkles.

Although disappointed, I settled for a pudding cup I found in the fridge. When I walked out to the living room, B made fun of me for snacking on a pudding cup and a glass of Diet Coke. Which prompted me to explain why I was eating a pudding cup. My craving was all B needed.

He immediately offered to run to the store to get me some brownies. I told him it was unnecessary, I didn't need the brownies, and I just ate a pudding cup. He was having none of it. He told me he was going whether I wanted him to or not.

At first, I thought it was sweet of him to insist on getting me craving food. Then I realized that NASCAR is on tonight, and he's out of beer. He wasn't going to make a trip out to get himself some beer, but as soon as I gave him an excuse, he was out the door before I really had a chance to protest.

So he isn't really being sweet; the brownies are the cost of enjoying some beer with his racing. But I'm getting brownies (and sprinkles!) out of it, so I'll just pretend he went to the store for me.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

"Baby WeeWee"

I hate to disappoint all the creepies who find this through some inappropriate google search, but this is not going to devolve into a kiddie porn post.

Rather, this is what the baby sitter's daughter (who is 19-months-old) has been calling W. She has some difficulties pronouncing his name, and "Baby WeeWee" is what comes out. Today was the first time she actually said it in front of me, and it was freaking hilarious. Not only because she calls my kid WeeWee, but also because she still calls him "baby." I mean, he's only four months younger than she is, and he's bigger than her. Toddlers just crack me up.

You know, I'm sure my son won't appreciate WeeWee as a nickname, but for now, I'm going to be amused by it.

And, since it's been awhile, I'll leave you with a cute WeeWee picture (pervs, refer to my first paragraph).

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Today's quick recap

I apologize in advance if this ends up being rambly and cryptic. I want to give you some info, but I don't want to get too deep into this stuff on the interwebs.

I had my first counseling appointment today. I actually got more out of it than I thought I would. I think it helps that I have some counseling in my educational background, so I knew what she wanted and needed to know up front to do her job, and I was willing to give it to her. I think that made the session more productive than it would have been if she had to drag this stuff out of me. I came in prepared to spill all my scary, nasty background info, and I think it paid off.

As an aside, I know my immediate family is more screwed up than most, but when I laid the family info out bluntly and all at once, even I was shocked at how messed up we sound. It's slightly amazing that any of us are at all functional. Seriously.

A lot of the things she told me today were things that I already knew, though I may not have clearly articulated them to myself. When someone else points this stuff out to me, it's amazing how it all just clicks in my brain and makes perfect sense. One of the things she mentioned was that I feel like my life is out of control in a lot of ways, and I'm trying to figure out how to get things back under my control (super true). Afterward, I had a mini-revelation about one of the things I've fixated on controlling (without even realizing it, really).

I know today was the easy day, and the sessions are going to get more difficult from here on out. But right now, I'm optimistic about this working for me.

My counselor's name is Esther. In the Bible, Esther saved the Jews from destruction. I'm hoping my Esther might be able to do the same for me.