Sunday, March 27, 2016

Lost My Center. Or Something.

Dancing together at a birthday party. My heart is full. So lucky.

I've been feeling off my game. Again. I think I blogged about a few weeks ago also.

What's weird is that home life and the girls is GREAT. I've never been in such a great place about having two. I was kind of worried about the whole 12-18 month, mobile but totally senseless phase, but so far, I am absolutely loving Amelie at this age. I can't get enough of her. I sit and watch her with a huge grin. It's my new favorite hobby. She's just too delicious.

And Calliope is great, too. I don't know if it's her getting more sleep or that four and a half is just a great age but wow, it's wonderful. I ask her to do something and she mostly says, "okay, Mommy." And then often actually remembers to do it. When she doesn't, it's rare enough that it does make me enraged, I just remind her again. We have great little conversations. She is full of ideas and hypotheses about the world. It's a constant reminder that the world is fresh and new. Like, I told her we are going to Disney World next month. And she asked curiously, "Do they speak English there?"

This morning's conversation on the way to school: "Is it cozy when you are dead? Do you wear clothes when you die?"

And then, "Mommy, your voice sounds funny."

"Oh, did it sound funny? I had a little phlegm in it. Did I sound froggy?'

"No, not froggy. FOGGY. You can't sound froggy. You can sound FOGGY. Foggy fog. That's how you sound." My little expert witness.

She just started attending After School instead of coming to my office after PreK gets out -- well, she's been exactly once -- and I thought she might cry about it, but instead, she was thrilled and didn't want to leave. And so I get back an extra forty minutes of my day at work!

Home is good. Just very, very busy. It's rare during the day that I sit down when I'm not also doing something else, whether it's feeding the baby or ordering groceries. Otherwise, I feel like i'm constantly stooping down and picking something up to put it away. Constant.

But the big thing is work. It's just relentless lately. And I continue to be scared for the future of my program. I'll be bereft if I can't be in the same building with Calliope. It just simplifies my life to an incredible degree, even though it's hard and I miss my solo commute (and the ability to do errands after work).

The pace at work is driving me crazy. I feel like I don't have time to breathe. With stopping pumping last week -- sniff -- and Calliope going to After School, I hope that it feels a little less insane.

But with my girls being so delicious lately, I just wish I could retire for a bit. Temporarily. And just be home with them. The time goes so fast. And I spend so much of my time with them... not with them. Cleaning up or cooking or working out or checking things off my list.

But I don't see myself being a stay at home parent. Reality interferes.

So I'm trying to find thing to help me reset a bit. Also because, who knows, maybe it's not work that's the problem. Though I'm positive it's not helping.

So here's what I've come up with:

  1. Take a break from watching shows. I am not much of a TV watcher, but lately have been watching a show a night on my computer. And oh, how I long for that escape. But I know over a period of many years that that delicious escape tends to be followed by a period of depression. So I'm testing it out and taking a week off from watching to see if I feel happier.
  2. By skipping the show, I hope I feel and heed my fatigue earlier, and go to bed earlier. I don't feel sleepy during the day, but sleep deprivation can certainly interfere with mood.
  3. Also with more time from not watching a show, spend 30-60 minutes a night, for now, working on getting caught up on things. Since I just got my re-credentialing packet, due in a month, that will probably be thirty minutes a night on continuing education classes (online) and hopefully another thirty minutes working on photo books -- I want to make one for Amelie's first year, and also a book for her about her conception. Photo books are so intimidating but I'm hoping that if I do a little bit at a time, it won't be so overwhelming.
  4. My friend Scott came over for dinner tonight. I'm hoping we can continue to see each other once a month or so -- he's my old non-kid friend for the time being -- and go out to shows, too. I can't commit a lot of energy to outside interests, but a show now and then isn't too much of a commitment. Apart from missing sleep by being out late. That's an issue.
What do you do when you are feeling depleted and only have time for your kids? All suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016


Poor sick baby. Luckily the rash isn't painful.
But the sores in her mouth and throat are. :(

So this isn't an interesting post but I would just like to note that in the past week, we had

1) Hand foot and mouth disease -- Amelie. Fever rising to 104.3, accompanied by an ugly rash. Starting a few days before her first birthday. Squelching our plans to meet my siblings and their families at the Mystic Aquarium for a short celebration with a lot driving. She's much, much better but still not eating normally.

2) An unnamed viral illness -- Calliope. Starting a day after Amelie's illness, but including exact same high fever of 104.3, minus the rash. Rapid strep test and throat culture are both negative. Feeling much better now but has a painful sore in her mouth, too -- could be the same virus -- so can't eat anything acidic.

3) Strep throat -- me. Very surprising to me. My fever got up over 101, so high-ish for an adult. Not crazy high, but i rarely get fevers. The rapid test was negative but the throat culture was pending. And even if it's negative well, it wasn't exactly a good swab, Because, yeah, I kind of have a phobia of them. We tried. First the medical assistant and me. I sent Calliope into the hall for that humiliating experience (the baby was with the nanny) Then the doctor and me. She just blocked Calliope's view with her back. It ended with me shaking over a bucket. Not pretty.

Finally I went into the bathroom and gagged over and over again while staring at my reflection until FINALLY, barely, I touched the two swabs (together) against a milky spot on my tonsils.

So yeah. a negative throat culture might not be conclusive. But last night my fever kept going up and my throat kept hurting more and I realized I just didn't have time, as the single-mother-to-two-working-full-time person that I am, to wait for either the throat culture or the "watchful waiting" urgent care recommended... and so I started the antibiotics they had prescribed, just in case. And also swigged down the Magic Mouthwash they so thoughtfully provided.

I'm in a strange situation at work where I got "not a warning but a reminder" of the sick policy that, even if you have plenty of sick time, you can't have to many separate incidences of sick time in a certain amount of time, without getting a warning. It's all very vague. Because this is the year that I had 1) "asthmatic bronchitis" (my breathing sounded kind of like "Dark" Vader, as Calliope says, only louder and more rumbly), 2) sinusitis -- two weeks of nonstop coughing and finally just collapsing in exhaustion and 3) gastroenteritis, aka a stomach bug, but bad enough that I went to urgent care, scared that something was wrong. And now 4) strep throat.

And on top of that, Calliope's scarlet fever and Amelie's hand foot and mouth... each of which required me taking a day off, because you can't -- or at least, I can't -- ask my nanny to stay with a child who has a 104 fever. My baby needs me, and I need to be with her.

And meanwhile, work is just so busy. I thought on Monday that I was just tired from Amelie crying during the night -- poor baby, HFM brings lots of sores on the tonsils in addition to the adorable rash -- and it was annoying me that I couldn't focus better on my charting until finally I noticed that I was shivering. And that the sore throat I had been ignoring for days was getting worse.

So about the time I was prone on the couch, freezing cold and back aching from fever, I started panicking about all the things I wasn't, am not, getting done. Which is a super productive train of thought.

So today's "sick" day earned me exactly one hour in bed. Then I went to a previously scheduled CPR class that I didn't want to miss. Then I came home and spent 90 minutes on the phone trying to work out a tax form snafu because goodness knows when I will get any time alone with no kids, can't waste that. Then I picked up Calliope from the neighbor (they gave her a ride) and Amelie from the nanny share, put them to bed, cleaned up my desk and opened mail and made Calliope's lunch and cleared the hall table. What a restful day!

Thank goodness my fever broke and I'm having more energy by the hour. Back to work I go tomorrow, like it or not, to face an overwhelming backlog of patients. Luckily we have Friday off for Good Friday. I agreed to babysit my friend's kid since she's been taking Calliope to school for me while I and the baby were sick.

Small spotted hand. 

Looking dazed and sickly at the doctor's office.
Her shirt is wet because it was too painful to swallow her saliva.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

She's One!

Attire inspired by Calliope
And just like that, she's one!

My gorgeous, happy, chortling girl is one. I'll never have another infant. But oh, how sweet this one has been. Still is.

I mentioned this in another post, but I think as a result of being a second child, she's actually slightly more advanced than Calliope was at one. Just yesterday she started saying "uh oh" and there's a lot of "Mamama" but I'm not positive that she really means me. Plus she's been saying "Hi" since nine months, I think, though it just recently morphed from a more amorphous "Haaaaaa" (accompanied by waving, so there was no doubt what she meant) to a more crisp "Hi!" (still accompanied by waving... technically waving to herself.)

And she gives kisses -- to the air -- and does the "wheels on the bus" motion, and has just started signing "more" and "all done."

She was seventeen pounds, six ounces at the doctor on Friday, just two ounces less than Calliope was at the same age. But doesn't look too skinny, so maybe she's shorter. I'll find out at her well baby visit next week.

Because, oh yes, we've made two visits to the doctor this past week. Amelie has Hand Foot and Mouth Disease, and Calliope presumably has the same virus, one day later and without the rash.

It ain't pretty. Both girls spiked fevers north of 104 degrees and Amelie's rash is pretty ugly. Luckily it's improving quickly.

We were supposed to go to the aquarium in Mystic, CT to see my siblings and their families for a birthday celebration but had to table that. Luckily our loyal Brooklyn "family" came through and our two closest family friends came by for a simple celebration of Amelie. I didn't want a crowd, since that would just be stressful for Amelie. Two one year olds, two four year olds, and a seven year old was just right. She had a great time and relished her first sweet treat.

And now she's crying. Despite a dose of Tylenol and drinking some water. At 10 pm. Off I go.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Conversation with Calliope

We're hugging and talking about how great our family is when Calliope mentions a daddy.

Me: do you wish we had a daddy?

Calliope: yes

Me: why do you wish we had a daddy? what do you wish he would do?

Calliope: He would lift me up so I could climb tall trees.

Me: Oh, I see. But where would he sleep? You've been sharing my bed my bed recently. 

Calliope: He could sleep in your bed and I could sleep on his belly.

Me: Oh, okay. And if we had another Mommy? 

Calliope: That's fine, she could sleep on YOUR belly!

My attempts to avoid assuming heterosexuality apparently translated into an openness to polyamory. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

A Major Milestone Has Been Reached...

We can achieve hairstyles! (Barely.)

"I don't understand that the baby in the mirror is me so I don't know
that I have hair missiles exploding off the top of my head."
"Mommy, do you still think I am the cutest baby in town, even with ridiculous pigtails?"

"I love it when the wind blows my tuft of hair."

Friday, March 4, 2016

Firsts, and The Very Best Video

I love, love, love this video.

We had just gotten Amelie's birthday outfit in the mail (thanks to a gift certificate) and Calliope absolutely couldn't wait for Amelie to try it on. And then was just beyond thrilled with the result.

It made my heart sing to see how proud Calliope was of her little sister.

In case you can't catch the dialogue, it's:

Calliope: "only girls, not boys."

Me (very hoarse from a cold), laughing, "okay. Who's the cutest birthday girl? And birthday sister?"

Calliope: "This birthday girl only choosed [sic], only girls. Right? (pause) She said yes."

And some firsts:

First good sleep photo. She is very attached to Monkey Love... a lovey given to Calliope
before she was born, but never used until now -- Calliope didn't want one.
I love it that Amelie has something from her namesake, my mom.

Her first time wearing a barrette. No one could argue that she needs it, but it's fun nonetheless.
Well, this isn't really a first but Calliope is really captivated by both Star Wars stories and the tale of the Wizard of Oz, so
we talk about them a lot. But she's way to scared to see them -- just a clip of Darth Vader breathing sent her running from the room.
I love this rendering of what she thinks Princess Leia looks like!
Also, she is starting to write words without help -- she can now write Leo with zero help, and just needs to be reminded
of the letters to write the names of her friends Ellie and Iris. She loves to write!

And finally... at sixteen days shy of a year, she finally has not one but two brand new teeth!