Friday, January 25, 2008

Shifting Perspectives

I had always heard people say "just wait til you have kids." They would say it to almost everything. As if everything in your life shifts simply because you give birth. Well - it kinda does. Don't get me wrong, I am not now - nor will I ever be - a flannel wearing, curler-in-hair, walmart-world-of-fashion mom. I just can't. Its the one part of the "old me" that I cling to. But I have noticed much of my mindset has shifted since I've had Cora.

For instance, there is a downtown daycare in the building right next to mine and the playground (part of the parking lot that has now been fenced off and filled with a few kiddie toys) is visible from our skywalk system. I've never paid much attention to it before. But as I was walking back from lunch one day this week, I stopped to watch the children play. I was suddenly struck by how sad it was that all these children had for a playground was a patch of parking lot surrounded by iron. In addition, there were snow/ice piles in each corner of the fence, built up there from our typical winter weather. I watched as the kids played "king of the hill" on the icy mounds. Instead of chuckling to myself about how cute they were and moving on (as I would have done 9 months ago) I stood in horror just sure that one of the children was going to slip and bust a lip, or worse yet, bash a skull against either ground or wrought iron. I actually found myself contemplating calling the director of the daycare and letting him/her know I thought the supervision on the playground was shoddy. I never did - didn't have the nerve - but it actually still bothers me a bit.

The worst thing however is reading the news. Before Cora, when I would read a story about a parent harming a child, a pedophile abducting a little one, or - worst of all - the death of a child, I would always feel sad and that it was a shame, but unless truly sensational (ala Susan Smith) I would forget about it in the matter of a few hours. Now, I often cannot control my tears as I read these news stories - and yet I cannot make myself forgo reading them. Tragically there seems to be endless material on which to report. A father, angry at his wife, throws his 4 children (all under 5 years old) off a bridge into a river. A mother who thinks her children have been possessed by demons kills all four and then lives with their corpses in her small apartment for weeks not missed by anybody. A pre-teen brother, tired of his toddler sibling's crying, beats him to death with a baseball bat and then goes back to playing his video game. A small nameless blonde girl is found in a blue cooler in Texas and for weeks no one claims her. Once they do its then that we discover the horror of her last hours at the hands of her mother and step-father. But the one that stung my heart the most was the small two-year-old little face looking into the camera with swollen eyes that had obviously done their share of crying, and is clearly wondering why all of these horrid things are happening to her by the hands of a strange man who is making her wear a leopard print tank top and do things of which she cannot possibly understand the evil. The police had no choice but to release a still frame of the video shot of this poor little baby in order to identify her and catch the pedophile who subjected her to it all. Catch him they did and I cannot wait until trial comes for this man. I'm quite aware of what they do to people like him in prison and I couldn't be more delighted for that day to come. My only sincere hope is that at some point the prison surveillance cameras catch him bruised, bleeding, eyes red from crying - wondering why he can't just go home. At that point I will feel there is true justice in this world.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Flying Solo

Last night I was flying solo - hubby had to work late. You would think after being home alone with my child for first three months of her life that I would have no problem spending two hours at the end of the day with her. Wrong. Yesterday at work was hectic, true - but there aren't many days there anymore that aren't. I left work, went to pick up Coco at her care provider's and headed home. I pulled into the garage with a softly sleeping child in the backseat and could instantly hear our lab (see photo lower right) barking his fool head off from his basement kennel. I got out, wrangled baby out of the carseat base, grabbed her diaper bag and slung it over my arm, closed the back car door softly, opened the passenger side front door, grabbed my purse and briefcase containing my laptop, pushed the door shut with my hip, wrangled my way around the rear of the car and into the house. Baby was still sleeping. Yay me. I walked in, kicked off my heels, dropped the briefcase and purse inside the doorway in the front hall, tripped over my heels, steadied myself, took little one into the living room, dropped the diaper bag on the carpet, and gingerly placed the carseat on the couch. Still all good. Then the dog realized I was inside.

bark bark bark bark. I yell-whispered something at the dog I can't repeat here and bolted downstairs to get him out of his kennel. He raced upstairs, loudly lapped up enough water to fill an Olympic-sized pool, ran a hot lap around the house and then straight to the door to go out. I gladly kicked the dog out and closed the sliding door. Ahhhhh - quiet... rest.... Lovely. Then it hit me - I had to change out of my suit and needed to do that before scoots woke up (once she wakes up and finds herself a prisioner of the car seat, well lets just say her patience is not infinite). To do so I'd have to leave the dog outside - he was still choosing his spot like it was a matter of national importance. So I turned and raced up the stairs, undressing along the way - threw my suit coat, shirt and pants on my bed in a pile, grabbed my sweatpants and pulled them on, grabbed the nearest warm shirt I could find (a fleece) and put it on over my head and grabbed a pair of socks - no time to put them on.... I had to pee.

I ran to the bathroom all the while keeping my sonar on for the first waking whimper. I plopped down, started to do what I needed to do while at the same time putting on my socks. Once I got the right one on I realized I had dropped the left one somewhere between the bed and the bathroom. Crap. Ok, so I was hurriedly "finishing up" and stood up to flush - I then realized that something was very wrong with either our toilet or our toilet paper.... everything was white. As I looked closer I realized I had not dropped my missing sock on the floor after all. Oh no. In my rush, I had apparently dropped it on in as I sat down. I had peed on my sock. My new socks. I just got them for Christmas. My only decent white pair. I debated for a second how much damage would be done if I just flushed it. Hmmmm 1972 plumbing = not a good idea. I had no choice. I didn't have time to go downstairs and get tongs, or chopsticks or any other aid. I reached in, grabbed the offensive garment and flung it into the sink faster than I've ever moved in my life. There may have been some pee fallout. I didn't care. This was Hubby's bathroom - not mine. (yes I am evil). I plugged the sink and filled it with water just in time to hear the first protesting wail from downstairs on the living room couch. I slathered on the Purell and took off for the source to free a little body from carseat jail.

Luckily about that time hubby called and let me know things went ahead of schedule and that he'd be home in 30 minutes. He was so excited he'd get to see both his girls that night and not miss putting Coco to bed. Who was I to ruin his happiness with warnings about what transpired in his bathroom? That would just be cruel.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


In case you haven't noticed the 74 references included in various blog posts of late, let me share with you that Cora is getting her baby teeth. I think baby teeth is a relative term. The very first ones she got were her bottom two which came in almost simultaneously. They were so tiny I marveled at how they would be used to chew anything. They were cute and perched perfectly at the apex of her little gumline, smack in the middle of her mouth and nestled side by side like little ivory twins. How adorable! Then came her top teeth.

Let me start by saying that great teeth do not run in my family. Not that you'd know it to look at us now. My mom has had caps, veneers and bridgework. My sister has had braces, retainers and mouth-roof stretchers (seriously). I have had 9 teeth pulled (yes I actually DO have a small mouth - shocker), braces, rubber bands and retainers. All of this so we weren't referred to as 'Bucky' at 30 years-old in a business meeting. Unfortunately little Coco got our dental genes. Her top two teeth are about the size of Chiclets; are well in front of the apex of her uppper gumline (i.e. appear to be just about growing out of her top lip); and are so far apart they should each have their own zip code. *sigh* Not as adorable.

Her little chiclets are not all the way down yet - they just finally broke through this weekend (after threatening to for days). Maybe they'll smoosh together as they come down. Maybe they'll get closer after other teeth demand some space. But in the meantime, I just can't imagine my perfect, beautiful, little cover-baby angel with hee haw teeth. Yikes. Everyone keeps telling me "well these are just the baby teeth - it won't mean a thing." Um it will mean something to her for the next five to six years. And what would make me think her permanent teeth would decide to straighten up with their predecessors setting such bad examples. One can only hope they'll have the courage to break the cycle of insanity.

So until more teeth come in, or - poor baby - braces make their debut, my little angel will just have to deal with teeth that give her "character". Did I mention that my whole family, as well as Hubby, all had glasses by their teens? Braces and glasses - she's doomed. My poor, poor child. She had no idea what gene pool she was swimming into!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Guys Night Out

Last night, hubby had a "guy's night out". It was long overdue - I think the last time he really went out and cut it up was the week before Cora was born. Once a month I have a "mom's night out" with a group of friends who all have little ones. Its our way of getting out and swapping our latest mommy stories (good and bad). So, if all of the above is true, why was I so pissy that hubby went out last night? It makes no rational sense. A) the poor guy was overdue for some guy time, B) I *told* him he should go and get out with his pals, and C) when his friends suggested the strip club, hubby decided it was time for him to come home. Granted that still put him in the front door around 1:00am, but is that really so bad? I mean, he did wait until I was putting Coco down for the night before he left to begin his adventure. True, she had a tough time going to bed last night the likes of which we haven't seen in a while, but by 8:00 all was well and I should have been enjoying a quiet night all to myself. So why wasn't I?

I have no real answer for my question. First, let me say, I realize the pissiness is irrational and so never took it out on hubby (if he reads this it will likely be the first inkling he had about my feelings). The best thing I can come up with is that I am jealous that he *can* go out and party like he did. Ever since Cora came along I just can't. I know I mentioned I have "mom's night" once a month - but that usually consists of a nice dinner out with the group which puts us all home by about 9:00 if not earlier. There is no drinking (short of a glass of wine or a beer), there is no bar hopping, there is no carousing. But that is not hubby's fault or choice - it is mine. And I think that's just the issue. I don't *want* to be out until 1:00am. I want to be at home, with my family, and be there in case Coco wakes up with a tummy pain, or a bad dream. Plus, I know that the next day being hungover will not make for a pleasant day with the baby. And I think, deep down, as irrational as I know it is, I want hubby to want that too. There is a part of me that wishes he didn't still want to go out and whoop it up with the boys - that he didn't feel a need to go to the bars. But if I'm very honest, I have to think to myself that perhaps, if I would let myself let go and let hubby parent Cora as my equal, that I would feel more comfortable heading out and cutting a rug. But then I remember that no one can sing her favorite lullaby like I can - and I remember the time that hubby forgot to feed her for about 5 hours - and I settle back into my self-imposed 9:00pm curfew with quiet resignation (and perhaps a little self-righteousness).