Friday, February 1, 2008

Is Nothing Sacred?

One more thing to add to the files of “stuff I never had to worry about until I was a mom”…

I am often amazed at the crooked entrepreneurship of people running businesses that you and I may deem less than savory. Right before Christmas this year I had ordered a hat for Coco from Babies R Us that they didn’t carry in the store (it matched her Bundle Me, ok? it’s all about accessorization and I’m teaching her that lesson early). The first time I had ever ordered online from BRU was for the shower of one of my best friends who lives in California. Well apparently that address was saved as my default shipping address and before I caught it I had completed the sale and sent Coco’s hat off to Glendale.

I quickly looked through the web order to see if there was a way to change or cancel my order. There was not. So I found the toll free number for BRU and called in quickly to see what could be done. The toll free number is pretty easy: 1-888-BabyRUs. But I was in a hurry since I was doing all this from work and I was a little torked they were making me spell for my supper (just give me the number to dial – do not make me hunt and peck) so instead of dialing 1-888 I, without thinking, dialed 1-800. Big mistake.

The phone didn’t even ring – it just was silent for a minute and then went into some music. I remember thinking “this is odd holiday music” but I was looking over my day’s ‘to do’ list and not paying attention waiting for the 5 minutes I’d have to spend climbing through automated prompts. I did get a recording, but not the one I was expecting… a woman’s voice said something that made even me blush (referring to her kitty cat apparently). Once my brain caught up about 2 seconds later I slammed down the phone and froze. I immediately went in and told my boss “I have something you need to know in case you get a phone audit today…” I then was forced to explain the whole thing. Luckily I have a very cool boss who just thought the whole thing was damn funny.

Once I did get through to the CORRECT number and got my order straightened out, I told the customer service rep that about the close encounter. She said they knew about it and that the "other" line had done that on purpose. She said as a mother of a 13-year old she has to be constantly vigilant and can’t even keep up. For instance when trying to do a Government class paper, her son found out that gets you to a totally different Bush (the real site is She herself found out that if you leave the “s” off you get a whole different kind of solicitations. Obviously these site and phone line owners count on the masses to slip and end up in their lair.

How am I ever going to be able to protect Cora from all of this? Kids are internet savvy by the time they are in grade school. I can’t block sites I don’t even know exist! This is an example of just one of many times I know I’ll be forced to walk a line between protection, trust, faith and confidence in my child. There will be so many others – like the time my 5 year old wants to be independent enough to go to the bathroom in the grocery store by herself, or the time that my 8 year old wants to ride her bike to school, or the time my 13 year old wants to go to a co-ed party. For now I’m just going to enjoy being the omniscient dictator of Cora’s life and dread the day that the Independence Faction overthrows my rule in a bloodless coup. Hopefully I’ll at least be kept on by the new regime as an advisor…

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

WW Woah

Ok so I am starting a new chapter in the "lets lose this &*%$ baby weight before swimsuit season" saga. Seeing as how the lemonade diet didn't quite work out for me, and that I am banished from Nutri-System forever by hubby (apparently I was a bit cranky the month I was on their meal plan - probably because everything tasted like flavored sawdust and I was starving each minute of the day) I decided to go a more traditional route. Join a gym you say? Puhlease. I ain't crazy. I signed up for Weight Watchers at Work and yesterday was our first meeting.

Apart from it being a bit chaotic and unorganized, it did seem to make some sense. If I have to step on a scale in front of 25 other women (and one man - my friend Pete, God love him for doing this with me) then that is motivation. Plus I dig the whole points thing - I can eat whatever I want, just not copious amounts of it. For instance, my little Dove chocolate squares I love sooooo much... 1 point. The 100 calorie pack of hostess cupcakes (hallelujah for hostess getting that right)... 1 point! (do you realize I could eat 5 packs of them and that would only be 5 points?? That is 15 cupcakes!) Edamame for dinner... 2 points (plus soy sauce is 0 points - rock on!).

What I'm saying is that I may have found the right balance of public humiliation and food control that I can live with. We'll just see. I still can't get to drinking 64 ounces of water a day ... I'd be floating for goodness sake - is anyone really that thirsty? But I try and at least get in 32. (of course coffee and diet soda don't count due to the caffeine... crud) This is a 17 week deal and I had to pay dough to join up so that's more motivation right there. Right when we're done will be prime swimmy season and Cora WILL be in the water this summer. I just don't want to be confused with a beached whale next to her.

So -- today I met exactly my daily point allotment without having to delve into my free 35 points per week to spread around. Yay me. We'll see how this goes... I'll give weekly updates here on the blog to fill you all in. Weigh in days are Tuesdays so keep me honest people!! Hopefully there will be less of me to love in the very near future!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Watch It Missy

Last night at bathtime, Cora got a new "daisy head" towel. Once she got out of the bath she was toooo adorable not to photograph. Even with her cold dogging her all day, she still had nothing but smiles for the camera. Check it out:

Ok I post this photo and bring it up not to showcase how freaking cute my daughter is (but lets face it - she's the cutest being ever to crawl the Earth). Instead this photo was the bane of my existence today. How you ask? Allow me to elucidate...

As I may have mentioned, the photo above is the most adorable thing I've ever seen in my life. In light of that, I had no choice but to put it up as my wallpaper on my work computer (I think its Iowa law). A fellow attorney was in my office today discussing some issues she wanted to bounce off me. Once we were through, again I had no choice but to spin my computer monitor around and show my friend the photo (again - pretty sure its Iowa law). She oooo'ed and ahhh'ed over the photo, went on about how adorable Coco was (duh) and made all the right observations. Until she said this: "Awww... and who's holding her? Grandma?" What?? WTF? Excuse me? I had no choice - she had to be fired.

Wellll, so I had no power to fire her but if I had.... Seriously - how on earth am I supposed to recover from that? I mean true I had on no makeup, I hadn't slept for more than 90 minutes at a time in two days and the camera isn't exactly focused on me but that doesn't seem to ease the sting. In fact the point that I was sleep deprived and fragile made things infinitely worse.

Ok so my friend was mortified about her faux pas and apologized all over herself. She tried to say she was looking at the screen at an odd angle; that she hadn't looked that closely at the person holding Coco; and that she was so distracted by how cute Coco was that she just assumed I had been the one taking the photo (ok so that one earned some points back because I mean - have I mentioned that the kid is cute?). But by the time she was making her apologies (and feeling horrible about it) I was off in my own land of Botox, Personal Trainers and Spa Days. Maybe after I get some sleep, and some perspective, I'll feel ok about it - but for now I think I'll try and parlay this into some hubby sanctioned spa time. Hmmm maybe there is a silver lining after all...

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Working Mother's Conundrum

Well as much as I hoped, wished, and prayed last night it was no good. Poor Cora was up most of the night stuffy as can be. We'd get her rocked to sleep and about 45 mins to an hour later she'd wake up, unable to breathe. One of us would go in, hold her upright, let her nose drain, give her medicine if it was the right time, and rock her back to sleep. This went on all night until about 4:30 when she decided she had just had it. At 5:00 I gave up and got her up for the day. At about 5:30 hubby came in and rescued me letting me go back to bed for 30 golden minutes.

I have been back to work for 5 months now and today was the first time I felt the true weight of the working mothers' conundrum. I had a very important meeting right at 8:00am and a contract that had to get done today. I had taken Friday off as a personal day already. I also had a very sick little girl at home and there was no way I was dumping her off at daycare in that condition. I was so sleep deprived and stressed that once hubby took Cora from my arms I burst into tears. What was I going to do? Risk my job or hate myself as a mother?

Reason #142 that I know I found the most amazing man on Earth - hubby gave me a big hug and just matter of factly said "I'll just work from home today. You go on to work and stop worrying. We'll be fine". Now he was just as sleep deprived as I - he'd been right there in the trenches all night. But he was more worried about me than himself and was willing to put up with a sick, cranky baby at home all day just for my peace of mind. I fell in love with him all over again.

The second arc angel came in the form of my mom whom I called shortly after - waking the poor woman up at 6:00am - and asking her if there was anyway she could come help Ryan out for a few hours today to at least let him get some lunch and a nap. My mom not only "skipped" work today to help out - she came first thing in the morning and was still here when I got home from work this afternoon thus allowing Ryan to actually put in a real work-from-home workday and not burn a personal day.

Needless to say I have the best family in the world. I made it through my day pretty tired around the edges, but I got to my meeting on time and completed the contract that was due. I can't say I was much more productive than that, but considering I'm pretty happy that I got everything done and done right. And by that I mean having the sense to marry well, and choose great parents. :)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Running on Empty

Prior to becoming parents people delude themselves into thinking that the whole sleep deprivation thing is overblown. Take me for example. I figured that I had gotten through college, law school, and my first two years as an associate at a law firm with plenty of sleepless nights so this baby thing would really not be that big a deal. I used to think that after being a sales manager with the entire western third of the state of Tennessee that I knew what it was like to be running on empty. Hours of travel in a lovely Ford Taurus across back country roads leading to podunk towns and then having to be charming and vivacious at each stop along the way, eventually getting home after dark and collapsing at the kitchen table - now that was hard, right? What a fool I was.

As much as I hate to say it, I have a helluva time recalling with any detail the first three months of Cora's life. As I've mentioned 110 other times, Cora was EXTREMELY fussy - she had colic. On top of that she had reflux and milk protein intolerance. If she wasn't sleeping, she was screaming (and sometimes she'd even cry out in her sleep). Getting her to sleep was a chore in and of itself. Even once she was asleep there was no peace. Apart from checking every 15 minutes to make sure she was still breathing (neurotic new mom), I lived in constant fear of every small noise that came from the monitor - sure that she was waking up and the cycle of screaming would start all over again. God made our children cute only so we would not harm them at 3:00am.

Those three months finally passed, the colic eased, we got her on a hypoallergenic (aka freakin expensive) formula and apart from a few wake-ups to be plugged back in each night (paci please mom) we've been doin alright. Or had been.... Last night, I had my monthly MNO (or Mom's Night Out for those of you not in the know). I stayed out "late" - until almost 10:30 (woah) since I figured it was time to let go of my ideas that my child simply could not survive for more than 2 hours without me. My friend dropped me off at my house and I silently crept in the back door. Once I got inside I noticed every light in the house was on, the TV was blaring, hubby was nowhere to be found and I could hear Cora screaming upstairs. As I was hurriedly taking off my coat an exasperated hubby peeked around the upstairs corner. He let me know she had gone down at 6:30, slept about 2 hours and had been up fussing and crying since. He had, after two hours, a bottle, a changed diaper, and infinite rocking, given up and was letting her cry in her crib. I ran upstairs, changed out of my going out clothes into some PJs and ran to scoop her up out of her crib simply overwhelmed with guilt that I had hadn't been there when she needed me.

I held and rocked Cora (ok and yes gave her some Tylenol - hey I'm not above better living through modern chemistry) for an hour. I finally got to bed for the night around midnight. She woke up four times overnight and twice needed to be rocked back to sleep (which hubby thankfully took care of). By 4:30 she was trying to get up for the day. I coaxed her back down for another hour but by 5:45 she was done playing nice. Since it was my "morning" I crawled out of bed, stumbled around for my sweats in the dark and plodded down the hall to get little Coco wondering how far I'd get on 5 hours of broken sleep. Once I got into her room I realized what had been wrong - her nose was plugged solid and as soon as I picked her up she started into a coughing fit. A cold. *sigh* Great. Apart from feeling overwhelmingly bad for her I couldn't help feel bad for me too. This was gonna be a long day on top of a sleepless night with a cranky baby.

For the most part today hasn't been as bad as it could have been, and I have to admit that Cora is a pretty good 'sick baby' - I've heard horror stories of much worse. But I'm back in that maternity leave "fog" that I was so overjoyed to have left behind. I haven't gone out in mismatched shoes, or tried to call someone using the TV remote, or walked into the men's restroom in a public place (all of which were post newborn events) so that's a plus. But lets just say I'm not at the top of my game nor am I looking exactly adorable (screw the shower - that takes time and energy). Thank God it was Sunday and I didn't have to try and get through a work day.

Tonight Cora went down pretty easily after being miserable and fighting naps all day (I guess its a little hard to rest when you can't breathe) so I am praying with every tired fiber of my being that this is a precursor to a quiet and happy night but reality tells me otherwise. So if tomorrow morning you happen to see a news story about a crazy woman who tried to park her car inside the front foyer of Allied Insurance just quietly turn the channel and think "there but for the grace of sleep go I."