Friday, August 31, 2012

The One Where I Curse The City of Baltimore

Thats it, all I have to say.  The Grand Prix on Labor Day weekend???


The trip that normally takes 4 hours of driving took about 5 1/2 with Grand Prix road closings and traffic. 

In other news, Little Man is nearsighted and has a slight astigmatism.  But not enough of either to warrant glasses (that he wouldn't wear anyways).   I am incredibly impressed that Wilmer Eye Center managed to deduce this while he was screaming, kicking, and then eventually watching his portable DVD player while pushing away any instruments that got close enough to him to touch.

During the final part of the appointment, Little Man passed out sitting up from sheer exhaustion.  He'd had behavioral psych before the eye appointment, so we'd been in doctors offices from about noon til four.

At least we had all that traffic to nap the whole way home.  Ughhh.

And waiting for us at home was a lovely delivery from Medi Rent.  10 boxes of medical gloves (what???), 15 boxes of crib pads, 1 package of wipes (?), and 260 diapers.   Even if we never got another diaper delivery, that's about a 2.5 month supply.  Hurray!!! 

And now, off to enjoy a Blue Moon during the blue moon.  Happy Long Weekend! 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The One Where It's One of Those Days

It is one of those days.

You know.  The kind where you went to bed really late because the internet was full of surprises.  And then the kid woke up at 5:45 am.

Hubs had to leave for work anyways, so he gets ready while also trying to convince Little Man to stay in the crib and go back to bed.  Hahahah, not a chance.

So Mommy and Little Man are up at 7:00.  There is cleaning and work to be done, breakfasts to be eaten.  By the time I finish and head to the store.. its 10:30. 

Little Man doesn't like missing naptime.  He's angry.  I'm tired.

The screaming begins around Aisle 2.  Him, not me, but I'm not far behind him if I can't figure out how to make it stop.

I never know what the best course of action is when that happens.  We need groceries, so leaving isn't the option.  Sometimes we play a little pretend... I talk to him in a nice mommy voice, and pretend like he's contemplating stopping.  90% of the time I do this is for when the other shoppers give me that "Handle your child" death-stare.  But this is always futile... he's gonna scream until he gets what he wants, which in this case is a fluffy bed far away from that guy who is noisily grinding coffee beans or the other screaming baby which is flipping every sensory overload switch in Little Man's body.  There is no reasoning with Little Man.

So I do the only thing I know will stop the tantrum, and race to Aisle 4.  Granola bars.  I rip open a box, and let him have at it.

Then comes my favorite part.  That's when the Little Old Ladies appear.  You know, now that he's not screaming. 
"Let him cry it out next time honey, thats what I did with my kids." 
"Hard day hmm?"
"Shopping during naptime?"
"(to Little Man)All done now right sweetie??!!"  [Side note: Being addressed by the stranger makes him start screaming again]

And I have to smile and nod politely, and listen to stories about when their children were little and screamed in a grocery store, and get more helpful parenting tips... and I JUST WANT TO GO HOME AND TAKE A DAMN NAP AND DRINK MORE COFFEE.

Just one of those days.  Where he passed out in the car on the ride home, and so we missed naptime.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The One With The Bed

I've been avoiding this post because thinking about it has been exhausting.  I've tried making kidney bread.  I read the first three Harry Potter books.  I cleaned every toilet in the house.  But here it is, a week from when I first began to avoid, and now I've gotta man up and write.

REM sent a social worker out to our house last Thursday as part of our "getting to know you" package.  She was nice enough.   She actually did not leave my kitchen (which was good, since that was the cleanest part of my house).  I thought she'd look around for baby hazards or something.  I didn't really know what to expect.  Mostly she asked me what diagnoses meant on LM's paperwork, or why our address was wrong on her forms. 

We get down to business.  "What next?"  We only have three months til we no longer qualify.  "What can you do to help?"

Diaper delivery.  Sweet.  Crib mattress pads.  Neat.  On to the big stuff...

The bed.  So I mention that sharing weekends with the Ex means I would need a portable sleep solution for LM.   I had found The Safety Sleeper on an autism website.  It looked awesome, but the price was wrong. 
Its like a boy scout tent.  With a mattress.  Its only $1,549.99
Well, they agree to think about it.  This whole shared custody thing seems to throw them a curve ball.  I don't really get why it would, but maybe medically difficult children are supposed to stay in one place and I'm doing it wrong.
She leaves saying that no matter what, I'll be getting recommended for a safe bed for Little Man.  I'm ecstatic. 
Then come the phone calls.  Medi Rent wants more info.  They let me know that I would probably get denied a bed at first, because Medicaid does not like giving out beds.  But then I would reapply, and maybe get accepted, with a letter of doctor recommendation/prescription.
She emailed me a picture of the bed. 
Imprisoning infants since 1921. 
Now don't get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful that Medicaid might get us a bed.  I know there are plenty of people who need medical supplies and never will be able to get the assistance they need.  If I was already married to Hubs, we'd be shit out of luck.  As it is, we still might lose out on this bed if Medicaid moves at the typical government pace (snail) and then we will be back at square one.  We'd postpone the wedding which is a few months away (we've been avoiding it a while now) but *I* don't have health insurance if we don't get married. Which is scary because I have my own medical worries I have been avoiding for over 2 years.
That aside, this is completely impractical.  This is obviously not portable. Overnights with the Ex are going to be much more difficult, if not impossible.  While I don't really worry about him not sleeping, I worry about Little Man getting into something dangerous while in his care without a safe bed.
And its just... its not a bed.  It's a place to sleep.  As much as I joke about needing a baby jail for Little Man at night, or a way to keep him trapped... its scary looking.  Its like being in a hospital all the time.  Sterile, uninviting, and kind of creepy.  I know Little Man is far from being able to complain right now.   But the thought of him sleeping in this bed til he's eight or nine... its just overwhelming.  It makes me feel claustrophobic and gives me flashes of his time in the NICU.  It doesn't look like a place where I snuggle him and read him stories or do anything other than lock him in it and run away. 
Looking at this bed, imagining it set up in his room... it breaks my heart.  I don't want to feel like we're at that point where Little Man needs hospital grade equipment in his bedroom at night to keep him safe. 
I'm overwhelmed.  I'm sad.  That is just all I can say right now.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The One With The Kidney Bread

My house smells Ah-mazing. 

I tried out this recipe for Crusty Bread from the Simply So Good blog link I found on Pinterest. 

Of course I decided to try this recipe and then realized I needed to buy yeast, and that I didn't own a pot big enough for the recipe... yada yada.

All the comments were positive. 
"Its so quick and easy!"
"It took me absolutely no time."
"This is the best bread I've EVER EATEN!"

So I was really stoked.

Supposedly, according to the blog, it ends up looking like this:

Not my bread, not by a long shot.  This is also not my picture, it is SimplySoGood's picture of her simple easy bread that she just magicked out of the oven.
And my house... Let me tell you.  It smells so good.  I decided to go all in with this and make a cinnamon raisin loaf, since Hubs is really salty that I did not let him  recommend him buying the raisin bread in the store this week since it is most definitely not part of the eating-clean plan. 
So I'm all happy.  I mean, look how nice that looks?  Can you envision the looks of envy I'd get from my Instagram/Facebook friends when they see how nice of a loaf of bread I can bake?  The comments?  The applause?!!!
Okay.  Ignoring the fact that I can't edit photos, and that obviously there is no natural lighting at 11:10 PM... My bread looks like a kidney.
Maybe it tastes amazing.  But it looks ridiculous.  There is no way I'm bragging about this one.
Edit:  Upon further reflection (and a chunk sawed off the heel of the bread) it has been decided that it tastes OK.  I think the raisins might have been kind of old, so they aren't very squishy or juicy.   But the crust is super crunchy, and the texture inside is nice.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.   I'll just eat it with my eyes closed.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The One With That Bald Kid

I have a love-hate relationship with this kid.
Caillou.  Devil spawn.  How his own parents haven't kicked him out of the house is beyond me. 

Caillou has been on today for the past... four hours.  I've had to clean and organize my disaster area of a living room/office, and its been the only way to get things done.  Little Man loooooves Caillou with a passion that I don't understand fully at all.

The only problem with Caillou is, unlike the other show Little Man is obsessed with (Thomas the Tank Engine)... it whips Little Man into a frenzy.  Think Tasmanian Devil mixed with an orchestra conductor who is part eight week old puppy.

If you're envisioning something that runs around the living room, jumping up and down waving its arms, chewing on anything that isn't tied down and squealing in excitement... that's about right.

I used to avoid Caillou because of just this reaction.  Then I kind of said... screw it.  He loves Caillou.  It is one of the few times I genuinely see him belly laughing and so excited he wants to burst.  Its how I feel on Christmas morning... but every.single.time. Caillou is on.  Who am I to say that's not okay?  I'm his mom, I should want him to be this happy as often as I can.

So sometimes, when I'm busy, I throw Caillou on for a long stretch and I am the best mother in the whole world.  Even if he doesn't say a word, or ask for it, I watch him being so happy and know that I am awesome.

Oh, and then I give him this:

Its "Squeaky Bath Toy Caillou".  Also known as Chewy Caillou.  He can be bitten, ripped apart, and squeezed to death with no consequences.  And his head comes off.  If your kids have ever used a Chewy Tube, its the same kind of material. I guess he's way more fun to chew though, according to Little Man.  This saves my pillow cushions, books, wood furniture, and tv stand when Caillou is on.  Well.  Some of those things.  Sometimes we throw Chewy across the room and forget where he went, and then we eat a couch cushion.

And now Caillou is being turned off for naptime and lunch, and I am officially the worst mom ever.  At least until the next time I turn on Caillou.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The One About the Weekend

This weekend flew by!   Little Man had an appointment with his behavioral psychologist on Friday, which meant that I dropped him off at his dad's for the weekend a little earlier than usual.

I got to use the extra time to hang out at the Amish market down here and pick up some incredible summer peaches and lots of veggies for our healthy eating plan.  And "21 Jump Street" from Redbox.  I'm going to be honest with you - I don't miss Blockbuster at all.  There is something amazing about being able to run out in the middle of the night in your pajamas and busted up flip-flops, knowing that you can rent a movie without having to talk to a single human.

So Hubs grilled some steaks and I made tomato salad and we had a quiet date night in. 

We woke up early Saturday to go to the Crab and Beer Festival at National Harbor.  Its always a fun time, and this year my mother (born and raised in the Midwest) picked her first crabs!   We drank enough beer to a kill a fish, and then ate lunch at a restaurant on the harbor.  The plan had been to try and do something after the Festival since it ended at 3, but we were so exhausted (and tipsy) that we decided the best plan was to go to sleep by 9:30.  

Sunday was church with Hubs and his family.  I haven't set foot in a Sunday service in... many many years.  But his family had donated some prayer books in his grandfather's name and there was recognition for them during this service.  So I sat/stood/sat/stood/knelt/stood/sat through a Sunday service, and did not burst into flame.  And it was all worth it when the little old ladies came over to coo over Hubs and praise him for finally finding a nice girl to settle down with like they'd always wanted for him. Hahahah... I don't think he's going to go back for awhile... 

After lunch I had to drive up to my mom's and meet my ex-mother-in-law to pick up the Little Man.  She dropped him off there because she "lost my number" and couldn't figure out how to get a hold of me.

Seriously?  Passive aggressive on a whole new level.  Little Man was covered in bug bites again and smelled dirty.   I hate that neither Ex or his mother can communicate what goes on during their weekends, and neither can Little Man.   All I know is that he comes home and is a hot mess for a week until I can get him calmed down and back on schedule.  It drives me crazy.

I think everyone in the house is napping now... perfect time to finish more of my book and watch some TLC.   I have my priorities.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The One About Eating Clean

I read a TON of blogs.  Its a slightly unhealthy addiction.  But I started with one... who lead to another... and another... and I can't part with any of them! 

So through the blog chain (and Pinterest, damn Pinterest) I have found a lot of information lately about "clean eating."  And it has really struck a cord with me.  Yesterday I called Hubs at work and told him when he came home there would be no more Cheezits or junk food in the pantry.  We were taking a 10 day pledge to eat non-processed, healthy and natural foods.   He made me promise to save the ice cream for after the 10 days were up, but otherwise didn't protest.

Of course, we will be making room for a couple cheats and mods in our plan.  We will be drinking, because that is not really optional with our family.  We have two wine and beer festivals in the next two weeks alone!  We also have been using coffee creamer, but agreed tonight we would try to move towards milk-only during the next day or so when that runs out.  But other than that... we're doing great!  1.5 days in and we're not dying.  We're making smart decisions and going to be healthy dammit! 

Clean grocery trip!  Only $95 and I managed to stock up for the week!

Today's trip to the grocery store felt awesome.  I didn't buy anything junk (except the juice, which is for LM).   They are all foods we like anyways, we just need more of them in our lives, so that part isn't hard.  The hard part will be making sure that we don't get lazy and fall back onto convenience foods.  I should also try to forget that Papa John's owes us a free pizza. 

Tonight's dinner was a great start!  Homemade sausage sauteed with pepper, spinach and onion, served over spaghetti squash.  Yum!!  I made a berry sauce over Greek yogurt for dessert... that was not quite a hit with Hubs.  He grimaced through an entire (very small) bowl, and he said it was the only thing I've ever served him that he didn't like.   He kept reminding me it was the yogurt, not my berry sauce recipe that he hated.  But it was cute to watch him try to enjoy it because he knows how important eating healthy is to me (right now, don't get too excited here.)

So there ya have it.  Wish us luck, and hopefully even after our ten-day junk food free pledge is over we can continue eating more clean foods and improve our overall health.  And if I lose a pound or ten... well that would be swell too!

I'll leave you with this photo of Little Man in the grocery store.  No less than seven people stopped to talk to me today and give me their two cents on everything from spaghetti sauce to parenting.  Sleeping babies are apparently a great conversation starter.
People were impressed that I considered his comfort by providing the dirty towel from the backseat of the car as a neck pillow. 

I don't think Little Man cares much about clean eating either way.

The One Where I Call Poison Control

Its been that kind of morning.

Around seven or so I heard the "toy alarm" go off in Little Man's room.   The toy alarm is the most annoying, loud, jungle themed thing from the Satan worshipers at Playskool.

This toy was created by people that hate parents.

Little Man ate lost the balls from this toy ages ago.  He was never interested in the actual function of this toy anyways, so it had been relegated to the bookshelf in his room collecting dust.  But then he discovered the little lever inside that can be pressed (usually by the balls) to make that ungodly noise.  And now he loves this toy. 

So I leave it outside his crib and when he wakes up in the middle of the night, he can't resist the urge to play the music on this toy.  Mommy wakes up, sticks him back in the crib.  And repeat until someone passes out.  Its a brilliant system

Anyway I got sidetracked.  The point is that I heard the toy alarm go off this morning around sevenish, and its loud demon call woke up me up from a great dream about banana bread.

I know you feel bad for me, but don't.  I was loving my dream about banana bread.

After about six or seven rounds of ear-piercing jungle songs, I made a horrible mistake.

"What if I just... snooze a minute more... and think about bread... how much trouble can he really get in??"

I mean, there is nothing in his room anymore.  A gate on the door.  What could possibly go wrong?!?!

There is a blissful silence where I envision my darling angel chewing the ear off one of the stuffed animals lovingly gifted to him by his great-grandmother.  And I smile and enjoy the warm coziness that is a bed at 7 in the morning.


Containment breach!!   The minute I hear that I jump out of bed and run towards Little Man's room to see what happened/if he has escaped.  The cat (possibly created by the same demons who work at Playskool) has knocked down the baby gate.  Little Man is inside his room and giggling at this point so I feel confident that my extra 15 minutes of snooze was worth it.

It so wasn't.

Little Man sees me and the downed baby gate at the same time and races towards the door, excited to see me and completely covered in Desitin.   He slams his little body into me and is ready to be picked up and brought to breakfast per usual.

Called my godmother and got her advice (he's fine).  Called my mother and got her advice (call Poison Control).  Poison Control kind of laughed at me and told me to watch out for extreme pooping.

No.  More. Snooze Button.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The One About Food Choices

My son loves to snack.  He avoids "regular" mealtimes by constant grazing.  That's cool, I'm down.  That is ideally how I like to eat too, but I have this creature called Hubs to feed and he likes dinner after work.  And then I eat with him, and then we have wine... and that's why I'm going to have a beer belly forever.  Oh well.

But Little Man has more fun up his sleeve than just not wanting to sit down for dinner.  His food has several LM approved requirements to be considered before tasting:

* It must be completely dry.  There are very few exceptions to the dry rule.  He will eat bananas, only if I hold it in the peel and he can take bites off it.  He will eat applesauce out of a squeeze pouch, but not off a spoon.  Although, counter to that rule is that he will eat the applesauce IF we pin him down, hold his head, and force him to try a bite.  Then he will take future bites ONLY during that meal.  Even if we take a break from applesauce til dinner, that process starts up again.  And yes, I've done it more than once out of desperation, because dammit I KNOW HE LOVES APPLESAUCE.  Other than that, if a food is wet and he touches it, it will immediately be tossed to his left.  Chicken nuggets?  Awesome.  Slightly soggy nugget that does not pass the dry test?  To the left.

* To further clarify the spoon rule, nothing from a spoon will go into his mouth without a full body hold.  Soup?  HAH.  Ice cream?  NOPE.  Won't even open his mouth.  I've decided nothing on a spoon is worth that much effort.

*If it is bigger than a Cheerio, attempts will be made to crumble it no matter what it is.  Frosted Mini Wheats become Shredded Wheat.  Fig Newtons become fig jam and mush.   Bread is peeled apart into smaller and smaller crumbs until it looks like we're feeding ducks in the living room. 

*Protein is in the form of nuggets (chicken, very rarely fish), peanut butter, grilled cheese in tortillas or bread.  That is it.  See the above rules.  Also, sneaking meat into a grilled cheese sandwich or tortilla is not allowed, he will pull apart the pieces during Step 3 (crumbling) and you will be discovered.

*Fruit snacks are the ultimate favorite food.  They trump all other treats.  He does not discriminate brand, size, shape, or level of staleness. 

*If you manage to get something in his mouth somehow, but it does not follow one of the rules listed above (say, a little ball of rice you've disguised as a bread ball), he will stick out his tongue, and scrape it off.   That is embarrassing in say... a nice Japanese restaurant.  :)

To sum up, Little Man eats:

-Fruit snacks
-Nuggets (specifically the kind from Costco in the huge bag)
-Grilled cheese/cheese tortillas
- Food from a squeeze pouch
-Cookies/crackers/chips/granola bars

And that's it.  All day, every day.  I buy healthy granola bars, whole grain breads, and try to give him lots of "better" cereals and crackers.  Lately there has been a huge increase in the amount of baby foods that come in pouches, which has been nice (although they are insanely pricey for so little food.)

He drives me batty.  I love to cook.  I would feed him amazing gourmet meals if I could.  Dammit I would love to just give him grapes and a hot dog!!!  (Cut up into safe pieces ya worrywarts).  But I tried making homemade nuggets for him and they did not pass Rule #1, so they went to the dog.

So when I'm out with you and I complain that Little Man doesn't eat anything, or you see me feeding him two bread rolls at a restaurant and calling it dinner... Just know I'm trying.  I swear, I'm trying.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The One Where I Admit to Being Tied to the Tube

If you come over on any given day of the week, at any time, the television will be on at our house.  I have a serious love of the Food Network and crime dramas, and yes, the occasional show on TLC or Oxygen.  Hubs loves his movies and WHEN he gets up before I do, he's usually watching one while reading his paper.  And now there is a tiny tv on the side, for the Little Man's viewing pleasure and for my sanity.  Once Hubs and I spent an entire evening quoting children's dvds to each other, it was decided we needed two tvs.

I found out when Little Man was about a year old that the television was the only thing that could soothe the tantrums and screaming.  I tried everything that the baby books recommended first, letting him cry it out, rocking, soothing, food, changing him, long walks, drives... nothing.   Tantrums with Little Man at a year old were hours long, to the point where he'd lose his voice from screaming so much and burst the little capillaries by his eyes.  If a stranger was in the house, he would spend the entire visit in tears.  Nothing got done, my ears were ringing, and the stranger usually never wanted to return.  The poor Infant and Toddler therapists tried so hard to get him to warm up to them, but it never happened.

Then one day I caved.  There was this magical preschool channel - Sprout.  It played all day long, and the programs seemed responsible and geared toward the needs of preschoolers.   And I turned it on...

And the screaming stopped.  Certain shows, like the quieter British ones (Thomas, Kipper the Dog) really got his attention.  He was so happy and so content, it was like the heavens had opened and the sun was shining down on us.  Okay I exaggerate but if you'd seen even one of his tantrums back then you'd know how I felt.

So we started leaving the tv on when people would visit.  The therapist was excited to finally work with him.  Friends enjoyed a glass of wine and good conversation with me while he watched his show.

So we thought... lets do this everywhere!!!  Restaurants that had been formerly off limits were open again when we bought a portable DVD player.  After splitting with Ex, I could take Little Man with me to the dentist or doctor and set him up in the big Graco stroller with the dvd player attached and he would sit quietly for a couple hours while I got my teeth cleaned. 

It was an amazing discovery.

Then came the naysayers.  "Your kid watches too much tv.  He needs to play outside.  He needs to interact with you more.  You are stunting his growth."  I didn't want to be "that mom".  You know, the one the other mommies judge and say nasty things about behind her back.  The one with poor parenting skills.  I already was the baby of the mom groups.  Now here I am, letting my kid watch tv ALL DAY LONG!?!?!   Ugh.

But when I turned it off, the tantrums were back.  The exhausting crazy tantrums that never stopped.  Or a new development that started to alarm me.  He would press his hands into his throat and hum loudly to feel the vibrations.  He could do it for hours, laying on the floor while his eyes unfocused and he stared into space.  Til I turned the tv back on and he was dancing and 'rocking out' to the Wiggles or Thomas.

[Rocking out is our polite phrasing for rocking back and forth, since when you say "My son is just rocking out, no big deal" people react less strongly than if you say "Oh yeah he loves to rock back and forth for hours slamming his back into the pillows, no big deal".]

In desperation I turned to one of the only docs that Little Man had ever warmed up to - his behavioral psychologist.  He sees him twice a month to help with communication, but we'd originally started with him when the tantrums were at their peak.  I asked him what to do - how to be a better Mommy that didn't let her kid watch tv for hours a day. 

And he said the words that I repeat to myself when those other moms give me the judgey look at my child getting a portable dvd player whipped out of the diaper bag as the screaming starts:

"You know your child best."

What is better for Little Man?  Hours of staring off into space, chewing on the pillows or pressing his hands into his throat because it is entertaining to him?  Or maybe watching some Dora and somewhere in there learning something, maybe one day being able to respond to her stupid open ended questions.

So television it is.  We have graduated from Sprout (since our Dish Network doesn't give us that channel) to DVDs and the occasional PBS.   We watch them incessantly, on loop for hours.  We take breaks of course, to do therapy games and eat snacks, run errands... but his attention span on games and snacks is maxed out after a half hour.  So its back to the tv and more Caillou or Thomas.  He has toys and books of course, and with the tv on he can multitask with chewing on those or pressing buttons on a toy for a moment or two.  He also "runs laps" which is where he runs around the house in excited circles or bounces on furniture for a little bit til he comes back to his tv.  But mostly a contented day for him involves several hours of his 2D friends.

So here is my blanket apology to all the parents of the typical four year olds I see out at restaurants, or at the grocery store when Little Man just can't take any more of the stimulation of new people and new experiences.  The ones who shoot me dirty looks while their kids beg for their own table top tv or to be able to sit with our family and watch some Thomas the Tank Engine.  I'm sorry we're television addicts.  But the withdrawal just isn't worth it.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The One Sponsored By Caffeine

I love getting to spend breakfast with Little Man... he gets a big bowl of dry cereal and I get coffee. I usually give him a mix of two kinds of cereal because I get a kick out of watching him pick through the bowl to find his favorite kind to eat first. Sometimes that backfires... like this morning when he just dumped the bowl on the floor for easier sorting.
I really hate when he comes back from a weekend with his dad though, because he will.not.nap. I've tried everything, rocking him, singing to him, tv on, tv off, quiet room, snuggles... It never works. After a few days he settles back in to his naptime ritual, but the first few days are HELL.

Today for example -  finally got him down to sleep last night at midnight, so I was pretty sure we were gold this morning.  I was also super excited, cause Mommy went out to see her friends compete in a karaoke competition and was not in the mood for an early morning.  What time does Little Man wake up?

5:13 am.  Before Hubs even wakes up for work, before the dog needs to go out, before the kitten wants breakfast...

And WAY before Mommy wanted to wake up.  So I turned up the baby monitor and crossed my fingers thinking he might fall asleep again.

Nah.  He was up. 

Guess when he finally napped for the day?

4:48 PM. 

Luckily Hubs had a meeting downtown which meant he came home early!

Apparently when he came in the door, I gave him the Look of Death.  He said he wanted to do something nice for me, since I looked so stressed out.  "Why don't you go grocery shopping?  We haven't been in ages!"  He suggested I get a list together "real quick" and clip coupons and then shop for things like 50 lb bags of dog food and toilet bowl cleaner.  He was sure I'd want to get out of the house, away from the screaming extra sleepy baby.   "You can put on some makeup and real clothes!  You love going out!  You don't wanna wear pajamas all day do you??"

It took an hour to plan and clip, then another hour and a half to shop (it wouldn't have taken that long but the store is 24 minutes away round trip.)

Guess who missed naptime?  I'll give you a hint.  It wasn't Hubs.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The One Where I Overanalyze Things

 I'm stressed out today because I got a phone call that Little Man is approved for R.E.M.  His doctor set up the application and processed everything, I just got the phone call asking if he wanted to be in the program.  REM is Rare and Expensive case Management, and in the *best* case scenario, we'll be given the funding through this program to get the safety bed we all are praying for.  I'm just nervous because I didn't realize that REM will essentially remove us from the Priority Partners umbrella we were previously using, and when I signed up for that three years ago I had the warning "NEVER LEAVE PRIORITY PARTNERS or you will have major problems."  I don't really know much about the program other than its a form of Medicaid, and that it is for kids with major long term conditions that need lots of coordinating care.
So apparently REM does home visits every three months.  I guess to make sure that I'm not using my free government cash to smoke rocks or fund my meth lab.  (Note to future caseworker - I do not have a meth lab, that was a joke.  Please have a sense of humor?)   Normally I'd be all "Whatever, I have a clean and drug-free home, and we just steam cleaned the carpets".  Except I'm kind of awkward-feeling about the fact that we live in a very nice and clean house, courtesy of the Hubs, who owned his own home long before we came along.  I feel like I should be living back in my shitty two bedroom apartment with the water stains coming out of the kitchen lamp because the neighbors had a washing machine accident.  Then I could easily say "Look at how needy we are!!!"  Right now I feel kind of bashful about it, because on the outside we seem like our lives are pretty together.

Also its weird because as important as this REM will be for Little Man, I feel undeserving.  I look at the list of diseases that REM covers and his issues seem so much less... critical?  Depressing?  Overwhelming?  It is hard for me to see sometimes that he has a major medical issue.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not blind to his needs or the fact that he will need major help for the rest of his childhood, if not life.  He's just my first baby, my only baby.  I don't know life any other way than the way we live it with him.  He is just Little Man, and we molded our lives around his needs just like any other parent does with their child.

One of the totally awkward things I am terrible at responding to is when people ask me how old Little Man is.  I know, simple right?  But then I respond "He's four" and then they respond "Oh four is an awesome age!  I loved it when my kids were four blah blah blah no more listening." 

I've learned to nod and smile politely when people respond that way.  Because that's probably the way I would have responded had I been raising a typical kid, and small talk is one of those necessary evils.   But sometimes, depending on my mood, I awkwardly say 'Well I don't know.  I guess four year olds are fun.  But my kid is more like a giant 9 month old with teeth.  So um.  Yeah. So far its not like raising a four year old at all.'  Then I have to answer lots of questions and people awkwardly avert their eyes since I tend to make a lot of jokes and use sarcasm as a defense mechanism.  The conversation devolves quickly and I make a run for it.

I don't know what it is like to raise a four year old.  I barely know what it is like to raise an infant.  I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the idea of having a typical kid in the future.  How will I know what to do?  What if I am shitty at it?  Its like being a new parent all over again, but worse, because if my kid doesn't reach his full potential ITS ALL MY FAULT because his brain is fine and its ME screwing him up.

But I digress.  I don't know what its like raising a typical four year old, just like I don't know what it is like raising a kid with one of these rare diseases listed on the REM form.  And looking at that list I just want to find all the parents out there with kids with diseases with these horrible long complex names and say "Hey you!  You guys!  Did you hear about this REM thing?  Please get in line ahead of me, because you totally deserve help first.  Then me, cause I think I need help too.  But you first, please."  I'm totally nervous that the case worker coming to my house will say "Well your kid looks fine.  I mean, he chews on things, and escapes in the night, and doesn't talk, and he has this crazy limp... but have you seen a kid with real needs lady!?!?" 


I am completely over-analyzing this.

Its the lack of sleep.  7 escapes last night.  No napping during the day per doctor's brilliant idea/he refuses them.

I just have to remember that we need the help too, no matter how hard it is to wrap my brain around.  That his doctors would not have recommended us to this program and helped us find it if we didn't need the help just as much as the other needy families on the list.  We wouldn't have been accepted if they thought we didn't need it.  Just because we are getting by, doesn't mean that it can't get better.

I'd like it to get better.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The One Where I Cook

Hurray!  We're back to normal this week now that Little Man has come home.   We started off the week with steamcleaning the carpets (our yellow lab Sandy has a sensitive stomach and I let Little Man drink juice in sippies that he carries everywhere) and an experiment with a recipe from Food Network magazine.

I love cooking.  But if you'd asked me five years ago what my favorite hobby was, cooking would never even have made the top twenty.  When I first showed up to college, my best friend had to teach me how to peel and dice an onion.  I burned grilled cheese.  It was terrible.  There was an entire year where I ate nothing but Stouffers mac n' cheese meals and pickles for lunch.  Alright you got me, it was almost two years.  And then for dinner it was Taco Bell.  It was awesome.

Some time after college graduation and my marriage to Ex I got interested in food.  I had decided I wanted to be a good housewife... and I looked up recipes I could make in the crockpot as a starting point.  Of course then I started working in the restaurant and cooking was the last thing I wanted to do, so that never really happened the way I wanted it to. 

But working there did teach me how to use a knife and how to feel more confident in the kitchen.  As a manager I was forced to make my own lunches every day with just the ingredients available in the restaurant.  After a few months of being laughed at by my kitchen staff for having pathetic skills in the kitchen (a LOT of microwave quesadillas), you can bet I was going to work hard to find recipes I could make quickly and easily.

Then after my divorce from Ex, I finally got my own place and my cooking obsession took off.  I would constantly read recipes online and try them on my friends and family.  The little crockpot meals I made evolved into some serious stovetop cooking and today I feel pretty comfortable in all aspects of the kitchen.  I even have a couple dishes that I get requests for from Hubs and the fam over and over again!

Last night was my first venture into using the broiler, and since it worked and nothing exploded or burned, I'm super excited to try all the recipes I've been putting off for fear of failure.  If you get the Food Network magazine, the recipe I tried was the polenta and sausage skillet meal and it was pretty good!  It makes me feel like a real cook when I can take a recipe and note that there are a few things I would change to make it perfect for our family - we like hot sauce, maybe too much - and then when I tweak it it becomes a family favorite.

Well there goes the laundry buzzer.  I have about 4 more loads til I'm caught up again and then can get to work on the rest of the disaster area... err... house.   Its good to be back!