Thursday, February 26, 2009

Why the thumb might not have been so bad.

Mary Jo has been a thumb sucker since she was about 4 months old. She never took to the pacifier and would put her thumb in her mouth when she was tired. It was her cue long before she could speak.
I was always okay with her thumb sucking. I sicked my finger until I was ten and while I do have some obvious dental issues, it's not all attributed to my finger sucking. And because Mary is so tiny, she's likely going to have the same issues I had with her jaw and teeth so braces are inevitable anyway, thumb or no thumb. But for me the key was that she was able to settle herself, she was able to comfort herself and when she needed that little extra something, the thumb was there.

Mary went to the dentist for a routine check up last month. While she was there the Dentist mentioned that her palate was becoming malformed because of the thumb. He said if she stopped now it should fix itself but otherwise she'd have to have a 'cage' device put in which would prevent her from sucking her thumb. So she stopped. She almost seemed to do it with such ease that I thought, wow, she was really ready. We made a giant fuss about how proud we were of her for stopping and how big she was now.

What a big mistake.

Mary had a nightmare about a week ago (apparently our house was located at the bottom of a volcano) She ended up in our bed that night. Since then, going to bed has been a nightmare in itself. She starts crying at dinner time in anticipation of going to bed that night. At first I thought it was because of the nightmares but last night it finally hit me. It's the thumb. She's having the bad dreams but she's got not soothing tactics left to help her settle back down after the dream. Shes' terrified and has nothing left.

We talked about it for a long time last night. I offered her music, stuffies, blankets, anything at all to feel better. She has a makeshift bed on my floor now and ends up in my bed by about 2 am. But it also means Sean and I are not getting any sleep. I gave her my stuffed dog BJ (the one my grandma gave me when I was 8 - that dog got me through some rough times) and while she's pretty happy with that, it's not her thumb.

Last night when we were talking my baby looked up at me with her bottom lip quivering and sobbed "Mommy, this is so hard" I wanted to cry myself. I feel like in her giving up her thumb she's lost her best friend, part of herself. And I wish I could give it back to her.

I hope this gets easier for her soon.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What was I thinking??

Sleep and sickness are two things that have always been a source of contention between Sean and I. Who gets more sleep. Who gets sick more often (or less often) and when sick, who actually gets time to recuperate rather than trudging on despite the illness.

A couple of months ago Sean got the flu. He spent an entire day in bed and I mean that quite literally. He came out only too use the bathroom (and throw up)
A few days later it occurred to me that since Emily was born I have not had one true sick day, in which if I was sick I knew I could get into bed, close the door on the world and just recover. So I told him this. His work schedule requires him to work weekends. His weekends are mid week - not my weekends. So really, the only way I could ever have a true sick day would be to get sick mid week, when he's home, and then close my daycare, not something I like to do. He promised me though, that the next time I was sick he would step in and give me a true sick day.

Well, he half kept his promise.
Monday morning, at about 1 am it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had the flu. Vomiting, aching, the whole works. Unfortunately the hour it hit me was not conducive to calling all my daycare parents and closing the daycare. Sean has had a lot of time off work lately so I didn't dare ask him to book the day off (truthfully, I wanted to see if chivalry would play into it at all and he'd offer to take the day off - no such luck) So 7 am rolled around. Sean is long gone to work (as an aside, on *his Friday* each week he stops on his way home from work and gets us beer and wings. So Monday, being his Friday, he left me a note on the counter saying he'd stop at St. Louis and get the wings for tonight. I'm thinking he thought I was exaggerating my flu symptoms....because naturally someone who spends the night barfing wants to follow it up with beer and wings)
So as I was saying, 7 am rolls around and Connor is waking. He's due for his much anticipated, 4 months late MMR shot on Wednesday. If he gets my flu not only does he miss the shot, but his chicken pox vaccine and second MMR are also going to be pushed back even further. Him missing the shot again is just not an option. It's already screwed up his vaccination schedule enough. So I made my way downstairs, scared the bejezuz out of my mother, and sobbing because I felt so crappy and was so desperately afraid that she'd have a full schedule of appointments for my dad that day, asked her to help me.
Mom's always save the day though. She stepped in, sent me to bed and took care of Emily, Mary and Connor and the daycare too. And I only got out of bed to pee (and throw up.)
Sean came home, stepped right in and took care of everything else for the rest of the day. He even brought me home Popsicles.

It's funny, I was so jealous of that day that Sean got to stay in bed and the whole world could have fallen apart around him and he wouldn't have known. That was my day yesterday and while it was comforting to know that I didn't have to worry about what was going on and that everyone and everything was taken care of, it sure wasn't worth the nasty flu I had.

I'm feeling a bit better today. I've closed the daycare for the day, just to make sure it's passed. The girls are at school, the boys are sleeping, and I'm enjoying the peacefulness of my house, nausea free. Now if I could just shake the headache.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Lateness...a vent.

I am a pretty flexible person. I can tolerate a lot of thing but lateness is not one of them. I hate lateness. I hate being late. The thought of being late for anything sends me into a panic. I'm not kidding, I sweat, my heart races and I feel incredibly embarrassed. I don't like to be too early either but I'd sooner be ten minutes early for anything than my 5 minutes late.

I know some people who are habitually late. I don't quit know how to wrap my head around that. If you know you need to be at point B in one hour and it takes 45 minutes to get there then you need to leave NO LATER than 15 minutes from now. And it would be best to leave NOW so that you have that 15 minutes in case of traffic or other unforeseen events.

I pick up Kindergarten kids at two different schools, about 2 blocks apart. One school lets out at 11:30. The other lets out at 11:40. Now theoretically, I should be able to travel the two blocks from school 1 to school 2 in ten minutes yes? Walking or driving, it should be quite simple to do. But you see, the teacher at school 1 has time management issues. It is a banner day (or a supply teacher day) if the class at school one is ready to go before 11:38. This leaves 2 minutes to get from school 1 to school 2. Walking, not going to make it. Driving, not going to make it either, when you account for buckling into booster seats, driving there, parking and unbuckling. So, of the three days a week I need to go to school 2 I am late. And I HATE that. It makes me look irresponsible. It makes me look like all those idiots out there that I loathe who have time management issues. I want to wear a sandwich board when I go to school 2 that says "I'm late through no fault of my own."

I'm not a total hard ass. I know there are occasionally going to be unforeseen circumstances. A nasty car accident on the highway. Your child vomits in the car. Aunt Flo shows up at an unexpected time. But if you know you're going to be late, have the courtesy to call and say so. Don't be so damned self centred as to think that your time is much more valuable than the people waiting for you.

Earlier this week I had scheduled an energy audit of my house. We're getting new windows this spring and we'll qualify for a government rebate for making our home more energy efficient with the new windows. Anyhow, the appointment was scheduled for 10 am. The guy didn't show up until 10:40. He gave me his card and said "Sorry for the lateness" I said "Thank you but I'm going to have to reschedule. Our appointment was for 10 am, it's now 10:40 and it's no longer convenient for me to have this done. And frankly, I'm not paying $350 to someone who can't either show up on time or call to let me know there will be a delay" And then I sent him on his way. The look on his face was priceless. I guess lateness has always been acceptable from him before.
And you can be certain the guy whose supposed to come on Tuesday won't be late.

I have lateness policy with my daycare too. I charge late fees for parents picking their kids up late. I charge late fees for parents paying their daycare fees late...
I'm also incredibly fortunate that I've not had to charge a late fee for anything in over 3 years. I know how to pick great clients!!

I don't know, maybe it's just me. I really can't think of anything else that is so widely accepted by the general public that I find to be just plain ignorant. No one should abide lateness. Your time is important, my time is important. Why should any one of us waste our lives waiting for other people. I think if we all took a minute to realize that and demand that people respect our time there would be a lot less waiting around.

:vent over:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

My love affair with food

I love food. All kinds of food. It's a good part of the reason I have all this extra weight. The thing is, I don't have much interest in cooking. I'm growing to like it, but it's time consuming and time is not something I have a lot of.
So I'm changing my eating habits. I'm not dieting because diets are bad, they don't work. You eat lettuce for 6 weeks, drop 40 lbs and then the first time you eat a cheeseburger you pile the fat right back on. I'm trying to stay away from processed foods. I'm shopping the perimeter of the grocery store - where the fresh food is (produce, bakery, meats, dairy) I'm making more meals from scratch, rather than from a can or box. And I'm noticing a difference.

For one thing, it's freakin' expensive to eat healthy. Granted, there were a few 'start up' costs, mainly spices and such that I just didn't have, but a lot of my recipe's call for. I heard on the radio that in tough economic times like these people tend to get fatter because they eat the cheaper, mass produced, processed food. The first few times I went out shopping to stock up for the week my grocery bill was $250+. For a week!
I'm controlling my portions a bit better now though. Instead of eating a whole chicken breast, I'm eating half and loading up on veg and fruits. I'm not eating nearly as much red meat as I used to. I'm eating a lot more vegetables.

But here's the thing. I've discovered a whole new world of food. I made a side dish the other night called Savory Spinach and Tomato. Normally I will only eat spinach in things, like lasagna. But this was sooooo damn good. I find I'm using spices I never used before and everything is tasting so much better! I'm eating beans (kidney beans, chick peas, navy beans...you name it, I'm eating them)
I'm also cooking. Every single night. And if I'm not cooking it's because I have left overs frozen and I'm eating those. Regardless, I'm not eating pizza, deep fried chicken, 2 cups of rice, and cheese on everything. And I'm actually enjoying it. I actually look forward to eating - not because I'm starving but because it's new and delicious.

I made 6 different kinds of muffins today, all egg free so Connor can have some too. And all of them are healthy. (okay maybe not the chocolate chip ones but I don't see Mary and Emily doing the zucchini/pineapple muffins)

I still spoil myself. I ate some Lindt chocolate hearts yesterday. We had Swiss Chalet for supper last night and tonight we're going to the Mandarin. I still have beer. I still have wings. I still have pizza. But now it's once in a blue moon and I'm not the least bit upset about it.

And my heart, my body and my mind will thank me for it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

The hair and the fashions

I spend a lot of time talking about Connor and not as much talking about the girls. I know. It's not for lack of things to say it's just that I spend so much more time with Connor. The girls are at school all day.

So let's talk about Emily's hair. The last haircut she had was over a year, and it was just a trim. She's been growing it ever since. It's beautiful, straight as an arrow, shiny and long. But now it's too long. So I've been encouraging her to get it cut. I've suggested that she cut it and donate it. I even sweetened the offer by saying we'd go to the actual salon rather than the kid place we used to take her. She's all for the idea....but here's the catch. The minimum length for donation is 10 inches. She has 10 inches but then she'd have really short hair afterward and I have to agree with her that it just would not suit her (she's double crowned too so she'd end up with alfalfa sprouts on the top of her head) So, now that I've thrown the suggestion out there and got her on board I have to wait for it to be long enough to donate 10 inches and still have enough left over for a decent hair style. My good deed/cut your hair suggestion bit me in the butt.

Mary Jo brings me a whole different set of day brighteners. My sweet, spirited, cut as a button daughter has a huge personality. She's got the fashion sense to match. This morning she came out for school dressed in the following. A hot pink long sleeve shirt. Hot pink capri tights (the kind you would wear under a short skirt) black socks, pulled right up to the knees. Now in description it doesn't sound odd but when I download the pic off the camera I'll post the pic. I'm usually pretty flexible with her clothes. As long as she's clean and her clothes are in good shape (no ripped pants, etc) and she's dressed appropriately for the days activities and weather I'm okay with letting her express herself with her bizarre wardrobe. But there are some mornings I swear she looks like the closet threw up on her. I'm going to start a photo blog for her I think. The many fashions of Mary Jo. I'm sure one day she'll appreciate that I took pictures of these wacky outfits. And if anything, I can blow them up and post them around the hall on her wedding day!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I just don't get it.

Sean wakes for work at 4 am. His alarm clock wakes him. He is not the quietest person in the morning, I usually hear the drawer in the bathroom open a close 2 or 3 times. I can hear him in the kitchen too.

I woke up this morning at 5:30 am. No alarm. Just woke up. I tippy toe to the bathroom and seconds later I hear Connor.

What the hell?!!

And now I'm going to not only be tired today but I'm going to have cranky boy until I can put him for a nap at 9 because he's been up since 5:30.

Grrrrr.

Mary Jo has to stop sucking he thumbs. The dentist said that the damage is not just to her teeth but that her palate is growing wrong because of it. If she doesn't stop now she'll have to have a "cage" put in her mouth which will make it impossible for her to suck her thumb. And this cage is no removable. (by us, only the dentist can take it out)
This is so hard for her. I know, I've been there. I was 10 before I stopped sucking my finger. We put bandaids on her thumbs and to my knowledge she hasn't sucked them since Monday but last night she didn't have any bandaids on and I know she sucks in her sleep without knowing.

We promised her that when she is thumb free we'd take her to the Mandarin for dinner and she can get her ears pierced. I just hope she can stop soon enough that she doesn't have to get this device.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A letter to Violet

Today could have been your second birthday. I hate today. I would give anything to be planning your party, making your cake and buying your presents. Instead I mourn the child I never held.

We never got to see you. We never got to hold you. We don't know if you were a boy or girl. We named you Violet because that is the flower for February. And even though you were never born, I love you more than words can say. I miss you and I miss what could have been.

I know you are looking over us now. It is because we lost you that we can look into Connor's blue eyes and hear him laugh and hug and kiss him. I wish I could have you both.

You weren't meant for this world and I know one day I will get to hold you in my arms but until then, I think of who you could have been everyday. I love you.

Monday, February 2, 2009

What am I going to do with my life?

I've recently discovered that I'm not really sure what I want to be when I grow up. I started out my career in Early Childhood Education with some really high hopes for making a difference in kids lives. Don't get me wrong, I know I've done that. In 15 years of this work, I know there's at least one kid out there whose life I made a difference in. Funny thing is, it came a time in my life when I really needed the affirmation that I was good at what I do. I was having a bit of a pity party, thinking that maybe I wasn't cut out for this line of work and lo and behold, one of the kids I taught 10+ years ago found me on Facebook. She told me about what an impact that I (and the other teacher in my program) had made on her and that we really helped her develop into who she is (and she appears to have become pretty great teenager) She'll often send notes to Marsha (the other teacher) and I letting us know that she has such fond memories of her time with us. So I'm good with that. If I've never made an impact on anyone else, that's okay, because I did touch one.
When I opened my home daycare it was a means to an end. I wanted nothing more than to be a SAHM. I couldn't bear putting another child of mine in daycare - especially when it was because I was going to work to care for other people's kids. I hated ever second of the 3 yrs I worked and Emily went to daycare. Even when she was home with my mom. I was so very jealous that my mom got to spend that time with her and I didn't. When I found out I was pg with Mary Jo I decided right then and there I was no going back to work. Of course, in reality it wouldn't have been possible for me to stay home had Sean not got the job at the TTC.

I really do get the best of both worlds here. And over the years I've met some really great people and my kids have made some really great friends. But I'm finding that as I start to see the light at the end of the tunnel (read: Connor going to school) I wonder if I'll want to continue doing home daycare.

I'd love to be a writer. Children's books. One hell of an industry to break onto though. Dr Suess' first book And to Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street was rejected something like 37 times before a publisher took it on. I've only been rejected 6 and I'm running out of publishers who accept unsolicited manuscripts. I've got a long way to go. I need to make some connections in the industry. LOL

I'd like to be a Kindergarten teacher. Had I had the money many moons ago I would have gone to University instead of college and would be one now. I could go back to school but by the time Connor is in school I'll be almost 40. I have a hard time seeing me going to classes with a bunch of 19 yr olds.

I'd like to open a daycare centre (not in my house) Or rather, I'd like to buy and existing one because frankly, there's less red tape involved.

I'd like to open an indoor playground. At the moment this is the front runner of my ambitions. But until I can actually put a plan in action I hesitate to think beyond the what if's.

And of course, there's always the prospect of going to work at the TTC with Sean. I'm not sure if I'm willing to give up my life like that though. I hate it when he has to work on Christmas and other holidays....I'd hate it a hell of a lot more if I did.

Well, Connor's only 15 months. I've got time to figure my life out.