Let’s File This Under “Things That Will Probaby Give My Kids Nightmares One Day”

I feel the need to preface this post with the fact that at the end of the day, I’m really, really tired.  I’ve gotten up, got 2 kids ready, driven them to school, driven 1 hour to work, worked at my job, then driven 1 hour back to the girls daycare, picked them up, corralled them into the car, and driven home.  I know, I know, boo-hoo me, but it’s exhausting.  And by the time I reach the gate to our community, I’m tired.  And it’s during this time when I’m so close to home (and yet so far), that I find myself agreeing with the things that Greenleigh says.  Mommy needs a little peace and quiet.  And sometimes agreeing with Greenleigh will accomplish that.  Even if it does involve a white lie here or there.

Shhhh...There's a lady that lives in there. But don't worry, she loves it in there.

About 2 weeks ago, we were pulling into our neighborhood when Greenleigh asked who was talking.  You see, the call box at the gate has a female voice that says “Access Granted” when you put in your code.  I tried to explain to her that it was a computer, but that didn’t work.  So I tried to put it in terms that she’d understand, by saying that the gate call box is similar to an iPad – you press buttons and sound comes out, but no one is actually in the iPad.  No luck.  And then I tried to explain that the voice isn’t really a person at all.  Not a chance.  So in the end, I agreed with her that there was a lady in the box.  It was just easier.  If you can’t beat them, join them.  We proceeded through the gate and all was fine (and quiet).  No more questions.

Fast forward to last week, when we arrived home and heard the same “lady’s voice”.  Greenleigh proceeded to ask where the lady was.  Again, I went through the computer bit, the iPad scenario,  and the fact that there really wasn’t anyone in there, to no avail.  Eventually, I found myself agreeing that there really was a lady in the box.  To which Greenleigh responded, “She’s stuck in there?  Mommy, we need to get her out!”  Oh, no, no, I assured her, the lady in the box is really happy.  She likes it in there.  It’s her home.  Except Greenleigh wasn’t buying it.  At all.  Everyday last week I had to calm Greenleigh’s concerns over the lady in the box.  The quiet child I yearned for had turned into shrieking, crying, blubbering mess…we had to get the lady out.

Sure, I’m glad that she’s showing concern for others, but how did this get so far away from me?  Something that was meant to instill quiet has turned on me (viciously, I might add).

But I guess if she has nightmares of being trapped in a box when she’s older, at least I’ll know where they came from.

The Pre-Photo Shoot, Photo Shoot

Today we were lucky enough to get a professional photo shoot for free.  One of the ladies in my mom’s group is a photographer, and in celebration of her anniversary with the group, she offered everyone the opportunity to have photos taken.  The stage she set up was adorable, and I can’t wait to get the pictures back to share them with you, but until then, here are a few pictures that I took while we were waiting our turn [Read: While I was running around like a crazy person trying to keep the girls clean and away from anything that could rip their clothing.].

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

The Lady in the Corner

Today I had to be at a client’s medical examination really early in the morning.  And it didn’t help that the exam was scheduled at a location that’s at least an hour from my house, without traffic.  I quickly got myself ready and then headed upstairs to get the girls up.  I walked into Greenleigh’s room first and told her it was time to get up.  She stirred, but didn’t wake all the way up.  It was then that I realized that I forgot her chocolate milk downstairs and figured I’d let her sleep for a couple minutes while I went downstairs to get her sippy cup.  By the time I returned to her room, she was sitting up in her crib, talking.  She said hi to me and asked if we were heading off to school.  I said yes, took her out of the crib, then started to change her out of her pajamas and into her school clothes.

At that point Greenleigh started babbling about all sorts of things while looking over my right shoulder.  I started talking back to her, but she ignored me for the most part.  After a minute or two of me trying to talk back to her, she said, “No, Mommy!  I’m talking to the lady in the corner!”.  She was so adamant that I actually spun around and looked, thinking there might actually be someone in the corner of her room.

Then conversation went something like this:

Me:  You silly goose!  There isn’t anyone in the corner.

Greenleigh:  Yes, Mommeeee!  Right there.  Look.  The lady in the corner.

Me:  No honey, there isn’t anyone there.

Greenleigh:  Yes there is!

Me:  You mean outside?

Greenleigh:  No, right there.  (pointing towards the corner)

The more I tried to discourage the idea of there being a lady in the corner of her bedroom, the more sure she was.  I even took her over to the corner to show her no one was there, but she continued to point and insist on the lady’s existence.  By this point, I’ll admit, I was pretty freaked out.  But I was running short on time so we agreed to disagree about whether there was a lady in the corner of her room.

I’ll just put it out there – I’m not beyond the idea of ghosts, spirits, or any of those types of things.  Although I have never encountered one myself, I suppose it’s possible.  But I also know that Greenleigh has a very active imagination. She’s the girl who tried to convince my sister-in-law that she saw monkeys in the trees as they drove down the highway earlier this month.  I also know that shadows can look like monsters and all sorts of things in the dark.  And she might be around the age where they start to create imaginary friends.  I know I had a few growing up.  Don’t laugh, I had real, live friends too…I swear…

And yet, there’s something in her tone this morning that makes me wonder.  What did she see?  Who was she talking to?  I know she was wide awake.  It was bright out, so there weren’t any shadows.  And there aren’t any pictures in that corner.  What could it have been?

So the bad news is that our house might be haunted.  The good news is that Greenleigh is perfectly happy to be sharing a room with the ghost.

 

Greenleigh is Three! {Glittery Giveaway!}

It’s been such a crazy, whirlwind of a weekend I didn’t even have a chance to post yesterday in honor of Greenleigh’s 3rd birthday.  I don’t know who gets more excited about her birthday – her or me – but this year she certainly knew it was her birthday (and still thinks it’s her birthday today).  

To celebrate, I decided that we should do everything that she loves to do.  We went to her gym class in the morning, then to brunch on the beach, took a brief dip in the ocean, then headed out to see the ponies, but they were flooded so we rode the miniature trains instead.  When the trains closed we headed to the playground.  I needed a nap, but she was having a ball.   I still owe her some ponies though and she’s not going to let me forget it.  Maybe this coming weekend.

I feel like I often get overwhelmed by the toddler years, but these are the days that I want to remember.  These are the days that I will miss one day when she’s grown up.

Three generations on the beach, well, four, but I'm behind the camera. The clouds look bad, but it ended up being a pretty nice day.

Not as cool as ponies, but riding the miniature trains was fun.

Playground time!

So like usual, I feel the need to celebrate a little longer.  As if 3 full days of birthday celebration wasn’t enough…I need more.  So let’s have a glittery, birthday celebration right here, shall we?  In honor of Greenleigh’s birthday I’m giving away a pendant in her favorite color – Purple.  One lucky reader will win this beautiful all natural Tanzanite, Amethyst, and White Topaz Pendant in Sterling Silver is valued at $279 (sale $199, but it’s sold out).It was so pretty, I actually picked up one for myself.  I hope to pass my necklace down to Greenleigh one day, but you are free to do whatever you wish with yours!  Just fill out the rafflecopter form for your chance to win.  If you are intimidated by the rafflecopter form (like I used to be)…just try it, you might like it.

[Read more...]

3 Years Ago Today I Got a Phone Call…

It went something like this -

Nurse:  Hi, is this Jennifer?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: Hi, this is Nurse So-and-So down at the hospital.  Are you still pregnant?

Me: Yes.

Nurse: Really?

Me: Yes.

Nurse:  Okay, well you need to come in and have that baby now.  I haven’t talked to someone as pregnant as you are in a long time.

Me: Um okay, but I’m at work and I’m at least 1-2 hours away, can I just finish the day and then come tonight?  I mean, I feel fine and everything.

Nurse:  No, you need to come in now.

Me:  Okay, well do I have time to run home and shower?  I thought I had more time… (you know, because I hadn’t had 40 weeks + 10 days to prepare or anything)

Nurse:  Not really.  You are really pregnant and we are filling the beds for tonight.  I’ve never heard of anyone who doesn’t want to come to the hospital when they are 10 days overdue.  This is a first.

In the end, I grudgingly agreed to go into the hospital to be induced.  It’s not that I was against being induced, it’s just that I wasn’t one of those women posting on Facebook every 5 minutes, “OMG, I just need to have this baby already” when they are only 32 weeks pregnant.  I was very happy pregnant.  I wasn’t uncomfortable or in any rush.  I was the woman who skated in and out of her 40 week appointment without uttering a word about inductions or when the baby would be born.

The urgency in the nurse’s voice freaked me out a bit.  I was scared terrified at the mere idea of child birth, let alone the idea that I was about to experience it personally in the next day or so.  All the classes we had taken, the books we had read, and friends we had spoken to, couldn’t calm my fears.  I’m not exactly good with the unknown.  And then I was going to have to actually raise the child…I wasn’t sure I could do it.

Three years later, I look back and smile.  What an amazing 3 years it has been.

2009 - Just born and a little unsure of her new surroundings.

2009 - Bath time! Two months old.

2010 - Valentine's Day at 10 months old.

2010 - Fourth of July at 15 months old.

2010- Hitting the beach at 17 months old.

2011 - Just under 2 years old.

January 2011

 

August 2011 - Ready for water day at school!

February 2012

2012 - Last weekend, being silly at Disney.

 

 

 

 

Lazy Weekend Mornings

Our weekends are busy, so it’s pretty rare that we get to lounge around in our jammies.  Lucky for us, we had a pretty quiet weekend so I was able to get some pictures of the girls hanging out in Greenleigh’s crib.  Greenleigh just loves when I bring Hazeline to visit her in the mornings.  And yes, you read that right, my nearly 3 year old is still in a crib and I plan to keep it that way until she wants a big girl bed.  Hasn’t happened yet, so she’s staying there. This picture actually started out pretty harmless, but when Greenleigh wouldn’t let go, Hazeline freaked out.  That look of fear is pretty constant for Hazeline when Greenleigh is around.We read some books…We ate some books…Hazeline is out of focus here, but check out that tantrum!I finally got a picture of her teeth (well, 2 of the 4 of them).

We had a great time playing with stuffed animals, reading, singing songs, and enjoying each others company.  I’m glad to have had this lazy morning and a few pictures from it.  Sometimes it’s nice to have nothing to do.

Changing of the Guard

As I explained earlier this week, I’m not great with change.  Of any kind really, let alone change that affects me and my family on a day-to-day basis.  So imagine my dismay when Greenleigh’s teacher pulled me aside last week to let me know that she had given her 2 weeks notice.  She had found another job with great pay and benefits, and while I’m happy for her, I was a little sad for us.  And my heart sank even further when I arrived to pick the girls on Monday afternoon and found that she had not stayed for the entire two weeks.

Dramatic much?  Maybe, but it’s hard to find a childcare provider that you trust and that you feel is going to take the time to really get to know your child and teach them something, not just let them run around the classroom like banshees.  Because, the latter is far easier to do than the former.  It’s difficult to find someone who will give it 100%, and I thought we had finally found that.

This particular teacher started at the daycare a little over two years ago, and despite a rocky start, we had really grown to love her.  She began working in the toddler room when Greenleigh was just shy of a year, and stayed with Greenleigh until she was 18 months.  A while back, she took over the 2 1/2 year room, and became Greenleigh’s teacher again.  I loved the organization and structure she brought to her classroom.  When I dropped Greenleigh off in the mornings, the teacher always had something going on – storytime, circle time, songs, or a craft.   She would send me pictures of Greenleigh during the day, call or text me with updates, and who could forget that she pretty much single-handedly potty trained Greenleigh.

The situation got even harder yesterday when Greenleigh started to ask for her.  Of course, this isn’t the first teacher to leave her school, but it is the first one that she’s noticed.  You might remember that her teacher was often the best part of her day, so she’s not very accepting of the fact that her teacher isn’t going to be there anymore.  I’ve tried to explain it the best way that I can and reassure her that we will have her teacher over soon (she babysits for us occasionally), but she can’t quite wrap her brain around her.  Finality is a hard thing to explain to a little kid.  It felt very much like that scene in Bambi.  And as a mother I’m sad because my little girl is sad.

This morning when I dropped Greenleigh off in her classroom, children’s music was blaring and the kids were running around like banshees.  The order and organization were gone.  No group activities, crafts, or anything like it.  I also don’t think it’s a coincidence that she’s had two accidents in the last two days that the teacher has been gone, after being accident free for nearly a month.  I know it’s temporary, until they can find another teacher at least, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about the quality of her care right now.

Why do the good ones always have to be the ones to leave?

I Drove the Getaway Car

When I picked the girls up from daycare on Wednesday I was running super late.  I’m supposed to get there by 6:30pm, or I have to pay $5 for every 5 minute increment after 6:30.  I pulled into the parking lot at 6:31 and probably didn’t get the car parked and walk in to the daycare until 6:33.  I was prepared to pay the fee, because I was late and I know their policy, but when I walked in no one said anything.  Maybe they didn’t know it was 3 minutes after?  Or maybe they were just being nice?  I wasn’t sure, but I wanted to get the heck out of there before someone said something.  I quickly gathered the girls and all of their stuff and scooted out the door.  Mission accomplished – No $5 fee!  I hurried to get the girls into the car and we drove home.

As I parked my car, Erajh came out of the house to help me with the kids.  Greenleigh got out of the car and I noticed that she had a small rectangular item down her pants, towards her hip.  Erajh noticed it right away, and knew exactly what it was.

“Why did you let her steal that?”, he asked.  I think this is where he figured out that I had no idea what he was talking about, so he elaborated, “That’s the princess cell phone down her pants.  I stopped her from taking it yesterday, why did you let her take it today?”

And at that point, I had a Modern Family moment and burst out laughing.  At two years old, she stuffed a toy cell phone down her pants and stole it from her daycare.  I would buy this child any toy that she wanted, but no, she’d rather steal.  Clearly, she’s headed for a life of crime.  She had pulled one over on me.  She knew I wasn’t paying enough attention to stop her and she got away with it.  And I had driven her getaway car.

Her actions were definitely intentional too, because when she saw Erajh’s reaction and realized what we were talking about, she started to run.  Like on the show Cops.  Erajh would go to the left side of the car and Greenleigh would run around to the right side, where I was waiting for her.   She then would pivot on one foot and make a complete 180 like a great running back going back toward Erajh.  This went on for about 4 minutes.  Fortunately there was no fence to scale, because I have no doubt she would have climbed one if given the chance.  We eventually had to tackle her and pull the phone from her pants, Cops style.

Then came the hard part – putting on the upset, disappointed mommy face.  I mean really, it was hilarious.  And the fact that she put the phone exactly where a pocket would be, was just adorable.  But stealing is wrong and you have to teach kids that some things aren’t theirs.  So in front of our house, while being held (in a very similar manner to the suspects on the show Cops) we explained what she had done and why it was bad.

So here’s where I need some mommy advice.  The original plan was that she was going to have to return the phone to the daycare the next day and say she was sorry, but it didn’t quite work out that way.  I forgot, and just noticed that it’s still in our house tonight.  A bit of a mommy fail on my part.  Then I started to wonder – Should I even return it at all?  I hardly think they noticed and it did spend a good amount of time down her pants.  I’m not sure I would want her playing with a toy that spent anytime at all down another kid’s pants, but then again, I’m sure she has touched things that have been worse places.  And I’m almost positive that if I told the school what happened, they would laugh and tell me not to worry about it.  But, it’s not ours and there’s a lesson for her to learn here…right?

What’s the parenting protocol here?  Clorox it and return it or forget it and move on?  Or do I need to buy a new toy to give to the daycare to replace it?  What would you do?

Living With a Peanut Allergy

It’s a good thing Erajh and I aren’t hopeless romantics who celebrate Valentine’s Day in a big way, because this year all those plans would have been pushed aside to spend the night in the pediatricians’ office during emergency hours.  It was about 6:35 last Tuesday night when Erajh caught Greenleigh with a Butterfinger candy bar.  Of course, I don’t mind Greenleigh having a little candy every now and again, except Greenleigh is highly allergic to peanuts.  She was diagnosed with a peanut allergy at 15 months when a parent at daycare brought in a “fun” peanut snack for the kids to share.  Just in case you have never seen an allergic reaction, this is what it can look like (and no, our carseat straps are never that loose, my husband was trying to move them for the picture).

July 2010

Poor baby.  It took about 4 days for her go back to normal after that episode.

Greenleigh’s allergy is a bit more complicated because she has asthma.  On a normal day, Greenleigh can have problems breathing and an allergic reaction can make it so much worse.  Dangerously so.  In fact, one of the doctors in the ER told us that the second encounter with peanuts can often be worse than the first.  Since the first occurrence in July 2010, we’ve been aware of the situation and carried an EpiPen.  I’ve read labels, intercepted goodie bags from well intentioned hosts at birthday parties, and let daycare know that under no circumstances should she have anything peanut based.

And everything was fine…until last Tuesday night.

The candy bar had come out of her Valentine’s Day goodie bag from daycare, and although I normally intercept and inspect her goodie bags for peanut based contraband, for some reason I didn’t this time.  I suppose I was still getting over the plague, and off my game.  Plus, everyone at daycare knows she can’t have peanuts or anything with peanuts in it.  There’s no way to tell how much of the candy bar she ate, but from the huge mess on the couch, it appeared most of the candy bar was still intact.

Denial set in right away.  “She probably didn’t eat any.  She’ll be fine”.  Then she started to rub her eyes.  She was probably tired I thought.  We just needed to get through dinner and everything would be okay.  She was nibbling on a banana when the repetitious sneezing began.  No, no, no this can’t be happening I thought.  “Just eat your banana, Honey” I said struggling with the idea that we were going through this yet again.  This can’t be happening, I thought.  It’s been over 18 months since her last reaction. I was hoping she would have outgrown it by this point.  Apparently not.  When she started itching her throat, I knew we were in trouble and called the pediatrician’s office.

The reaction spiraled out of control from there – her nose began to run like a faucet, red splotches appeared on her face, and her breathing became labored.  I didn’t know it at the time, Greenleigh’s tongue was swelling, which was making it impossible for her to eat that banana that I was so desperately trying to get her to eat.  This was also around the time that she started to panic.  Struggling to keep her (and myself) calm, we headed to the pediatricians office for emergency hours.  We were whisked in right away, Greenleigh was put on the nebulizer for a breathing treatment and lots of Benadryl was given.  I held them off from giving the epinephrine because she was responding so well, and I knew if they gave it, we would be off to the ER for monitoring.

It’s fair to say that she hadn’t outgrown the allergy.  Far from it.

Valentine's Day 2012

So I guess you could say that although we had no big plans, our Valentine’s Day didn’t really go as planned.  On a positive note, Greenleigh did fully recover in about 2-3 days.

If you had told me that I would have had a child with a peanut allergy, I never would have believed you.  I love peanut butter.  Almost in an unnatural kind of way.  And yet my child is allergic.  How can this be?  The fact that she may never know the simple deliciousness that is peanut butter sandwich, pains me to a certain extent.  But it really isn’t all that rare.  The number of kids with peanut allergies is growing at an alarming rate and no one can pinpoint the exact reason.  One source I found said the number of kids with peanut allergies nearly tripled from 1997 to 2008.  And as much as I wished and hoped in that moment that she had outgrown her allergy to peanuts, apparently it’s one of the allergies that tends to stick with you throughout life.  So much for that.

Now comes the hard part – We need to teach Greenleigh how to be her own advocate.  We are teaching her to say, “Peanuts make me sick” and teach her what foods have peanuts in them, but since she hasn’t had these foods before, it’s really hard to explain.  After all, she wasn’t trying to eat the Butterfinger because she knew it was tasty, she just knew it was candy in her goodie bag.  I guess we have a long road ahead.

Do you have a child with allergies?  How do you teach them to be their own advocate, especially at such a young age?

Twisting the Knife

[My daughter] just launched into yet another tirade about all the deprivation she faces with having a working mom.  Wow, talk about twisting the knife a little more!

Facebook Friend’s Status Update

When I saw this status update, I thought to myself, “Well, at least I don’t have to worry about that for a while.”    My friend’s daughter is 7 years old, and with Greenleigh being only 2 right now, I have a few years before my being at work becomes a “problem” for her.  Right now, she doesn’t know any better.  As far as she’s concerned, all kids go to daycare from 9am – 6pm.  My girls don’t know that other kids’ parents stay home with them during the day or meet them at the end of a half day at preschool with a snack.

But it won’t always be that way, and I know it.  One day I will probably hear a very similar tirade.  I’m bracing myself for that day.

Recently, I’ve started rocking Greenleigh before bed.  I used to rock her when she was a baby, but stopped when she was around 5 months old.  I don’t know exactly why I started rocking her again, but she loves it, so we’ve been doing it for about three weeks now.  She’s a little big for it, but it gives us special time for just the two of us to talk.  No Dora.  No Mickey Mouse.  Just us.  We talk about the things she did that day and the stuff that is scheduled for the next day.  We sing songs.  We are silly.  Overall, it’s a pretty good time.

About two weeks ago, I started asking her what her favorite part of the day was.  I didn’t know if she knew what “favorite” meant, but Dora ends every episode like that, so I figured I would see if she knew what it meant.  When I asked her, she thought for a very long time and then responded with her gym teacher’s name.  We had been to gym class that day, so it made sense.  From that point on, I started asking her what her favorite part of each day was and received a variety of answers – the slide, the swings, her teacher at daycare, her friends.

Then one day, I thought to myself – Wait.  Why is the slide her favorite thing?  What about me?  Surely, I must beat out the slide.  I have to beat the slide.  I’m way, way cooler than that damn slide.  Just think of all the fun stuff we do together.  When Greenleigh was sick last month, who took care of her?  Not the slide.  That was all me.  And yes, her teacher is awesome, but hello, who covers her back up with blankets at 4am?  Not her teacher.

I decided that I was probably just such a constant figure in her life that she didn’t think of me as her favorite thing.  So I decided to suggest it.  A few days later, as we were rocking and recapping her day, I asked her what her favorite part of the whole day was.  She seemed to go back and forth between the slide and her best friend at daycare.  I looked at her and said, “What about Mommy?  Is mommy your favorite part of the day?”  To which she responded, “No.”  My heart broke a little.

In a completely unintentional way, my toddler twisted the knife.  I couldn’t help but wonder, if I didn’t work, would I be her favorite part of the day?  If we went to the park Monday – Friday, instead of just on the weekend, would I be her favorite part of the day then?  Or if we did crafts 7 days a week, instead of just 2?  Would I be her favorite then?

My toddler had clearly hurt my feelings.  Unfortunately, it won’t be the last time it happens.

I know my little girls love me.  I know they enjoy spending time with me.  Shame on me for asking a question I didn’t already know the answer to.  As an attorney, I should know better.  When it comes to her favorite things, she thinks about the stuff she sees on a daily basis, most of which is at daycare.  Sad but true.

Greenleigh is 2 years old and there are things that she just doesn’t understand yet.  One day she will understand that due to her asthma most insurance companies won’t cover her unless it is on a group plan (like the kind that you get at work).  And one day she’ll understand that the money I earn allows us to go so many fun places, we wouldn’t be able to go otherwise.  And one day I’ll explain student loan payments and the importance of education.  But that won’t be for years (maybe decades?).   Maybe one day when she is old enough to understand those things, I will be her favorite part of the day.  Because both Greenleigh and Hazeline are my favorite part of the day.  One day they will know and understand.  One day I’ll beat that damn slide.

Life lesson learned – Apparently, a 2 year old can twist the knife just as well as a 7 year old.