You’ve been reading far too much over here about the H1N1 vaccine, so I’ll spare you the details and just say that the ladies of the house have been vaccinated, Caroline still needs a second dose in four weeks, and we’re not quite sure what to do about Steve yet. The actual shot vs. nasal mist seems so far to be a much better option for Caroline. The End.

Moms do strange things.

With traffic backed up on my usual route to pick Caroline up from school yesterday, I pulled a characteristic Kerri move and found an alternate route without use of GPS or iPhone maps. When my internal map finally clicked into place, my route took me down a side road by a creamery (yes, a creamery) and wouldn’t you know there were a handful of cows with their noses practically reaching over the fence into the road? How could I not go out of my way to drive my daughter by these cows? So off we went, completely in the wrong direction, to wave to some cows and let me tell you the moos from the back seat made it all worth it.

The cows set us off on a lengthy version of her new favorite song, “Old McDonald.” I’d pause to ask her “and on that farm there was a… what was there? Oh, a pig!? What does a piggy say?” and so on for most of the ride home. That Old McDonald, he sure has a lot of cows and pigs.

Last night at bedtime I suggested Old McDonald and wouldn’t you know that she totally stole the mommy part of the song?

“Old McDonald had a farm, EIEIO, and on that farm he had a… Mommy, what was there? With a… what does a cow say Mommy?” She is 100% totally my kid.


Caroline is enjoying the novelty of dressing her babies in her baby brother’s newborn clothes; unearthed from the attic, lovingly given by kind friends, or newly purchased. Then again she’s enjoying dressing her babies in her new 3T “jammas” that are practically falling off of her they are so big. I think she likes that the extra material on the bottom becomes a blanket to wrap that snuggly baby up. The level of maternal nurturing we are seeing has increased at an alarming rate lately with all the talk of Macadamia, watching Mommy’s tummy explode, and all the changes that seem to be happening slowly in her house.

We’ve practically emptied her new big girl room. Steve and I spent the better part of her nap on Saturday taking trips with furniture to the garage or boxes of office doodads to the basement. The room was freshly painted just for her in a perfect shade of bluish green before we moved in. We knew that someday it would be hers. No sooner than Steve had hung the adorable valences on the windows and the room began to change from spare to Caro’s did he pick up her new quilt asking me, “why did you get Full/Queen?” Hardy har har was my reply, very funny, but LO, it was a Full/Queen. I rushed to Homegoods to return the adorable quilt my pregnancy brain could have SWORN was a TWIN. We’re actually happier with the replacement and no need to switch out the valences either; catastrophe averted. Imagining the day we put it all together for her and unfurled a too big quilt… yeah, not exactly what we had in mind for an introduction to being a big girl. Though milestones that involve last minute shopping trips might be fun too.

Caroline’s been hanging out in there; reading books, snuggling on the bed under the fancy blanket I plan on putting on the foot of her bed for quiet time (what naptime has become most days). No doubt the cat will welcome this addition as well. Caroline’s room gets amazing sun in the early afternoon and Reese spends a great deal of her day in there stretched out in an always moving sunny spot she follows around the house. I’m sure with the new resident moving in the cat will be spending far less time in there. Desperate as Caroline is to play with her, Reese is still reluctant and really, I think that’s better for everyone right now. Though I am told often by the bossy toddler that “we have to be nice to kitty, we pet her nice, we don’t hit her,” actions speak louder than words. Most days she is more excited to chase her around the living room screaming “RAWR” than to sit quietly with her.

Caroline’s trying on her new room. I watch her from the hallway, quietly going through the bag of holiday themed books I had put away from last Christmas, smiling at the sound of her squeal that could only mean she has uncovered “Merry Christmas Curious George.” Our little girl. So big.

I drift to the top of the stairs to pick up the morning’s discarded pajamas and my gaze meets the door to the nursery, the room that was hers that will be his. It is such a content feeling to think that in just 3 months the house will be full. We’ll miss the spare room. It meant occasional overnight guests, it felt nice to have that space, but there will be another time for that in another place. The house will be same and yet completely new come February and we are in agreement that we both cannot believe how fast this pregnancy has flown nor can wait much longer for his arrival. It is a curious mix of hurry up slow down.

Last night at bedtime Caroline kissed her baby brother goodnight through my belly.

“Goodnight Baby Brother, I love you.”

standing firm

It’s hard to believe that we are already at this point, but this morning I enjoyed a fun filled hour for the one-hour glucose tolerance test. I still don’t feel right many glasses of water and an entire meal later, but that drink is not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Drinking it in the allotted time, well, that still sucked. It’s a crazy medical week for us; the glucose test this morning and monthly OB appointment for me today, flu vaccines for the ladies later this week. Steve's got a bunch of work committments this week that will add to the complexity of the week, but we've got it covered.

The doctor had a little bit of trouble finding Macadamia this morning and I shocked myself with the confidence I had in telling him he must be looking too high. Trust me Doc, this kid is LOW. The whooshing heartbeat had to be chased around my belly once he found it with the Doppler. I wasn’t kidding when I said he was a busy boy, he is NON-stop. I actually worry about him on quieter days, which aren’t all that quiet just uncharacteristic of him.

I talked with this physician about the H1N1 vaccine I am scheduled to get tomorrow evening and though he did tell me that the likelihood of me contracting the illness is far less than being hit by lightning, he said he supported my decision and that he thought I was doing the right thing. Up until now, no health care provider within his practice has been able to say more than "unless you have extreme objections, you should probably maybe consider getting it." I get it. I do. It's my decision, but he also shared that he himself has seen a small handful of pregnant woman through my practice on respirators from the pig flu. My one remaining concern about this vaccine was that it will likely contain thimeresol, a mercury containing preservative. I heard that when I booked the appointment and they suggested I speak to my OB. As the words tumbled out of my mouth it felt like I was already pushing them aside, raising the issue more out of obligation than true concern. I would much rather have this vaccine, thimeresol or not, than wait for an unknown number of weeks for a mercury free dose to arrive. I just want the panic level to go down a couple notches, to be able to relax a bit, though I know that will be impossible. A tiny bit of me will obviously be concerned about any effects this vaccine might have on Macadamia or Caroline, but I’d rather have my children (and be around myself) and worry about it later. Cost/benefit for the present. I have no crystal ball. I only know what I know, which isn’t much, but enough for me to stand firm on my decision.

My next appointment is my last monthly visit. How is that even possible?

slightly less terrifying

than the ones she was using yesterday

she is really getting the hang of it and loving the kid safety blunt
tipped scissors

mommy is thrilled she can put aside the dangerous scalloped edge ones

"no mommy, it's for molly"

Someone is enjoying going through macadamia's stuff and is claiming it
as her own.

btf: different

** part of a series "Baby Talk Fridays," to read more about this series see this post. **

June 3, 2009

The Ultrasound Tech dated the pregnancy at 6 weeks, with an estimated arrival date of 1/25/2010. Seeing that blinky heartbeat and the accompanying whooshing brought tears to my eyes. Steve beamed with pride and amazement and afterwards we shared a little lunch together on the patio of a local deli. It seems so unreal still, so impossible and yet here we are.

Already it feels so much different than Caroline for so many reasons. We feel more settled here in CT at this point than we did in 2006 when a positive pregnancy test occurred one week post relocation. I was busy trying to dupe someone into hiring me before I started showing. I took daily afternoon naps with Oprah on in the background. I've got an energetic toddler distracting me from the amazing miracle occuring inside my tummy and keeping me from grabbing that much needed afternoon snooze. It just feels different, mainly because I am already sporting a poochy belly bloat. wha???

Coming up with blog posts these days is a big challenge because I am literally busting at the seams to share the news with the entire world!

you will not beat me

We’re on the upswing here. That nap yesterday lasted for nearly two and half-hours. I had to wake her gently and even in my arms, her head flopped onto my shoulder in half slumber. It was like old times. We spent the rest of the afternoon snuggling, reading books, drinking lukewarm tea, and watching Olivia. She thankfully woke up cool, which was such a relief. A long nap typically signals the mayday call for more Motrin.

I was quite productive myself yesterday. I reached all my clients to cancel our meetings. I provided some much needed grief counseling over the phone to a very needy daughter. I waited on the pediatrician’s hold line for nearly 35 minutes to finagle my way into a H1N1 shot for Caroline. At the pediatrician the night before I had asked the nurse, “so I heard a rumor you have the shot for H1N1?” Her reply was that they did in fact have it, but had not made a decision about distribution yet. I could get my email address on the notification list. I knew that my neighbor already had an appointment for her baby later this week. Knowing that I added my name to the list, but planned to call and get it somehow - anyway I could - for my daughter. (Ann, cannot thank you enough for the amazing heads up, I would still be waiting for the mythical email!) Once I finally did reach a nurse, Caroline needed only to meet an age requirement and we had an appointment scheduled for next Tuesday evening. I could have had it last night at 8:45 if I was in full on panic mode, but that seemed a bit extreme. It still does.

I twittered last night that even sharing I have this appointment makes me feel a bit conflicted. This is clearly a hot button topic. “Will you vaccinate your child?” I have my own reasons for choosing to vaccinate and I don’t feel that I need to share them, nor justify them. It is a personal decision, but just another thing we moms can be judgy about. Even with the vaccine, I am not naive enough to believe we will be protected behind some H1N1 shield. What really completely irritates me about this whole swine flu thing is the panic that seems to be taking over. While I am all for the media to provide education about this vaccination, sharing the stories they are sharing, airing pieces on 60 Minutes that make us all want to shut ourselves into our homes for the next six months doesn’t seem to be helping. If you are going to vaccinate – you know you are going to vaccinate. If you aren’t – you know that too. STOP SCARING EVERYONE, particularly when the shot form that I need as a pregnant woman (and would prefer to give my daughter) is not even available here yet. Stop. Thanks for the heads up to take flu prevention precautions, but please stop the hysteria inducing human-interest pieces that make me want to gather canned goods, bottled water, and hide my family away.

That being said, thanks to all those special news reports, I could barely keep a calm face as I watched my daughter vomit all over herself in the car. The first thought to run through my head was not “oh, my poor baby” but instead, “it’s happening!” I refuse to live like that. I refuse to live in fear. I refuse to wish away the most magical time of year for my child. I refuse to let this panic beat me down. I refuse.

oh bubba

we love you

She fell asleep in our bed for probably the first time in almost two
years. I moved her to her bed, but I almost kept her with me to
snuggle in all her girly goodness. Hope she feels well when she wakes



I had a crazy busy Tuesday with my annual Memorial Service for the bereavement group I facilitate at work. Between a candle run, a singer who backed out this morning, an impromptu iTunes download situation, and program folding - my day was beyond packed. As I was pulling out of the parking lot to head to my carefully planned reception my phone rang. The number was daycare and my heart entered my throat.

Fever 101.8, crying in the background, when can you come and get her? I couldn't. I just couldn't up and leave at that moment despite the desire in my body to go right and not left. I let my group know, I stayed as long as I had to looking at their photos, listening to their stories, handing them kleenex. It was nearly an hour later when I was finally able to pull myself away and nearly 90 minutes had gone by when I raced into the lobby at school.

Caroline was in the director's office, being snuggled but bawling her eyes out calling for Mommy. She continued to ask for mommy, even after I was holding her and she looked just awful. Lauren and Eric had packed up all her stuff, little Ryan handed me her coat, they had even included her bedding for decontamination. I said I would see them Thursday, fever free for 24 is no joking matter this year.

Puke everywhere. Almost home baby. Dear God, is this happening? A bath. Deconstructing the car seat. Oh the smell. My poor girl.

Saltines. Bread. Goldfish. A fruit bar. Water. Noggin/Nick Jr. 98.3

A 6:45 appointment to test for strep, which was school's biggest concern. An absolute freak out with the swab. Declarations of "out!" "home!" "Go!" An all out assault against the poor pediatrician who did a thorough check despite the negative culture.

She's been talking non-stop since we got home. She's in fine spirits. We're just hoping she makes it through the night fever free. Got word from Ann that they have the H1N1 shot which they confirmed but were unable to book for me at that time. I've got all day to sit on hold and schedule that shot.

dunkin affectionado... apparently

she loves it and it's decaf

a girl and her first pumpkin whoopie pie

btf: sharing it with the world

** part of a series "Baby Talk Fridays," to read more about this series see this post. **

June 30, 2009

We are on the brink of the big announcement. Steve and I seem to feel that Independence Day is OUR day to break exciting news and this year will be no different. In 2003, we got engaged. In 2006, we posted ultrasound photos on the fridge. This year, we'll let Caroline trumpet the news to one and all.

We made it through the biggest hurdle; the Vineyard wedding. While there were some sideways glances and some questions regarding my cocktail of choice, I think I made it through with relatively few suspicions. Lord knows I was checking out every other married of childbearing age glass too.

We're cruising along at ten weeks now. I sit with Caroline keenly aware that this is the last summer it will be just us three. I want to pack it full of fun and memories and trips to Baskin Robbins to have ice cream for lunch. Mondays and Fridays just became all the more important. She can't recognize yet that something is happening, that a change is on her life's horizon.

the one about the weather

For the fiftieth time this week I once again pulled up the extended forecast over lunch today. That weather channel app on the iPhone is ridiculously addictive, especially if you are addicted to weather forecasts like I am. Have we not been over that the first words I utter each morning are "put on the weather?" It should come as no surprise to anyone that there is a football game up in the Boston area this weekend that is kind of important. My weather checking is at an all time feverishly high frequency. All week the forecast for Saturday has been getting colder… and wetter. Uncle Marc won’t even be there to tell me what to wear. I learned my lesson in game day preparation earlier this season and had completely put all my faith in his game time forecasting abilities?? So now what?

Imagine the head shaking when I pulled up the forecast to find this .

Yup, all you yahoos can not only plan your layered weather appropriate apparel for the weekend, but you can also compare the forecast to your football team’s past performance. It is a sickness. Steve, stop clicking over. Hokie, step away from the keyboard. Chris, your wife knows you already looked. Marc, I bet you already knew about this.

While I am certainly not looking forward to a rainy game, I have to be honest and admit that even this BC football widow is a bit sad that she might not make it through the game. I kind of miss it? A little? OK, fine. I actually miss it. What have you done to me Steven?

I’m not sure yet what Caroline and I will do come Saturday. We probably won’t know until we are actually doing it, but we won’t be sending Steve up solo. We might even make pumpkin whoopie pies.

the return of the naked toddler & the alien

Perhaps you saw my twitters last night about the return of the naked toddler? I ask, is it just coincidental that Tuesday was her first afternoon nap in several days? Sans nap we’ve been getting right to the business of sleeping at a reasonable hour. With the daycare nap, she got into bed last night (early and without any books for naughty behavior) listened quietly to her music, moved onto to talking non-stop with her dolls, then to kicking her feet loudly against the crib bars, and eventually out of sheer boredom disrobed completely. After a firm talking to while we redressed her for bed, she went happily to dream land. It was thankfully before 10PM (in fact I think I fell asleep close to 10PM), but still. The hour plus decompress playtime period at night is making me squirmy about the looming big girl bed. At least with her crib she is safely contained. With a bed she can get out (and who knows how long it will take her to figure out she can get out on her own…any ol’ time she wants to) and the situations I am imagining finding when we go up to check on her are frankly pretty scary to this neat freak. Entire drawers emptied. Piles of books on the floor. Curtains pulled from the windows. I don’t see anyway around the school nap though, it’s protocol. Having her awake would disrupt the sleep of the kids who actually still need their nap.

Speaking of school, things are improving! Less tears, none today at all in fact per Steve’s drop off update. It’s been kind of like going back in time to the days when I was still struggling with my own transition to part-time working mom. Steve would text me each morning about the drop off. We’ve returned to the old format it seems and thankfully the texts are getting better and better with each passing day. There seems to be more stability in her classroom since they asked a really fabulous substitute to come on long-term for Michelle’s unexpected leave. Caroline is back to talking about her friends on the way home; “Seany went to his house. He eat dinner.” The mornings have still been tough, but this morning I was elated to get a text from Steve that she was still nervous, but there were no tears. NO TEARS. Yesterday when I arrived to pick her up she was sitting with Bailey at the table and announced; “Color!” She did not want to leave. I repeat, she did not want to leave! Mr. Eric had to find a coloring page for her to take home to convince her that it was ok to go home and color there. No sooner than we walked into the house was she digging through her bag and bounding to her table to color that picture. I daresay we’ve turned a hopeful corner.

Caroline woke up this morning after 7, another side effect of not getting to sleep on time. I’d much prefer to not have to wake her up if I can help it because the mood and attitude leave me exhausted before my day actually begins. Her first words to me were “Target?” followed by “see babies?” I think we’ve been making a few too many quick Target runs recently. Those trips always involve a stop in the baby doll aisle where we tickle all the babies to make them crawl, cry, or giggle. Once it was clear that Target was not in her immediate future, she moved right on to breakfast requests and can I tell you how awesome that is? “Bagel and Cheerio.” My child has free will and can actually tell me what she wants to eat.

We’ve reached another milestone with Macadamia. At 25 weeks pregnant, those kicks and punches have transformed into squirming and rolling. It’s pretty much a gymnastics lesson in my belly each day. Enter the frightening alien phase. This kid is getting big, strong, and is at times driving me completely batty. There are moments during the day that I literally cannot concentrate on anything beyond his non-stop jumping and twirling and I find myself alone in my office muttering away to him that “yes, hi, I know you are in there, but can we please calm down? Please?” I’m definitely feeling a connection to this little boy. It’s been harder to get to this point with the constant distraction of a toddler, but I am finding more time recently to just sit and be with him, in our own little world together.

Here’s this morning… I actually tried to wear the Bella band with regular pants today. The results were laughable and extremely uncomfortable. That box on the floor Reese is smelling is earmarked to hold the rest of the non-preggo wardrobe until I can fit into it again. If I don't put it away, I will keep trying to wear it. I had on my stretchy skinny jeans this weekend and Steve asked me if I still thought I really fit into them with a look of skepticism. He's right. I don't. I need to put them away and enjoy the freedom of a zipper and button free lifestyle! Bring on the guacamole!


Attention parents: remove yourself from your child for one night to celebrate your anniversary. You won’t regret it.

Our best-laid plans got the best of us thanks to some lovely traffic on Friday night. Though we were nearly an hour late for our scheduled arrival/dinner with my parents, we were just happy to have made it there. Soaking wet “I drank my entire sippy cup 5 miles in” toddler and all. I think I agree with Steve, that pizza may have been the best pizza ever and not just because we were so desperate to get there, it really was the best pizza ever!

After enjoying a lovely pancake breakfast on Saturday, Steve and I readied ourselves for what we hoped would be a painless goodbye with Caroline. She was onto us before we even picked her up asking, “I come?” I was assured that the tears were short-lived. With the promise of ride down a slide outside she was brushing them away before we even closed the front door. From what we heard she had a really enjoyable day with my parents and brother; playing in the backyard, visiting a local zoo, and lots of laughter. She is STILL talking about that zoo, specifically the bird who ate corn with his claws (complete with hand claw reenactment) the alligator “who scary me,” and the deer who was hungry “so I feed him.” Every once in awhile she talks about the snake, but she didn’t like him very much at all – that’s my girl! My end of the evening quick phone check in revealed an easy bedtime. She did them the favor of sleeping until 7:30 on Sunday, so that was pretty nice of her.

While my family was out exploring and enjoying our little girl, Steve and I set off to enjoy our anniversary. Providence was a remarkably easy ride from Western MA and we got to leaf peep all the way down. We arrived at the hotel in time to check in and make it down to McCormick and Schmick’s for the BC/VT kick off. In retrospect it would have been okay to miss that humiliating part of the afternoon. The lunch was amazing; we opted for a shared rhode island style calamari, then before halftime ordered clam chowder and when things started to look really bleak we put in our lunch order of fish and chips for him, lobster roll for me. My lobster roll had 4 complete claws, 2 lobster tails that had been simply cut in half the long way and I enjoyed each and every bite. I think the lunch made up for BC’s lackluster performance.

Post lunch we set out to explore the area a bit. Steve hates not knowing where he is, so we needed to get our bearings a bit – which way to dinner, how to walk back, etc. Not far from the hotel a man smoking in a doorway remarked, “nice camera.” That was all the reminding we needed that though the city appeared beautiful; beware! On our walk we hunted for a wine opener since just like every other trip, we completely forgot to grab one of the approximately 150 cheap openers that we have been forced to purchase on various adventures. We had no luck, none at all, until we came upon a little gourmet cafĂ© and I just knew they would have one. My hand clapping celebration led to disconcerted stares from clientele and cashier alike. I think he put a curse on that opener before forking it over because not only did the riveted end that you spin into the cork bend, but it completely broke off. Steve tried to use the arms to pry the cork out, but those bent too. We even tried to MacGyver it open with my tweezers. Eventually the wine was open and poured and Natalie, it was delicious. We savored our quiet afternoon, opened gifts of wood, and got ourselves ready for another meal.

Our short walk to Federal Hill was just what we needed to walk off lunch completely because dinner was just as delicious and I was happy to have had room in my belly for the Italian feast. I ordered my standby gnocchi and it was divine. Steve ohh’d and ahh’d over his veal scallopine with lobster and sherry cream sauce.

We headed back towards the heart of the city and I think we could smell the fires before we saw them. Hokie would have loved it. Fires all along the river as far as you could see. A crowd of revelers on one side, a more subdued group of onlookers on the other. We made our way through both sides, took lots of photos, breathed in that fire smell. We remarked over and over what a wonderful day it had been.

The best part though, the very best part? That would be waking up in the morning and going back to sleep, reading the paper, turning on mindless television, eating bagel sandwiches in our pjs and relaxing in the quiet for just a bit more.

Five years, one & one half children. It was so wonderful to get away just us. I think sometimes you forget how to have that alone time, that space with your partner. You get so used to cramming all you have to say into the seven minutes of peace at dinner, or the 30 seconds before you roll over and fall instantly asleep. We talked about so many things, in such great detail, and we narrowed Baby Mac’s name down to just three perfect standouts.


Are pretty romantical and pretty awesome. The smell is yummy, it's
like the biggest fire ever.


a deceptively beautiful city. Just got word that this waterfire is for
breast cancer awareness. Pink everywhere!

game on

Octoberfest, unsweetened iced tea. We put in our rhode island calamari
app and the BC/VT game just started with the crazies in Blacksburg
jumping up and down like lunatics to enter sandman.

en route to POV

line of odd ominous clouds between bright blue clear skies

five is for wood. good luck with that.

I'm taking a break from Baby Talk Fridays this week to acknowledge a significant day for our family.

You’ve read about this weekend before: cotton , leather, appliances .

Every year as the end of summer rolls in, Steve & I debate various anniversary plans; destinations, dinners, & arrangements for the mini us. We’ve been incredibly fortunate to have a night away each year since our wedding to be together, to reflect on the years behind us, to imagine the adventures that await us. Five years.

We considered all options this year and for a great deal of time we were heading somewhere isolated, beautiful, and quiet. In the end it was with the wisdom of those five years that we chose a more urban location. It really is more our speed, particularly this year when I know that sitting before a roaring fire after a glass of wine will put me to sleep in approximately 30 seconds.

We’re spending some time with my parents tonight who have graciously offered to take Caroline for the night while we race off to Providence’s Biltmore Hotel tomorrow. Lunch at McCormick and Schmick’s (I'm eyeying the coconut shrimp app - a cup of chowder - and a lobster roll - though I'll probably more sensibly pick something from the 9.95 menu) in the bar watching the BC/VT game (thank goodness for early kickoffs that don’t interfere with fancy dinner plans), dinner on Federal Hill, an evening at the Waterfires, and a glass of wine from our wedding shower labeled by my fabulous girlfriends and the aunties “to enjoy on your fifth anniversary.” I pulled the bottle off the rack earlier this week and placed it by the door so we don’t forget to bring it along. Five years ago that bottle seemed so far away. God we'd be over 30 then, we'd be ancient! We would never drink that bottle! Now it sits dust covered, a reminder of the passage of all that time.

Our fifth year was by far our most challenging. We came together like never before when our shared feelings of an unfinished family began to feel hopeless. Steve became mr. power of positivity, while I took on his alter ego of ms. half empty glass. When we couldn't talk to anyone else, we had each other. The man I married never believed that it wouldn't happen for us. He expressed concern. He held my hand. He collected pooled tears on his shoulder, but I know that he always knew in his heart this this could, that it would, happen. He convinced me to believe, we supported one another, and we are having a son. A son to become his father’s constant sidekick. A son to share his father’s love of sports. A son fortunate enough to grow up with a tremendous role model; amazing work ethic, fierce loyalty, easygoing, approachable, dedicated to doing the right thing, and the expectation that others will do same.

The man who just two and a half years ago was absolutely terrified of what loomed ahead when his daughter arrived could not possibly be more stoked about this new baby. I know this would be the true even if he were a she. In Steve I found my perfect counterpart, my matching cog. It has only been through watching him experience fatherhood that I have come to fully appreciate what a special gift he is.

We are all so lucky to have you.

Happy fifth anniversary, Steve.

"look at my pretty dress!"

Such a girl. Insisted on those socks and her favorite red shoes...

my best girl

I have been covering the drop off and pick up duties all week, mainly due to unavoidable work commitments for Steve involving the next two levels of management. Picture Michael Scott when the uppity ups from Corporate besiege his regional office, except Steve is a lot less socially awkward than his fictional counterpart and knows where to score an amazing impress your boss sandwich.

I am happy to do whatever needs to be done to keep things moving, but this week has really worn on me. I woke up this morning from an unrestful sleep, still exhausted. I realize that I am quite the lady of leisure. Caroline gets her slow to wake up mornings from me. I just require time to be awake enough to face the day and once I am up, even if the sun isn’t shining, my attitude is. I usually get the bubba dressed, climb back under the covers with her for 20 minutes of snuggle time while Steve showers, and complete the breakfast, pigtails, out the door routine all while wearing my glasses and pjs. I wave from the door with uncombed wild hair and watch my daughter clutch onto her daddy before blowing me a kiss goodbye. The time left before I leave for work is quiet, uninterrupted, and relaxed. I do all the work to get her out in the morning, but I do it on my own terms and this week I have not been able to do that. SPOILED. ROTTEN.

I am aware that Steve really pushes it to take her to school in the mornings, since a new policy dictates he be in the office by 8AM, which is completely impossible if he takes her in. He handles all his emails from the overnight and early morning before they leave the house, often joining a conference call from the car if need be just to help me, to make things easier for me. I appreciate all of this, but perhaps I need to be taking some more responsibility for the mornings. Perhaps on the day between hair washings when I am able to take a quick shower I should be handling the morning routine and drop off? I am completely capable, just spoiled.

Sometimes I need a week like this to remind me how wonderful my partner is, even if the last thing I said to him last night before I crashed HARD at 10pm was “you so owe me.”

Caroline has been a bit better each day this week; less weepy, teary for a shorter period of time at drop off. This morning there were no tears until we walked into her classroom and she refused to let me unzip her coat. Another little girl came over and touched her foot and she pulled it back breaking into sobs. Perhaps Steve’s suspicion of this particular little one’s lack of physical boundaries is on target? I questioned whether there seemed to be an issue between them, finally seizing the first opportunity to ask about her without it seemingly coming from nowhere. He said that at times she does have trouble leaving the other kids alone. No sooner than he said this little girl’s name did she back off, so I think he is aware of the space issue and is working to correct it.

One of the directors stopped me at the door to tell me how much better things have been over the course of the week and I relayed my gratitude to them for being so involved and so responsive to our concerns. The entire center seems to be in on “Operation Cheer Up Caroline.” Teachers I only recognize from other rooms called out to me as I walked up the hall yesterday, “she had a really good day today!” I was feeling great! She is pulling out of this, turning the corner! Until the director said she did want to share one concerning thing. She shared that Caroline’s little friend Sean is also going to be a big brother. He makes frequent excited announcements to the class that “there’s a baby in my Mommy’s tummy!” Caroline’s caregivers and the directors have all noticed that when Sean says this, Caroline cries. I made a stabbing motion with my keys right into my heart and my eyes welled over. Doesn’t she know she will always be my best girl?


New love for powdered sugar!

six days later

In the midst of all the chaos a miraculous thing happened. Caroline won’t call anyone to share the news, she doesn’t want to talk about it, but she sure wanted a treat as soon as her feet hit the foyer yesterday afternoon. Our baby girl actually made a liquid deposit on the potty at school. The milestone was marked on the daily sheet at school in pink ink with a huge smiley face. I beamed. She shied away from my enthusiasm. Already she knows this is a private matter and just as we thought, she’d rather not talk about it, just get it done and move on. Supportive ambivalence. I am not foolish enough to think that this will stick, but this is the first time she has ever had this kind of success on the potty and in the middle of all this craziness, well, wow. Just. Wow. The social worker in me cannot stop analyzing this and the concurrent school drama, but you don’t need to read all that pyschobabble do you?

Our little girl was ravenous last night, devouring anything she could get her hands on and after 6 days of a modified diet with no report of any dubious incidents at school, she feasted. After dinner there were saltines and lemonade and at one point she came back into the family room from the kitchen biting into an apple she had pilfered from my lunch bag. She was hungry. While we are not out of the woods completely yet (a diaper incident this morning), I can confidently say that we on our way out. SIX DAYS LATER.

Drop off this morning in the pouring rain was an adventure that took her mind off the fact that the end result was a day at school. Raincoats, umbrellas, and the whooshing of the wipers on the windshield are exciting to toddlers. She yelled out a special request for the “snoring” song (it’s raining, it’s pouring, the old man is snoring”) and there were no tears until we reached her room. I tried to put her down on the carpet and the tears were instant and furious. New plan is to hand her off directly to a caregiver because when she had a minute in my arms to calm herself she happily held her hands out to the person helping a “feeling much better today” Mr. Eric.

Last night as I sang her a lullaby and placed her into her crib she looked up at me and told me the abbreviated version of her day. She told me how she had cried (“like a baby” GASP! Instant protective mama, “who told her she cried like a baby?!?!?!”), then played outside, and how she had gone inside to have her pasta and sit in her seat with her friends. I forced myself to ignore the “like a baby” comment and instead focus on the positive that she was sharing her day with me, smiling, without a request to talk about it. After she said her peace, she closed her eyes and fell fast asleep. There was not one peep over the monitor. All that crying like a baby will apparently wear a little girl out.

It’s Girls Pancake Dinner Night as Steve will be out with the bosses for a business dinner. The last thing I told her this morning at school was that it was special girls only night and she looked at me, rubbing her tears away, “pancakes?”

and you should have seen this poop!

I handled the drop-off this morning, not because I had any doubts about Steve’s observations, but because I wanted, NO needed, to see it for myself. I knew that my presence would in no way make it easier, in fact I knew it might make it worse. The tears began at breakfast when we calmly and cheerfully asked her if she was excited to see her friends at school today. She was clearly NOT excited in the least. No sooner than we pulled into a parking spot in front of the building did the waterworks begin and my heart sunk. I reminded myself that if I played into her emotions too much it would only make it worse, so I forced a cheery smiley attitude all the way to the door.

… and Mr. Eric was not there, he’s out sick today.
… and Michelle still wasn’t and still won’t be for a long time. (we made a card for her over the weekend, but I think the exercise's meaning was lost when faced with a long day at school)

I scurried around unpacking all her belongings, putting her lunch into the fridge while Mr. Eric’s stand-in (the director) eased her into the room by asking her to be a special helper and getting her involved in an activity with the other kids who had already arrived. I could have slipped out and she would have been fine, but I had to tell her about the terrible poop.

Yes, in addition to all the insanity of school, we’ve got a poop issue and not the usual 5 days between kind. OH NO, quite the opposite actually. Since the flu mist. An incident at school on Thursday. Another on Friday. Several more over the weekend. We’re seeing some improvement, but LO the poop. I’ve tried to limit her to the BRAT diet since Friday afternoon; bananas, applesauce, toast, plain rice/pasta, and cheerios because HOW in holy hell can you NOT give a toddler cheerios? Not surprisingly, she’s pretty much done with that and has been requesting goldfish crackers and cheese and yogurt and things that I cannot give her. It’s frustrating. I’ve caved and given her a couple bites of this or that because have you seen her? She’s a bean pole!? After 5 days of this modified diet, I honestly wonder how much weight she may have lost because when presented with yet another plain thing she would prefer NOT to eat. I don’t blame her. I cannot even coax her into sharing a banana with me anymore and while she’ll still happily put away a bowl of applesauce, I know that time is ticking away on that being acceptable. She’s asking for fruit snacks, for glasses of milk, for a bite of whatever I am having. So, it should come as no surprise that my own food intake has been somewhat limited too because how can I eat an apple in front of her, or a piece of cheese. I’ve eaten a lot of peanut butter this weekend – the one thing I know she would not want.

I worry. I guilt.

I am mad at myself for not standing up the Health Department and forcing them to stick her instead of misting her with the seasonal flu vaccine, a mistake I will not be repeating with the H1N1. I’ll take my kid’s virus good and dead as opposed to weakened, thank you very much.

I worry because my kid is so prone to constipation that it just feels WRONG to be giving her things that on a regular day I would rather stick a pen in my eye than feed her.

I worry because without a thorough cleaning post poop incident, approximately half a package of wipes, and a good douse of triple paste - the path to the evil terrible nasty yeasty diaper rash is lurking just around the corner. I can actually feel it watching me. I know school will be as attentive as they can be to this, but I still worry because imagining that rash actually makes me quiver in fear.

I guilt because on top of her clearly feeling icky, we’re still coping with the school anxiety and I want to call and check on her every 5 minutes. Things at work are less than positive right now and that does nothing to help me from wanting to rush over there and save her. I know that she needs to work through this. We all need to work through this. I know it will get better. I have to believe that it will and yet, the guilt.

On a much needed lighter note because WOW – if you just got through an entire post about separation anxiety and horrific poop you deserve something from the light and silly category.

Caroline was playing mommy to one of her babies last night. It’s funny because as much as she is playing the role of the mommy, she doesn’t really see herself as the mommy – more the daycare caregiver. She often refers to the baby being sad because she misses her mommy and reassures her that her mommy will be there soon. She suddenly announced that “this baby is crabby! This baby is a crabby monkey!” Totally must be a school thing because I have never once in my life said anyone is a crabby monkey. Hilarious!

I have a love hate relationship with the sassofrass – love that she isn’t passive, hate that she sasses me. The sass has reached new levels in the area of her saying “Uh UH” with great dissatisfaction, a face that shoots daggers that looks oddly familiar (ahem) whenever she's not in agreement with the parents. This has led to MANY a time out because I do not tolerate sassing. Steve asked me last week, “what is sassing?” after I told her not to sass me and pointed her in the direction of the time out step. How do you explain sassing? Can you? At nearly 10 last night when he went up to remind her that bedtime was two hours ago she did the “uh UH” and he called her out for sassing. I laughed out loud. Seems you just need to experience the sass to recognize it.

So can we talk about 10PM! She went without a nap for most of the weekend and went down easy both nights before 8. She napped yesterday for about an hour and was wide awake until nearly 10. She totally doesn’t need the nap anymore. I will miss my afternoon break to reset the house, stuff food into my belly, fold a load of laundry, check my email, watch the Barefoot Contessa, but I think I will enjoy my quiet evenings that start at 8pm much more, especially since quiet evenings that begin at a predictable hour are on time limited basis right now. I think on days she is home with us that the naps are GONE. G-O-N-E. A moment of silence for my daughter’s nap.

anti-diaper antics

Yesterday afternoon before we headed out to Caroline's first ever trip to the movies, I was a frantic woman; packing up contraband cheerios, juice, and snacks. When she woke up from her BRIEF nap, I immediately checked her diaper knowing. Our time frame to leave was limited and catching her to do the check once she got to racing around the house was going to be no easy task. Imagine my SHOCK when I pulled down her jeans to discover she was wearing JUST her big girl undies, which she still insists on wearing over her Pull Up most days. Sometime before she finally fell asleep she decided that she really did not care for that perfectly dry pull-up and she removed her jeans, her undies and the diaper in question - tucking it into the corner of her crib. Instead of naked nap time, she pulled the undies back on, the jeans back up, complete with zipper and snap.

When I went to put a new pull-up on she protested and how I wish I could have just said ok, let's skip it and stay home to embrace this sudden anti-diaper stance. Truth is, I was a little excited about Toy Story too and I had already bought the tickets, so that pull up got pulled up and off we went.

I cannot possibly explain the momentary panic when I discovered her diaper missing?!

snuggle bug

btf: it's real

** part of a series "Baby Talk Fridays," to read more about this series see this post. **

May 28, 2009

The blood test confirmed what we already knew in our hearts and the nurse blurted out that my level of 10,000 puts me in the 6-8 week range. Actually, her first guesstimate was 8 weeks which completely terrified me. 8 weeks? With that level, she was able to schedule me for a dating ultrasound early next week and I am trying to schedule my initial pregnancy visit with my doctor this afternoon. The first call I made this morning was to Country Weddings in Hingham to have my dress size changed and to request additional material for a maternity panel. Prioritities people.

Mommy, I made a fox!

And she really did?!?

light & heavy

There is lots weighing on my mind right now about daycare & change & coping and it all just feels like too much summarize here. I can’t leave you completely in the lurch though. Steve’s has just been noticing that Caroline’s been having a really hard time at drop-offs for the past month. While she used to go bounding into her classroom, confident, smiling, ready to take on the day – she now clings to him, cries, looks up at him with pleading doe eyes to please not make her endure another day. We thought it was just a phase because her caregivers always reported that she was fine a few minutes after Steve left, but that all started to change this week. We now get reports that she is “weepy” or “sad” and while they do say she is better in the afternoon after her nap or after a whooping good time on the playground (what kid wouldn’t be!?), no parent wants to hear that their once upon a time sunshiney little girl is now tearful throughout her day, at a place that was previously her own happy sanctuary. It just doesn’t sit well. There has been a lot of change at school, there is a lot of change happening at home, and we are working through how to best help her cope with that change. Lo, the world of suck that is this terrible feeling.

So there’s that.

But there is also this, which is a lot easier to write about and hilariously funny.

Allow me to expound upon our adventure’s with the toddler bedtime last night. We did the usual routine, which she now knows and sticks to like it is the only acceptable course of events pre bedtime. The nights have been cooler and she actually chose feetie pjs which she hasn’t worn at all since the June rainfest finally let up. Steve took her to bed, tucked her under a fresh warm blanket and sent her to dream land. Only dream land was actually far, far away in a land known as nearly 10PM.

We listened to her playing with her little crib friends, turning her music on and off, jumping up and down trampoline like. We both made separate efforts to calm her down and send her on her way to sweet dreams. At some point Steve went upstairs and checked on her again only to be heard on the monitor laughing like I haven’t heard him laugh in quite some time. It wasn’t his fake laugh or even his ok, that’s kind of funny laugh. It was like (insert iconic comedian of your choice here) was in her bedroom doing the most ridiculous thing he had ever seen. I laughed at his laughter before I made it upstairs myself to discover what the secret to the Steve's belly laugh is. Turns out our Caroline had not only unzipped herself from her feetie pjs, but had completely removed them, right along with her diaper. He was greeted at her door by an image of her naked butt waving in the air. She was so proud of herself, lying there in her crib, NUDE. You couldn’t help but laugh, even though you KNEW it was wrong to. I mean WHAT gives kid? You spend nearly 2 hours up here and this is how you want to end the night?

We got her dressed, we snuggled her and she was out cold before 10, snuggled up to George.

That is the Caroline I want to think about when I am at work. That devious smile is the one I want to imagine, not the weeping sad face of my beautiful little girl.

sale pants

To replace previously adorable now blueberry stained from school
pants. She loves them!