Monday, December 20, 2010

Is your Facebook profile more complete than your baby book?

A few months after meeting my future husband, we made the journey "upstate", so I could meet his parents.  I got a tour of his family's home and a peek into his childhood.  His mother had taken out the baby book and photo albums, despite my husband's protests.  As I looked at each page, I kept saying how cute he was, but I was really thinking I can't believe what a great mom she was to keep such a detailed record of his life.  Everything was documented in the most perfect penmanship.  My baby book on the other hand was started with good intentions but was nowhere near complete and my little sisters' books were practically nonexistent.  I felt jealous of the attention my future mother-in-law had paid and I made a silent vow to keep a better baby book than my mother had.  I couldn't, however, share this with Bill as we hadn't even considered marriage and talking about children at this point was a definite no-no.

Well, a year later we were engaged, then married and two years after that we were expecting our first child.  Nicholas' godmother gave us a beautiful baby book at my shower and again I vowed to complete this baby book because I was going to be an organized, super mom.  My baby deserved only the best.  Like my mom, I guess I got distracted.  I didn't even have a good excuse.  I was lucky enough to be home with Nicholas for the first 6 months and worked only part-time the following year.  As Nicholas weighed in each month and then started hitting milestones, I told myself I would remember and sometimes I did.  When I would finally sit down to fill it in, I realized I missed stuff, too.  Did you know you are supposed to pay attention to the order teeth appear?  I got frustrated as the blank spaces became more evident and eventually gave up. 

While I was disappointed in my ability to live up to my mother-in-law's standard, I took some comfort knowing that I had kept a detailed photo diary on Nicholas' very own Shutterfly site.  I decided it was important to have some physical documentation as well, so I focused my attention on creating photo books.  I told myself this was a more meaningful way to document Nicholas' life and got to work.  I focused my energy on an alphabet book showcasing Nicholas' first year and even had copies made for his grandparents, godparents and aunts and uncles for favors at his first birthday party.  The book with its rhyming verses was a huge success and I figured this would be my new media. 

In the next year, I made an occasional book when Shutterfly had a good sale or special occasion and I stopped ordering countless prints.  I had overflowing shoe boxes of pictures that were out of order and I was pretty sure I was missing some months all together. Somewhere along the line,  Facebook became increasingly popular and even my mom got an account.   With most of my friends and family members on Facebook, it became easier to post pictures of Nicholas there and I found myself sharing little details about our life in my status.  When Tyler was born, I waited a day, but I proudly posted his stats and pics from my Blackberry as the well wishes poured in.  I love receiving the comments on the brotherly love, adorable outfits and faces and now as a stay-at-home mom, I have become addicted to this new way of communicating.  Now Tyler is almost 4 months and I don't have an official baby book or even a photo book in the works.  However, if you scroll down my Facebook profile, you will get a good idea of our life together...maybe even more complete than a baby book filled with dates and numbers.  Now if only I could turn all those darling pics, status updates and comments into a photo book.  Then I would have something to show their future loves...

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas in October??

This fall I wanted to get the most out of Nicholas' Halloween costume (handmade by my mom), so I made plans to attend multiple parties and trick-or-treating events.  We had a great time and I loved how everyone ooohed and aaahed over the unique costume. I was shocked when we walked into the mall though and saw the gigantic red ribbons and balls hung from the ceiling on Halloween.  I balked at what big business Christmas had become and was disappointed that Halloween was being overshadowed.

Then I forgot about the whole thing until a few weeks later.  Right between Halloween and Thanksgiving, we made an emergency stop at the mall because Nicholas swore his shoes hurt his toes.  In hindsight,  I think he may have just had a sore toe and worked the system because despite the half-size difference, the new shoes look exactly the same size.  The salesman at Clark's was happy to indulge Nicholas' claims and now he can say he has shoes like Owen.  Anyways, as I trudged through the ridiculously crowded parking lot with stroller and toddler in hand (an adventure I try to avoid), I saw those humongous decorations again and automatically groaned. I'm not sure whether it was the impending madness of the holiday season or a protest about the commercialized nature.  As we got closer, Nicholas noticed the decorations, too.     He pointed and said, "Mommy. Christmas."   He had a huge smile on his face as he admired the glowing lights.  Two things crossed my mind...

1) How did he already know so much about Christmas? A question to be explored later...
2) Maybe I was just being a Grinch.  It's okay to embrace the holidays early.

"Ta dah! I decorated the tree all by myself."
Once inside, we looked down on Santa in his (strange spaceship) village in awe.  I accepted the decorations and started looking forward to the season...the next day I even bought Nicholas his very own 3-foot tree.  Why not spread some holiday cheer in his bedroom, I thought.  It took me 3 weeks to get things organized enough to get it out of the box and we still need to get the actual decorations out of the attic, but it's a start.

So what if the decorations go up in October?  It's up to each of us to keep thinking about the true spirit of the season and pass that to our children along with the magic.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Our Moms Were Right

Seeing your child sick is one of the worst feelings ever. Luckily we haven't had much experience with this, but boy did Nicholas get hit hard this week. On Saturday night, Nicholas refused to eat any more dinner, saying he was sick, his mouth hurt and he wanted to watch Toy Story. Sounds like a good way to get out of eating broccoli, right??

Well on Sunday, while I was working, Bill called to say Nicholas passed out while watching Toy Story. This should have been a huge red flag, but I dismissed it, thinking naptime was always easier with Daddy. I hung up and then BOOM all of the pieces fell into place. There had been a note on Nicholas' locker last week saying that one of his friends had strep. Ms. Rhonda even told me about it and how suddenly it had come on. I had been my relaxed mommy self, saying I'm not worried and that I try to be relaxed about these things, convinced that my healthy little man was not at risk.

So strep at school, mouth hurt and uncharacteristic sleeping...I figured it out at 12:01, just a minute after the pediatrician closed for the weekend. Proud of my detective skills, I called Bill to report my diagnosis, only to hear that Nicholas woke up throwing up. Hmmm...strep causes vomitting??? I didn't think so...I quickly Googled it and yes that is very common in toddlers, but I also learned strep rarely strikes children under 3. Nicholas was unlucky enough to be struck at 2 and 9 months :-( I got home as quickly as I could...every sip of water and nibble of cracker caused Nicholas to cover his mouth and one of us to race him to the bathroom. He is actually the perfect height for throwing up in the toilet because he barely needs to bend over, but it's still something I hope I don't have to see again for a very long time.

While I waited the next 12 hours for the doctor's office to open, I completed several more Google searches, trying to assure myself that this was all normal and he would be fine through the night. He was and we were lucky to get a morning appointment. Nicholas clung to me while the doctor lifted his shirt to listen to his lungs, he proclaimed that he had scarlet fever. What?!? I thought that was an eradicated (very deadly) disease of the past, but the doctor assured me it was just strep throat with a rash. Okay, I thought, but he still had to take a throat culture to be sure. Try sticking a giant Q-tip down a sick toddler's throat. It took 2 of us to hold him down and get his mouth open and then less than 2 minutes to get a positive test result. While we waited for the doctor to come back and write the prescription, Nicholas began screaming that he wanted to go home, which woke up his brother, which led to both of them screaming even more while I listened to the doctor tell the nurses about the first case of scarlet fever of the year. As we spoke about the very slim possibility of Tyler catching this, the doctor told me Nicholas would probably develop strawberry tongue and how cool it would be. Cool?!? I almost rolled my eyes.

Waiting for the antibiotics was another adventure, but I never imagined how difficult it would be to get those meds in. I'm not sure if it's the sore throat, the taste or the idea...but I am proud to say I have mastered the bear hug and dump procedure. 3 doses of antibiotic later, he is ready to tackle the world (dressed with shoes on, but no socks before 7, ready to go to store), unfortunately I'm trying to keep him quarantined for the rest of the day.

So....scarlet fever is alive and well. Thanks to Nicholas it will probably make a nice little run around Putnam county, but thank goodness it doesn't have the same outcome as it did in the past. And yes seeing your child sick is one of the worst feelings ever.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Kids Make You Do Crazy Things

When I met my husband eight years ago, I never would have guessed that he would wear a pig nose and ears (and actually pose for a picture). But when Nicholas declared he would be the Big Bad Wolf, it only made sense for us to be the 3 Little Pigs. And the rest is history...

And I never guessed that I would become a mommyblogger. So how did I get here? In my quest to stay at home (and have some financial stability), I have been looking for freelance writing jobs in education. Though I don't have any real writing experience, I figured I could draw on my experience as an educator. I was offered a few small positions before stumbling on what looked like a fantastic opportunity--a children's activity writer with a regular monthly income. Great, I thought, no problem with my experience as a teacher and mommy. So I got to work on my writing sample. I diligently worked on my application and finally clicked submit. Then I fantasized about all the things I could write about if I got the job. I analyzed my parenting decisions, considered our daily routines and started thinking about ways to make it all better. Alas, I did not get that job, but I realized our life is important enough to write about just because (although Nicholas would be sure to ask why again and again and again). And again, I say kids make you do crazy things. So here it goes...