Two toys down, a bunch more to go.

Today was a good toy making day. Both children were home sick, so I sewed away on baby toys while Otter played in his exersaucer and Monkey lay in bed with movies and homemade chicken noodle soup. I was able to finish a socktopus and a ball for Otter. Best of all, I found some chinese exercise balls in a drawer and safely stuffed one into each toy. They chime! Whenever he shakes them or rolls them he will hear a melodious chime!

Aren’t they cute?

**** Monkey is doing better today. She has been on the super strong decongestant, and that, combined with bed rest, seems to have calmed her asthma down some. Now it is just a matter of getting it all back under control.


Otter and the handmade baby toys.

Once upon a time there lived a family with a Royal Mom, a Royal Dad, a princess, and a little prince. The prince was pretty brand new to the world, and was still busily trying to understand the way it worked. It seemed to his royally fretful mother that he was all mouth. Hungry mouth, testing mouth, tasting mouth. Every single thing he encountered went into his mouth.

The weather in the kingdom turned cold, and the hearts and minds of the children went to the holidays. The royally fretful mother got increasingly concerned when looking to getting her children gifts. Many of the merchants had been imprisoned in the tower for using toxic chemicals in their fancy, decently priced toys. She went to a few toy tinkers, but in that twist of fate that is commerce, their prices had skyrocketed in direct relation to their scarcity, and she simply could not empty the royal coffers on their high priced, yet toxin free toys.

Shopping for her eldest child was slightly easier that shopping for the prince. The royally fretful mother was taking the princess to the royal ballet as her primary gift, and the princess put little in her mouth at her age, but as news of more and more toxic chemical use spread, the holiday gift giving seemed bleak.

One day, the royally fretful mother came across a bolt of fabric, a ball of yarn, and an empty Teas of the Republic tin. Hmmmm… she thought. If I clean this tin out, fill it with dried beans and rice, and then cover it in a crochet cover, I will have an interesting baby toy, with no toxic chemicals at all.

Looking over her bolt of fabric she thought, a tossing game. I will cut out the patterns on this fabric, stuff them with beans, and make a scoreboard for my eldest child to toss the beanbags into. I can make a mobile for the baby out of the same fabric. Maybe even some cloth blocks, or a crocheted ball.

Seeking knowledge from Google, the royal sage, the royally fretful mother found crochet patterns for teas sets, teddy bears, everything you could imagine. Digging through her stray sock bag yielded legs for a colorful socktopus, and the contents of her craft bag yielded materials to cover a fleet of safe baby toys.

The holidays began to look more cheery, though very busy, for the fretful mother, as she gathered the materials at hand and a little craftiness to make safe, non toxic toys for her children this year.

Catching our breath.

Asthma. Let me tell you, watching your child struggle to breathe while having very little you can do to help, is a nightmare.

Monkey had her first asthma attack before she was two. I remember how utterly horrifying it was to realize that my baby was wheezing. I will never forget trying to calm her through an oxygen mask, or trying to explain that she was going to be okay. I remember telling her not to cry, because she could make the breathing worse, and having to act like using an oxygen mask was fun. “It’s a fishy mask! See, it looks like a fish. Put it on and let’s breathe like the fishies do!” I shudder now with the memory of her struggle, and how unable I was to fix it. It still bothers me that my six year old is completely comfortable wearing an oxygen mask.

We have been working to get Monkey’s asthma under control for what feels like forever, but we got to a point where we weaned her off her daily steroids and felt that things were good. She hadn’t had an attack in over a year, she could run and play in the cold without a problem, she didn’t have attacks during colds, things seemed fine.

Then last month we all caught a cold. We were all stuffy, runny, congested, and coughing up a storm. After a week or two, we were all better, except that at night, Monkey would cough. Then after a week or so of nighttime coughing, she would wheeze. Then we were back to home nebulizer treatments, but they were working after one treatment, and she had a recent cold, so we thought maybe we were still good.

Today, the treatments stopped working. She has had four treatments in the past 18 hours and is still wheezing. Granted, she isn’t wheezing as badly, but I can’t get the baseline wheeze to go away. I took her to the doctor, who gave her a decongestant with codeine in it, and told me to take her to the ER if her next attack couldn’t be resolved within three treatments. If we have to do that, there will be chest x-rays, and most likely, a daily steroid treatment. right back to where we used be.

Thankfully, our doctor’s daughter ,who is Monkey’s age, has asthma, and this was the treatment that worked for her when she faced persistent cough and repeated wheezing. At least I know we have a good treatment option provided by a man who really understands.

However, if it doesn’t “knock her cold out” as he hopes, we are right back to where we were over a year ago. Monkey will be back on a nightly steroid inhaler, and will likely face increased risk of asthma attacks during colds. I wonder, is the change environmental? Are the pets finally getting to her? Is the HEPA filter not helping? Is the change physical? Is she having more trouble because she grew into more asthma issues?

It is so frustrating. The home nebulizer helps with the sense of helplessness, but only when it works. When it doesn’t, well, I am right back to watching my baby struggle to breathe.

Living in the moment

It suddenly occurs to me that most of my life seems to be lived in preparation for or anticipation of something else. It also occurs to me that this is very sad. Apparently, I am so busy trying to prepare for my “real” life, that I don’t realize I am living my real life right now, right here, and if I don’t slow down, I may miss it.

It’s so easy to get caught up in all the unimportant stuff, and therefore miss what truly matters.

So today, in an attempt to slow down and live in the moment, Otter and I stacked doughnuts (or donuts if you are spellcheck). We spent a good hour sitting on the floor, mastering the art of doughnut stacking and snacking on a pumpkin muffin. Near the end of the hour, Otter, wearing an expression of intense concentration, picked up a green doughnut, reached out to the stacking peg, and delicately and deliberately placed it on. All by himself.

Of course, I had to take pictures.

I was too busy shrieking “Yay Baby!!” to capture the actual self stacking moment, but it happened! I was there to bear witness to my brilliant baby’s new accomplishment!

Oh Yeah Baby!!!

I finally did it! I finally filed my first case! After months of balancing a new baby, a six year old, and legal research, I have finished the complaint, sent it off to local counsel, and am officially suing the government. Oh Yeah! What did I do to celebrate this amazing merging of law and motherhood? Let me show you:

I bought myself an 8.1 MP Canon Rebel SLR digital camera. This working mom will not miss any more precious baby smiles because my camera won’t capture the image fast enough. This camera clicks away at the speed of… well, a real camera. You will likely see more pictures in the blog from now on. I am sure while I get used to the new toy you will see pictures of the kids, the husband, the pets, random shoes, the trees outside my home, pretty much anything you can point a camera at. I promise to eventually be more choosy, but for now, I am simply taking pictures of everything I see. It is so much fun!

Now I am off to capture life on film!

Waving from the path

My Grandpa Ralph lived on a farm in eastern Colorado. My childhood is peppered with the scent memories of dust, wheat, and land in various stages of growth. I remember the quiet, and the dark, so different from those things in the city. I remember the false rug painted on the wooden floor, the old combine we would clamber around on, and the rooms full of my father’s and aunt’s childhood artifacts. What I remember the most though, is my Grandpa waving to us from the path, every time we drove away.

The path was really, really long. We would say our goodbyes, give our hugs and kisses, get in the car, and he would come into the lane. As we slowly drove off his arm would raise, his face would light up with a smile, and he would wave. And wave, and wave, and wave. He would wave and I would stare out the back window of the car waving back. I would watch him until we turned onto the main road, when he would lower his arm and turn to go back inside the house.

He never stopped waving to us. It wasn’t just something he did when I was small. I remember watching out the back window as a teenager, too cool to admit I would have been crushed if the tradition hadn’t continued, and relieved and pleased to discover he was still there, waving.

My Grandpa’s waving is what keeps me standing outside my daughter’s school in the morning, in all types weather, waving and smiling and blowing kisses as she runs inside. I never get back into the car before she gets into the building. I never turn to walk back home until she is completely inside. I remember how nice it is to be able to look back over your shoulder, time and time again, and always see someone waving to you.

An analysis of Stay-At-Home parenting in D minor.

For the most part, I love my job. Well, I guess I should say I love my full time job, as I also have a part time job, which I also love. However, I do not love feeling as though my full time job isn’t work, simply because it can be fun and I love it.

If I were spending all day (and night), every day watching over and caring for someone else’s children, and receiving a paycheck for it, I am certain I would not feel a little guilty when my day mostly consisted of cooking, light cleaning, baby feeding, homework overseeing, and playdates. However, because the children I watch over are my own, I feel as though I am not working. Unless I manage to tame the laundry beast, or deep clean the entire house, or prepare an excellent dinner, I don’t feel as though I have been working.

Now, I don’t feel as though I have been relaxing, but I feel vaguely as though I have been slacking off a bit, you know, playing solitaire instead of finishing those TPS reports.

Unfortunately, much of society seems to feel the same way. Maybe it’s because I had the children, so I am supposed to take care of them. A philosophy I don’t argue with. I agreed to accept the job, now I have to do the job. Note that is still makes it a job.

Isn’t taking your children to a play date fun? Isn’t that more… play? Isn’t playing with your children all day, fun?

Okay, yes, it is fun. It is fun! A fun job. In fact, it is a fun, 80-120 hour a week, volunteer job.

Playdates are fun, in the same way office events are fun. You get away from your normal routine, you can relax a little more, enjoy some conversation with a co-worker, but you are still hanging out with your boss. It’s not the same as sitting on a couch with a cup of coffee, a good book, and some frackin’ glorious silence.

My full time job is a lot of work. Keeping a small but determined baby fed, changed, clean, entertained, and happy all day long is a tiring, demanding, and all together challenging task. Keeping a brilliant, creative, and tireless six year old fed, clean, clothed, homeworked, and entertained is also a tiring, demanding and challenging task. Mine is not a bon bon filled existence. I may watch ER a couple of times a week, but really, what else am I supposed to do while nursing? Should I develop a nursing sling so I can clean the kitchen or mop the floors while he partakes of his breakfast?

So, this is officially me giving my Mommy guilt it’s pink slip. I work my ass off (which unfortunately doesn’t make it any smaller) every day. I deserve to be told I worked hard today, I deserve to get an employee of the month plaque, but mostly, I deserve to be treated like a contributing, hard working member of society.

And so, my dears, do you.