back and forth

We’re mostly all better here now, thankfully. I still have a little bit of a cough and Lucy still has a chronic case of Drippy Nose, but I think that’s more just because she’s a baby who goes to daycare. Sort of goes with the territory, right?

I don’t know, what do you think? She looks pretty healthy to me.

This one is apparently oblivious to the fact that her mama has to get up early tomorrow.

This week is chaotic in both good and bad ways. The good is that Catie’s birthday is tomorrow, and my big girl is turning FIVE. YEARS. OLD. A fact which she gleefully tells anyone who’ll listen. So we’re having a party at one of those bounce house places, because I really don’t need her entire daycare class plus all of their parents in my house. She is ecstatic.

[Aside: Can I rant about parents who don’t RSVP to birthday parties? I have 5 confirmed guests and about 11 others that have been given invitations, but I have no idea if they’re coming or not. And the party is Saturday. Rudeness!]

The not-so-good chaos is that Dave is coming for a visit, which means working out details about visitation and dealing with lawyers (because that’s the only way we communicate these days), and all kinds of things that I’d rather not have to worry about.

So, yeah. That stuff. Boo on that.

I also started this new diet thing this week because I decided that my jeans were getting too tight and I’ve had quite enough of that, thankyouverymuch. I don’t really want to talk about it too much because it seems like every time I do, I jinx myself. But that’s another added layer of chaos to my life, just because it’s something new and different, and changes are difficult, yadda yadda.

Lots of ups and downs, clearly. But overall, things are good, I think. Even though I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I’m about to be the mother of a five year-old child. How the hell did that happen?

ring around the (germy) rosey

First, Catie got sick.

Then, on Saturday night, when we had our girls’ night out, some internal instinct told me not to drink anything with alcohol in it. I felt tired, headache-y, and run-down, and I knew that drinking would make me feel a lot worse, so I didn’t. Not a big deal, I figured I was just tired.

Sunday, I woke up full-on sick. (Side note to all of the ladies who were with me on Saturday night: I apologize if you caught my germs!)

This virus has now taken out both me and Lucy. (And let me tell you, taking care of a sick baby when you feel like death yourself? Not fun.) We’re both coughing and congested. Lucy decided to throw in some fever and diarrhea just for good measure, which was enough to get me to haul her off to the pediatrician’s office.

Sick Lucy is trying her hardest not to act sick.
She’s trying her best to still be a sweet and happy baby in spite of it all. “Miserable” is not this child’s baseline personality, to say the least.

Lucy was deemed fine – no ear infection (my main concern), just a really nasty virus.

Today, my dad woke up sick. And my mom said she feels like she’s coming down with something, too. And so it continues.

2012 is not getting off to the best start. I know it’s just winter and the stupid dry air in the furnace and the germs at daycare and all of that. But I will be really happy when The Plague has left our house.

Until then, I need to go buy some more DayQuil. I’m chugging that stuff like there’s no tomorrow.

Working Me Over

Conversation last night…

Me: Hey, Catie-bug, who’d you play with at school today?

Catie: Nobody. I didn’t play with anybody.

Me: Really? Not even Isabelle?

C: No. I don’t have any friends at school. You’re my only friend.

Me: I’m your ONLY friend? What about Daddy?

C: No. Just you. I just wanna stay with you all day.
[Side note: Dave was sitting a few feet away when this conversation took place. It got a raised eyebrow and a “gee, thanks a lot!” when informed that he wasn’t her friend.]

Me: What about Tracy? Is Tracy your friend?

C: (pause) Yes.

Me: What about Mimi?

C: (probably realizing that I had her on a slippery slope to admitting that she has more than 1 friend) NO! Not Mimi. Just you and Tracy and that’s all. And I only love you.

Me: Well, sweetie, I love you too, more than just about anything in the world. But I love other people too, you know.

C: You do?

Me: Sure. I love Daddy, and Mimi and Pop-Pop, and Tracy and Chris, and [list of basically our entire family tree]. You can love more than one person, and you can have lots of friends, there’s nothing wrong with that.

C: But I don’t want lots of friends, I just want you.

That’s around the point where I gave up. I decided I was going to talk to her teacher today to see if Catie’s acting a little reclusive and sad at daycare, or if she’s just saving it all up to work a guilt trip on me at home. I also think that if Catie knows that both her mommy and her teacher are onto her act, that might put an end to it.

Of course, today when I walked her in, we found out that it’s her teacher’s day off, so there was a fill-in daycare teacher instead. So that conversation will have to wait until tomorrow. (But, one plus: the fill-in teacher is someone who Catie knows and absolutely adores, so I know that if she whines about school when she gets home this evening, she’s full of horse puckey.)

But the thing is, yes, Catie whines about getting dressed for school in the morning, and she talks about hating it when we’re home at night. But as soon as we get there every day, she skips down the hall and is happy and excited to see her friends. She barely even takes two seconds to run over and kiss me good-bye. And on Sunday, she cried when I told her that it was the weekend and she COULDN’T go to school. (“But where are my friends???” *sob*sob*)

So what the hell, kiddo? What on earth are we going to do with you?

nobody wants to be the last kid at daycare

Apparently the whole “working mom guilt” thing has officially kicked in. On Friday afternoon, I realized around 4:45 that I was going to have to stay late at work to finish a couple of quick things that needed to be done before the weekend. The only problem was that Dave and I had carpooled to the office together, so he was basically stuck, waiting around for me.

We left at 5:30, and I was thinking it’d be ok, but then we got stuck in HORRIBLE “it’s Friday so everyone is commuting home at the same damn time” traffic. And I panicked, because daycare closes at 6:00, and we were obviously not going to make it there on time. I had images in my head of Catie as the last kid there, crying and asking where her Mommy and Daddy were. I almost lost it on that drive.

(Aside: I’ve mentioned before that my parents are currently trying to sell their house and move up here, right? My mom keeps talking about how great it’ll be that they’ll be around to help out with Catie when we need them. At some point when we were stuck in traffic and not moving, I said to Dave, “Ok, you know what? I need my parents here like RIGHT NOW, TODAY.” Because it sure would’ve made my life easier if I could’ve called my mom at 4:45 and been like, “oh hey, I have to work late, could you pick up Catie?” Problem solved. So I really need someone to hurry up and buy their damn house so they can move here already!)

We got to daycare at 6:05 – not horrible, but we’re still going to have to pay extra for that 5 minutes (I forget how much, I think they charge you a dollar per minute that you’re late). I ran in, and it turned out that the teacher who had stayed with Catie happens to be the mom of one of the kids in her class. So Catie was having a great time, because it was just her and her friend, getting to tear the place up all by themselves. I apologized all over the place, and hustled Catie out to the car.

As soon as she was buckled into the car, she asked if we could go to Chick-Fil-A for dinner. And you know, I didn’t have any big meal plans at home, plus I was already feeling like the Worst Mommy Ever, so sure, why not? Dave didn’t feel well (I think he got carsick from my maniacal “AAAHHH get me to daycaaaaaare!” driving), so we dropped him off at the house, then headed over to Chick-Fil-A. Catie ate her dinner, then I let her play in the enclosed play area for about 45 minutes. She had a blast.

After that, we went to Target so I could buy her “Toy Story 3” on DVD. Because I am a sucker. Also because I loved that movie. Of course, she demanded to watch it as soon as we got home. I thought (wrongly) that she’d fall asleep on the couch during the movie, but she didn’t, and so she finally went to bed sometime after 11:00. Ugh.

(For the record, she seemed totally unaffected by the lack of sleep. Can’t say the same for me and Dave, though.)

The thing that sucks is that we had a really great weekend overall – we went to my cousin’s house for their annual Guy Fawkes Day party on Saturday night, I took her to the movies to see “Megamind” on Sunday, we had a blast together. I just hate how that one thing on Friday night made me feel so terrible that I spent the rest of the weekend feeling like I was trying to make it up to her. Even though she didn’t seem that bothered by it. That Mommy Guilt is a killer, I tell you.

About the Job

People keep asking me how the new job is going, so I figured that I should probably just blog it and get it all out there.

It’s good. It’s really really good. The people are great, and the technology is pretty cutting-edge stuff and very interesting, even though a lot of it is WAY over my head. (I’m learning it. Slowly.) And yeah, ok, I’m working in a cubicle, but it’s a pretty darn large cube (like, I have way more desk space than I did at Microsoft where I shared an office with another person), and most everybody around here is really quiet, so it’s easy to concentrate.

This is my second nameplate because the first one said “Cynthia,” and I asked the office manager to please get me another one because nobody actually calls me that. She’s awesome and printed up a new one for me.

The main thing I’m struggling with is that it’s been four years – FOUR. YEARS. – since the last time I had a full-time office job. So even though it’s a very casual environment here (i.e., as long as I don’t show up in pajama pants, I’m fine; most of the people here are all jeans-and-t-shirts, all the time), it’s still weird just to go through the process of getting up early every day, making myself at least somewhat presentable, packing my lunch, etc. Add that in with Catie’s normal morning routine, and my mornings have gotten pretty crazy. I think it’ll settle down once we find our groove, it’s just that transitions (especially those that involve little kids) are never easy.

Also? I haven’t had to use this much of my brain for such an extended period of time in a really, really long time, so just that alone is kicking my butt. By the time the end of the workday rolls around, I feel like I’ve been flattened by a steam roller. It’s a good tired, a “wow, I really did a LOT today” kind of tired, but the exhaustion makes it hard to then switch back into Mommy Mode and really engage with Catie in the evenings. Again, this is stuff that I know will get easier over time. It’s just finding our “new normal” that’s rough.

Oh, and about Catie… Man. I guess I was naive when I thought that, hey, she was going to full-time daycare before and she’ll keep going to full-time daycare now, no big deal, right? I forget that she picks up on everything. So the fact that Dave and I are dropping her off at daycare together (because we’ve been carpooling), and then both of us leave together to go someplace she doesn’t know… it’s definitely thrown her for a loop. And she’s working me over like a pro.

Example 1: Yesterday she told me how she sat under the slide on the playground and cried for me because she missed me so much. (I thought she was b.s.-ing me, but her daycare teacher confirmed that yes, she really did do that.)

Example 2: At bedtime, she didn’t want me to leave her room or say goodnight. She said, “But I’ll miss you if you leave. I’m almost about to cry.”

Jeez, kid. Way to show a flair for the dramatic. And yes, I know that she’s just testing the boundaries of this new situation, which is all normal developmental stuff, but… Yeah. It gets to me. I’ll admit that I did stay in her room to snuggle and sing lullabies for an extra 15 minutes last night.

So that’s what’s going on here. Trying to find our groove and keep everybody sane and maintain a reasonable bedtime. It’s tough, but it’s also really good for all of us.

And you know what’s even better? I’m earning enough money that by next month, we ought to be able to afford a twice-a-month housekeeper. OH HELL YES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Candy Heaven

Catie’s daycare is having a Halloween party on Friday afternoon. All the kids dress up in their costumes, they have a “parade” (read: they march in a circle around the outside of the building), and the parents all come to take a million pictures. It sounds like fun. I saw on the door to Catie’s classroom there was a sign-up sheet to bring food for the party, and since most of the options involved cooking or a lot of preparation, I signed up for “Halloween-oriented treat.” Right. Candy. I can do that.

I considered just buying a bag of something and calling it good, but I had to buy Halloween candy for our neighborhood kids anyway, and there are only 12 kids in Catie’s class. So I bought some festive tiny paper sacks and filled each of them up with a variety of treats. Catie helped me distribute the candy evenly among the bags, it was a fun little project for us. We even made an extra bag for her teacher.

One of the things that I bought – which, if I’m being totally honest here, I mainly bought for me, not for the Halloween party or for the trick-or-treaters this weekend – was a big bag of Nerds candy. I love Nerds. This bag was made up of tiny boxes of grape and strawberry flavors. My favorites.

So while we were setting up the treat bags, I opened a little box of Nerds for myself. Catie asked if she could try them. I said sure, she held out her hand, and I shook a few of them out of the box into her palm.

As soon as she put them in her mouth, she got this really weird, sort of far-away look on her face. I thought maybe it was too sour for her and she’d want to spit them out.

Me: Do you like them?

Catie: *nodding*

Me: It’s not too sour for you, is it?

Catie: (in a hushed, almost reverential tone) This is the best candy I’ve ever eaten in my whole life.

So apparently she likes the sour stuff, just like her mommy.

She asked if she could have her own mini-box of Nerds. Since I had wolfed down mine already, I gave her one, and she took off upstairs with it. I knew Dave was taking a nap upstairs, but I didn’t think anything about it.

Catie came downstairs a few minutes later. “I put some of da Nerds in Daddy’s mouth while he was sleeping to share them with him. Was that nice?”

I told her that yes, sharing is very nice, but it’s usually a good idea to wait until the person is awake. I was a little worried that Dave would choke in his sleep, so we went upstairs to check on him. He was awake, he said that he had been sleeping, obviously with his mouth open, because he woke up to Catie shoving candy in his gaping maw.

This is around the part where I died laughing. What makes it even funnier is that Dave doesn’t even like Nerds. He isn’t into sour candy at all.

Oh well. I guess for now, the Willy Wonka candy people can rest easy knowing that they just got at least one brand new fan this Halloween season.

trying not to raise a pushover

There’s a new little girl in Catie’s daycare class named Allie. She’s the youngest of them by far, she just turned 3 a couple of weeks ago. Most of the other kids in the classroom are 3 1/2 to 4. But Allie was used to being the Queen Bee of the 2 year-old room, and she’s trying to maintain that status in the new classroom.

So lately, a lot of conversations at our house have been going like this:

Me: Do you want to wear your sneakers or your pink shoes*?

Catie: I want my pink shoes. But I have to take my socks off. Allie says I can’t wear socks with my pink shoes.

Me: Sweetie, if you want to wear socks with your pink shoes, you can. It doesn’t matter. Allie doesn’t make the rules.

*Note: “Pink shoes” is what she calls her crocs. And yes, she usually wears socks with them. I don’t care about the fashion statement, since, you know, SHE’S THREE. And if she has socks on, she’ll stay comfortable in them longer and won’t run over to me every 2 minutes to complain about some microscopic speck of dust in her shoe that’s bugging her.


Me: What do you want to drink with your dinner?

Catie: Milk. Allie says I can’t drink water or juice, only milk.

Me: Um, you can drink whatever you want, actually.

Catie: I can? Then I’d like some juice, please.


At bedtime, Catie is snuggling with her stuffed horse, who she named Duck (which I think is hilarious), and we’re talking about her day. (Also: Duck the horse happens to have been the stuffed animal she brought to school earlier that day.)

Catie: Allie said I can’t call my horsey Duck, because he’s a horse, not a duck. So I need to name him Cayden.

Me: Catie Bug, he’s YOUR horse, not Allie’s. You can re-name him if you want to, but I think Duck is a great name for him.

Catie (getting upset): And today, Allie said I had to put Duck in my cubby, and I wanted to hold him.

Me: Did Miss Mandy tell you that you had to put him in your cubby, or did she say it was ok for you to hold onto him?

Catie: She said I could hold him.

Me: Well, baby, Miss Mandy makes the rules when you’re at school, not Allie. So the next time she tries to tell you what to do, you need to very nicely say, “Allie, you’re not the boss of me.” And if she keeps trying to tell you what to do, you need to go tell Miss Mandy to make her stop.

Catie: Ok, I do that.


Today, I took Catie to daycare. We walked in, and Catie marched up to Allie without so much as a hello, and said, “Allie, you NOT the boss of me!”

Oy. I guess she misunderstood the part about waiting until Allie did something bossy, and I was kind of horrified that she did it that way. But then? Allie’s response was, “I know I’m not the boss of you, Catie. Now here, you take this and go put it over there…” And Catie turned around and did exactly what Allie told her to do.

The good news is that the daycare teacher is well aware of the situation and is continually telling Allie to stop being bossy. Apparently she acts like that with all the kids, not just Catie.

I worry about how to teach Catie to stand up for herself and not be a pushover, but also keep her from taking it too far and becoming bossy herself. The line is pretty fuzzy when you’re dealing with kids this young.

I just never want her to conform to somebody else’s idea of what she should be.

Trying on hats at Target

Because who she is? Is pretty flipping fantastic.