Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Finding Treasures

My daughter has a funny way of stashing toys and treats all around our home.  The first few times I found a toy or cookie in an odd place I thought it was funny.  Now that it is a regular occurrence to find her little treasures tucked into a random spot I have started to photograph my finds. 

First let start off with describing my home.  In life prior to the little bundle of joy I had always kept a clean home and tidy space.  Things were put up, dusted and organized.  No longer is the case.  I would wear myself ragged just trying to pick up toys, let alone clean up all the things Reagan gets into that are not intended for play.  To save my sanity (and my back) I have become accustomed to the scattering of books, blocks and stuff animals around my home.  Don't get me wrong, I still make an effort to clean on occasion but its not something I will squeeze into a hectic week or stay up late to do.  It happens when it happens and otherwise I live in functional mess.   And there are really no off limits areas to the house.  We allow Reagan to come and go and enjoy the space, lugging toys and all sorts of books with her where ever she goes. 

Some of the scenes I stumble upon really crack me up.  The apparent dead monkey, covered in respect by the white curtain.  The Elmo book discarded against the toilet where it will be re-discovered later to a squeal of glee.  Her sunglasses slipped into my jacket pocket for safe keeping.  The never ending cycle of finding blocks in random places around the house. All evidence that a little girl is really the one running the show.  All proof that life now revolves around the needs and interests of a child's growing mind.

 I have also incorporated serious math skills into my average day.  You know how kids always complain that they won't need algebra in everyday life?  Well I have a formula for you.   The likelihood of finding a nuk is directly in-proportionate to the level of emotional breakdown your child is currently having.  Minor tears and you can quickly locate no less than 4 nuks within arms reach.  Epic meltdown and I can't find a stinking one.  That's because I have set them down in a strange spot or Reagan has tucked them into the folds of her blanket for safe keeping.  
But my two favorite finds still make me giggle.  The other day when I went to get the mixing bowl from the cabinet.  On more than one occasion I have allowed Reagan to dig through the kitchen cabinets because she was entertained while I made dinner.  It may not have been quiet as she turned my pots into a drum set but it was a happy, noisy time that allowed me to cook dinner.  So it came as no surprise that I noticed she has also been into my mixing bowl and left a little treat for later. 
And then there was the late afternoon she spent gazing out the window on our front door.  No doubt watching the neighbor's horses or enjoying the sunlight.  I noticed she would play in the living room then return to the door only to retreat back to the toys, over and over.  Later that day I found a book abandoned and propped against our door hinge where she stood.

In the last 14 months life has gotten a lot messier.  I have sung itsy bitsy spider no less than 3 times a day this week.  I spend more on diapers than I really care to think about.  I plan snack time menus with more detail then shopping lists and can't even do a load of laundry just for me.  I find pink socks and pooh bear pjs tossed in my hamper and my sock drawer is fun to spread around the room.  I arrange my tailgate parties around nap time and I choose restaurants based on how kids friendly the menu is.  I smile at peak a boo every time and burst with pride every time she says a new word or imitates me.  I make every major decision based on a tight budget and a blond haired toddler.  But best of all, despite the chaos that is my new life now, I find treasures all over my house that I hope I will keep as fond memories for many years.   Clean house?  Sorta.  Loved home, you betcha! 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A messy weekend

This week has marked a rough one for the Skimbo home.  I never would have expected motherhood to be glamours, my breast feeding days killed any hope of that, but we reached all new levels of gross at my home recently.  (For the faint of heart, stop reading now)

It really started about a month ago with the start of daycare.  We decided to enroll Reagan in a local daycare, and though the transition hasn't been easy we were getting by OK.  Besides the new expense, we like the facility and love her teacher.  However, I fully expected that among the many changes day care would bring, exposure to germs would certainly increase.  And sure enough Reagan picked up a runny nose the first few days she spent there.   She very nicely shared those germs with Mommy who was rocked with a cold/allergy attack/ sinus infection during career fair week.  Picture me with a horrible cough that even my student appointments mentioned.  This meant instead of spending the day in bed like I so desperately wanted to, I was pushing through the virus at a very busy office.  It was not a fun week, and by Friday with the career fair finally complete, I waived my white flag and took the afternoon off to rest. 

Then, the following Wednesday started off normally.  Woke up, got ready for work, feed and dressed the baby and out the door we went.  I arrived at day care to find Reagan had thrown up all over herself and car seat.  This was no small mess and since I don't travel with my diaper bag for day care drop off I found myself ill prepared to handle the situation.  Hoping it was a fluke throw up since she had acted normally all morning, I carried her at arm's length into the daycare and used her extra clothes there to clean her up.  Crossing my fingers, I left for work.  I was at my desk for less than 30 minutes before I got the call that Reagan had gotten sick again and I needed to go pick her up.  I grabbed some paper towels from the break room and did my best to clean up her seat and brought her home now wearing her third outfit of the day.  When I picked her up from daycare she quickly realized she was going home and started smiling and waving bye to the other kids.  In my mind she was saying "So long suckers, I get to go home!".  If I didn't know better I would have thought the kid had learned early to play hookie.  It was a very stinky car ride home and we were both glad to get there and air out.

Shortly after we arrived home I went into my closet to take off my work clothes and Reagan again threw up all over the carpet.  The little stinker didn't even give me any warning, she just projectile puked then went about her business playing with my shoes.  I stripped her of her third outfit and tossed everything, including her car seat cover into the wash.  We spent the rest of the day on the back porch in just a diaper to avoid further mess but that seemed to be the end of the stomach bug.  Little did I know, it was just getting started.

For the next 4 days I dealt with "faucet butt" syndrome.  This is when regular poo become complete liquid, and it was not pretty.  My first mistake was continuing to give her milk in bottles.  I had started her on the BRAT diet (Bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) but I forgot about bottles.  This resulted in constantly leaking diapers, and by Friday I was flinching everything she farted.  Chet's training required him to work through the weekend so he kept Reagan home with him on his day off on Friday to spend some time with her.  I thought this would be a good thing for everyone, she had time at home to get better and could spent quality time with Dad.  Turned out it was the perfect time to infect Dad.  At 10 am I got the first pathetic phone call from a now sick Chet.  By 11 he was begging me to come home and help him.   You would have thought the man was dying by the sound of him.  I held him off till noon then returned home to find a very crabby, very nauseous husband. 

We have all been down with a stomach bug before and I am sure no one enjoys the experience.  But for men, it seems they turn into helpless children when they become sick.  Chet wanted to go to the ER.  Yes, that's right, a little throw up and diarrhea reduced him to seek immediate medical assistance.  You know what I did when I had the stomach flu a few months ago?  Took Imodium and ate crackers for the day.  I called my MIL to help with the baby and suffered through the day taking care of myself.  When Chet got a similar virus I had to take him to urgent care just so the doctor could prescribe anti nausea meds and send him home.  My big tough police officer husband is the world's biggest baby. 

The whole ordeal was expensive, time consuming and a complete waste of my sick leave from work.  To add insult to injury, Reagan had another faucet butt episode in the waiting room unbeknown to me.  When she bent over to pick up a toy she dumped the horrible contents of her diaper onto the carpet in the doctor's waiting room.  It. was. nasty.

So I found myself scrambling to clean her up in the bathroom, thankfully armed with at least the diaper bag this time.  Then I returned to the lobby where I did my best to clean up liquid poo with paper towels and soap.... while the whole waiting room watched... and then had to return to my seat and face the unfortunate spectators.  This might be my embarrassing moment to date.  But it's what you do for your kids, it's what you take on as a mom.  I probably would have felt better about the situation if there had been a single mom or woman in the room who could sympathize.  I was not so lucky, and it was all men who sat around me.  Men who don't have to worry about things like faucet butt syndrome or cleaning up puke. 

I drove the mean spirited and still ill Chet to the pharmacy and home.  He snapped at me, grumbled about everything, and was less than understanding about the fun I was also having.  Chet retreated to the bedroom and I did yet another load of laundry.  Every couple of hours I got a call from the bedroom for me to bring cups of water (don't forget the straw) or gatorade, or nutrigrain bars (not the granola bar).  No pleases, no thank yous.   I got down the routine of changing Reagan over the sink so I could literally dump out her diaper before it spilled and I wised up to Soy milk for her bottles.

At that point I had cleaned more poo, puke and general ickiness than I even want to think about.  Thankfully the night pressed on and I tucked Reagan into bed, collapsed into the bed in the spare room and hoped that the weekend would bring an end to the mess. 

Sadly, Saturday was almost as bad.  Lets just summarize by saying oxy clean carpet cleaner, Bisel spot cleaner, and lots of laundry.  I lysoled everything... twice. 

I had to cancel the lunch plans and game day plans I was really looking forward too.  For one, I didn't want to risk taking Reagan into public again and I was sure whatever bug we had could easily be passed on to others.  So I mopped around the house all day trying to clean and not trying to be positive.  In truth, I got a bad attitude.  I kept thinking about the lengths I had to go to take care of my husband and how he would likely not be available for me if the tables had been turned.  I am expected to leave work to help him but he would never leave shift to care for me.  Being a police wife means you clean up the mess and you figure out how to handle the situation because police shifts are not flexible or optional.  I began to feel a little under appreciated and a lot annoyed.  Taking care of Reagan wasn't fun but I accepted as part of the package of being a good mom.   It didn't feel fair to do the same for Chet and I begrudged him for the situation.

So my weekend was rough, and the chip on my shoulder was not small.  Even now I am nervous about other illnesses Reagan might catch.  With Chet in training it is not an option for him to miss work so of course it is me that will continue to rack up the sick leave to take care of her as needed.  It's me that drops everything to prioritize my family.  I am just wondering if it will ever feel different?  Will there come a time when I just deal with the unfairness of it and move on?  Can I find a way to be thankful that I have sick leave to utilize instead of stressing when I need to use it?  Maybe when the puke memories fade and the embarrassment of public messes eases I can look back on this crazy, messy weekend and laugh.

Then I remember that terrible moment when I was trying to clean Reagan over the sink and I stepped in something warm and squishy... with my bare foot.