Monday, April 30, 2012

Colleague Consultation and Weekends Redux

It feels like ages since I've posted -- usually I try to keep it up at least twice a week. But, I've got some stuff going on that I cannot post about, for fear of jinxing things. So, that's what has taken up the majority of my thoughts for the past 8 days. But, onto other things!

In an effort to secure free advice from my fellow MILPs out there, I'm looking for a bit of guidance (If you are not interested, skip this paragraph to hear about the rest of my riveting weekend). As I've mentioned before, I'm playing a bit of an HR role at the moment with my job, and I've been entertaining a few companies who want to sell their services to the Company's employees. Last week, I had a visit from someone looking to sell what I'll call "memberships" into a sort of "Legal Club". Without giving away too much about the service itself, the basic gist of it is you pay a monthly fee (low -- like, the price Netflix) and you have access to 24 legal advice. There are limits to the representation, such as a few pages of contracts reviewed, a certain number of hours of litigation, etc. I feel sort of uncomfortable offering this service to the Company's employees; something about it feels off to me. Anyone have thoughts on this?

On a more run of the mill note... we're three days away from leaving for Chicago for a much anticipated extended weekend. In addition to the wedding of one of my high school BFFs, we've got an early first b-day celebration planned with B's family, a playdate with Mia's (only) cousin at the Lincoln Park Zoo (weather permitting - alternate plan being the aquarium), and a super-secret pre-mani/pedi morning meeting (see first paragraph).This weekend was spent doing laundry (everyone's clothes but mine -- as usual) and buying baby travel-related items. The three of us were hit with another daycare bug, but this time just a cold that has depleted our apartment's supply of kleenex. I'll take 10 colds over another stomach flu, so I'm not complaining.

Mia's follow up at the pediatrician -- Strep Free, but confirmed daycare cold.

Last week, the Frenchie family took advantage of actually living in Vegas and visited the Siegfried and Roy Secret Garden at the Mirage. It was actually really cool! They had about a dozen dolphins in different pools, some white lions and tigers, and one (regular colored) cheetah. We were surprised that Mia actually noticed and watched the animals with the same enthusiasm she shows for Swarley. It was, of course, overpriced and very hot, but hey, it's Vegas. The following Tuesday, B and I celebrated our second wedding anniversary by having a family dinner at the Todd English Pub at the Aria, which was fabulously decadent pub food. I had lobster rolls and a Beergarita, and B had a fancy burger and a Beer flight. Mia ate my sweet potato fries. We thought about getting a babysitter, but decided against it. My parents almost always brought us on all their anniversary dates, so we thought this might be a nice tradition to start.

Last but certainly not least, while at Babies R Us on Friday, I strayed from my travel-list and purchased a lawn mower looking walking helper as an early birthday gift for Mia. I've been eyeing one of these types of things for a few weeks. I set it up when we got home, and she started pushing it around without hesitation immediately. She hasn't figured out how to dislodge it when it runs into furniture yet, but she got very confident in her abilities very quickly. She'd stand next to it and try to topple it over every time it stopped moving forward. After three solid days of pushing it around, she took her first steps without it!!! She went from holding herself up on the coffee table, turned around, and took four steps to her toy box. They were four unmistakable, unassisted, real steps. I tried to coax her into doing it again, but any distance further than four steps, she just drops down to her hands and knees and books it. It's not clear whether she can't go more than four steps, or if she just doesn't want to. Either way, it was very exciting and I'm so glad she did it at home and not at daycare. She turned 11 months last Wednesday, if anyone was curious. I was hoping she would be walking by the time her birthday pool party rolled around, so she's well on her way to it!

Not a picture of the actual event, but there's the toy box and the coffee table.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Bullet point Friday

I wanted to write a Whatnot Wednesday (on Thursday) but since that sort of defeats the point and I don't have the motivation to write anything more substantial, I will write a Bullet point Friday, instead.

  • I have yet to take down Mia's pack 'n play in my office. It's behind a closet door, along with the extra exersaucer, so it isn't bothering anyone, but still. It should be at home, in a closet, rather than at work, in a closet. Part of me thinks that I might be needing it again. She's bound to get sick again pretty soon, and I may not be able to take a sick day! Mostly though, I'm just being lazy. Those portable cribs are so heavy, and my office is on the second floor. I keep trying to convince B to drive over and pick it up on one of his days off, but so far, nada.
  • Speaking of my new office, the lighting throughout the entire space is hooked up to those motion sensor switches, where you walk into a room and the light turns on. This is fine, for most of the space, except my personal office. I sit at my desk and work on my computer, I'm not constantly getting up and moving around. So the light turns off. All the time. In the morning, when the sun is on my side of the building, it's fine. But in the afternoons, I look like a crazy person periodically waving my arms around.
  • I had a momentary period of drama on Tuesday afternoon when B called me from work (he never calls from work) and asked how difficult it would be to change his departing flight to Chicago. Something about a scheduling conflict and his manager begging him to stay for at least part of the day, despite previously approving his day off request. After very nearly losing my mind at the prospect of carrying a car seat, stroller, baby and carry on luggage throughout the airport, entertaining a baby by myself for four hours and then collecting the car seat, stroller and luggage on my own, it turned out fine and we didn't have to make any switches. So everything's on schedule, despite prompting some concern from my co-workers when I was yelling at him on the phone.
  • Last Friday, when I picked Mia up from daycare, I found an "art project" that had Mia's name on it in her backpack. My first instinct was that the teacher accidentally put someone else's art project in her bag, so I double checked. "No, that's definitely your Mia's!", the teacher informed me with a smile. It's a bunch of cotton balls, dipped in paint, and glued to a piece of green construction paper. I believe that she dunked cotton balls in paint, but beyond that, I'm skeptical. We put it up on the fridge anyway, because, well, what if our baby is actually a genius?
  • Mia turns 11 months next week, and our biggest development is... drum roll please... she's finally growing a tooth! Everyone has been quite concerned that because both of her parents are missing their upper lateral incisors (both B and I had them as baby teeth, but the adult version never came. Mine are just... missing and I wore braces to close the gap, and B's baby teeth never fell out, so he's got tiny lateral incisors), Mia may not have teeth at all. But, all is well, as her little right bottom tooth is poking through, and the second one is closely following it. She has yet to let me take a picture of it, though.
  • Chloe the Beagle is doing fine. No better, no worse. We've made the commitment to taking her out as often as possible, whenever we're around. She goes out as soon as I get home, for her evening walk, and once more immediately before bed. We had to add the extra walk at the very end of the night because she had taken to urinating in her crate as we were all settling into bed, which is easily avoided by snapping her leash on and walking down the stairs in our PJs. No big deal, and it saves huge amounts of frustration (and laundry).
  • I've been saving my thoughts on daycare for a longer post, and I'll probably still do it, but so far, I'm pretty happy with everything. Except for our unpleasant weekend, Mia's been doing beautifully and seems to be adjusting well. B is supposed to do all the pickups and drop offs since he's so close, but I end up going to pick her up about half the time, despite the extra driving. I hate thinking of her being there when I'm perfectly capable of driving the extra 15 minutes. I like to come into the center and see her busily playing with one thing or another, it makes me feel much better about what she's up to all day. B says that I'm "wasting gas", but whatever. I drive a hybrid!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Whatnot Wednesday #4


Yes, I know it's been a while, but Juliet is back.  I haven't blogged in quite a long time and that's for two reasons: 1) We just returned from our first ever official family vacation!  We traveled "home" (my home that is, not Romeo's since he's a Las Vegas/Southern Cali native) to the Chicago suburbs.  We also rented a car and went down to Decatur, IL where I went to college.  2) I've been really totally hella' depressed.  FIL is really getting to me, yes, but on top of that I just feel...all around bad.  And I haven't been up to sitting and writing.  But I figured a Whatnot Wednesday would be the perfect opportunity to at least say "Hello" again and write a couple short things, if only to get me back in the saddle.

Side note: I am promising you and myself to not put anything negative in my following "flushing" of thoughts.  You all don't deserve to hear rough stuff *every* time I blog, lol, I'm not negative every time, am I?  Hope not.  Plus, I just don't want to focus on FIL and stuff like that this time around.  I'd like to look at the bright side for at least the next 20 minutes.
  • I got a new phone.  Actually, I've gotten two new phones in the last 3 weeks.  My cell went "kaputz" around New Year's, but Romeo and I refuse to re-sign with Sprint.  So we waited as long as we could, until I couldn't stand it anymore, and bought me a no-contract phone with Virgin Mobile.  We still have to pay Sprint until the end of May, but enough is enough.  Luckily our tax refund gave us enough to cover paying two bills for a couple of months.  Then when we cancel my Sprint May 29th (not like I'm counting down days or anything, lol), we can just pay my Virgin Mobile, and change Romeo's sprint bill to a plan with minimal minutes and minimal texts seeing he doesn't really do much.  He's got 1 more year then hopefully we can be rid of Sprint for good.  It's not that we have a problem with their service.  Their call reception is great and everything, but their prices are way too high for what we need/want.  But, anyway, the first model I bought was crappy, so we had to go back to the store last night and stay on Virgin but get a different model phone.  Fingers crossed that this one will do all I want it to do.  Hey, I'm just excited to be an official member of the 21st century with a smart phone!
  • Tybalt starting doing the cutest thing ever on vacation!  It's probably not unheard of, but he's never done it before.  We were out to eat and because the wait took FOREVER he lost patience and was utterly "done" by the time we sat down.  All he wanted to do was sit in Romeo or my lap.  So Romeo took the first turn while I ate, and then I took him while Romeo ate.  Well, while I was holding him, I tried to feed him a piece of chicken tender.  He refused.  But a few seconds later, he picked it up, and raised it up to my mouth to feed me!  He wanted to feed me over and over again.  It was so cute!  I mean, A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!  Taking care of Mommy like that.  And he did it another time with Daddy a day or two later.
  • No new news on the "Incident" aka shooting through my neighbors wall a couple weeks ago.  I have noticed that the apartment complex has patched and painted their wall.  And they re-coded the gates at the entrance and promptly shut them at 5:30pm everyday.
  • My birthday was March 24.  It was fabulous!  Romeo's cousin was in town who is a good friend of mine now.  We went out to lunch with her as a family (Romeo, Me, Tybalt, and Cousin L.).  Then Tybalt went to MIL and FIL for an overnight while Romeo and I checked into a local hotel (they upgraded us to a huge suite!), went to a seafood buffet for dinner, and saw Penn and Teller's magic show at the Rio.  We actually went to their show on my first birthday together, so it was neat to do it again together 5 years later.
  • Romeo's birthday is this Sunday, the 22nd.  I am taking him to a surprise dinner on Saturday night while Tybalt once again has a sleepover with MIL and FIL.  (I may not care for FIL, but I am grateful for how much they love Tybalt and are always willing and DESIRE to babysit him.)  One thing--is my husband the only one who never asks for anything fun or exciting for his birthday?  He wants an itunes card.  That's it.  And the years I've tried to be creative and get him something more fun, he doesn't use it or appreciate it.  Oh, he'll be nice and put on a happy face, but I've learned over the years.  So I've basically given up and just get him exactly what he wants, fun or not.  But man, it sure takes the excitement out of shopping.

Ah, what a refreshing feeling!  My brain has been cleaned out a bit!  Interested in participating in Whatnot Wednesdays yourself?  Follow the hyperlink button at the top of this entry to link to Elizabeth at "Every Day the Wonderful Happens" and find out more!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Family-wide daycare plague

Well, it turns out that my hopes for a painless return to normalcy last Friday was not to be. Mia continued to be sick throughout Thursday night, which prompted me to take her to the pediatrician on Friday morning and taking one for the team. We decided the night before that since B's salary is commission-based, I'd take a second sick day in a row. At the pediatrician, we found out that Mia had, in addition to a stomach bug, a second installment of Strep Throat. So, on the way to the pharmacy to pick up the antibiotics, I started to feel very very ill. As soon as we got through the door of our apartment, I was surprised to find B sitting on the couch looking miserable, and I barely had the time to thrust Mia into his arms before making it in time to the bathroom.

So, we spent the next few days all basking in our independent miserableness. While I was "sick" all day Friday, B waited until 1am to take his turn sitting on the floor of the bathroom. Luckily, the adult version of this stomach bug only lasted about 24 hours, so by Sunday, we were all relatively vomit-free and enjoyed fitting significantly less snugly into our respective pants. This morning, we all returned to our regularly scheduled programming. B's at the Bank, Mia's at Daycare, and I'm at work. Exhausted, but presumably a lot less miserable than we all were.

The joys of daycare.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

quickly followed by Baby's First Sick Day

A mere three days after the start of daycare, I am already home with a sick baby who has thrown up on all but one blanket!

Overnight on tuesday, Mia woke up and vomited what we thought was spit-up all over B's shirt. We cleaned up, put her back to bed and all slept in. B had wednesday off, and I took my reduction of hours day. We thought we'd take advantage of our newly acquired child-care and dropped her off at lunch and caught the Hunger Games (for the second time!) using the free movie tickets we got for renewing our apartment lease. On our way out of the theater, we got a call on B's cell phone that Mia had gotten sick and to please come pick her up as soon as we were able to.

She continued to get sick on many different surfaces of our apartment and many different articles of my and her clothing. So, in addition to feeling guilty for ignoring her initial vomit, and then going to the movies while my poor little daughter was feeling sick at daycare, I also have the bonus of having to clean carpets, a living room chair, and doing two loads of laundry. We spent a very fitful night with all bedroom doors open and the baby monitor on my pillow, darting back and forth between our room and the nursery whenever we heard her cough out of fear that she might be laying in her own vomit.

Needless to say, I'm home with her today and she's only gotten sick once, and only a little. After getting us very worried from drinking 3 out of 8 ounces of her bedtime bottle, and then only 3 out of the 6 ounces of her morning bottle, she's been asleep for almost two hours. Let's hope pedialyte and removing solid foods from her diet for the day will get her well enough for everyone to go to work tomorrow. Otherwise, it's B's turn for a sick day.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Baby's First Day of School, or Mama's having an anxiety attack.

Last night, I conscientiously packed Mia's daycare bag. Diapers, wipes, blankets, bottles, formula, etc, all labelled "Mia C" just in case picking a first name in the SSA's top 10 (#10) for 2010 is already going to bite us in the ass. I didn't pay any toys, since they have plenty, but she's got lunch for all five days this week (even if she's only going in for 4 days). It's going to be a lovely day (88* and sunny), so they said that she might be able to go outside with the one year old class, if she seems mobile enough for them. I assured them that she was almost walking (which she is) and would be just fine cruising from one tiny piece of playground equipment to the other.

B did the first drop off and said that she made an upset face when he put her down on the playmat, but that she didn't cry. She usually does just fine whenever we've left her with other people, and she doesn't realize that we were gone until we're back. There was another little girl her age already on the mat, so I expect she'll just follow her lead. I'm willing to bet that her spending time with all these walking kids will get her walking unassisted in no time, too. She's already climbing in and out of boxes. Hopefully, she won't get upset in the next few days, once she realizes that going to daycare means being away from Mamam and BaBa.

As is often the case, I will be the one who will have the most difficulty adjusting to this new routine of ours. I realize that a working parent should be used to not spending 100% of their time with their baby, but I am NOT USED TO SPENDING TIME AWAY FROM MY BABAY! It was supposed to be a good week to transition. I had an Big Thing scheduled for the 18th, so much so that I was getting stressed out last week about when I was going to have time to do all this paperwork while Mia was demanding that I sit on the office playmat with her so that she could pretend to put things in my mouth. So, starting today was great. I'd have the first three days of the week to prepare for this Big Thing, two days to send the documents to the Chicago office and go over the documents with them, just in time to be available by phone starting the 18th until who knows when this Big Thing would be concluded.

Instead, I got on the phone with Government Inspector in charge of Big Thing this morning (Government Inspector had last week off, so I could only speak to him once I was already one week into prep work) who was extremely friendly and told me that he was really only looking for one thing so instead of doing all that prep work my letter originally asked for, why don't I just send him those documents and he doesn't even have to make the trip out to the suburbs? Why yes, Government Inspector, we can do that. So the 20+ hours of paperwork I had planned has been condensed down to a cool two hours, tops. Half of which I've already done, since, you know, I've been working on this all week. Oh, and he gave me until the end of next week to send it to him.

Obviously, it's a huge sigh of relief not to have to go through Big Thing with Government Inspector, but now I've got all this time to think about various crazy mama things. (Are they wiping her little sensitive behind properly?? Did they find her pacifier?? How did my office get suddenly so huge, I am LONELY!) The daycare center has webcams, but THEY'RE DOWN! How dare they have technical difficulties on our first day of school??

update: I've decided to leave work at 4 today, so that I can sneak over and pick Mia up before B does. I figure, it's allowed since I took a 15 minute lunch. Plus, Mama should see what that little bug is up to!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The end of an Era

Well folks, just when we were just getting into a groove, the honeymoon is over. The Parenting From Work honeymoon, that is.

Apparently, the new building that my office just moved to is not as baby-friendly as the previous building. So, along with a commute that has jumped from 10 to 30 minutes, I also have to adjust to my babeh being wrenched from my overly-clingy hands. It took a couple of days, but I'm coming to terms with the fact that I will no longer spend 24/7 with my precious, perfect, wonderful daughter.

Well, there's still a chance that we might be able to stick things out a bit longer. The building manager will allow the Company to continue allowing its employees to bring children to work if the Company amends its liability coverage. My boss is looking into what this would cost, and apparently it will take the underwriters a couple of days to get back to us. So, there's still a chance and I'm crossing my fingers. But, if we don't hear by 5 pm on Thursday, then, we're signing the papers for a daycare near B's work.

We ruled out in-home daycare -- Mia's too old for that now and would do much better in a structured, group setting. She'll be one soon, and two seconds after that, she'll be 18 months, and then, turning 2! I'd rather put her straight into a place that she can stay until pre-school. I called around, drove around, and the one near B's work just worked. It had reasonable rates, accepted less than a year old, and... had reasonable rates. With my hours being reduced, we just can't make too much decisions without that being the #1 factor at the moment. We visited, we liked it.

He'd be in charge of all drop offs and pick ups. I'll get up earlier, get her ready to go, and get myself ready once they're out the door. Then, I get home early, prepare dinner, and by the time I'm done, they'll be home. It'll be pretty sad for me not to see her until 30-45 minutes after I get home, but it just doesn't make sense otherwise. Maybe I'll finally get to squeeze some after work exercise in.

While it makes me sad not to be able to spend so much time with my daughter, I'm trying to remind myself that most people don't get this long. I got almost 11 months of nearly uninterrupted time with Mia, of never leaving her with strangers until she's now at an age when I feel 90% more confident and comfortable. She's turning into such an active, curious, and playful little girl. Hopefully spending time with other babies and toddlers her age will make her more independent, too. And, we'll have all weekend together, and I'll appreciate those limited hours that much more. Instead of trying to "keep her entertained" all day, I'll just be with her as much as possible. And maybe push her bedtime back to 8:30.

PS: 100th post!