Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Facebook Moms

Facebook, with all of its faults and criticisms, is a great source of entertainment. Generally, when I share something on Facebook, I think about it first. Something fun, exciting, Mia in her "better moments", etc. I think that most people think about their audience before they post something. The majority of us share cute pictures, funny stories, milestones. All of that is perfectly acceptable Facebook Mom behavior. Of course, you only share what you want to share. This will often create a certain kind of persona -- but some honesty will have no choice but to creep in. In my Facebook feed in particular, I have very specific personas who stand out above the rest.

1. The Stay at Home Mom who Overshares Parenting Tips:  She is a constant sharer. Articles on car seat safety, sales on items she likes at Zulily, Groupon deals for kid-centric activities, articles on potty training philosophies, pictures of her homemade baby food. It is constant. It is daily. But! She is also the Mom I messaged when looking for a new carseat - what did she find she liked best??

2. The First time Pregnant friend who has been trying to have a baby forever. I'm thrilled they finally got pregnant. Really, I'm very happy for her. But, her former Facebook persona as someone who shares inspirational quotes (via so and so fertility center) about overcoming hardships has turned into the weekly belly picture update, progress on the nursery, babymoon pictures, and of course, the countdown to her due date. She's incredibly excited, and probably doesn't think about much else. Of course, she should be, but I hope she doesn't turn into #4.

3. Smug New Mom. She posts asking for cloth diaper suggestions. She posts pictures of her and her husband in the swimming pool for their 5 month old daughter's swimming class. She posts about how great her nanny is. She asks for advice on pumping at work, and about her new gluten free/wheat free/dairy free/nut free/food free diet because of her daughter's allergies. She posts asking for opinions between the Acura and the Audi SUV. She posts photos of her baby-led weaning. And of course, the constant photo caption: So in love with my little one! I certainly hope so, lady. She and #1 Oversharing Mom would get along great, but they would never listen to each other's advice.

4. New Mom who is having a hard time. She's the opposite of Smug New Mom. She posts photos of her child (often cuter than Smug New Mom's child), captioned: "It's a good thing she's cute, because I haven't slept in 5 months". She posts apologies to her own Mom for the pain she inflicted on her 30 years ago. She posts about how she's looking forward to having an outpatient procedure done just for the recuperating time she gets. This Mom makes my heart hurt, because you can just feel how hard of a time she's having. You try to comment on her photos, remind her that she's doing a good job, and that this difficult time will pass. But, when it's confined to Facebook, it's often the best you can do.

5. The Only Posts Bad News Mom. Things seem to always be going wrong in that household, but it can't be all bad, all the time. She posts that her new baby is so sick! Going to the ER! And then... nothing. Did you move into the ER and stay forever? No, you have to send a message to find out the follow up. "Oh, it turned out fine. We're home!" Gee, thanks for keeping us all in the loop, lady.

I'm just kidding around here, OK? Don't take me (or yourself) too seriously.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

MILP #342, debut!

The weekly Mothers In the Legal Profession Roundup is hosted on a rotating basis at the Butterflyfish, Grace, BJJ, Law, and Living, Mommy and the Sin City, Magic Cookie, The Reluctant Grownup, and Perspectives of a Hard Boiled Egg blogs.

Sticking with the theme of "no themes on my first time", I'll start worrying about themes once I actually have the hang of this. K? K. Here we go!

Alice struggles with everyday drudgery. We've all been there - happy children are the best consolation prize, even if you find couch fuzz on your toothbrush!

Cee celebrates a second birthday and takes advantage of the pacific northwest! And, may I add, puts us all to shame by running many miles with a 10 week bump.

Magic Cookie takes a look back at her crazy, crazy schedule. I don't know how you did it for so long either.

Grace thinks about making a former obsession into a hobby and is concerned that little Lis may offend a waiter by asking for a Fork and Spoon. (Mia did this too - not with forks, but with socks).

LagLiv attends a very exclusive gallery opening, featuring an up and coming artist. His name is Lanman. And his drawing is really awesome.

RG makes the most of her last few days at home, despite some pretty freaky dreams!

Perfect Yellow Yolk breaks some news to her 3 year old, but mostly, to US! Congratulations, I'm so thrilled for you.

Daisy, JD does a rundown of what she uses to keep her baby fed and takes a trip!

kderoll attends a lovely luncheon and decides that breakfast meetings are way better than dinner meetings.

Continue to spread the word about the MILP Facebook Page that Kate created. PS, "liking it" through your personal Facebook page doesn't reveal your name to the rest of the group - and depending on your own facebook privacy settings, it may not even notify the rest of your friends that you like it.

But I Do's father accomplishes a lifelong dream.

The Queen of Hats writes about loneliness in a room full of people, in a marriage, in a museum, or ideally, in a float tank.

Magic Cookie's got it next week!

Would you like your blog to be considered in the weekly Mothers in the Legal Profession Roundup? Leave a comment or send an email to any of the hostesses listed.

Friday, April 11, 2014

The days (and nights) on my own

B's got several trips to take over the next couple of months, and he'll probably be gone for a grand total of two non-continuous weeks. These days on my own weren't much, they weren't much of a challenge but, 4 days is certainly enough to give me a taste of what being on my own means.

It turns out, I miss my husband more than I thought I would. Really! Coming into this week, I thought I would miss B, but I thought I would miss him in the parenting sense. In the, please help me while I give this child a bath sort of way. Someone to remind me not to walk out the door without Mia's lunch (which definitely happened. Twice.) I also thought that once Mia was in bed, I would enjoy my quiet evenings on my own. To watch whatever I wanted (and Oh, I did), knit for as long as I wanted, eat whatever I wanted. Flaming hot Cheetos and Guacamole -- both things he doesn't like-- were consumed.

Doing all of that glorious alone time stuff wasn't quite that I pictured it to be. Instead of missing B's extra set of hands, I found myself missing his company more than anything else. While Mia was up, I wouldn't think about it much. I'd do what needed to be done, get both of us dressed and fed and lunches packed. Same thing once we got home after work. But once I settled myself down on the couch after bedtime, ready to enjoy my alone time, I just... didn't. I'm not a mushy, sentimental kind of person. I don't mind sleeping alone, I enjoy going out to eat on my own, shopping on my own.

My French uncle, in response to my Brother's explaining that he and his girlfriend were in a long-distance relationship, said: "That sounds perfect. This way, you're not being bothered all the time." Sometimes, I might tend to agree with him. But it turns out, I'm not as pragmatic as I thought I was.

I couldn't relax. I felt unsettled, unfufilled, unsteady. I'd watch my bad tv without guilt, but also without much pleasure. I went to bed early. I slept, woke up before the alarm, but just... didn't feel right. It's all very strange, this co-dependence thing. I've been without B before, pretty often, usually when I'm travelling without him for whatever reason. Never like this, where I was meant to continue our little life without him in it.

Our life? It's only fun when he's around.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

In which I become a single parent (for 4 days) plus bullets.

  • I was so focused on our big trip, that I totally forgot to anxiously work myself up for B's little training trip to Arizona this week. He leaves today, and doesn't come back until Friday night. 4 whole days! I certainly hope the garbage doesn't fill up in that amount of time, or I will be very grumpy when I carry it twenty feet to the outside garbage. I didn't get married to take out my own garbage! Anyway, it's not much of a big deal, right? I realize that there are parents who do this, all the time, with many more children. But you know, it's new to me and all that.
  • Also? It turns out that I have to do some serious CLE programs as a 1st year licensed Nevada attorney. Something involving a development plan, a mentor, and completing an unheard of number of hours doing things like "Discuss techniques for finding a balance between career and personal life, putting daily pressures in perspective, reconciling job expectations with actual experience." I'll fill that one in with "See Blog". I met my mentor late last week, and she seems very knowledgeable, though somewhat impatient. She seemed pretty annoyed that I came in to this meeting completely unaware of the program, but I will make up for it in our next discussion about "substance abuse and mental health issues, including possible warning signs of substance abuse or mental health issues" (another requirement). 
  • Otherwise, we were all sick (again). I got myself another ear infection. Apparently, it can be a thing in adults too. Ear infections every time you get a cold. Mia has just started to get over hear automatic ear infection every time she has any congestion, so now, it's my turn. 
  • We bought Mia a twin bed, and it got delivered late last week. The first few days were absolutely without issue,  but last night, she started asking to get back in her crib. We left the crib in the room, though we bought the gate back onto it. In my opinion, it should be disassembled and brought back down to the garage, but B thinks we should keep it in the room because of the BUGS. In the long run, I will win this argument. But for now, I'm letting him think I believe his reason is good.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Air Travel with a 2 year old.

This trip involved 4 separate flights, three of which I did with Mia on my own. To be frank, this is the part of my vacation I was dreading the most. I would have panic attacks at the thought of running out of snacks, running out of batteries on the various entertainment devices I packed, or worst of all, having a potty accident, juggling carseats, checked luggage, carry on luggage, strollers, etc. I was nervous about the whole thing, and honestly, things went pretty well with very few minor hiccups. Mia is almost three years old, so she had her own seat. I've flown (solo and accompanied) with her before 2, as well, but those were different times. If you want my input on flying with an under 2 year old, I'm happy to give my input on that as well, just comment below!

I had a little backpack for Mia, and a large shoulder bag for myself. I packed:

-Pulls ups
-Mia's LeapPad
-Coloring Book: I used the Color Wonder ones, just to be safe.
-Children's earphones: I had bought these a while ago, when Mia was starting to watch TV. I didn't think she would tolerate the earbuds that I already had, but at this age, Mia used the ones provided on the international flight (for no reason other than wanting to WEAR THE BLUE ONES) and they went in and stayed in her ears just fine.
-iPhone with several movies loaded onto it: If you have an iPad, obviously, that's better, but the iPhone very much did the trick.
-Snacks: I skipped the apple sauce pouch, because the last time I flew with some, they had to take us through the additional security area to wipe them down for explosive residue. I was eventually allowed to bring them with, but I honestly just didn't want to deal with the hassle. I packed loose Goldfish in a container, and then bought Chex Mix at the airport. I also let her choose her own snack at the airport.
-Empty children's water bottle: I filled it at the water fountain once we passed security, and then asked the flight attendant to put a splash of juice in it from the drink cart.
-Change of clothing for her; change of shirt for myself: I didn't end up needing either of these, but I was still glad to have them.
-One burp cloth: This ended up being incredibly useful. Not for burping, but for cleaning up and wiping down anything and everything.
-Travel pack of wipes: noses, butts, hands.
-Blanket: Most international flights give you a blanket and a pillow, but I thought that Mia would settle down better if she had her own blanket. I stuck with the airline pillow, though.
-Stuffed animal: Mia has a bunny that she sleeps with, and has slept with for as long as I can remember. This was a no-brainer carry on item.
-several dollar store items that she had never played with before, to use as bribery: If you take a nap, you can have a prize when you wake up! If you eat your dinner, you can have a prize!

At this point, Mia was old enough for me to explain to her that we were going on an airplane, and that we would be on this airplane for so long that we would be sleeping on it. I explained to her that we'd have to stay in our seats, that we could get up and go potty, and I showed her the fasten seat belt sign, explaining to her that if the light was on, we had to stay in our seats.

I was surprised to learn that American Airlines doesn't including persons travelling with small children in their priority boarding, so we didn't have the benefit of settling in before everyone else crowded around. This would have been incredibly helpful -- on our first flight, I took Mia to the lavatory as soon as we found our seats, and we were stuck in the back while everyone else boarded. We managed to get seats on our own, though. The two seats on the side of the airplane, the window seat, and the aisle for myself. I realize that most airplanes flown domestically have a 3/3 split now, but we got lucky. And if you're going to be flying on our own with your kid, I highly recommend lobbying the check in agent to get you that kind of seating arrangement (or pre-selecting your seats). If you're flying with your spouse (or another adult), you'll want the row to yourself, too. I'm honestly not sure how Mia would have reacted to having a stranger on her other side, but I was glad to have avoided it.

For the first flight, I left Mia in her underwear. I figured, three and half hours was long enough for her to hold it, and I slipped a pull up on her (right in the seat) when she started looking like she might take a nap. On the long flight, I had her in a pull up straight away -- but she still went to the potty in the lavatory just fine. It's a tight fit, but we both managed to squeeze ourselves in there several times.

I held off on giving Mia her entertainment devices until after we'd taken off. During the taxi, and the actual take off, I pointed everything out to Mia. Like: Look out the window, we're moving! Here we go, up up up! We're flying! Look at the ground, look at the trees! Etc. I figured the more "exciting" portions of the flight would be entertainment enough, and I saved the precious battery time until she started looking for things to do. This is true for any "exciting" portion, like when the drink cart came around, I put away whatever she was doing and we had our snack together. When she seemed to be getting bored, she'd first watch a movie on my phone, then, I'd pull out my other tricks. Snacks, leappad, coloring book, skymall, etc.

Since I had already warned her that she would have to sleep on the longer flights, she was totally prepared. On the International Flights, once they pick up the meal, the lights are dimmed, and it was a clear enough sign that it was time for sleep. At home, I usually give her some time to transition to bedtime, so I tried to stick to the same thing here. I told her that as soon as her movie was over, she'd have to go to sleep. I'd pull out her blanket, her stuffed animal, and she would lay down and go to sleep. On the Chicago to Paris flight, she slept for about three hours. I honestly expected her to sleep more, but she woke herself up because she got a bit tangled in her seatbelt and blanket and got herself upset. This was probably the only time I started getting really anxious that she was disturbing the passengers. But honestly, she didn't cry much, mostly whimpered, and this was muted by the airplane noise. (Plus, there was an older girl a few rows ahead of us who was airsick and was crying much more than my toddler). Since we were halfway through our flight, I snuggled her up and she calmed back down (though she didn't go back to sleep).

What is challenging, though, is the in-flight meal. I usually love the meal! Ever since I was a kid, I would get excited about what they were serving, eating the little portions of mostly not great food. I really thought Mia would get a kick out of it, but she was not into it. This is when the bribing was most effective, and while the meal itself was totally something she would eat, it was a struggle to manage the tray, the drinks, and the tray table without spilling everywhere (BURP CLOTH!). I also wasn't able to eat my own meal until the flight attendants came around to collect the trays. And then I had to keep my tray for a REALLY long time before they would come back around and actually collect mine. But this is where those adorable wine bottles help also help. This was also a lot easier on the return trip, because I already knew that Mia would have to be force fed, and that I would have to wait to eat my own. It's all about expectations.

So! In conclusion! The thing to do is to pack mindfully - don't bring anything that won't be used, don't waste precious bag space on something that might not be needed. I can honestly say that we used everything I brought, except the change of clothes. I also think that explaining the whole thing to Mia ahead of time helped - next time, I might even go a step further and pack pajamas to change into to make it really feel like bedtime. It really did go quite smoothly, and Mia was left completely charmed with air travel. She's asked to go back on an airplane every day since our return!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mia takes France

We are back! We got back into Las Vegas at 7pm on Saturday night, spent Sunday lounging and getting some errands done, and were all back to work and daycare on Monday morning, bright and (very) early.

The trip was great - we spent a lot of quality time with my family, both my immediate and extended french family. Mia learned absolutely no French, and showed that she had learned very little in my Saturday lessons, but I translated for her, and for my grandmother, so it was all fine.

We started out with a night in Chicago, and it really was nice to see quickly see B's family. While in retrospect, it was probably a lot more stressful to break up the trip and have to worry about coordinating transportation and overnight bags and etc than it may have been worth. Still, it was nice to have my brother on the flight with us, allowing me a bit of freedom to go to the tiny lavatory without sharing the space with my almost 3 year old. I'll do a separate post later this week on air travel with a toddler, but I have to say that it went pretty smoothly overall, even when I was on my own with her.

Once we arrived in Paris, we met all members of our party at the airport. My parents and my Mom's brother had just gotten in from Barcelona (where they spent a few days), my brother's girlfriend had just gotten in from NYC. We piled ourselves and our immense amounts of luggage into a Volkswagen Eurovan, and continued on the 2 hours to Rouen, a smallish city in Normandy. Much like last time, there were a lot of long lunches, pastries, cheese and wine. The whole purpose of the trip really was just for my Grandmother's 90th birthday, so most of our activities revolved around that.

Our first day, we basically just settled in, went to the French supermarket and loaded up on everything we wanted to have that we couldn't easily get elsewhere. We settled into the apartment we were staying in, visited with my Grandmother at her assisted living apartment, walked around a little and planned the rest of our trip. The next day was our only real "free day", so we took another 2 hour road trip to my uncle's country house, a restored 16th century manor (He's an Antiques dealer, so this is kind of his jam) just to visit and wander around the countryside.

The following day, we had my Grandmother's 90th birthday celebration, with 21 attendees eating a beautiful meal at a beautiful restaurant, during which Mia ate about 5 bites of the meal (and 3 mini baguettes) and watched Frozen on my iPhone. I couldn't have expected much more from her,  the lunch went from 12:30-4:30, in typical French fashion. It was great and I think my Grandmother had a great time.

The following day, my Grandmother's REAL birthday, we had another birthday lunch, though only 3 hours this time, and with only 10 attendees. This meal was at a more casual restaurant, but it was probably some of the best food I've ever had. La Petite Auberge, in Rouen, just in case anyone out there might travel out there. 

On Friday, we were off to Paris for a quick afternoon of touristy activities, before heading back to the airport on Saturday morning. In Paris, Mia convinced my Dad to take her on the Eiffeel Tower carousel 3 times. We did an evening Seine cruise, had dinner and called it a night before our long day of travel back to the US.