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November 30, 2010

Sick?

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: , , , , , , — llcall @ 7:47 am

I don’t know who originated this saying (I’ve read Mark Twain and Groucho Marx before), but I love it.  One of the truisms in life:

I was a much better parent before I had kids.

Um, yeah.  I had a lot of ideas about what I would and wouldn’t do, and well, a lot of them went out the window in the first week or two.  But here’s a realization that has been months in the making.

First, a little background.  Illness is one of my soapbox issues.  Because I’m immune-compromised, I have a vested interest in people steering clear of me when they’re sick, not to mention staying home to, you know, GET BETTER.  And guess what, Americans really suck at this!  Somehow the idea has been perpetuated (why?  WHY?) that trucking on through illness is actually noble.  Got the sniffles . . . probably best to go to work anyway (and spread it around the office).  Hacking up lung . . . you belong at school (where you can infect others)!  (Can you sense the annoyance here?)  I’ve felt this way for a long time, and been the unwilling recipient of many communicable diseases, but my frustration really kicked up a notch in February 2007 when I fell horribly ill . . . in the middle of Neal’s marriage proposal.  [I may or may not have asked that the stats lab assistant that thought it was a great idea to come into work (in a 6-foot wide office with zero ventilation, no less) while violently ill burn in you-know-where forever.]

But I digress.  So long story short, it bugs me when people go about their regular business,* spreading their germs to unwitting individuals like me, thinking that it is no big deal because they’re not that sick.  Because the problem for people like me is that it may not be that bad for you, but it is usually 10 times worse for me.  Most illnesses trigger a multitude of my chronic problems and seriously impede my ability to function.  And of course, it always seemed even more egregious for parents to not sequester their sick kids because kids constantly exchange germs in weird and wonderful ways.

But here I am, 9 months into this great parenthood experiment and I’ve learned another truth: it is surprisingly difficult to figure out if your child is sick!  Maybe, hopefully, this gets easier as they get older (although my brother certainly seemed to make it perpetually difficult with his sudden-onset illnesses whenever certain tasks or events arose).  In particular, teething seems to really muddy the waters.  I mean, how annoying is it that teething can cause fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, runny nose, congestion, crankiness, and probably about 50 other conditions?!  And apparently any or all of these symptoms can last for a few hours or, you know, MONTHS.  Shouldn’t ESP be required for child-rearing?

Thus far, Addison has not been a sickly child and I’m grateful for that because it turns out that we’ve generally only been able to definitively determine that she was sick after she was over it and we caught it (thankfully, a cold turned out to be the chief cause of these terrible nights in October).

What prompted my musings on this subject this morning was that I was again playing the guessing game, is Addison sick?  She clearly wasn’t her usual self, crying after her morning feeding when usually she rolls around with a happily bulging belly, but she’s also 9 months old and still toothless, so in theory teething could be happening at any or all times.  Of course, as the day went on, I learned something else.  When my baby is really sick, I’ll probably be able to figure it out by a combination of such unusual things as:

  1. Taking a 4-hour morning nap, and then wanting another just 2 hours later
  2. Preferring to sit on my lap rather than crawl, cruise, or try to walk
  3. Letting me hold her in a cradle position for 10 minutes straight — what the???
  4. Cuddling up to me for an hour or two without moving an inch
  5. Looking at the TV for more than 2 seconds at a time

So to sum up and get to bed while the babe is mercifully sleeping,

Addison = very sad, sick baby.

Neal = owing me so big for the fact that he is sleeping peacefully in Utah while I try to comfort our feverish little lady.

Trying to figure out if kids are sick = surprisingly complicated.

Lindsay = no longer judging parents for taking their runny-nosed children out in public.

* Of course, I recognize there are people that don’t have a choice about whether they go to work or not, and don’t have the luxury of taking a sick day.  I get that, and make allowance for it.  But it doesn’t change my annoyance at what I consider a twisted societal ethic that celebrates not taking sick days even when you’re sick or playing through the pain at any cost.

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November 27, 2010

Pictures for the Weekend: Eating!

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 1:29 am

Neal’s mom, Lorie, wins the prize.  Tomatoes are Addison’s favorite food.  Although she likes multiple varieties, grape tomatoes end up being the perfect size and shape for her preferred method of eating.  I have always been a voracious tomato consumer, though my mom said I started a few months later than this girly.

And now, brace yourself for the cuteness that is her eating (though not tomatoes).  Thanks for the cute pics, Meg!

November 26, 2010

Reflections on Thanksgiving

Filed under: Family, Personal — Tags: , — llcall @ 8:17 am

If I’ve learned one thing over the past 3o-some years of life, it’s that saying you don’t like Thanksgiving is about equivalent to admitting you sell drugs to kids or steal wheelchairs from the disabled.  There’s just no easy way to break it to people, and many seem deeply disturbed by such an admission, so I usually avoid the topic altogether.  But I’m emboldened by my friend Emily’s latest blog post to come right out and admit that Thanksgiving — as defined by the traditions that most people hold so dear — is just not my thing.  Never has been, never will be.

Thanksgiving of 2003, lovingly known in my nuclear family as “Thanksgiving, Enchilada-Style,” is really the only one that evokes any strong sentimentality.  It was shortly after I had moved back to Washington, D.C. and I was having a really crummy time with some particular upheaval.  My third move in 3 months left me renting one room in a condo with a cat (I also dislike cats, but I probably shouldn’t elaborate now or you’ll all decide I’m a horrible, horrible person; suffice it to say, I am terribly allergic to cats, so it was a difficult experience living with one) in Reston, VA, which, if you know the area, made my daily commute downtown ridiculous.  Things were just rough.  But at the last minute, my lovely parents and brother hopped a plane to D.C., got a killer deal on a Residence Inn suite, and humored me with a delicious dinner of enchiladas, refried beans, and corn (they are not people who dream of refried beans for Thanksgiving, so it was a nice gesture).

I know most of my family thinks that it’s the particular food that spoils it for me, and it’s true that I don’t care much for turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, et al.  But it’s much more the inordinate amount of prep time that makes me anxious.  Cooking is not a fun family activity for me, and it’s not even really possible when you’re helping to corral a couple of crawling babies and a very energetic toddler (I’m at my parents’ house this year with no Neal to assist).  One of the things I liked best about our Thanksgiving, Enchilada-Style was just how much time we spent together with no hours-long feast preparation.  We played games, we talked, we spent the entire day in the same room, all together.  We just chilled.

Luckily, I found a Thanksgiving kindred spirit in Neal.  He actually likes the meal, but he likes complete solitude more, so while I’m in California, he spent the day holed up alone.  (Apparently watching the “Punkin Chunkin,” which is most definitely not what I left him in Utah to do, but whatever.)  We have the same stories from our days in D.C., being invited to myriad Thanksgiving celebrations by kind (very kind, I’m not dissing these heartfelt offers in any way) people, only to be faced with puzzled looks when we explained that we wanted to spend the day alone.

Neal and I made a decision today that we’re just not going to be a family that does the typical Thanksgiving thing.  My aunt has a tradition of camping over Thanksgiving; maybe we’ll do that too.  Maybe we’ll try a different type of food each year; I’ve already done Mexican and Japanese.  Maybe we’ll grab a couple of burritos at Taco Bell and watch a movie.  Maybe we’ll be grateful for things, or maybe we won’t.  Suddenly it feels like the sky’s the limit!

And I’m thankful for that.

November 25, 2010

Like mother, like daughter, part 2

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — Tags: — llcall @ 8:15 am

I’m sure you thought I was exaggerating Addison’s dislike of pureed foods.  Even I thought I was exaggerating her dislike of pureed foods.  But alas, she can’t stand the stuff.  Nor can she stand the majority of non-pureed foods we’ve experimented with.  BUT we finally found our ace in the hole.  Our baby has a favorite food!  Huzzah!

Can you guess what it is?

I’ll give you a hint . . . it was my favorite food beginning in toddlerhood to the present day.

I’ll give you another hint . . . she doesn’t just chew it up and swallow it (not surprisingly, since she has no teeth).  Rather, she sucks all the insides out and leaves just the flimsy skin behind, which coincidentally is how I often eat these too (although I tend to finish off the skin as well).

The first person to guess correctly will be rewarded with . . . an enormous sense of accomplishment.

November 20, 2010

Pictures for the Weekend: Art lovers

Tonight we hit this sweet exhibit:

Cat is a good friend from high school.  And the girl in the middle with the earring is my fabulous new friend and ward member Jen.  Love them both.

I also love a Friday evening gallery stroll.  But apparently not as much as my little lady does.  Look at that face:

Thanks for the good company and extra sets of hands, Robin-Elise and Diane.

November 16, 2010

A very special day!

Filed under: Family, Personal — llcall @ 6:57 pm

Look, no hands!

Hey, what is this thing anyway?

Mmmmm . . . fiber.

I couldn’t say it just once.

November 15, 2010

A few burning questions before bed . . .

Filed under: Motherhood, Personal, Personal Finance — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 6:36 am

Do you think it’s horrific that I let Addison suck on my shoes? The way I figure it she has licked/tried to eat virtually everything my shoes have touched anyway. [Clearly, I’m not a germaphobe . . . despite my mom’s best efforts.]

How often do you eat red meat? I generally think that I eat red meat sparingly (probably twice a month), but since I don’t know how often other people do (except for my vegetarian/vegan friends), how do I really know?

How much money should we spend on eating out? We used to budget $40/month (mostly just for me because Neal doesn’t care much about eating out, whereas I find it to be my quickest mood enhancer), but then I decided that it was too big a splurge because it was our largest non-essential expense.  So for a couple of months, I only spent about $8/month and Neal and I never ate out together.  But for my birthday dinner, we had a lovely restaurant meal and Neal started to feel that there might be something non-tangible to the eating-out experience.  It wasn’t just the food, it was talking together sans baby, carefree for a couple of hours, all while I got to eat whatever I wanted (we went to the Pizza Pie Cafe, a pizza and pasta buffet).  It was the most stress-free time we’ve had in the last month or so since Addison has continued to sleep terribly.  Even though Neal is ready and willing to up our dining budget for the chance of more pleasant evenings, I’m still hesitant because our income is irregular and difficult to budget, and well, it’s me, and I’m frugal in a nearly pathological way (thanks to my dad’s best efforts) and I agonize over every purchase like our whole future hinges on it.  So, weigh in, dear readers.

November 12, 2010

Pictures for the Weekend: Future gymnast?

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 10:00 pm

I mentioned at the 6-month mark that Addison had been doing some awesome planks, but I had not been able to capture them on film.  Neal had more luck with this picture from early September:

How’s her form, Kjell?

November 6, 2010

Cutest thing ever

Filed under: Family, Motherhood, Personal — llcall @ 8:20 pm

I don’t usually post on the weekends, but how could I not document the CUTEST. THING. EVER.  Addison has been consonant babbling for a while now, and of course, “da da” is one of her greatest hits.  But for the last couple of days, I’ve seen a distinct shift — she now excitedly identifies her dad as “da da” when she sees him.  Neal, always the skeptic, isn’t completely convinced she’s really connecting him with the word, but as a student of human behavior (remember how I’m getting a Master’s in Marriage, Family, and Human Development, dude), not to mention her mother, I know she’s reached a new developmental milestone.

To further my case, I ran a small experiment (n = 1).  After Neal left for work, I showed Addison these 4 pictures (in random order, of course):

The first three elicited squeals of delight (what can I say, she loves herself — and her great grandparents — but especially herself), but only the last one elicited squeals of “da da” (though still with delight).

So I think it’s pretty clear.  First word: da da.  Score one for the daddy!

November 5, 2010

Pictures for the Weekend: My mom dressed me up as . . .

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 6:59 pm

A fashion victim for Halloween.

(Or perhaps ensembly challenged is the PC term.)

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that this is what I feel like most days anyway.

(See exhibits A, B, and C)

But this was going just a bit too far:

Don’t you think?

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