Stress-O-Ween

I don’t recall Halloween ever being stressful for me. Obviously, as a child I found it fun and even as an adult, I never had much problem finding or coming up with a costume. So why is it that since I’ve become a mother, I’ve found Halloween to be so loathsome?

I had grand aspirations about making Davey a Halloween costume this year. I thought, “hey, I’m a stay a home mom, I have some time, I love to pin on Pinterest, and I’m perfectly capable of doing something creative.” Boy, was I ever wrong! The last two years have been a piece of cake, but this year Halloween has become downright painful. And why is that? Could it be because I’m putting too much stress on myself? Let’s be serious. Davey doesn’t really understand the concept yet. Heck, he’s not even aware of what day it is, much less that the tradition is to dress up. So, what am I so stressed about?

I’ll tell you. I want my son to not just wear some mass produced costume. Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of moms and dads out there find it a lot easier to just buy a costume, even if their child will look like Billy Joe down the street. I know, it’s ridiculous for me to spend my energy fretting about something that really is so trivial. And I’m perfectly aware that Davey could care less. So, I guess it’s more about me.

Here’s my issue…I’m a stay at home mom. I should be able to make a costume for my son. I should be able to come up with creative ways to make him unique and I really thought I had this year. I really thought that this year would be different, but now I’m down to the wire and I can’t help but shake my head and say, “why oh why, Amy, must you put so much on yourself?”

And here’s my other issue, completely irrelevant to the costume…what about little goody bags for his friends at school? Should I do this? Is it acceptable? I know some moms out there are shaking their heads at this, telling me to relax, to not take on so much, but I desperately want to be THAT mom who does take on the extra tasks. I just can’t seem to find a way for it to NOT stress me out. Just a side note, even if I go the store bought way with a costume and don’t do little bags for the kids at school, I’m still stressed out. It’s just a part of my nature.

So, I guess there’s no hope for me, and I guess since NO ONE seems to sell plain hooded yellow sweatshirts these days, I’ll have to go to Plan B on the costume. At least I do have a contingency plan in place. Let’s just hope I can pull it off!

Happy Stress-O-Ween, Everyone!

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Back in the Summer of 2010

Oh, those were the days. My husband and I were career people, working hard, making money, spending money, treating ourselves, and not having much of a worry. We could go out to dinner without fail. We could stay out past 10 o’clock. We could eat at some of the nicest restaurants and enjoy a cocktail beforehand. We could travel, take cruises, mini-vacations to the beach. We could rent boats for the day on Lake Jocassee and just relax. Yes, indeed, those were the days, but the days of what?

Last night, I found myself reminiscing about the days “pre-babies.” I couldn’t help myself, especially considering the car I was driving…an Infiniti G37x, 2013 model no less. Nice leather interior, beautiful, bright red exterior. This car is AWD with a 3.7 liter, 24 valve v-6 engine. It has 328 hp at 7000 rpm and an electronically controlled 7-speed automatic with ADS. It’s a dream to drive and felt much like driving my 2009 Mercedes C300 I owned before Davey. Thanks to my husband’s job and all of his travel, he’s able to get rental cars on a weekly basis. Some of the time I’m not too impressed, but last night as he pulled into my parent’s driveway and I saw this beauty, I had to toss him the keys to my 2011 Chevy Equinox and take control of the Infiniti. That’s when the reminiscing began.

Quite a few years ago, I wrote a blog entitled “From Maggie to Eloise, with much Trepidation”. Maggie was my Mercedes. I loved her, everything about her, and it was a HUGE sacrifice for me to trade her in for a more economical, family type car when I was pregnant. I shed a few tears over losing Maggie, but in the end I also knew I would be gaining something more precious…my son and time with him. Last night, I felt like I was given a little extra gold star for my sacrifices by having the opportunity to drive something more than a “mom” car.

As I started the engine and opened the sunroof, I found myself back in the days of that summer…2010. I backed out of the driveway, put the car in drive and had a rush of excitement as I slowly put my foot on the gas pedal and was pummeled back into my seat with the sheer power. I turned on the radio and Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” came on. I cranked it up, made a left onto the road and was immediately transported back in time.

It’s amazing what a car and a song can do for a memory. Maybe I put too much stock in my cars. Maybe I’m pathetic for wanting to reminisce about the days PD (pre-Davey). It’s only a car. I’m well aware of this and I wouldn’t trade a second of the last 25 months for a car, but for those 30 minutes on the drive home last night, it certainly was nice to pretend that I was once again “footloose and fancy free”.

Have a Little Faith

Such a simple, simple phrase. How many of us hear this every day? How many of us repeat this to ourselves every day? Our personal mantra. Well, for the next eight weeks, I’ll be saying this to myself over and over.

Last night I did something that in theory seemed like a good idea. At the point I conceived the idea (nearly three weeks ago), it seemed like a good idea. I had grand visions in my head, selfless AND selfish acts. I was (and still am) going to do what is best, or what I feel is best for everyone except me, so I booked a flight for my husband and two year old son to fly to Rochester, NY WITHOUT me.

Henry’s actual due date is December 20th, but since I am having a scheduled C-section, the actual date of birth will be Friday, December 13th (dun, dun, dun). That being said, it almost seemed like Davey’s grandparents and aunt would not be able to see him this year for Christmas. Normally, we fly up the first week of December since my husband is a shareholder with his company, which is headquartered out of Rochester.

The first Friday of December is his annual shareholder’s meeting and company Christmas party, so we try to make a week of it in Rochester since Davey was born so that my husband’s side of the family will get some time during the holidays with Davey. This year, thanks to Henry’s impending birth, we didn’t think that was possible. However, I thought long and hard about it and felt that my husband and son should still try to fly up at least for a few days. That means I will have four days all to myself.

It started out as a selfless act, but then evolved into something more. What a break! Four days! How sweet, wonderful, and enticing. Immediately, I decided I would coerce my husband into doing this. It was all such a fabulous plan until I booked their tickets last night.

What was I thinking? Four days ALONE???? I haven’t had even ONE day alone in over two years. My body and mind has adjusted to this. How will I survive? My sister-in-law tells me to schedule a day at the spa. Great idea, the only problem is that requires money and since I’m a stay at home mom, we’re not exactly rolling in any sort of extra cash.

I could read some books! That would be awesome, considering the only books I get to read these days are “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day”. I could get caught up on some of my writing! That sounds great as well especially since I don’t seem to have time for too much of that anymore between potty training, the croup, and my other “volunteer” activities I do to keep my resume still active for the day I decide to go back to work.

Hey, I could sleep in! Might as well try to bank some hours seeing as how a week later we’ll be adding a newborn into the fold. Too bad you can’t really bank sleep hours.

I could watch old movies or adult television, anything other than Disney movies. There’s so much I could really do with my four days of being baby and husband free. No cooking dinners, no laundry to do, nothing! It’s all great, but it’s still not easing my mind or my incessant need to worry. So, what’s eclipsing all of these fabulous opportunities I’ll have at my disposable? My narcissitic personality and need to be in control.

I awoke this morning and told my husband I could never forgive him if he lost our son at the airport while they were sitting through a lay over! Can you believe I said that? The only thoughts swirling through my head are the two days of travel for my boys. How will my husband handle flying solo with Davey? He’s NEVER done it. Heck, I’ve never done it either, but for some reason I have a lot of faith that I can handle it. I’ll say out loud that I have the faith in my husband. He would NEVER let something happen to Davey. He would sacrifice himself before he let something happen, but what if the unthinkable still happens.

Davey’s fast, insanely fast! What if he breaks free of my husband’s grasp and my husband chases him only to catch him and then tweak his lower back when trying to pick Davey up? What then? How will he survive? What if Davey walks into one of the many shops and starts pulling items off the shelves and onto the floor when my husband isn’t watching? What if he tries to grab something in one of the shops and runs without paying? Will security and police be called? Will my child play the game of “this isn’t my daddy?” with the police? What if he won’t sleep on the plane and starts kicking the seat in front of him and the person becomes angry, which then angers my husband and they get into a shouting match and Davey and my husband are forced to leave the plane? All of these “what if” scenarios are killing me and I’m still eight weeks away from the actual travel. Can you imagine how I’ll be when I drop them off at the airport?

It’s not that I’m a super mom, but I just know it’s easier to have the “tag team” effect when travelling with a toddler. It’s not that I don’t have faith in my husband. It’s not that I could necessarily PREVENT any of these things from happening should I be travelling with them. It’s just that with me the whole out of sight, out of mind phrase doesn’t work. I’ll be a nervous wreck. I’m already a nervous wreck. Geez!

My husband says to me this morning, “I’m insulted and I’m hurt that you think I would let something happen to our son.” I don’t think he would LET it happen, but sometimes it’s really hard with Davey. Until then and even on those days, I’ll just start working on faith, having a little more of it, and saying my prayers for all of us.

As a side note, my husband is thinking of getting a leash for Davey just for those days of travel. I’m totally against this, but if it will help him keep track of Davey, then I’ll concede. As long as my husband never puts the leash on Davey while around me.

Mommy Has Poopy Hair

It’s glamorous being a mom, regardless as to whether you’re a stay-at-home mom or one who is working outside the home. Things change a lot. For example, before I became a mom I would have NEVER considered walking out of my house without make up on and my hair styled. These days? I really don’t care, or perhaps I’m just too tired, or maybe just maybe my child has beaten me down.

I know you all love hearing about my adventures in potty training Davey. It’s been an on and off affair, but I’ve stuck with it for THREE DAYS this time. I’m determined. I’m going to get this down and Davey will be potty trained. I’ve picked up on his little cues. For example, he likes to hide and squat when he needs to poop. And when he needs to pee? Well, he starts holding his little “man part” as if he’s trying to pinch it off. I’ve got this! I know when he needs to potty and when he’s actually pottying.

I’ve bought stickers as rewards, given him super awesome underwear (Cars themed, his favorite), and I’ve even created a song to help him go potty. Thankfully for all of you, you don’t have to listen to my caterwauling as I sing to Davey. It remains to be seen if he really enjoys my singing or if he just tries to potty in order to get me to shut up. I don’t care which one it is, as long as he potties.

Lately, he’s hit a defiant state with me and not just on the potty training issue, but with everything. Naturally, it makes the potty training a lot more difficult, but I gotta tell you…Wanna know where I find solace and the encouragement for patience (a virtue I never thought I would learn)? It’s not on the other mommy blogs or from other moms who’ve been in my shoes. It’s from the Bible. So, every morning I say a little prayer for strength, patience and sanity and I begin my trek down Potty Training Avenue.

This morning, I read my Bible and said my prayer. The Lord doesn’t always answer in the ways we hope, but He does answer. Thankfully for me, He answered because after this morning’s fiasco I was about to pull the “Old Amy” response of saying a word or two that wasn’t exactly appropriate for my son to hear.

Davey is sitting at the kitchen table, alongside me, eating his breakfast and listening to today’s Bible lesson (he loves to be read to). After breakfast, I get him down from the chair only to immediately notice the all too knowing sign of a poop. As a side note, why does a child’s poop smell worse than an adult’s? So, I ask, “Davey, did you poop your pants?” I get, “Oh no, Mama.” I ask, “Davey are you telling mommy the truth or are you fibbing?” He replies, “I fib.”

I take him to the bathroom because my intent is to take his poopy underwear and dump the poop into the potty and explain (AGAIN) that this is where poop belongs. What I wasn’t exactly expecting was the fact that it wasn’t just your typical poop. It had eased up his back and saturated his underwear and pants. Sigh! I said a quick prayer. This is the reason I use disposable diapers instead of cloth. I have absolutely NO DESIRE to scrub poop. I just want to trash/flush it and be done!

Gently I take off his shirt, careful to make sure that no poop gets in his hair, a feat which I found to be successful. Next, I took a little toilet paper and wiped off his back before beginning to navigate his pants and underwear. I don’t know where I went wrong. Perhaps it was underestimating the movements of my child because as I started sliding down his pants and then his underwear, Davey decides he wants to immediately step out of the poop infested arena. So, he jerks up his left foot, gets his heel caught in the poop of the underwear, and then shoves down his foot thereby squishing poop everywhere. I try to steady him and bite my tongue, saying yet again another prayer to God, as this thought starts swirling through my head: I gave up a paying job for this crap (literally and figuratively)? At least when I was in the corporate world and people treated me like poop, or even thought about rubbing my face in it (which I’m sure quite a few of my customers desired), I was paid. I don’t get paid squat for this.

So, I stood Davey back up as he reached down to wipe the poop from his foot. “Davey, no!” I screamed, but too late. He then wiped the poop on his leg, started crying and with his hand smothered in poop says, “Mama, clean pleeeeaaassseee,” all the while wrapping his arms around my neck and then stroking my hair with said poop hand. Not only is my child now covered in poop, but it’s also in my hair. Again, Sigh! And thank you, Lord, for allowing me to take it in stride.

I’m still determined on this potty training thing. If anything it’s becoming a battle of the wills and I always win. Trust me, I will kill myself, but I always win. I will succeed. In the meantime, I am forced to endure a song entitled, “Mommy has poopy hair and Dixie has a pee pee mouth”. It was adorable the first thousand times I heard it today. Now? I’m ready to gauge out my eardrums. And as for the really cool Cars underwear? It was thrown in the trash. Davey has 40 pairs, being short one doesn’t bother me especially if I don’t have to clean the poop.

That’s all for today in Potty Training Land. Stay tuned for more shenanigans to come…COUNT ON ‘EM.

Fire! Fire!

Do you know what to do when you hear those words? How many of you can recall what you were taught in elementary school should you find yourself on fire? And how many of you have a fire safe home? Well, not everything is 100% fire safe, but there are steps you can take. In light of the fact that this week, October 6th-12th, is National Fire Prevention Week I thought I would take a moment to go over and maybe even remind some of you parents out there what you should be teaching your children.

The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) suggests you follow these 6 basic tips to ensure that you and your family are safe.

1. Be prepared with necessary tools. Do you have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors? If not, then invest in some. If you do, are you testing them at least once a month? I have to admit that I’m not completely following the “testing” protocol, so it’s nice to have a reminder. A great way to do that is to make a day each month as a special day for testing the detectors. Set it up as a reminder on your white board, bulletin board, refrigerator or whatever you may have. Involve your children in the testing and use the opportunity to go over the importance of fire safety. What a great learning experience and you don’t want to waste those opportunities. Also, batteries should be replaced at least twice a year. A good day for that is at the start and end of Daylight Savings Time.

2. Make an evacuation plan. We don’t have one of these right now. It’s something we need to work on in the future especially since Davey is now at the age to start understanding the importance and repercussions. The NFPA suggests you talk to your child about various exit points within his or her room as well as the house. Draw an evacuation route or build one with LEGOS or blocks, again engage your child. Teach him or her.

3. Mark a meeting point. Every evacuation needs a meeting point, whether that be your neighbor’s yard, your mailbox, or the lamppost at the corner.

4. Run the drill. Now that you’ve gotten tools, the evacuation route, and meeting point solidified, you need to run through the process to make sure there is complete understanding from all members of your family. The NFPA suggests acting out these drills at least twice a year. Role playing can be fun for children. As they get older and become teenagers, it may not be quite so fun, but what’s the point in having the process if you don’t know how to enact it in a true emergency?

5. Lead the way. Children learn by example. Why not set the standard now that you take fire safety seriously? Constantly practice safe fire measures daily. Don’t leave candles unattended. Never leave pots or pans or cooking utensils on the stove unattended or even within the reach of young hands. Store all fire starting tools safely away and make sure that all appliances are in working order.

6. Finally, you can download a fire safety check list at http://sparky.org/downloads/SparkyChecklist.pdf . Print this off and post it. Use it as an opportunity to do a walk through with your family.

You can find out more about Fire Protection Safety at NFPA.org. You can also check with your local community calendars to see about events ongoing this week to help teach your children more about fire safety. Don’t let something like this slide. Your family is much too important.

And oh by the way, here’s a picture taken of my little fire chief last year.

Fire Chief Davey

The Story of Birth

This year, much like last year, when Davey awoke on his birthday, my husband and I put him into our bed. This year his 2nd birthday fell on Saturday, so we cuddled up in bed and relaxed. We asked him questions like, “Who has a birthday today?” and “How old are you?” He answered both with excitement and energy, although I’m really not sure if he understood what the day was.

And this year, much like last year, I started with a tradition I hope to keep, one that Davey seems to enjoy hearing (at least he sat quietly, listened, and even threw in his own two cents) and that is the story of his birth. I’d like to share that with all of you.

Davey’s scheduled due date was September 25th, a Sunday. I’d been written out of work on the previous Thursday due to discomfort, so at that point it was just a waiting game. Sunday rolled around, and no Davey. Monday rolled around, and no Davey. Same story with Tuesday. Davey was pretty adamant about keeping put. I wasn’t dilated, my cervix was closed tight, and this kid was just eager to keep me uncomfortable.

Wednesday morning rolled around and I had a scheduled 8:30 doctor’s appointment. We were going to find out what we needed to do in regards to inducing labor, basically how long past my due date the doctor was going to let me go and what we needed to do to be prepared for said induction. I was pretty bummed that morning because I wasn’t dilated and I thought I was going to get the same old bad news of “you’re not there yet.” Regardless, I told my husband to bring the luggage I’d packed. It didn’t hurt to be prepared.

We followed our normal doctor’s schedule of an early morning appointment, followed by coffee and bagels at Starbucks. At least that was to be our normal routine. When I arrived at the doctor, I was told that my cervix was still closed and that I wasn’t dilated. He did; however, want to get an ultrasound to see how big Davey was. My ultrasound showed Davey was breached and that I had very little amniotic fluid left so they did not want me to have a vaginal birth. It was determined that I would need an emergency C-section, so Davey was to be born that day.

Of course, I couldn’t eat anything since I was to have major surgery, which didn’t go over too well for me. So, we called our parents, stopped by my husband’s office so that he could reschedule a last minute meeting, and headed to the hospital.

I wasn’t nervous, nor was I anxious. I think I was elated. I couldn’t believe the day had finally arrived. I wasn’t scared, but I was excited, although I didn’t have the typical excitement butterflies. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor for a couple of hours in a room that would not be my permanent location. Had my husband and I known this, then perhaps we wouldn’t have brought EVERYTHING into the hospital with us at that time. It was quite entertaining to see him and my dad (my mother was away on business and couldn’t make it back) lug around all the bags and pillows and other “necessities” we’d brought.

The next room prepped me before surgery. My husband was given blue scrubs (exciting for him) and I went through a prepping process for surgery that made me feel like I was to become the female version of Captain America. After a few minutes, and completely giving up my overwhelming sense to have some level of modesty, the doctor began performing the surgery.

I didn’t feel anything, of course, except for the occasional tug and pull. At one point, I asked the nurse when exactly the doctor was going to cut into me and at that point I heard this ear piercing wail. Davey had made his appearance into the world at 4:06 pm.

Words cannot begin to describe the feelings I had. It was almost surreal seeing my baby, MY baby! I couldn’t believe I’d done this. Not only had I conquered my fears of being pregnant, but I’d managed to carry a baby to full term, and deliver one as well and right in front of me was this screaming mass that I thought was the greatest thing in this world. At that moment, nothing else existed in the world. At that moment, my world was complete. At that moment, I cried more tears of happiness than I ever thought possible.

He wasn’t immediately placed into my arms since the doctor had to close me back up again. My husband was able to bring Davey to me and I cradled his head with one hand and kissed my baby. What a wonderful gift I’d been given. A few minutes later, I was back to the small “staging” room. I looked at my dad who was holding his grandson, his first grandchild and a lump formed in my throat. Within a few minutes, Davey was in my arms and I was being wheeled into what would be my home away from home for the next three days.

I was a mother! I couldn’t believe it! Some mornings, I awake and still can’t believe I’m a mother, especially on the days of Davey’s birthday. What a wonderful birth it was, what a wonderful day and every day since.

Kissing my baby for the first time.
Kissing my baby for the first time.
Our new family.
Our new family.
me and my dad.
me and my dad.
David Brian Doser
David Brian Doser