Kitty Time

Motherhood, babies, life, celebrities, politics…kitty’s claws come out when she’s in the mood.

Kids & Hot Cars June 26, 2009

Filed under: Husbands,Motherhood — Wired_Momma @ 2:46 pm

“Good mothers don’t do this,”  wept a mother during a police interview after she realized she’d left her daughter in a hot car for 8 hours one August. I saw her on Oprah this week.

Every summer we hear about parents who leave their kids in a hot car all day and they die from heat stroke.

Every summer I am riddled with questions and am mystified by this story. Having previously worked in the auto industry, it was also a heated topic of discussion at my office as these stories broke each summer. Everyone has really strong opinions on this one.

I am just confused. I find that the people who don’t yet have children seem to have really strong black & white convictions that this is an absurd and totally avoidable scenario and the guilty parent should be sent to jail for killing a child.

I definitely don’t see it that clearly but I’m not without judgment.  This spring the Washington Post had a really long Magazine story about this very issue, featuring several parents who had all suffered the loss of a young child at their own hands by leaving them in a hot car.  I cried several times while reading it.

For me, the most chilling point made in the piece was made by a shrink who said that if you have ever left your cell phone at home, then you are capable of leaving your child in a car. It’s how your mind works.

But here’s my first question – how do you go an entire work day without checking on your child? This is the part that I just can’t get past. I had a routine of checking in twice a day. Is that psycho? Is that too much? I have no idea. It’s what I did because I enjoyed hearing an update on DD1’s day, how her day was at school, whatever it was she was up too. Sometimes I missed a call from our nanny and wouldn’t return it until prior to leaving for the day, but the point is – I knew she was alive and kicking.

So here you go – this is the main question I have on this issue that I just cannot get past. How do you not check on your kids during the work day? I do not believe that anyone is too busy to do this. No one. Don’t kid yourselves into thinking your work is that important, right? Now would this avoid the death of a child? I’m not sure. Would they still be alive 4 hours into being left in a hot car? I have no idea. So is this a worthwhile question? Who knows. But this is my blog, so it’s my main question.

Moving on – what does this say about our society? At what point do we stop and take stock of our lives – not just the parents who have suffered this horrendous loss – but all of us – and really digest that this is happening? And repeatedly.  What does it say specifically about parenthood and how much parents are juggling that their mind can shut off and they can leave a beloved child in a car to die?  This scenario spreads across race and class lines – from pediatricians to electricians – moms and dads. At what point do we all stop with the madness and cut a few things out of our life to help avoid this scenario – to stop being stretched too thin?

I just can’t let it go. I don’t understand how you can forget your child is in your car. I feel like as a parent who has felt stretched far too thin, I can say this. Maybe my kids are just loud. But I just don’t get it. Yet it’s happening – so what do we need to change about our lives? Do people put unrealistic pressure on themselves to be this perfect parent? Because if that’s the case, then they’re idiots. Isn’t doing our best, enough? And just being satisfied with your best might help cut some things out? I just don’t know. I’m brainstorming here because the idea of a child suffering a horrible death in a hot car for 8 hours warrants some serious brainstorming.

And then what about the parent who did this? Do they deserve to go to jail? Again, I’ve heard many childless friends speak very clearly that they have killed a child and should pay their dues. I’d argue that having to live the rest of their life knowing what they’ve done is punishment enough. My mom also thinks they should go to jail and well, she has 4 kids. I just don’t know.  I definitely don’t see it clearly but like I said before, I am not able to suspend all of my judgment of these parents. I have issues with it.

It’s a horrible horrible reality. And it seems that if we all took a step back and really took stock of our whole lives, maybe there wouldn’t be this sensation of being stretched too thin. Maybe our best is good enough. Perfection is absurd. I definitely am sure on that one.

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Another Betrayed Wife June 25, 2009

Filed under: Husbands,Politics — Wired_Momma @ 3:20 pm

Anyone else keeping tabs on all the politicians, their affairs, the press conferences announcing it and the role of the betrayed wife? For all you loyal KT followers out there – and let me tell you – there are so many of you – you know that I love to observe these antics.

Obviously I am talking about the latest news of Governor Sanford taking off to parts unknown – as it turns out Argentina – because of his affair with a woman. Over the weekend, DH showed an unusual amount of interest in the story of the  MIA Governor. He was so sure it was going to be yet another salacious gay affair. His sudden interest amused me and well – we all knew the dear old conservative Christian Governor was either dead or clearly having an affair with someone. The fact that he left the country and headed to Argentina, where the beaches are amazing and the women gorgeous, truthfully does make it all the more interesting. Certainly something you can almost digest much easier than approaching people in, say, an airport bathroom stall. Or even moving hookers across state lines (I’m still miffed that Spitzer didn’t think our hookers here in DC were good enough for him).

But that’s not what today’s entry is about. It’s about the betrayed wife. We’ve stood there in disbelief and wondered what are they thinking – good ole Hilary, McGreevey’s wife, how about Spitzer’s wife? I mean seriously. Then came Elizabeth Edwards – we all took note that when John went on ABC Primetime in December to disclose the truth behind his affair, Elizabeth wasn’t there. I don’t know about you, but I totally respected her for it. I keep wondering – why should the wife give a crap about the husband’s career and show the voters that if she trusts him, we should, when he can’t keep his pants on? It’s so humiliating…..why stand there?

So Elizabeth stayed away.

And now we see Governor Sanford’s wife was decidedly absent during his odd, rambling, press conference yesterday. In fact, I read that she hasn’t spoken to him in two weeks.

Are we turning the tide here kittens? Are the scored political wives finally standing firm and giving their husbands the big “F You” very publicly by not standing there? I’m really hoping so because in that moment of political disaster for their careers, they ought to be up there alone, facing the cameras. You reap what you sow, boys.

But see – this time – this story is giving me pause beyond just the initial public reaction of the wife. It’s really about the dissolution of the marriage. A KT BFF who might be almost 40, though she doesn’t look a day over 21, a while back commented on how in the 30s, everyone is getting married and having babies. But she’d noticed amongst her 40 year old friends, everyone was divorcing.

This passing comment really stuck with me.

And then I look at Governor Sanford and his beautiful wife and their four boys and I wonder – what the hell is happening to these marriages after so many years? And though I’m not 40 yet, it’s coming a bit faster than I’d like, and so I can’t help but wonder. In particular now that I have two kids, it seems even more complicated, to deal with a divorce than it did after one kid. Everything just is even more intertwined. So how does this happen? Why does it happen? Do people just get bored after almost 20 years together and things die off?

For whatever reason, I am viewing this latest political scandal through a different lens, more sadness, and just wondering why and how the hell do people avoid it.

 

Quiet June 22, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool,Toddler Antics — Wired_Momma @ 8:08 pm

I think the collective sigh of relief must have been heard around the neighborhood today…..summer camp started at DD1’s school.

I know I wasn’t the only relieved looking parent peeling into the parking lot as the clock struck 9am (somehow I have trouble being so on-time for pick-up….)

Never, ever, in my life have I been so thrilled for summer camp. Well, it’s also DD1’s first time attending summer camp. But seeing as how she was sick as a dog and missed the last two weeks of school, she’s basically been home full-time and lacking the structure of school for a month now.

Add in the fact that it’s like freaking Northern Europe except no where as cool and the beer isn’t as good – in that it’s been raining every single day for like this entire past month – and you can see that it is a recipe for bad behavior.

It finally dawned on me on Friday night when we were having dinner with friends (whose rooftop deck includes an amazing view of the Capitol, Library of Congress and Washington Monument…amazing). One friend noted that her 4 year old had been acting so bad lately and she was sure it was because it’s been a while since she’s been in school.

Ahh yes! No wonder the Tasmanian devil has re-entered my home. Of course! Was I so tired and so exhausted and so beaten down that I couldn’t piece this together on my own? I mean, for months, we actually referred to DD1 as “The Taz.”

And trust me, Taz has been back.  And with the return of  The Taz has come the return of the “Rules Chart.”

Anyone else have one of these displayed prominently in their house? Ahh….the joys of being 3. Curious about the rules?

“Obey Mommy and Daddy” tops the list….this seems like a broad-sweeping category that will be conveniently used as a threat, by moi, whenever I can’t think of anything else

“No Whining” comes in a close second. I mean really. Whining sucks. It’s painful.

“Put on your shoes when asked”

“Come to the table when asked”

“Be quiet outside baby’s room”

“Turn off the TV when asked”

Round out the remainder of the list.

Riveting, isn’t it?

Like I said…thank god for camp.

So after DD2 and me dropped off DD1 at camp…..we came home…..had a bottle…..DD2 had a nap…and suddenly I realized….everything is so QUIET.

I felt like I could hear myself think for the first time in a month. I mean seriously. I could finally hear a coherent thought. Never a deep thought but still – I could hear myself think. And we know my thoughts are precious.

Camp lasts every day this week. One full glorious week of daily camp until 1:30pm. I used to think camp was expensive.

Now I think it’s a god send.

 

Emailing at O’Dark Thirty June 17, 2009

Filed under: Baby Sleep,Husbands,Life with 2 kids,Motherhood — Wired_Momma @ 7:15 pm

Look – don’t pretend like you’ve never done this. And if you haven’t, I bet you’ve thought about it. And if you’ve seriously never found yourself in this position – then that annoys me.

Are we all familiar with the enraged email that you bang out – usually to your spouse – at o’dark thirty? When you know that you probably shouldn’t be sending it and you know it definitely isn’t productive – and odds are it might not even be his fault – but really – he’s the one who got you pregnant and it’s therefore it’s his kid that has you up at that time- and he’s not there to help you deal – so really – isn’t it oh so cathartic?

It just  might be oh so wrong.

But it feels just so right.

And frankly – very little feels right at 4am. When you’ve been up for an hour already. And you don’t know when it’ll end but you know the sun comes up around 5:30am, therefore DD1 (who is also the child of said male you are sending threatening emails too, therefore it’s his fault) will be up – so really – your day began at 3am.

So why send the threatening email at o’dark thirty?

Why the hell not. KT might have found herself doing such a thing on Tuesday morning. I was all by my lonesome. This was the second hard night I’d had in a row with DD2, it was absurd that she had been up since 3am.Meanwhile DH was peacefully sawing logs back at home, with nary a care in the world, and an empty house facing him when he arose that morning. He could take his time, slumber around, do whatever the f he wanted before going to work, when he woke up.

But me? Oh hell no.

So is sending the threatening “get your ass to work early so that you can get home at a decent time and give me help or you are dead f’ing meat because I’ve already been up for an hour and it’s f’ing 4am” email a good idea?  I’m thinking YES because it just feels great to bang that out. Now doesn’t it?

Haven’t you done something similar?

I know that I cannot be alone in this, kittens. Fess up.

But see – this brings up another topic. The threat built into the email. Even if you haven’t sent your DH a threatening email at 4am, admit that you’ve sent him a threatening email. And the thing is, I really have found that when they know we really mean it, we finally get some action. Why do they respond to threats or yelling? Cause I know we don’t want to hear threats and yelling coming out of our mouths (well, actually, frankly, threats at 4am when I know he is sleeping elsewhere is exactly what I want to hear).

But seriously.

Example – yesterday DH left his office and got home by 4:30pm.

FOUR THIRTY.

Granted he read that email bright and early and actually went to work at 6am. But still. 4:30. It was like a christmas miracle. And it just teaches me that threats work.

Another example – we bought these beautiful number tiles in Provence in June 2007 (back when we had only one kid and we were in France. Alone. Without her. In other words, the glory days of June 2007).  Now, until 2 weeks ago, do you think those beautiful house tiles, that DH himself picked out, had been hung? Mais non! They had been pushed around and the topic of countless discussions and nagging sessions for TWO YEARS.

Well, I woke up with a real bee in my bonnet that morning and really laid into him. And you know what? Those tiles were hung that very day – he just quietly got to work and got it done (in like an hour, I might add, so if you count up all the time I’ve asked, pleaded, begged, nagged and most recently yelled, I spent more time asking than it took to complete). They look so great and now the front of my house looks how it’s supposed to look – dressed up with numbers from Provence.

So why do they respond to threats and yelling? Why? Why? Why? Cause the truth is, unless it is 4am, I really actually don’t want to do those things.

Yet between coming home at 4:30pm and hanging my French house numbers – you think I’m gonna refrain from a little yell or a threatening email again, when the opportunity presents itself?

Oh hell no.

Am I alone here, kittens?

 

3,2,1….BLAST-OFF June 14, 2009

Filed under: Baby Sleep,Husbands,Life with 2 kids,Motherhood — Wired_Momma @ 1:09 pm

That is how I feel as each day starts, as the sun is barely rising over the horizon……..it’s like we blast-off at mach 10 and there is barely a second to think until 14 hours have passed.

Life with two kids is exhausting.

Let me write that again – this time imagine it in 84 point font in bold – EXHAUSTING.

Lately I hear myself sound like that mom. You know that one that you hear at the park and you’re horrified and think to yourself, I will never bark at my kids like that and be so impatient. You know that one that you are rolling your eyes at in horror.

Remember one of the fight club rules at KT? Whenever you think you won’t be that person or it won’t happen to you – it will and it does – and usually worse than you think.

So clearly I need a break. I think two weeks of sick kids, including an emergency 24 hour hospitalization for DD1 (and yes, of course I was alone with both kids at the docs when we were rushed to the hospital) – hasn’t helped and has in fact, made me raw and beyond the point of exhausted. But still. Wow. This is hard.

At first, I really didn’t think adjusting to two was that big of a deal. Newborns are easy, I thought. And honestly, compared to an insane toddler and when you are doing it the second time around, newborns really are easy (with the exception of colicky babies or an illness). All they do is sleep. Sure they don’t sleep a lot and so you don’t either but that’s nothing new – so it’s not a hard transition.

But then they start to grow up. They sleep less, they regress in sleeping patterns, they learn more about what they want, they whine endlessly between 5-7pm, they become more demanding because well – they are older and wiser.

And your older one is still, well, demanding – because at least mine is 3.5. She’s old enough to assert her independence and want to do everything herself – but that can be very frustrating and time consuming and patience exhausting.

It’s funny – it’s like they play tag with you. DD2 is easy because she eats whatever I put in front of her. With DD1, most meals and even getting her to eat is a battle. An exhausting, draining one. But I won’t back down, she needs to eat and “healthy choices” is a constant phrase around my house.

Then it’s nap time. DD1 goes right to bed. DD2, she fights me and drags it out, then I get her to sleep, then she wakes up literally 45 minutes later and up I go again to get her back down, and so it goes. It’s always something.

Through this, don’t get me wrong. I love love love being home – I never once find myself missing work or feeling like I am missing out or wishing I could put on a suit. I would honestly tell you if I did. And I love our lazy afternoons at the park, watching DD1 and DD2 make each other laugh and giggle, or painting at 11am on a random Tuesday.

But that doesn’t mean I’m not tired to the bone and wondering when things will ease up. Most days I feel steamrolled.

I used to go to the gym at 6am because it was the only time of day I could workout. It still is the only time of day I can workout but now I go to the gym at that time because I need to get the f out of the house and be by myself and have quiet time. It gives me the strength to power through the next few hours.

I was the sleep police with DD1 and I still am with DD2. The reality of naps for the second child is that it revolves around the schedule of the older child. This kinda sucks for the second kid but whatever, if you have an active 3 year old in your house, you know you need to get the hell out and just hope the baby will sleep in the stroller (mine, as it turns out, refuses to do that). The good thing is that morning naps for DD2 are spotty but I’ve forced them both onto the same afternoon nap. Sometimes I do get 2 hours of quiet time at the same time. Not every day – DD2 often wakes up mid-way through her nap and needs help getting back down – but I stand firm. At least this time round, I know that these phases will pass and I remind myself of that over and over again as I am feeling raw and like I’m going to lose it.

Blast-off is really the only way for me to summarize life with a 3.5 year old and a six-month old. I was reading an entry on the Washington Post “On Parenting” blog and it’s what really spurred me to write this entry. The author wrote that when you add a second child to the house, you are adding a whole new set of needs and demands and wants but the number of parent hands stays the same. Indeed. And it means a whole lot more work for daddy, that second child.

DH is very helpful with the kids, I really cannot complain about that, and he can see when I am teetering on the edge and will suggest I get out. But I’ve also really worked hard at actively carving out time for myself on the weekends. I think it’s the key to my survival but also it’s important for him to be alone with them. Not because he doesn’t know how to care for them but because I think it’s important for them to just have daddy time.

At first, DH just had to take over care for DD1. I had a c-section with DD2 and physically couldn’t manage a 3-year old for at least the first three weeks. Before DD2 was born, I was the only one that DD1 wanted (I was the only one she wanted for basically the entire second year of her life. That can get old). The end of my pregnancy really changed that because I also couldn’t carry her upstairs anymore or manage wrestling her onto the potty. So she had to learn to accept daddy in her life. It was a battle. She really was only-mommy, all the time for so long, but I knew I needed to step back for her sake because I knew daddy was the best she could get once DD2 arrived. She eventually relented and realized that daddy was pretty awesome, so it was fine for her that daddy was on full-court press with DD1 with the arrival of DD2.

Now that I have been home for two months, she’s easing back into an only-mommy phase but she’s also older – so you can reason with her or frankly, just ignore it, much easier than you can with a 2-year-old. But daddy’s involvement and participation and help is more crucial than ever. I really have no idea how single moms do it.

So what is my point in all of this? Well, frankly, I just need to blurt it all out because I’m so tired and exhausted and I know it’ll get easier but just blurting it out makes me feel better. My point is also not to scare anyone having a second. Trust me – seeing the siblings laugh together and play together is amazing. It’s amazing like when you have your first and realize what true love is – you remember that feeling? Well, it’s amazing like that.

Everyone has an opinion. Some say the transition from 0-1 is the hardest. Others say the transition from 1-2 is harder because you are already in a routine with the one and it’s a big adjustment. The majority say adding a third isn’t even mentionable once you’ve got two. Right now, I think the transition from 0-1 was the hardest for me because it was just such a shock to my system.  I also know that having a baby and a 3 year old is just hard. It’s universally hard for anyone doing it. They both are so needy and dependent on you, it’s basically unrelenting.

I think the best way to summarize life with two kids is really and truly “BLAST-OFF.”  Strap yourselves in and try to enjoy the ride, kittens.

 

It’s A Little People World June 11, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool — Wired_Momma @ 6:36 pm

There was a time when I would discuss things like celebrity gossip and awesome summer shoes with my BFFs. We would send links. Links to breaking gossip, links to great shoes, links to reviews of new cool restaurants in town.

Now?

Now.

The most recent link I received in a group email with the BFFs was a link to a list of the best parks in the area.

And I got excited about it. I book marked it. Then the next day I loaded the two kids up into the car and drove 25 minutes to one of the parks listed.

I drove.

TWENTY FIVE MINUTES.

Even though I can walk to a park in my hood.

And then I told some other friends at preschool about the link. And about the park I drove too.

And then I realized – this is f’ing pathetic. We are all excited about it. We are all talking about it. And no, it’s not about Angie and Brad or summer espadrilles. I don’t even know what’s going on in those areas anymore. It is parks. WE aren’t cool. This includes you too.

But see, it doesn’t end there. The kinds of things we discuss doesn’t just stop there.

And I am caught up in the visual aspect of one of the things we’ve discussed lately.

See, one KT BFF realized one day that there are lots of people out there who look like Little People. You know, the Fisher Price Little People. Don’t pretend like you haven’t noticed that the guy at the gas station looks remarkably similar to the dude driving your kids  Little People bus.

It’s a Little People world, kittens.

They are EVERYWHERE.

Many even have those same dumb smiles pasted on their faces.

It can make even the mom in the worst mood of all times, laugh, on occasion.

So keep an eye out, and you’ll start spotting them. EVERYWHERE

And in the meantime, just ‘fess up, the links you are sending probably aren’t that cool anymore either.

 

The Minivan Mafia June 1, 2009

Filed under: Motherhood,Preschool — Wired_Momma @ 3:54 pm

I’ve posted before on some of the things I didn’t anticipate about having two kids…..and I can tell you….there is one thing that never even occurred to me and it is the bane of my existence, my least favorite part of the day, the thing I hate the most…..have I made myself clear? Are you curious yet?

Ahh…..what is it, you wonder curiously..

THE PRESCHOOL PARKING LOT.

And Minivans.

SOMEONE KILL ME NOW.

Prior to becoming a mom of two, I never once considered the preschool parking lot. Also – I didn’t go that often because our old nanny would take DD1 and pick her up the majority of the time.

Parking lots are a funny thing. But for some reason, they are inherently social. People love to stand around and gab in them. Teens love to skip school and smoke cigarettes, thinking they are cool, in them.  Some people get lucky in them. Lots of things happen in a parking lot. But a preschool parking lot is a whole different orbit.

And the grand enemy of the preschool parking lot is the mom running late driving a minivan.

And the people that loiter forever.

Why, you ask?

Because the loiterers get there early and are the last to leave…and they hog all the prime spots closest to the front door of the school. And the moms running late in minivans do this – they zip into a spot, don’t care that they are close to the line because their door slides open, and they move on.

So enter the mom who also (perpetually) runs late but drives a four door sedan – and guess what – OH – she cannot park in these spots because the jerks in the minivans didn’t take the time to straighten out.

Why does this matter, you ask?

Because when you have two children, you need to use both doors to get both children out of the car – and if you can’t open the door wide enough on one side to get the absurdly large and heavy infant car seat out – or wide enough to even get your toddler out – then this spot is rendered useless. It is a waste. It is just being horded for some other late mom driving a minivan. It’s almost like the minivan mafia, come to think of it.

Chalk this up as another reason I despise the minivan. (Is it me or are most husband-wife teams split on the issue of the minivan? One parent is pro-minivan and the other is adamantly anti-minivan. You know where KT stands. ANTI. This actually stands as a legit reason to not have a third child, in my head, to avoid the minivan).

OK – so that is part of it.

Then there’s just the reality that it is a total freaking pain in the ass to drag a baby into preschool. That carseat is so heavy, you’ve inevitably woken them from an otherwise quiet and peaceful nap, and as the weeks pass, they quickly get too heavy in the carseat so then you have to get them out of the carseat and carry them in, while holding the toddler’s hand and carrying her schoolbag and lunch, while making sure you are keeping your eye out for moving vehicles that you can be sure your toddler isn’t really paying attention too.

It really isn’t pleasant or awesome. I am sure there are easier ways to do it (arriving on time could be one but that is too hard). And you better believe that after many very sleep deprived nights, I almost left a few ranting nasty notes on the windshields of those minivans barking at them to move the F*ck over and learn how to park straight so the rest of us can park next to them instead of 10 miles from the front door of the school, thank you very much. And kiss my white ass while I’m at it.

I haven’t.

But man have I been close. REAL close.

I know there are people out there who feel my pain. And if you don’t have two kids yet and one in preschool – then your time will come and I’ve warned you. And if you happen to be driving a minivan by the time this happens to you, park straight in the spot, will ya? If you join the Minivan Mafia I will cut you off.