Pink is the new Blue?

My 2 year old son is in love with Dora the Explorer. He asks to watch it every morning. He sings, he dances and he has even said some words in Spanish when his beloved Dora has asked him for help on her adventure of the morning.

Last Saturday, while Caylie was home with her dad and her goopy eye, Chase (who’s eye was not yet goopy) and I went grocery shopping. On the kids’ list: shampoo and pull-ups. So, of course, when in the shampoo aisle, Chase sees the bottle with Dora on it and must have it. Okay, I’m cool with my kids smelling like cherry blossoms. In the cart it goes. We finally get to the diaper aisle and I reach for the Pamper’s Easy-Ups box that I have a coupon for. The “boy” diaper box. The blue ones with Diego, Dora’s animal-loving cousin, on the diapers. When Chase sees the box I’m putting in the cart, he yells, “No! I want Dora!” And points to the “girl” box of diapers. The pink ones depicting Dora sliding down rainbows and dancing in a field of flowers. “You want these?,” I ask as I pick up the pink box of diapers. “Dora! Dora! I want Dora!,” my little man screams. “Okay, but they’re pink. Is that okay with you?” “Uh-huh. Okay!” Well, okay then. I guess I’m cool with my son wearing pink diapers.

So we came home with a 54 count of pink Easy-Ups for my potty-training son. Chase immediately wanted to show daddy his cool new diapers. And there I was in the kitchen, laughing silently as I opened the box and handed Chase a diaper. I heard Chase run into the living room with his prize, saying, “Daddy, look, Dora!” And I heard my husband pause and say “Wow! Look at that nice pink diaper! Is that a rainbow on the front?” I looked at Mike and laughed. But I was also proud of my ex-Army, sometimes-too-macho husband for going with the flow.

On Wednesday, when the antibiotics the kids have been on had rid them of their goopy eyes and double ear infections, we had a play date with a friend. The big kids decided to have  a fashion show. So Caylie dressed in her Cinderella dress, complete with her princess kitten-heel shoes, her friend EJ dressed up as a rainbow princess with red heels, and Chase put on Caylie’s sparkly white tulle dress and a purple Dora hat. The kids pranced around the playroom for us moms and laughed and had a good time.

When the play date was ending, Chase fell asleep in my arms and we settled in on the couch. Mike came home to find the 3 of us asleep on the couch. His wife and his 2 little princesses. And while he shook his head at his son’s sparkly white dress, I thought, who doesn’t like to dress up and have fun? And why does everything marketed with Dora on it have to be just for little girls? Boys like adventures too. And sidekicks who are monkeys with red boots.

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I dub thee, Germuary!

Winter in Maine is oh so much fun. We have sledding, snow tubing, snowshoeing, skiing, ice skating, and the polar dip on New Year’s Day if you are crazy enough to brave the freezing cold ocean water in January. But I never do any of these things because I have kids and its January. Which means? Everyone is sick and we will be coughing and sneezing and suffering from cabin fever long before February rolls along. (Oh, and did I mention that its cold here?)

On Friday night, just as my husband was pulling into the driveway to start his weekend, I noticed that Caylie’s eye was red and oozing. Oh joy! Pink eye!! My favorite. Let’s spend the weekend with a highly contagious bacterial infection! Yay! So I called the pediatrician and they called a prescription into our pharmacy for us. Because the charge for an office visit isn’t worth having a kid with pink eye in the waiting room, is it? Oh no. They know what they’re doing!

My poor little girl, who has been coughing the last few days and dutifully wearing an eye patch over her strong eye to help her lazy eye get stronger, now has a yucky, scratchy, goopy eye to boot. And putting drops in a 4 year old’s eyes every 3 hours is deserving of a medal! Lucky for me, she is so exhausted that she actually lay on the couch and let me put the drops in this morning. Wow. She must really be feeling like crap to not even put up a fight. All weekend, Mike has had to hold her like a little baby, with her arms pinned, for me to even attempt to get close to her with the eye dropper.

I’m still holding out for that Rent-A-Mom as I’m still feeling sick. My body kicked the ear infection, but I’m just as coughy and congested as ever. I’ve been wiped out physically and almost wept with relief when the weekend arrived so that I could take it a little easier. Chase seemed to be (finally!!) over his sinus infection and cough, so I had visions of a possibly healthy week on the horizon. And then the pink eye reared its ugly, goopy, head. Our entire household has been washing hands constantly. All the towels are being replaced daily, as are the pillow cases on our beds. And I have 3 loads of laundry on my bed, ready for me to sort, to prove it. Last night after dinner, I had a rare burst of energy and cleaned my house from top to bottom, disinfecting all surfaces. Caylie’s eye was looking better and after more than 24 hours on the drops, was no longer contagious.

I woke up this morning with hope. And was met with a hug from my son… who has a goopy, red eye. Caylie’s temp is up to 101˚ and has spent the morning laying listlessly on the couch. The pediatrician’s office had me on hold for 20 minutes and just when I was convinced that the office was closed, the receptionist came on and took down my number so a nurse can call me back. That was 45 minutes ago.

I should have known it would be this way. I mean, it is Germuary, after all. And my husband’s maniacal, and slightly hysterical laughter as he ran out the door to work this morning should have been a dead give away. Cause its -2˚ outside. And Mike HATES to run in the cold!

Is It Morning Again Already?

“Mom?” Pause. “Mom! Mommy!” “Mama!,” a higher voice pitches in. “MOOOOOOM!”

“Whaaaa?”

“I’m hungry.” “More Dora!,” screams the little one.

And so starts my day.

I’ve never been a morning person. Even when forced by the Navy to get up at 4:30 am to go workout in a dark field somewhere, I have never gotten used to it. Yes, my mornings start waaaaaay earlier than they ever did before I had kids (except when I was in the Navy!), and if I get to sleep until 8 am (or even 7:30 am), I consider that sleeping in. But no matter what time I am woken from my comfortable slumber in my nice warm bed, I am completely out of it. My brain just doesn’t work until the afternoon is approaching.

Since my husband leaves for work at 6:30 am, he usually puts on Netflix streaming and starts an episode of Dora the Explorer before he leaves. This gives me exactly 24 minutes more to sleep in the morning. Because the second my kids aren’t being entertained, they come a knock, knock, knocking on my bedroom door. Or more accurately, standing at the kiddie gate we have blocking access to our bedroom, yelling my name and demanding unreasonable things, like, say, breakfast and adult supervision.

A kiddie gate, you say? Let me enlighten you. My daughter is a horrible sleeper. Yes, she is 4. But this means nothing, apparently. She has never been a good sleeper. And since she loves nothing more than company at all times, whenever she wakes up, she wants us to wake up too. Usually this comes in the form of her creeping silently into your dark bedroom and then standing next to the bed, breathing on you until you wake up with a little face only inches from your own. Terrifying, you say? Oh yeah. Caylie learned really fast to stand on daddy’s side of the bed because when mommy wakes up startled, she flails her arms around and screams like she’s trying out for a bad horror movie. And since my husband was getting startled awake multiple times a night by our little insomniac, he put up a gate so we can rest easy that no one will be breathing on our faces at night except each other.

So I shuffle out of bed each morning, and like a zombie in search of paramedics, go straight for the coffee pot. It’s decaf these days, but habits are hard to break. Breakfast gets made for my shiny, happy, morning people and I exist in a fog while my hyped up children dance around the kitchen eating breakfast. And maybe in a few hours my brain will actually wake up. What was the point of this blog, you ask? How should I know; it’s only 9 o’clock in the morning!

Rent-A-Mom

When I was newly out of college, single, and living alone, I devised a brilliant new business idea: the Rent-A-Mom. The idea came to me one day while I was home sick from work. Laying sick on my couch with a bucket, no crackers or Ginger Ale in my house, I thought, “I really need my mom”. Too bad my mom lived 7 hours and a few states away. Enter the idea of Rent-A-Mom. Much like Rent-A-Maid, you’d call a local number, and your Mom would show up, make you broth, set you up with a TV tray filled with Saltines and flat Ginger Ale, wipe your sweaty brow, clean your dirty sickbed clothes, rinse out your bucket and tuck you in a warm blanket before leaving. Doesn’t that just sound divine? Never again would you be sick and alone with no one to care for you.

Now I’m a mom. And I’m sick. But my mom still lives 7 hours and a few states away. My husband is at work. It is almost lunchtime, and all I’ve managed to do today is make the kids breakfast and get them dressed. I had plans to go grocery shopping this morning since I’ll be gone all day tomorrow for a prior commitment. But after ten minutes of trying to corral the kids and get them dressed, I noticed it was snowing. And the thought of getting them into snowpants and boots in addition to the jackets, hats and gloves just pushed me over the edge of exhaustion. Not to mention the fact that after giving birth to 2 kids, my bladder isn’t what it used to be. One coughing fit in public will probably cause me to pee my pants just a little. So snow, 2 kids, sickness and possible wet undies all in order to spare my husband a grocery shopping trip tomorrow morning alone with the kids? No way. Sorry hubby, but you’re out of luck.

I’m sitting here, with a potty next to my desk because Chase is on week one of potty training. Caylie is running around in her new glasses and keeps pulling off her eye patch that she needs to wear 6 hours a day. Chase is running around with no pants. So I am, in essence, literally chasing after my kids today to keep an eye patch in place, and all bodily functions in a potty. I could really use that Rent-A-Mom right about now. Forget about stocking me up with food , clean clothes and a warm blanket. I just want to lay down.

Blinded by Love

I am currently feeling like I have totally failed my daughter as a mother. I know this is irrational, but it’s how I’m feeling, so there you go.

We just got back from the eye doctor. My 4 year old daughter had a check up because my husband and I noticed over the last 2 months that her left eye seems to be a little “lazy” when she’s tired. So we took the first appointment we could get with the eye doctor. The lazy eye was freaking me out because we’ve never seen an inkling of abnormality with her eyes until just recently. I mean, would you get freaked out if your child suddenly developed a lazy eye? My drama-queenness hasn’t helped the situation either because all I kept thinking about was how, “oh great, my kid is going to be the nose-picking, googly-eyed kid the other ones pick on and how can I help keep her from becoming a social pariah?”.

I mean, we all want the best for our kids. And suddenly I feel like its my job to make sure she has friends and confidence in herself when I know those are things she needs to find for herself. Can you imagine if your parents had tried to help you make friends? I would’ve died of mortification. So I can’t do that to my daughter.

The eye doctor informed us that my daughter is “extremely farsighted”. And her lazy eye has developed because of intense strain she’s been putting on her eyes when trying to focus on things that are right in front of her. My feeling of failure stems from this question: how did I miss this? Why did I not put two and two together over the last 4 years? When she was being clumsy, not showing interest in learning letters or writing, making up stories instead of telling me about the pictures in the books we read together, when I’d ask her to pick something specific up off the floor and she’d act like, um, she COULDN”T SEE IT!! Why didn’t that alarm bell go off in my head during any of these incidents? And here I was, all this time, getting frustrated with my poor, vision-impaired child because I thought she was just being clumsy and difficult. Now I’m sitting here feeling like a jerk. A jerk who should have paid more attention to these warning signs and could have prevented her daughter from developing a lazy eye.

My only answer to myself with all these questions I have is that I didn’t want to see that something was actually wrong. I never thought my daughter could have an actual impairment beyond an attitude problem with her mother. Maybe I’ve just been seeing what I wanted to see, a perfectly healthy, spirited child whose creativity kept her from wanting to follow someone else’s directions. And now I’m hoping she’ll still be all those things, just with glasses.