Disney Girl

We took Charlotte to Disneyland on Friday. We told her she we’d take her when she’s consistently pooping on the potty, which hasn’t happened, but we had an opportunity to go and we really needed some family fun so we went.

We didn’t tell her we were going. She thought we were going to hang out with Catch at work. She was completely oblivious until right here:

We had the most awesome day. It wasn’t without its challenges, but she was SO happy. Even when it was pouring rain and there were adults screaming like morons because of thunder and lightning, she took it all in stride.

Her favorite parts of the day were the following:

Teacups

Meeting any character we could find:

The parade

And seeing the Frozen stage show, where she did not move a single muscle for 45 solid minutes:

I hope the Disney magic never gets old for her. I’ve always loved Disneyland, but doing it with her made it a thousand times more magical.

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{Insert head exploding emoji here}

Charlotte was sent home from school today right on the heels of an extended absence due to hand foot mouth. We literally dropped off her “return to school” note in the office this morning at 9.

I got the call around 11. “She has these red blotches all over her back,” I was told.

Now, this kid is as white as white kids come. She is so fair skinned and sensitive that red marks on her body are not uncommon and are generally temporary. I asked if she’d been roughhousing or playing in grass, but the office had no idea. They just wanted me to come get her.

Ok fine. I go to school and when I arrive, she’s still playing with her class. So they’re so concerned about these blotches that I have to drop everything to pick her up but not concerned enough that it warrants separating her from the other kids?

As we walked out, I told her she had to go home because she has red marks on her back. She said, “That’s because (boy kid) bit me on my back.” I asked her to point to where she was bit and she blindly pointed exactly to a red spot. I looked in the sunlight and could clearly see that these so-called blotches were actually scratches and a bite.

.

I marched her back to the teacher, who argued with me and said it must be an allergy.

Um….?

I left with my kid because I was on the verge of losing my shit in a room full of 3 year olds.

These photos were taken as soon as we walked through our front door. Be honest with me… what would you make of them? I’m not really capable of being objective because every minute she isn’t at school is a minute I have to stay up after bedtime to get my schoolwork done.

Hand Foot & Mouth

I’m sitting here enjoying a few quiet moments alone with my coffee before Charlotte wakes up, because once the hurricane is awake, I won’t get a second to myself until Catch gets home from work.

We got a letter from preschool the other day that hand foot and mouth disease had made an appearance in her class. When she woke up yesterday, her face was sort of splotchy, but mostly around her forehead area. I wasn’t really sure what to make of it, because she has a legit mosquito bite on her cheek and it could have just been a reaction to the bite. Still, I figured I’d better check to be sure there were no signs of HFM hiding anywhere else. Sure enough, she had a big blister on the inside of her lower lip. I may have cursed.

She feels absolutely fine, which is the real kicker here. She’s not acting sick and she’s not uncomfortable. She has no other symptoms. Even so, it appears that I’m stuck at home with her for a few days, which is hard because school is kicking my ass. I love the convenience of taking classes online, but man is it a lot of work. I’ve been spending roughly 3-4 hours a day working on my own school stuff while C is at school, and not having those 3-4 hours during the day means I have to make up for it after C goes to bed.

We had a fun day yesterday, though. I didn’t want to take her anywhere crowded where she could spread her germs, so we went to the movies with some free tickets we’ve had lying around for ages. It was perfect because there were only 2 other people in the theater.  About halfway through Smallfoot, she got up and said, “I’d like to go home now, please.” I was kind of bummed because I was into the movie at that point, but she was so polite about letting me know she was done that I wasn’t going to argue.

At home, we baked a chocolate cake together, which was easily the highlight of her day. When Catch got home around 4, she ran out the front door yelling, “WE MADE CHOCOLATE CAKE BUT WE HAVE TO EAT DINNER FIRST!” Then she ran inside and demanded dinner since Little Mama was home. Nice try, kiddo.

I have no idea what I’m going to do with her today. Maybe a trip to the dog park with Snickers and a ride around the block on her big girl bike. This kid is just not meant to be home all day. It never ends well. She’s like an angry caged animal when we’re home for too long.

Since I really haven’t shared anything of importance with you this morning, I’ll leave you with a few pictures from our trip to the farm the other day. Can you believe how big this kid is getting? Her legs are like ten miles long.

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Diet Trigger

A few months ago, Catch and I decided that we needed to lose some weight. She was having some health issues that are worsened by weight, and I was just hating my body. We agreed to try the keto diet to see how it worked for us.

Spoiler: she is doing AMAZING. I am not.

The first few weeks were hard for me, but I got through them. I lost a few pounds. I should have been happy, but I wasn’t. I was miserable without carbs and I was totally consumed by my misery. It was not making me a great person to be around.

At some point, I gave up. Since then, it has been like a carb fest around here when Catch isn’t home. I’ve been pretty out of control, although now I’m trying to be more aware that I am not ten years old and I don’t have to hoard carbs to eat in secret when my mom isn’t home. (More on that in a bit.)

Catch continues to do great. Last weekend, her parents were here and she and her mom talked quite a bit about the keto program. Catch was talking so excitedly about how well it’s working and every time the subject arose, I started to feel an old familiar guilt/anxiety/anger bubble up inside of me. I should be happy because my wife is happy. I should be supporting her. Instead, I’d find myself wanting to leave the room so I didn’t have to hear about it. It was massively triggering—particularly the mother/daughter angle—and I hate that.

I know that the roots of these feelings I’m having are deep and twisted. I have had food issues my entire life. I was always a chubby little girl, and my mom was obsessed with my weight. My two best friends in PRESCHOOL had a little song they sang to me that I can still remember to this day, “Chubby chubby cheeks today.” I was teased mercilessly in school—just seeing the names of some of those bullies pop up on Facebook is enough to trigger that old shame. I actually declined a friend request from my best friend in middle school because she was friends with the bullies and I didn’t want to invite those assholes into my life in any way. Even my Girl Scout troop leaders made comments about my weight. (Shocking that I quit, eh?)

I saw a nutritionist in grade school. I went to two different “fat camps” as an adolescent. I was on Weight Watchers around age 12. Jenny Craig was in there somewhere as well, although I can’t recall how old I was. Everything was fat free or sugar free. (Hello, 80s/90s!) When I lost weight, my mom would shower me with new clothes and praise. When I inevitably gained the weight back again, she would say things like, “Maybe we could actually find you some cute clothes if you would lose some weight.”

I had no self confidence. None. For decades I felt like I had to apologize for my very existence. I was convinced that no one would ever love me unless I was thin. I never felt like I was good enough for anyone.

There have been periods of time when I was happy to be losing weight and had no issues with it. I lost 50 pounds when we were going through fertility stuff, and I was doing great. I had no issues with it because my RE told me I needed to lose weight to have a baby and I wanted that dang baby SO. BAD. I would have done anything for my baby. I was like a rabbit on a treadmill chasing the carrot on a fishing line.

Today, I just don’t want to diet. I don’t want to hate my body. I don’t want to see pictures of myself and cringe. I just want to be able to sit here and accept who I am and where I am right now. I am so fucking tired of this narrative that runs through my head every time I look in the mirror.

I have so much going on right now, and it feels like keto was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I had no idea it was going to open the flood gates of childhood trauma, but it did and there’s no going back. I need to find a way to deal with it now. Preferably a way that doesn’t involve hiding boxes of pop tarts behind the almond flour and flax in the pantry.

(Catch, if you’re reading this please know that I support you 1000000% in whatever you do. Always. My issues are not your issues.)

 

 

Identity Crisis

Hi, remember me? No? Well, that’s cool because I don’t either.

Who am I these days?

I honestly have no idea what to make of myself anymore. Here are a few highlights:

  • Charlotte’s teacher asked me to be room mom. I am a room parent. I never even thought to apply to be a room parent (yes, the PTA takes applications) because I assumed that the prerequisites included being ombre hair color and a black Range Rover. It turns out that you can just be the lesbian mom who shows up to back to school night wearing a feminist t-shirt as long as you don’t mind being glared at by the Christian singer/dancer mom in the class!
  • I am just starting my 4th week of classes. For the moment, I’m a straight A student. We’ll see how long it lasts. My guess is Wednesday because this shit is exhausting. Also, based on the pop tarts and potato chips I’ve eaten today, I seem to be set on eating like a college student. Is there such a thing as the freshman 15 when you’re 37, fully capable of buying and cooking real food, and are actually a sophomore? I should probably stop writing and go eat something green.
  • I took up cross stitch and I freaking love it.
  • My house is an absolute disaster. It turns out that being a stay at home parent does not automatically transform you into June Cleaver. Bummer.
  • For the first time in years, I have time to go to the gym. I still don’t go to the gym. I don’t have an excuse. I just don’t want to go to the gym. Lesson learned.
  • The people who hang out at the dog park on weekdays mid-morning are certifiably insane. Oh wait… I’m one of them. Seriously though—talk about a bunch of uptight weirdos. Did you know that my dog shouldn’t bark AT THE DOG PARK? She barks when she plays. It’s a happy bark. She’s not being mean. She’s just being loud. If you don’t like the sound of barking dogs, maybe don’t go to the DOG park. If a dog can’t bark at the freaking dog park, where can she bark? Also, my dog is too big for the small dog park, too small for the large dog park, and too butt-sniffy for the timid dog park, which leaves us… nowhere. We don’t belong anywhere. Story of my life.
  • I reduced my dose of Zoloft after discussing the side effects I was experiencing with my doctor. It’s been over a month, and I’m not convinced that it was a good move, but I’m finding it really hard to decide. Am I just feeling off because everything in my life is so different right now? Or is everything in my life feeling so different because I lowered my dose? How the heck are you supposed to figure this out?
  • My kid accidentally took a HUGE swig of vodka from a water bottle while we were camping. (I didn’t want to bring glass down to the river!) It traumatized her. Now every time I’m drinking a glass of water, she asks me very suspiciously if it’s “vod-a-ka.” I swear I do not ever drink water glasses full of vodka.
  • I lost my kid at the mall. Like, LOST her. For 20 minutes. The police were even called. It was the most terrifying experience of my life, and I honestly don’t think I’ll ever recover fully. Charlotte is still processing the experience, too, but it was more like a grand adventure for her (she even shoplifted lotion!). This morning, she put on the shirt she was wearing when she got lost, and I almost fell apart. So if you see a bleary-eyed mom googling “GPS trackers for kids,” you should totally wave. I’ll invite you to sit down for coffee and tell you everything I’ve learned about monitoring your preschooler’s every move via foreign satellite. OK, not really. But kinda.

So… what’s new with you? Anyone else having an identity crisis of sorts these days?

Space (I need Some)

Charlotte’s school closes for two weeks between the end of summer camp and the beginning of “school.” I mean, this is preschool, so it seems a bit ridiculous, but whatever. It gives the teachers a break and gives the school a chance to do some uninterrupted maintenance and repairs. (Last year, the break involved some major parking lot work, a new entry gate and all new flooring–I guess I can suck it up and give them 2 weeks for that.)

Anyway, point being that I knew I had these two weeks on my own with the kiddo and I was really looking forward to it. I had planned to take her all over the place. The beach, the Getty, the Skirball has a Jim Henson exhibit, the zoo… you name it and we were going to do it.

The last day of school before break, I was at a funeral and my dad picked up the kiddo. He was informed that she has a cough. The cough turned into a fever, and we made a trip to the pediatrician. Blazing ear infection. (“Ow wow–yeah, there’s a lot of pus in there.”) Suspected pneumonia. (Crackling in her chest–we didn’t confirm with x-rays because the doc said the antibiotics would be the same as for the ear infection, so we’d just go ahead and kill 2 birds with one stone.) We headed home to drug her and get her some rest. I expected we’d spend the week at home and still be able to have some fun this week.

Wrong.

Saturday was my nana’s funeral (2 funerals in 1 week–it’s been a long month.) She seemed fine. The fever was down. The cough was improving. Still, it was a long, nap-less day. Probably too much for her.

Cut to the 103.5 fever and the second trip to the pediatrician. This time we even did the chest x-rays because the doctor said she didn’t like the way Charlotte’s breathing sounded. We left with clear x-rays, a nebulizer and instructions that if she still has the fever on Friday, we need to come back.

Now we’ve spent another week (mostly) at home. We’re both going stir crazy.

Charlotte is still not herself. The fever comes and goes–it’s really weird. She is pale with dark circles around her eyes. She hasn’t been eating, and all of a sudden she’s so skinny. I am shoving her favorite foods at her at every turn, but it’s still been hit or miss.

Basically, I’ve spent the last 2 weeks with a whiny, grouchy, clingy 3 year old attached to me. I am so over it. She wants nothing to do with anyone but me. It’s causing all kinds of tension and hurt feelings. It’s just out of control. I am sick to death of being the preferred parent and Catch is beside herself that she isn’t the preferred parent. I have spent MAYBE 6 total hours in my own bed since all of this started. I miss my bed. I miss my wife. I miss having ANY time to myself. (Miraculously, I got her to nap and was able to sneak out today–usually I’m stuck there with her and if I try to move she wakes and screams, “SNUGGLE ME!!!!”)

In the midst of all of this, I have applied and been accepted into a communications program, submitted all of the financial aid paperwork, met with an academic advisor, and registered for the classes that start next week. I also managed to put together a 15 minute video slideshow for my nana’s service.

I really need a break. A night away with my wife. A bottle of wine. Adult conversation. A chance to deal with moving my old 401k into an IRA. This kid needs to get healthy FAST. Big Mama is done.

 

 

What’s New?

I wish I could find the words to adequately explain this new “stay at home mom” life I have going here. It’s bizarre. I can’t quite get a handle on this lifestyle. I’m really not very good at it, and yet, I wasn’t very good at working full time and having a family, either.

Charlotte goes to school, and once she’s fed, dressed and secured in her classroom, I have the rest of the day to… what, exactly? Yesterday I spent NINETY MINUTES folding and putting away the mountain of laundry that had taken over our guest room bed. I work on the irrigation system in our yard. I do the shopping and run the errands. I tidy the kitchen. Load and unload the dishwasher. It’s so… mindless. Numbing. Strangely anxiety-inducing.

Our house is still a mess. I’m not perfectly coiffed and waiting for my wife with her gin when she gets home from work at the end of the day. The beds aren’t made. The floor is covered in bits of paper and hair clips that the dog chewed up while we were gone last night. Charlotte’s dirty pajamas are on the floor in the den next to the bottle of sunscreen I really need to pick up before the dog eats it.

Honestly, I suck at this. It does not suit me.

Soon, I’ll be working part time for my mom while taking classes full time. I meet with my advisor on Monday morning, and hope to dog we can figure out the financial stuff because this shit is $$$$$. I’m trying to focus on the positives–like them giving me 32 units of transfer credits for my past coursework, which is about 20 more than I thought I would get.

Today, I fight with my former employer because our dental and vision benefits were cancelled in May despite two years of family coverage being a part of my separation agreement. The dog chewed my glasses last night, so I could REALLY use those vision benefits right now. It would also be great if Charlotte’s dentist’s office wasn’t calling us repeatedly because the claim for her visit a few weeks ago was denied. I’m seeing red.

Next on the agenda is lunch with my mom and her friends before we all attend the funeral for this incredible lady. I’ve known Jennifer since I was a little girl. When I was young, she told me that she and I were members of the exclusive SOC Club. SOC = spoiled only children. She ended up working in my office for a few months before I quit, and it was so nice to reconnect and share with her that I’m raising the newest member of the SOC Club. She sang the Ave Maria at my grandmother’s funeral years ago. She died alone at home. Police found her when she hadn’t shown up for work for several days. She was a wonderful, generous woman, and her presence will be missed.

Catch and I are trying to stick to the Keto diet. It sucks and I hate it, but I need to do it. I’m tired of feeling like crap and I know that carbs and my PCOS do not play nicely with each other. We’ve only been at it for a few weeks and there’s a learning curve, but I’m finding it reasonably easy to stick with the program no matter where I am as long as I find creative ways of keeping myself from feeling crazed with cravings for sweet things. I’m mostly managing by keeping extremely dark chocolate on hand. Alcohol is another downfall, but I’m not giving up wine. I don’t drink all that often, but when I want a glass of wine, I want a damn glass of wine.

Overall, I’m just feeling sort of blah these days. Not bad, just… here. Trying to find my way again. Apparently, you can take the girl out of corporate America, but you can’t take the corporate America out of the girl. Not easily, anyway. Especially not after 18 years.

 

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I have so much to say, but not enough desire to actually write about it all. I’m going to try to at least start, though.

My nana died just over a week ago. She was my last remaining grandparent. The one my daughter is named for. I’m devastated.

I didn’t see her as often as I should have, which is why it feels weird to say that I feel her absence intensely. Nana was unstoppable… she was a force. It felt like she’d be here forever. Everything just feels off now.

Charlotte is thoroughly confused about the concept of death. She will frequently inform people that Nana “dived,” which doesn’t exactly solicit the expected response.

Enter, the four legged distraction.

After Rolo died, we submitted an application with the local basset rescue and were approved. They asked us what we were looking for. We gave the following criteria:

  • Male
  • Senior (9+)
  • Mellow
  • Gentle
  • Doesn’t require much training
  • Submissive
  • Kid-friendly
  • So you can imagine the surprise of the rescue folks when we suddenly expressed an interest in Honey Bunny:
    • Female
      Young (2)
      Hyper as hell
      Steals all food within reach before you can even see her coming
      Chews everything
      Needs tons of training

    They basically said we’re crazy and this dog is not a good fit for our family, to which we replied, “Hold my beer.”

    That is how we found ourselves sitting in 2 hours of Saturday afternoon traffic just to drive the 30 miles to meet Honey Bunny. Then we had to pay $7 to park AT A DOG PARK. I mean seriously. Give me a break, SoCal.

    Look, I won’t lie–this little girl is a bit of work. Her life motto is, “if it fits, I chew.” Yesterday I was filling a laundry basket when I heard Catch screaming bloody murder. “NO! OH MY GOD NO!!!!” I ran in there expecting to see the dog dripping in battery acid or something, but what I found was a dog with a punctured can of Tecate (beer someone left in our cooler at a softball game) in her jaws while beer sprayed everywhere in our den. It was a laugh or cry situation. I laughed hysterically.

    BUT, this dog is totally in love with our kid. She is an absolute love bug. She goes belly up the second you lock eyes with her. She cuddles like a pro. She is so soft and squishy–I can hardly stop myself from smooshing her excess neck skin around. And her ears… they are fantastic. So long that Charlotte ran over one of them with her tricycle the other day.

    So, without further ado, meet Snickers:(Honey Bunny wasn’t working for us!)

    We are pretty smitten with this little troublemaker.

    Other news I’ll write about later:

    • Charlotte turned 3!
    • We “celebrated” our 10th wedding anniversary yesterday
  • I hope you’re all doing well. ❤️
  • Ditching the Kiddo

    Catch and I are in Vegas right now in an upgraded suite with a jacuzzi tub.

    Pre-Charlotte, I really wasn’t a fan of Vegas. I honestly find the strip to be pretty depressing. I hate the smoke-filled maze of dark hotel casinos that haven’t seen the light of day since they opened.

    The last time I was here was for a marketing conference several years ago, and after 2 nights, I was clawing at the walls wanting to escape. Unfortunately, I was stuck for 5 nights, and 5 nights in Vegas is just way too many nights for me. Or at least, it WAS.

    This time, we’re here because Catch had a conference to attend. That means I’m in this giant room with hours of free time to do anything I want. Mostly that involves sitting in the jacuzzi tub, giving myself a pedicure, knitting, reading, and staring blankly at Facebook.

    Last night, we enjoyed a sampling of wines and cheeses at a wine bar and then caught a showing of Ka because the conference was offering discounted tickets. (Definitely my least favorite Cirque show by far–I love Cirque du Soleil, but was really not a fan of this one.) On the way there, we enjoyed some obnoxious banter with a cab driver who was incredibly displeased that we were paying with a credit card because no one ever tips. He made a point of letting us know that cab drivers get to see all of the shows for free, and when asked what his favorite show is, he responded, “Zombie Burlesque… because boobs.” We are assuming based on his thoroughly enjoyable personality, greasy, unkempt hair, and the body odor of the cab that he returned to his mother’s basement to play dungeons and dragons shortly after he dropped us off. I tipped him 30%. Honestly, 15 minutes in a cab with him was more entertaining than Ka.

    At lunch today, I met Catch in the casino after her session, randomly won $80 on a wheel of fortune slot, and then we grabbed some cocktails by the pool and laughed at @pleasehatethesethings on Instagram for a bit. In a little while, I’ll head down to the pool and Catch and her work bestie will meet up with me for a late afternoon swim and (more) cocktails. (When in Vegas…)

    In the meantime, Charlotte has been at my in-laws’ house since Monday and she is seriously having the time of her life. Apparently, she asked my FIL if she could stay at their house forever. They’ve been to the beach twice, a children’s museum, spent countless hours at the pool, and she’s been driving her power wheels jeep all over their property. She basically doesn’t give a rat’s ass that we’re gone, and as much as we miss her, we are THRILLED (and relieved) that she’s so freaking happy without us.

    I feel like I have so much to tell you about, but the pool is calling to me. Or maybe a nap. Heck, maybe a nap by the pool.

    We leave tomorrow and I’m 99% certain that it’s the first time I’ve ever been disappointed to leave Vegas behind.

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    Privilege

    If you follow me on social media, it’s probably no surprise that while we were in Colorado, we started thinking very seriously about moving there. Why? Because we feel like we’d be able to give our daughter a better life in Colorado.

    We are so lucky to be able to take stock of our current situation and say, “You know what? This isn’t what we want for our kid. Let’s change it.”

    There are so, so many families with children crossing the border into the U.S. right now and they are desperately trying to do exactly what Catch and I are sitting here casually contemplating. They just want a better life for their families. Except for them, it’s a matter of life or death. For us, it’s a damn luxury.

    And that right there is privilege. An abundance of it.

    You know what else is a privilege? Knowing where my kid is.

    I can’t even fathom how that isn’t a basic human right, but it’s not. This administration has made knowing where your child is a privilege afforded to only those of us who are lucky enough to have a social security card. (White skin probably helps, too.)

    I am so ashamed of my country’s leadership right now. (If you can even call it that.) The actions of this administration are unconscionable.

    “Liberty and justice for all” should not require a disclaimer.