Monday, July 26, 2010

They’re just not that into me


Well, I finally heard back from a job I was interested in. Let me clarify: I didn’t hear back. I stalked their office line dumping my story on the first poor soul who answered the line and was told what I think I figured out weeks ago. If they were interested in me, they would have called, they’ve started and almost finished filling the positions I applied for, and that email they went to the trouble to send saying I would hear from them by phone or email soon was, well, not true. Plus, they haven’t taken the jobs off their site to show they have been filled because then they wouldn’t get calls from girls like me, and who doesn’t want to hear from me? I did have the privilege of leaving another message for HR, a different woman than the first two who never returned my calls, just to verify that my resume is somewhere in a shred pile. I was told to leave a voicemail, but she’s a very busy lady. Apparently it’s busy work hiring people who aren’t me.

I’m not upset about being passed over for the job. Honestly, I was qualified. You could compare everything they asked for with my resume and I fit the bill completely. However, I’m sure about a thousand more applicants did as well. My issue is with the lack of any kind of follow up. I get it; if 10,000 people apply for a job, all of them will not be called and told they’re not needed. However, when you send communication over a two to three month period that says you will hear back, that’s another story. I have emails that say I will be contacted. If you’re going to go to the trouble to send an email, here’s one I’d like to see:

Dear Applicant:

We will contact you by phone or email if we are remotely interested in your skills. For the rest of you, if we don’t contact you by such and such date, you are never going to hear from us. Your resume has been shredded. You are either under or over qualified, don’t have exactly what we want, or the font on your resume gave us nausea. Better luck next time.

Sincerely,
HR

It’s honest. I could so get on board for a company like that. The band aid rip pain that would occur from such an email and never being contacted again would be so much quicker than the months of false hope offered by one line that was never meant to be taken literally. “We’ll call you…yeah right.”

The good news is this didn’t ruin my day. It actually didn’t even interfere with five minutes of my day unless you include the time I spent calling, being rejected, and leaving a voicemail. I think I’m growing a little, even slowly. I read a quote somewhere about God punishing us by giving us what we pray for. I’ll try to find it because it’s much more eloquent than my short version, but it basically says that if God really wants to punish you, He’ll give you what you think you want instead of what He has planned. This must not have been part of the plan. I’ve been blessed by unanswered prayers before, or prayers that were answered with a resounding no. I’m pretty sure I prayed to marry my first boyfriend. Nice guy, but he’s not Dennis who is my puzzle piece and father to Wren and Sammy. I am glad that one was a no. I’m sure I’ve prayed for a lot of things that have not come to fruition, and maybe I should remember to thank God for that. In my mind this was the perfect job. In reality, it may have been a nightmare. Or maybe I’m meant to work for this company at another time in my life. Whatever the case, I like answers. I can handle nos. I can handle the fact that I will not be what every person or company wants. Just tell me. I’m not good at reading between the lines. The only time I try to guess at what someone is thinking is when I ask my daughter if she needs to go poopy and she doesn’t answer one way or the other. Then I watch for signs. Even then, I’m wrong 50% of the time. I wish she’d just say yes or no or her famous, “oh, poop”.

Plus, I have a job I’m going back to in August. Though I don’t even allow myself to think about the pain of the daycare drop off again, it’s a job I love with people I like. I know how lucky I am to have it when almost everyone we know has been affected by lay offs at some point over the last couple of years. We’re just trying to future plan for when I will need to be home to homeschool the kids and still bring in income so we can both retire comfortably and our kids can go to college. And other opportunities have shown themselves in the last couple of weeks. It may not be the thunderbolt, arrow pointing confirmation I was hoping for, but I think we’re heading in the right direction.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Mission (sort of) Accomplished


Our only real goal for the weekend was shoes. Dennis needs another pair of brown work shoes, but due to his weird, wide feet, finding shoes in his size is a nightmare. However, the brown work shoes are dead. They cannot be revived. I’m embarrassed he’s worn them this long.

We left the house this afternoon with that one mission in mind. Our schedule was already off because we missed church due to Wren’s very odd sleeping schedule lately. She won’t nap until three and goes to bed at a decent time at night, but she can’t stay in a deep sleep for more than three or four hours. This is a new, exhausting development and we’re all struggling because of it. I guess I did get what I asked for a few weeks ago when I wished she would stop waking up at six am. Now that she can’t sleep at night, I get a couple of extra hours of sleep in the morning. However, it’s more exhausting than before because the night is so restless. Just more proof that God has a great sense of humor and isn’t afraid to show it.

Anyway, we just needed shoes and knew she wasn’t napping anytime soon. Our first stop did not render satisfactory results, so we decided to go the mall and look there. Plus, Wren could roam around and hopefully get tired enough to nap. We walked the mall, hit up all the sample trays because it’s a great way to eat unhealthy foods in small quantities so you can convince yourself they don’t count, and rode the carousel. Watching the ice skaters took up almost half an hour, then we left. Wren fell asleep in the car with food in both hands and slept for two hours.

As Dennis and I cooked dinner, we marveled at how easy that nap had gone and how maybe we were pulling out of this crazy sleep phase. It only occurred to us an hour after coming home from the mall that we had no brown work shoes. In fact, we did not even enter a store in the mall to look for shoes. We became so preoccupied with just marveling at our daughter’s every move that the reason we left the house completely escaped us. Technically, I guess this means we did not accomplish our mission, but I still feel a sort of accomplishment. I never want all the things on the to-do list to get in the way of a really good day, the kind that has no agenda and no goal. This wasn’t supposed to be one of those days, but I’m glad it turned into one. Unfortunately, that makes some other day this week find shoes day. God bless the weird, wide feet.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Poop Diving and other things to do during a power outage


We lost power tonight due to something big breaking, I don’t know what, but the whole neighborhood was out. In honor of this occurrence, I want to share a few fun ideas for activities you can participate in if this ever happens to you.

Play how do I get in my house

We pulled into our driveway and I pressed the button on our garage door opener, but the garage door didn’t open. After trying several more times, we tried Dennis’. Nothing. Dennis thought there might be a power outage, so we went through our back door which was only made possible because we had Dennis’ keys, not mine. I misplaced my back door key after a long argument I had with it one day for getting stuck in the key hole. I removed it from my key ring as punishment and then it ran away.

Try to find things to eat that don’t require heat

We came home for the purpose of eating, but with no stove, microwave, oven, and the things in our fridge getting ready to ruin, there wasn’t much appealing going on in the food department. I settled on cereal, Wren had granola, and Dennis is still holding out.

Inadvertently teach your child the word “nipples”
Still not sure how this one happened. Wren has always called girl parts milk because of breastfeeding, but tonight she grabbed her milk makers and started pinching them. When Dennis told her to stop pinching her nipples, she then pinched them harder but screamed nipples while doing it. Who needs TV, radio, or internet when you have this to watch?

Go look for your purse only to realize you didn’t lose it
I hid my purse when we went into a store and then left it in the car when we realized the power was out. I decided to go back out to the car to get it, which means I went from one horrible, hot situation to another one outside. I could not find my purse, so I tromped back inside and searched the house before sadly deciding it was lost. One more trip to the baking car revealed that I hid it well, but it was still there. After this, I was actually hotter than before which I did not believe was possible, and I was suffering from butt sweat.

Poop Dive

Oh, a favorite and a first for us! We decided to let Wren play in the tub because it was cool and she loves water. After five minutes of Dennis supervising Wren’s bath playtime, I heard him scream for me. I then heard him say to Wren, “you didn’t do anything wrong, it’s okay.” I had guessed by that point, but confirmation was available in four poop logs floating peacefully in our tub. Wren watched them from outside the tub as Dennis and I tried to decide how to get them out. Dennis claimed it happened so fast, that she said diaper-her code for I’m about to poop-and before he could get her out, she assumed the hands and knees position and started launching. I told him it happened on his watch so was technically his clean up responsibility. He retrieved the poop shovel we took on our Oregon hikes, which prior to tonight never actually touched poop. His first attempts only split the logs into smaller pieces. I offered to take a shot but played the pregnancy card when I realized how nasty those things were up close. I even threatened to throw up. He retrieved them all, we disinfected the bath tub, and we’re hoping to play this game again…oh…never.

Get naked and show your neighbors

I’m pregnant. It was 86 degrees in my house. And really, I don’t need an excuse to run around completely naked at 20 weeks pregnant in my own house. All the same, I may have created quite a situation for the neighbors to discuss at our National Night Out block party in a couple of weeks. I was walking in the living room in all my naked glory when I started to wonder why our kitchen nook, where Dennis was trying to work on homework, was so bright. I quickly realized it was because he had opened the blinds to get some light, and our neighbors’ window is right outside our window that was providing that light. Hopefully, they didn’t see anything in the short time it took me to get a blanket around me. I guess I’ll find out if I get stranger than usual looks at the block party.

Visit the neighbors you haven’t streaked in front of and show them your underwear

All the neighbors started convening outside to watch the men try to fix whatever was broken that caused the outage. I was holding Wren and had neglected to button my shorts because it was hot and I’m a little big for those shorts now. My neighbor politely informed me that Wren’s leg had hiked my shirt up and she could now see all my business, which thank God just ended up being my panties because I was wearing underwear. At first I was embarrassed, but then I remembered that this woman answered her door naked one time when I came over, so I figured we had both shared our business, and I didn’t do it on purpose.

All of these activities are memorable, free, and will give you tons to talk about with friends! Try them today, and pass this on to anybody who might ever be without power and find themselves bored. I’m so happy to have provided this entry all about free, wholesome family entertainment.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Air conditioners and helicopters



It’s 83 degrees in my house, and though I’m not super huge pregnant yet, I’m not very comfortable either. So if my writing is a little off, it’s because I’m suffering from heat exhaustion or just general discontentment due to the humidity radiating through my home.

This is one of those topics that has been creeping up on me for a while, but I really haven’t known how to write about. Everyone has different parenting styles, but I guess when you’re a parent the differences are just more noticeable because you start observing other parents more. I have heard the term helicopter parent and have used it to describe certain parents I know, but Dennis and I are not hovering helicopters. At least, that’s our opinion.

It started when we took Wren to a play area. There is a height requirement at the play area, but it is not enforced whatsoever, so you have little 19 pound Wren running around with a 5th grade boy who is leaping the play area toys in single bounds. It’s a little unnerving, but the social interaction is good and Wren likes it. Dennis and I just keep a close eye on Wren and we stand where she is playing moving with her as she navigates through the different areas. After a few visits I noticed a some things: we were the only parents standing; we were the only parents not on our blackberries, probably because we don’t have or desire blackberries unless they are the fruit version; taking a kid from the play area without a parent noticing would be super easy; for most parents, play area time is break time whereas for Dennis and I it’s an Olympic hurtling sport to make sure we keep up with our child and she doesn’t get trampled by other people. Does that make us helicopter parents?

This incident was followed up by our first visit to the splash park. Dennis wore his swim trunks, Wren wore her bathing suit, and I wore a pair of shorts with a tank that did not completely cover my pregnant belly. Dennis assured me it was a cute look. We were going to a splash park so I assumed we needed to be ready to splash right along with our child. However, after 10 minutes there the startling realizations started to hit me again: no other parents were splashing; no other parents wore bathing suits; all the moms were wearing summer dresses, oversized hats, and heels with their makeup perfectly in tact; my child would be screaming and mortified if she was able to process the comparisons between me and super mommies. But again, Wren was the tiniest one there, though not the youngest. Sometimes she would get caught with all the splashing aimed right at her and it was good to have one of us there to help her out. She ran and played on her own, but we were there for back up and she liked having us around. I know one day that may not be the case, so I’m soaking it up while I can.

Finally, we went to an event where we regularly go to that provides childcare so Dennis and I can participate together. Wren had been to this childcare set up before and was fine with it, but she did not want to go this time and almost worked herself into a hyperventilating fit every time I attempted to let her go. Dennis and I did not leave her at the nursery and we came home perplexed because we really feel like attending these events regularly, but we couldn’t leave Wren crying. We don’t leave Wren crying(more on that later). We knew this behavior was abnormal for Wren; I leave her at day care during the school year, and I have never left her crying. She doesn’t cry when I drop her off. In fact, she waves me out the door half rolling her eyes if I try to stay and chat up the teachers for too long. So for her to cry, something wasn’t right. We had just weaned, she was cutting a tooth, she had been home with me for a couple of weeks. It could have been a variety of things, but we weren’t comfortable leaving her there. For all those who say if we’d have left she would have stopped crying when we were gone, think again. Some kids do that. Wren might even be a kid who does that. But I have discovered a nasty little secret that no one tells you: some kids don’t. I have walked into Wren’s daycare and been accosted by a little girl crying so hard she was almost sick. Her little arms wrapped around my legs and she called me mommy. When I checked the sign in log to see how long ago she was dropped off, it was about 30 minutes and the daycare workers said she hadn’t stopped crying since. It happened almost every day. They were doing everything they could, but she was hysterical. I never regretted not leaving Wren crying after that, and I didn't regret it even before this incident.

Dennis being the fixer came up with a solution. We’d talk to the daycare director and see if one of us could sit in there with her until she was okay being left alone. If one of us had to sit there the whole time, so be it. Eventually she’d be okay with it, and we’d be there with her no matter how long it took. I loved the idea, but I anticipated the eye rolls that were going to come with it when we tried to explain it to other people. See, being unashamed attachment parents has caused us to be confused with helicopter parents before. I was asked if I was planning on breastfeeding my child when she was in college. I was told that the fact that Dennis and I didn’t look for at least a weekly opportunity to leave her with someone else meant we were dysfunctional. I’ve been told that the fact that she has not spent the night at someone else’s house yet means we are not preparing her for adult life. Here’s the really great thing: I have faith in the way we are raising our daughter, and there is tons of research to support that attachment parenting actually creates more independent children and adults. You’re not scared to take chances if you know you have someone to catch you. It’s not an insult to anyone else’s way of parenting. It’s just a fact that this isn’t some hippy commune belief that carries no validity. It works, it’s research supported, and pretty much every other country on the planet does it.

Anyway, the daycare worker was more than fine with it. We explained the weaning, teething, this just isn’t Wren behavior information and she was amazing. So Dennis sat in the floor with her, and I was about to walk out the door to go to the event when a woman I had never seen said, “Oh, so you’re daughter has attachment issues?” I should have just smiled and walked out. However, I am idiotically honest. If you ask, you get the full story. So here’s how the conversation went:

Me: “No, actually, she just weaned, is teething, and realized that she has a new sibling coming along. It’s just been a lot of change the last couple of weeks.”
Her: “Yeah, my daughter has attachment issues like your daughter. That’s why I love my foster kids. I can leave them anywhere and they don’t care. They’re used to abandonment.”
Me: (stunned look on my face) “Yeah, well, my daughter doesn’t have attachment issues. She goes to daycare most of the year just fine. We’re in a transitional period.”
Her: “Honestly, you need to just start leaving her places. Don’t let anything be predictable for her. Change everything you can on her without any notice. That’ll toughen her up. Oh, and don’t go to her when she cries. Let her figure it out on her own. Responding to crying is the worst.”
Me: (horrified) “My daughter’s fine. Good luck with your kids. Bye.”

Less than five minutes later, Dennis joined me and Wren was happy in the nursery room playing on a riding cow toy when we went to pick her up. She didn’t cry the rest of the time she was there. Plus, she went back the next time and Dennis was out in less than five minutes again. She wasn’t upset, she trusted us to be there as long as she needed, and she realized she didn’t really need us that long if there was a riding cow toy involved. We knew what was normal for our child and what wasn't and we responded to her need. Is that helicopter parenting?

My definition of a helicopter parent is the parent who is going on job interviews with their child at age 25(or ever really). It’s those parents who call college professors when their child’s grade slips. Granted, I only have a 19 month old so I can’t say for sure, but I am pretty confident that I will not be doing this. I will teach her to problem solve by being an example, and I will teach her trust by being someone she can trust. If this makes me a helicopter parent in the eyes of some people, bring on the propeller. We’re pretty content at our house except for the sweltering heat.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recovering


Sometimes you get what you think you need or want. I sincerely believe that’s how I ended up tripping over my toddler, eating tile and living the last 48 hours in excruciating pain.

Wednesday night Dennis and I were working on our relaxation techniques to prepare for the natural birthing experience we want to have. The hard part about practicing relaxing is that there is no way to know what will relax you when you’re in pain until you are actually in pain. Since I had to have a c-section with Wren, I never had a contraction and have no idea if I will want to be massaged, have my hair played with, or just be left alone. I offhandedly mentioned this fact to my husband when we were practicing the other night and said that the ice in a baggy that I held in my hand during our birthing classes just wasn’t uncomfortable enough to be a true indicator for me. My hand got wet, I wiped it on Dennis, and that was that. It wasn’t a contraction and was not near the intensity I’ll deal with in labor.

Mind you, I was not asking for some practice pain, only making a comment. I guess God wanted to prove He was listening though, because less than twelve hours later I was in the ER after my fall having contraction like pains in my back and abdomen. Then, I had them again yesterday and Dennis and I were able to practice our relaxation techniques for real. How great, right?

Fortunately, I am on the mend though the pain is not gone and I fear it may be more like weeks instead of days before it is. But more than recovering from a physical injury, I think I’m still trying to recover from a mindset problem as well. It’s the idea that my plan is best so God must see my infinite wisdom and be ready to get in line with whatever I think is good for me. I’ve been struggling with this for a while, and honestly, I don’t think I’m making much progress. I still make my plans and wait for them to happen instead of seeking God’s plan and going for that. It’s called ambition and we’re rewarded for it everyday in our society. I call people who don’t know what they want and don’t have a plan indecisive and sometimes lazy. Maybe it’s just called being patient.

I want a natural childbirth. Dennis wants it too. We had to have a c-section with Wren because she was breech, but we fought it down to the last minute. I don’t regret doing everything we could to turn her, and I don’t think God saw us doing that as a bad thing. It just wasn’t the way it was meant to be with her. Two days after her due date she ran out of fluid and the decision was made with finality for all of us. If we wanted a safe baby she had to come out and she was only coming out if we came in and got her. It was a beautiful birth and I will always remember it.

The chances of Sammy being breech are so minimal because there was nothing wrong with my uterus that forced Wren into a breech position. I think she just liked lying that way. But when we had our level 2 ultrasound on Friday, Sammy was breech. It’s too early to stress about, but it does not give me that warm I-just-know-this-is-going-to-end- in-natural-childbirth feeling. Add that to the fact that Sammy could be in the right position the whole pregnancy then run out of fluid like Wren and I’m still in for a c-section. Doctors will most likely not give Pitocin to a woman who is attempting a VBAC(vaginal birth after caesarean) because of the increased risk of uterine rupture. Trust me, I don’t want Pitocin, but if it’s inducing labor to get the baby out for his own safety or a c-section to get the baby out for his own safety, I would have chosen the induction so I could have at least had a trial of labor. Turns out, that option is off the table.

So again, we wait. I will pray for natural birth, for a non-breech position, for my fluid to hold out until Sammy decides to evacuate the uterus. Overall, I will pray for a safe, healthy baby, and however God sees fit to deliver him will be His call. I have vowed to stop the obsessive internet searches about chances of a breech baby twice, chances of running out of fluid twice, vbac success stories, etc. I have tried to stop flipping to the breech section of all three of the pregnancy books I’m reading(yes, I’ve been pregnant before, but I’m reading the books again so each child will feel they were treated equitably), and I will not constantly try to feel for a head under my rib cage so I can panic. God knows what I want. He knows what we all need. To keep from losing my mind, I’m going to have to know that’s enough.

Note: For those of you I haven’t already assaulted with reasons we want natural childbirth as opposed to another c-section, message me anytime. You’ll probably regret it because I’ll never shut up, but it’s an awesome prospect for people who may not have considered it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Material Girl

I only have about four million things I have been meaning to blog about. I have caught myself meaning to do a lot of things lately, but life gets in the way. Some things I don’t really miss; cleaning toilets has never been super high on my list of priorities. However, I need to write, need to be working my side business more, need to make sure that every decision I make for my children is the right decision. That leads to this blog which is probably going to be a plethora of random thoughts.

In Texas during July, I seek shelter. When I’m pregnant in Texas in July, I really run from the heat that seems to saturate every part of the state. No matter how much Wren says “outside”, I have to say no. We find an alternative, and I’ve noticed lately that the alternative seems to be the mall.

I am not a shopper. I hate shopping, even for groceries. All my maternity clothes were given to me by my sister, and we’ve been passing them from friend, sister to sister, back again for years now. I love that this kept me out of a store. That’s how much I hate shopping. But our mall has proven to be an entertaining place for my daughter that also happens to be air conditioned. There are all the future ice skating champs practicing in the morning, the carousel, play area, and Barnes and Noble story times. We go to the mall and essentially roam around for free for hours. Maybe the $2 spent on the carousel counts, but that’s the extent of our spending. My daughter runs herself into a nap and no one breaks a sweat. Sounds like a good day to me.

However, I read that if you want to teach your children not to be consumed by a materialistic world, all your outings should not be retail based. Not all of ours are. We go to the library, play dates, the water parks, but the mall offers the ability to shift gears when Wren gets bored without actually having to leave the building. Some of our play dates are at the mall because other moms have caught onto this fabulous idea. And we are very much outside, walk everyday people when it is not mind numbingly hot. Plus, I never buy anything at the mall. Am I still teaching Wren that retail therapy is good? Am I, the most non-shopper ever, teaching my daughter how to be materialistic because we go to Pottery Barn Kids, push around the doll stroller and buy nothing? By the way, I’m sure those employees love us!

This leads to another issue I’ve been having about overall physical wellness. Dennis and I are pretty picky about what we feed Wren and what we eat ourselves. I think what we eat has a lot bigger effect on our health than people want to admit. Lately though, I’ve been making sure Wren gets her broccoli and carrots, but I have then been throwing down cookies on top of mine. I don’t think almost 20 weeks into a pregnancy hormones can be blamed, and I have lived with essentially no sugar in my diet before. I was blissfully happy that way. It’s just hard once you start again. Plus, Wren is going to get too old to play with blocks while I hide behind the fridge with my cookie, and the little boy in my belly needs good food for brain growth, not chocolate chips. We have to regroup.

Adding to the list of things I worry we aren’t doing enough, I read Eco Bear Wears Green while Wren and I visited the library this week and was convicted about how not environmentally focused I am. Yes, I was convicted by a children’s book. I want to teach Wren to be environmentally responsible but when I looked at the list of eco things that the eco bear does, I fell short on almost all. I don’t think of how the decisions I make affect the environment all that often, so my daughter is not getting a great example.

All of this stuff is fixable. It’s just a matter of tackling one issue at a time. However, the constant conscience parenting sometimes just makes me feel like a bad parent. It’s easier to think about the things we are doing like finding a great church or Wren completing her library program already this summer. Unfortunately, there is so much room for improvement on my part that it’s na├»ve just to focus on the couple of things I have right. Parenting is my most important job and I need to make sure I’m doing the best for both of my kids that I can. In that spirit, I will tackle one improvement a week so I’m not overwhelmed and can see progress, and this week is cookie elimination. I eliminated most of them before dinner, so my job is half complete as long as I don't bake anymore! It’s a start.