Surviving Sick Days with a Toddler

Friday, May 22, 2015

Lucca rarely falls ill but when he's down, he's down for the count. Since I've been down this road before, I've put together some survival tips for making it through sick days with a toddler.

1. Throw all routines out of the window. In fact, chuck them out of the window. This coming from a routine-stickler is very important. They're restless, they're whiney, they feel like shit. Your normally scheduled nap times and meal times do not apply to the situation at hand. So they want to cuddle up to you on the couch and sleep at 5 p.m.? So be it.
2. TV is your best friend. I've relied heavily on my cartoon crew over the past few days. Blue. Mickey. Dora. Elmo. Keep them running on a loop. This will keep your kid on the couch, resting (as they should be) and not have any desire to run around the living room while they're Tylenol starts to wear off. Sure, you can use books too. But come on, let's be real. When you're sick do you want to sit around reading novels? No. You want to get your PJ's on and watch trash TV.
3. Food is food is food. If they eat 6 goldfish crackers, 2 orange slices and half of a cheese stick? Perfect. That qualifies as breakfast, lunch or dinner. Don't put pressure on yourself to make the same meals they would eat when they are feeling normal. They don't want that shit. And to avoid the plate being thrown your way, give them what they want and what they'll eat in that moment.

4. Pants are overrated. You aren't going anywhere, anyway. No need to get your kid dressed, or yourself for that matter. But who am I kidding, you already weren't going to dressed so you're ahead of the game.
5. Accept advice/suggestions/remedies with caution. Your child has a pediatrician. If you have questions, call them. If you're worried, schedule a visit. People mean well,  and they generally do want what's best for you and your kid, but don't be overwhelmed with the advice. You don't have to be a bitch about it, just say thanks and move on.
6. Fuel up with coffee, wind down with wine. How else are you supposed to function? You need some caffeine to be a human blanket for the day and to deal with tiny, whiney demands. If you're lucky enough to put your kid to bed, head for the wine rack to get your recommended dosage of "grape juice".

7. Tag out. Chances are, your kid will favor one parent over the other when he/she is sick.  If you are the lucky parent that your kid has latched himself on to, you will feel like you have no love left to give after a 24 hour period. Every ounce of sympathy has been squeezed out of your being. Tag out with the other parent. You need a mental health break before you lose your mind when your kid wants to be in your lap AND out of your lap at the same time while demanding his 5th cup of milk and to watch Mickey for the billionth time. Let your partner take over for awhile so you can recharge and fill yourself back up, ready to be drained all over again.
If you are the "other" parent, don't take it personally. In fact, enjoy those brief moments of solitude and quiet and having your limbs to yourself. Don't worry.Your time will come.

Dealing with a sick kid who is normally running circles around you is tough. It's mentally, physically and emotionally draining and you can never be sure when the end is in sight. If you throw out all normalcy and just go with the flow, (I think) you can manage. It will get better and you can go back to wearing pants again. Or don't. That's okay, too.


Lessons in Motherhood I Learned from My Mama

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I wouldn't have been able to do this whole mommy thing without my own mama showing me the ropes. She's brave, she's strong, she's compassionate and wise. I'm so thankful for everything she's done for me in all phases of my life: my childhood, my adulthood, and now, motherhood.

And because Mother's Day this year just didn't do her justice, this post is dedicated to her.

Here are the lessons in Motherhood I learned from my Mama:

1.  Be Strong.

There will often be times that you have to stand up for yourself, for your children and for your family. Stand your ground. Don't let anybody push you around or intimidate you. Only you know what's best for your family.

There will also be times where you think you've been through hell and back. Motherhood has its challenges from the very start. Don't let it get the best of you. Be strong and you'll pull through. Be strong for yourself and for your family.

2. Don't apologize. 
Don't apologize for your screaming kid who is hungry, tired, bored (or all three) in the middle of a restaurant or store. Don't apologize for looking like shit or feeling like shit. Don't apologize for being late or missing an event. Don't apologize for not being completely present. Don't apologize for your off-the-wall, bizarre parenting tactics.

There's nothing to be sorry about. Motherhood is a constant state of survival mode; you don't need to apologize for that.
3. Be Your Own Kind of Mom
Through trial-and-error, figure out what kind of mom YOU want to be. So your friends are the baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, breastfeeding kind? And you aren't? Who cares. There should be no judgment, no pressure. The only person that matters is your baby. Be there for them in the way THEY need you. If it doesn't work for the both of you, try something else. In the end, all that matters is that you are a mom that is loving, understanding, and nurturing.  (I wish I had caught on to this from the very beginning, but it is just now that I fully understand and embrace it).

4.  Let Them Be
Let your children figure out how things work, get messy, fall down and brush themselves off again. That's how we prepare ourselves for life right? It's messy, sometimes it hurts, and nobody can tell us the right or wrong way to do things.

Let them make mistakes, let them feel emotions, let them figure out their own path. Just let them be. They will learn on their own with your guidance, and you both will be stronger and smarter because of it.

5. Just Love
There will undoubtedly be some really tough moments in parenthood. At the end of the day, just love. Look to your family for support. Cry, because you're allowed to do that. Cry hard and then put yourself back together and love yourself and your family.

Not every single moment will be joyful and magical. In those in-between moments, love your children and your family the most. Experience tough times with them and you will truly appreciate the greater (laughing, smiling and happy) times with them later. Just love.

I love you mama. I hope to be as strong and brave as you, and to be a great mother to Lucca just as you have been an amazing mother to me. Happy Mother's Day.

Happy #4

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Today marks our 4 year wedding anniversary.
We started out as kids ourselves a decade ago. Married for four years, multiple moves, 2 cats, 1 dog and 1 baby later. I love this life. It hasn't always been easy, but it's always been built on love and everyday has taught us something new about ourselves as individuals and even more as a couple.
Having a baby changes a marriage. It can make it stronger, or it can make it fall apart depending on how you work together. For 10 years, it's only been us. For 10 years I've only had to worry about myself and my husband. At times I felt like I loved him so much it hurt. And I'll admit it, I'm totally dependent on him. What does that say about me? Well, to be honest I don't really care. I know I'm stuck to him like glue. Always have been, always will.

Before having Lucca I honestly wondered if I'd have a hard time "sharing" him with our baby. Yes, I'm aware that most expectant mothers think the other way around: how will I have enough love left for my husband? But honestly, I've only ever loved him and wondered what this little babe would do to our marriage. I remember at 8 1/2 months pregnant crying in bed, Greg completely confused. "I'm not ready! I'm not ready!". It was a little late for that, but as much as we had talked about having a baby and prepared for this new chapter, I was NOT ready. There aren't any books or blogs to prepare you for this huge change.

It hasn't always been easy. The day-to-day exhaustion is tough on parents. Often, we both want to tag out at the same time. Someone always has to pick up the slack in some area, and almost inevitably it ends with one getting pissed at the other. There are days where I countdown every second until Greg comes home from work. And now, looking back on those back-to-back months of 2 hour sleep intervals, I imagined myself punching him in the face on multiple occasions. We stuck it out. Nobody got hurt. I'm proud of us.
And after making it through the newborn phase, the infant phase, the teething phase, we are experiencing the joys (and challenges) of toddlerhood. There are a lot of "what the f*#%" moments, but mostly we sit in awe of this little person in our house. This little person that talks and interacts and "helps" around the house. This little person that reaches for the both of us, wanting us both in different ways. Everyday is a freaking challenge. Getting that babe into bed by 8:30 p.m. is a huge accomplishment for us.

Yes, our marriage has changed. It's been a lot of ups and downs, twists and turns. It's been a lot of sacrifice, a lot of compromise. A lot of give and take. In just the past year and a half, we've truly put our vows to the test. We both realize we're stronger than ever, and the best anniversary gift we have to each other is our son. (I wouldn't mind a celebratory bottle of wine, however).

I'm stuck to BOTH of them like glue now. I feel like I love Greg more for the life we have now as parents. And when it used to be just the two of us against the world, now our little family of three is an even stronger force. The road has been tough, but everything that has led us to this point is so incredibly worth it.

Happy Anniversary my love. Here's to 60+ more...


Get Over Yourself

Thursday, May 7, 2015

The other day I woke up with the feeling of someone pushing their fist into my left temple. I could literally feel the blood pumping through the veins in my face. A migraine. Freakin' awesome.
I haven't had one of those headbangers since before I had Lucca. I used to get them so badly and so frequently that I took medication every day just to prevent one from happening. I stopped all those medications when we were trying to get pregnant and I (thankfully) haven't had to use them in a long time.

The return of what I like to call the "head gremlins" was freaking terrible . The screeching, the barking, the crying, the beepy toys, Caillou and Mickey's annoying ass voices coming from the TV, an occasional block or two thrown at my face-- it was hell. All I wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position. Whenever I tried to do this though, Lucca would crawl over to me and say, "No. No piw-wow, no bwankie". Come on, kid. Give me a break. My head feels like it's being smashed in and now you're stealing my pillow? Where's the love?

I waited for as long as I possibly could to call for reinforcements. I wanted to be able to handle it. I'm supposed to handle it. I don't get days off. I had to power through. I thought if I could just wait until naptime, I'd be okay.

But no, I wasn't okay.  I texted my husband and asked him for help. I needed just a few hours to crash and close my eyes and hide under the covers until it passed. Thankfully, he came to my rescue to work from home while I recovered.

I emerged, disoriented and covered in drool, a few hours later. The babe was asleep, Greg was furiously working in the kitchen, and I was already feeling guilty for not working myself. I thanked him, told him I could handle the rest of the day, and worked until Lucca woke up from his nap. I quickly got over my work guilt when I realized I couldn't stare at the screen any longer. That's what sick hours are for, right? SIGN OFF.

This was the first time that I really felt helpless and guilty from just not feeling good. I felt like shit, but a part of me felt like that didn't matter. This is my 24/7/365 job. My job is to take care of my son and work at the same time. Keep it together, lady.

But you know what? At the end of the day, I wish I had called earlier, got over my mama bear pride and took some time to myself to rest and recover. Because if I can't do that, what good am I?

So for future reference: get over yourself. It'll work out. The world will not end. You're allowed to feel like shit every once in awhile. Take a break.