Monday, November 17, 2014

When the Baby Leaves Him

I've never completely understood the exact time frame of the baby terminology.  When does one go from newborn to infant to baby to toddler to child to kid?  At the beginning, people tend to use the labels interchangeably.  But as children grow older, the options for terminology dwindle.

My six year old and four year sons can hardly be considered babies or toddlers anymore - they are pretty set at the term child, or kid.  But when did that happen?  I assume there was a time that they were in "transition."  But right now when I look at them, I no longer see a baby.  In fact, when I see pictures of them as babies, it's hard for me to reconcile that they are the same person - that that baby I once held in my arms has morphed into something so different.

Colin turned 1 last week.

I still call him a baby.

He still has those adorable a baby thunder thighs, complete with symmetrical thigh wrinkles where the fat has buckled.  It is still hard to find his neck under his big baby head and pudgy cheeks.  He still smells like a baby and his hair is silky and smooth after a bath.  He babbles and coos and slobbers.  I still nurse him, and while doing so he likes to caress my cheek or poke my mouth.  He is still small enough that I can hold him comfortably on my hip for long periods of time, and he still falls asleep on my chest every other night or so.  And when I put him down to sleep and peer in his crib, he looks like the most peaceful sleeping baby.


But there are signs.  Signs that the baby is leaving him.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Never Any Time

I'm reminded of my favorite scene from Saved by the Bell.

Photo taken from https://us.beamly.com/exclusives/2014/07/28/saved-by-the-bell-caffeine-pill/
Oh Jessie Spano, I am channeling you.

I've got a lot going on.

We bought a house.  Yup, a house.  That's kind of a big deal.  It's only a half a mile from where we currently live, but it's bigger.  And nicer.  And I will have a bathroom I don't have to share with three mini-people.  Hooray!

Way back before I was an adult, I used to think that buying a house was simply that - one purchases a home.  That was before I understood inspections and mortgages and appraisals and oh, the fact that when you buy a house, you also have to sell your current house.  This is our first go round with that, and it sucks.  Lets just say last night I painted four doors.  It was hypnotizing.  I wanted to keep going.  More doors, more doors.  My husband had to stop me.  Shannon, put the paint brush down.  

Right now there are two different handymen working outside.  A storage unit will arrive this weekend.  And then the house goes on the market next Wednesday.  The same day we leave for Disney World.

This weekend, I will be hosting a baby shower for my sister on Saturday.  And then on Sunday a first birthday party for Colin (holy crap, how did that come so quickly).   I'd like to make a slideshow montage for him, as I did my two other children, in time for the party.  My friend from Australia will also be visiting, so I will take her out for a night on the town on Friday.

I have two different sets of papers to grade for the class that I teach.  And a blog that I like to write.

All of these are good things.  I mean ALL are good things.  So this is not a woah is me.  It's just a, I am in the middle of a whirlwind and just trying to get by.

Things that have gone to the wayside:  Showering.  Screen time limitations.  Returning phone calls and emails (sorry about that).  Playdate reciprocation.  Halloween candy regulation.  Blogging.  Thank you cards.  Getting gas.

I made it with 14 miles to spare!
Whilst writing this post, Colin just ate a piece of dog food.

Someday soon I will write eloquently and deeply and wittily.

Just not today.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Few Firsts

1) My first time taking a weekend vacation with my husband in a long, long, long time.  Definitely the first time since I've been a mom of 3.  I have been counting down the days until this weekend getaway to Miami, but yet, as I nursed my baby this morning before I left, I got tears in my eyes. What is with motherhood?  How is it that you can want a break so bad, but then when said break arrives, you are heartbroken to leave?  (Don't worry, I left anyway.)

2) My first time blogging from a flight.  Did you know that you can get wi-fi on a plane now?  Is it weird that I find solace in this, because then should the plane go down, I could live blog about it? And write out my last words?  (Yes, this is morbid.  Yes, I have a major irrational fear of flying. No, I did not have a drink or take any xanax.  Yet.)

3) My first post for the Netflix Stream Team.  As a blogger, I get a bunch of random emails to promote things, review products, etc.  Most of it is junk.  But when I got an email to promote Netflix (and it actually turned out to be legit) I jumped at it!  Why?  Because I am a Netflix junkie. And because, in the interest of full disclosure, I get a free year subscription to Netflix as well as a nifty I-pad mini to stream shows.



I discovered Netflix about two years ago.  It's an on demand streaming system whereby you can watch thousands of movies and shows (for the reasonable price of about $9/month).  At first, it took over my life. I put my books back on the shelf in favor of all 5 seasons of Breaking Bad, all available seasons of Mad Men, all available seasons of the Walking Dead, both seasons of Orange is the New Black, both seasons of House of Cards, and then countless documentaries and movies. It became my guilty pleasure - as soon as I put the kids to bed, I would retreat to my bed, get comfortable, and log in.  There was always something good to watch. I did go a bit overboard, sometimes staying up until 2 am watching something, or watching Blackfish, that Sea World documentary, with a bottle of champagne on New Years Eve.  (Very sad, infuriating documentary, and not really New Years Eve festive.  Don't go to Sea World!).

My kids have loved Netflix too, and unsurprisingly, can navigate it on the iPad better than I can. They love to watch back to back episodes of Handy Mandy and that asshole Caillou.  Of course, I do try and limit their screen time, but it is great to have in a pinch (for long car rides or doctor waiting rooms or any afternoon I just can't deal anymore).

The only problem with Netflix is it can be overwhelming.  There are SO. MANY. CHOICES.  So what I'll aim to do each month is give suggestions of what to watch.  For this month's post, see above.  You much watch all of those series before you move on to other things (seriously, they are all so good.  But if you have to prioritize, do Breaking Bad first).

I should touch down in Miami in about an hour or so.  Forecast is for rain - lots of rain.  But I honestly don't care.  Give me a hotel room and a bath and my Netflix and I will be happy as a clam.

Any suggestions on what to watch?

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Four Years Ago You Rocked My World

Quite literally.


I thought I knew what it was going to be like having more than one child.  I was wrong.

I thought there was no way I could love anyone as much as your older brother.  I was wrong about that too.

Our first months together were HARD.  We both struggled.  We both lost a lot of sleep.  We both cried.  A lot.

And then we bonded.  Big time.  And before I knew it, I couldn't imagine a time when you weren't there.  It's as if I had known you forever.  As if you had been here all along.


I fell in love hard.

And the awesome thing is that it happens over and over again.  I fall in love with you every single day.  And I love discovering who you are.

You are unique, that's for sure.

You are the pickiest eater I have ever seen.  And yet you are obsessed with toy food.  You've been known to sleep with a plastic tomato or hamburger bun, and you are being a hot dog for Halloween this year (your choice).

Casey's Halloween Costume
You refuse to smile for pictures.  EVER.  But then sometimes, I can crack you, much to your own chagrin.


You are quiet - figuratively and literally.  Sometimes you speak in a whisper, and you are not one to gush with your emotions like your big brother.  But that means that when I do get an "I love you," it means so much more.  I melt when I hear those words.

What you don't say in words, you make up for in cuddles.  You are the cuddliest boy I know.  You always want to be close to me.  And even though I probably shouldn't carry you around anymore, it's hard for me to say no.  So I'll keep doing it until you stop asking.


You are so brave.  You have been poked and prodded by needles and sat in ER waiting rooms more times than I'd care to admit.  But you rarely cry.  And you are easily pacified by a lollipop in any situation.

You suck your thumb and twirl your hair.  And it is adorable.


You are a boy's boy.  You are all cars and trucks and balls and superheroes.  You rarely play with girls, though you do have a soft spot for a girl named Lila.  You blush when you talk about her.


You acclimate to social situations ridiculously easily, because you don't overthink it.  You are just yourself.  For lack of a better word, you are chill.  You are already cooler than I ever was.

You love Disney World.  And roller coasters.  And youtube videos of both.  (But especially Disney World).


You have an innate talent for naming that tune.  You can tell a song after literally one beat of music. It kind of freaks your daddy and I out.

You cry every single time you take a bath.  Every.  Single.  Time.

You are an amazing little brother.  When Braden is at school, you sometimes cry and incessantly ask when he will be home to play with you.  Sometimes the two of you sleep in the same twin bed, just because.


You are an amazing big brother.  It took some time for you to warm to Colin, but you are coming around.  And as a mother, it is beautiful to see.


You are a momma's boy.  You and I have an inherent connection that only the two of us understand. Sometimes I will hear you cry, and watch someone else try to comfort you, but I know it's me that you need.  And when I pick you up and embrace you, I can feel you relax into me.  You and me, me and you.


You are such an individual.

You are such a character.

You are a such a source of infinite joy.

You rock my world.

You are Casey.

You are 4.

And today is your birthday.

Happy birthday, my baby boy.


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Monday, October 6, 2014

Why did YOU leave?

My very first post on this blog, a whole three and a half years ago (holy crap, that's crazy), was devoted to why I left a big law firm to stay at home with my kids.  (You can find it by clicking here). It was picked up by Above the Law, a legal news site/blog, which is why people actually started reading this blog.  It's still my second most popular post (behind my post on why lawyers are so miserable, which, who knew, is a very popular google term).  

I occasionally reread my introductory post myself.  I'm not sure why.  I suppose it's a reminder as to how I got where I am, though when I read it, I find it hard to reconcile it with my current self.  I've come a long way, and I've chronicled it as the time has passed (here and here and probably a hundred other places I have forgotten about in 3.5 years).   If anything, what I've learned in the years since I first started this blog is that my story is not that unique.  SO many women have faced the issues I have faced in the legal profession.  And a lot of them, like me, have left.  

So why did you leave? 

The freelance network that I am a part of, Montage Legal Group, is conducting a survey to collect information about what law firms can do to retain talented attorneys.  And while it is useful to talk to attorneys still working in law firms, the better source is probably those that have actually left.  

So, if you previously worked at a law firm or legal job and left due to dissatisfaction, or if you think your law firm missed an opportunity to retain you...


It takes five minutes, and your responses are anonymous and confidential.  (Just click here).

And, if you really want to share your experience, consider writing it out and sharing it here on my blog, via the Your Turn Series.  

Either way, put your "story" out there!  It's a freeing thing (I speak from experience!).  


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Clinical Trials and Emotional Tribulations

For the past two weeks, I have been living, breathing, eating, sleeping, and existing in all things food allergies.

I don't know quite where to start.

I guess the beginning.

A little over a year ago I wrote a post about how my son, Casey had been diagnosed with a peanut allergy.  (He has a RAST score of over 100 - the highest you can get.)  I haven't really mentioned it since.  In part because it's not always on the forefront of my mind, and in part because I didn't think it's the kind of thing that people want to read about.

But it has become part of our daily lives and then some.

We've had meetings with his teachers and his camp counselors about how and when to use the epi-pen.  Every time he goes for a playdate, I have to have a discussion with the parents first.  Same goes for birthday parties, soccer classes, babysitters, and pretty much any time there is food and kids around.  I have written a detailed plan for all family members whose homes we visit, which includes where they need to place their nuts, what they need to do at a restaurant, and what the initial signs of an allergic reaction may be.  I have more epi-pens than I can count, stored in all sorts of places - both cars, the kitchen, the school, and in various baby sitters' purses.

Notwithstanding all this, Casey, had an allergic reaction to macaroni and cheese from the Cheesecake Factory back in July.  (There had been cross contamination with peanuts).  We had to use the epi-pen for the first time, right in the thigh.  Then we sat at the ER for four hours to be monitored.

It was at that point that I decided enough was enough.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Three Things I Don't Get

I try not to get too political/controversial/contentious on this blog.

But I am coming from a sincere place when I wonder the following:

1) Why is this new Ray Rice video so explosive?

A caveat - I don't follow or care at all about football.  I had never heard of Ray Rice.  But I do follow the news, and from what I understand, on February 15, 2014, Ray Rice was arrested on simple assault charges for assaulting his wife.  A few days later, we all got a glimpse of what happened, as a video surfaced of Ray Rice dragging his unconscious fiancĂ© from an elevator.  She entered the elevator standing.  She left unconscious.

Um, do you really wonder what happened to her inside that elevator?

The next month Ray Rice was indicted, and on July 24, 2014, instead of losing his job, he received a two game suspension.  Apparently, sitting out two games is an adequate punishment for knocking your wife unconscious.

On September 8, 2014, the new Ray Rice video surfaced, and we got to see what happened inside the elevator.  Here it is:



Disgusting.

The same day this video was released, Ray Rice was terminated from his Ravens contract and suspended by the NFL.  All of a sudden, a two game suspension wasn't enough.

So let me get this straight....

You can knock your wife unconscious.  You can be videotaped dragging your wife's unconscious body.  You can be indicted for assault.

And that doesn't merit a termination or suspension.  No, that's not enough.

But if, by some miracle, you happen to be caught on camera doing what everyone already knows you did, then you lose your job.

Lesson - if you choose to abuse your wife, be sure not to do it on camera.  Keep it behind closed doors, and at worse, you'll get a slap on the wrist.  And then everyone will forget about it.

I mean, just look at Chris Brown.  He beat up his girlfriend.  He did this:


And a year after he did this he released a fourth album.  It debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts.

Do we need to see actual video footage of his physical attack to be disgusted and horrified enough to boycott his music?  Just like we need to see the video of what happened inside the elevator, despite the fact that it's glaringly obvious?

I guess I just don't get it.

2) If I hear someone in the bathroom in the middle of the night, I'm going to assume it's my husband or kids or dog before I take a shot gun and kill someone through a closed door.  

I remember seeing Oscar Pistorius at the 2012 Olympics and being impressed and inspired.  A double amputee who makes it to the Olympics?  Who wouldn't be inspired?



But then he shot and killed his girlfriend while she was going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.  He claims he woke up, heard a noise in the bathroom, and thought it was an intruder.  He fired four shots through a locked bathroom door, killing her instantly.

Not so inspiring.

Last week, he was found not guilty of murder.  Instead, he was convicted of culpable homicide, which in U.S terms is equivalent to manslaughter - meaning that the Judge found that he did not intentionally kill his girlfriend; he was merely negligent.  The Judge held that there was a reasonable possibility that Pistorius thought his girlfriend was an intruder when fired shots through the locked door.

I'm not going to pretend to know the intricate details of this case.  In fact, I really got the majority of my information from watching snippets of the Today Show whilst breastfeeding my son.  But let me say this:

If I hear someone in the bathroom in the middle of the night, I'm not going to assume it's an intruder. In all likelihood, I would just go back to sleep.  But if I was curious for some reason as to who was occupying the bathroom, I would do the following:

1) Look and see if my husband was in bed with me.  If yes, then go to #2
2) Look and see if my kids are in bed.  If yes, then go to #3
3) Check and see if the bathroom door was locked.  If yes, then go to #4
4) Say something like "Who goes there?"

Apparently Oscar didn't even get to #1.

Not guilty of murder?

Don't get it.

3) I never knew that taking a stance on transvaginal ultrasound was a thing.

Do you know what a transvaginal ultrasound is?  I do!  I do!  Three pregnancies, and I am an expert on them.



Look, there's Steven Colbert holding one!  It looks like a skinny dildo.  The doctor puts a condom over it (seriously), and then they put it up you, and voila, you see all sorts of things!  In my case, an embryo (hello, Baby Braden!).


Here's the thing - when you are very early in your pregnancy (like 4-10 weeks), doctors can't see the baby with an abdominal ultrasound - it's too low.   Instead, they stick the dildo thing up you and see the baby that way.

It never occurred to me to have a problem with this.

But then a few days ago, whilst breastfeeding and watching the Today Show (see above), a campaign commercial for Democratic Congressional candidate John Foust came on.  Here it is, for your viewing pleasures:



In it, Foust accuses the Republican candidate, Barbara Comstock, of supporting the following:

1) Making abortion illegal in cases of rape and incest (BAD!)
2) Overturning Roe v. Wade (BAD!)
3) Requiring women seeking abortion to undergo transvaginal ultrasound  (HUH?)

I have no idea why transvaginal ultrasounds would be controversial, because really, it's no big thing. Perhaps there are valid reasons, though the campaign commercial didn't expand on them. Ostensibly, just the term "transvaginal ultrasound" is enough for you to know that it is bad, bad, bad.

So apparently now this is a buzzword.  We can't live in a world with terrorism!  Climate change! Racism!  Abortion restrictions!  Transvaginal ultrasounds!

Don't get.

End rant.

ADDENDUM ON 9/23: I have been schooled.  I am now firmly against mandatory transvaginal ultrasounds. [But for those that see the campaign commercial and are freaked out about their upcoming OB appointment, I swear, they really aren't that bad.]

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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Kid

When I look back at pictures of my son, Braden, I can almost pinpoint the time when he stopped looking like a baby.  It was when his hair grew long and he started standing up tall and running like a maniac.

As he has gotten older, his transitions have been more subtle and harder to pinpoint.  But three days ago, on his 6th birthday, when I took his annual birthday picture, he looked like a kid.


A real, life kid.

He has big feet - not abnormally big (and only a half size bigger than his younger brother), but they are kid feet.  He has fuzzy blond hair on his legs now, and the last of his baby fat is gone.  He is skinny.  This may not seem alarming, but consider the fact that he once looked like this:



He walked late - around 15 months - and also endured three years of OT for gross and fine motor delays.  Now, he writes his name like a champ.  He jumps off the diving board and swims across the pool, and was on the mini swim team this summer.  He plays soccer.  And t-ball.

And when I told him I was signing him up for all of these sports, his response was:  But when do I get to do music class?  

So I signed him up for his school choir too.

He is emotional and shy.  He is full of energy and charm.  He loves to play games on the I-pad and he sticks his tongue out when he concentrates, just like his dad.  He is a complete momma's boy still, thank God, and professes his love for me on a daily basis.  But when he doesn't get his way, he hates me just as fast and tells me so, in great detail.

He is the sweetest brother ever.  He is in a constant state of anxiety over his younger, daredevil brother Casey, getting hurt.  He shares a room with him now, and says that he wants to forever, even if we someday get a big house with more bedrooms.   He loves his baby brother Colin a bit too much and knocks him over at times in his excitement.  But he goes in with me every morning to wake him up, and screams his nickname at the top of his lungs - "Ishy Collie Bee."  Braden gave him that nickname (?!?!), and it has stuck.  We all call him that now.

He is silly and crazy and sweet and complicated.  He is unique, that's for sure.

I don't usually post videos on here of my kids.  I don't know why - I guess because it gives me the slightest semblance of privacy.  But for Braden's sixth birthday party, I just have to post this video of our recent family dance party, to the tune of Taylor Swift's "Shake it Off."  This was filmed on Braden's first day of school, and as you can see, he was not the least bit fatigued.

This is Braden.  To a T. (With a few cameos from the other men in my life).




I could not love this boy kid more.

[I would be remiss not to acknowledge that it's my husband and my 8th anniversary today - happy anniversary, sweetie!  I am writing this here in lieu of a Facebook announcement (as I am somewhat morally opposed to such things).]

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pride

As I sit down to write this post, I am letting out a big exhale.  It has been SO long since I have had more than ten minute chunks of time to myself, and my writing regularity reflects it.  But today, Colin is sleeping.  And both of "the boys," as we refer to them, are in school.

There is silence and calm.  For this moment, at least.  

Casey, my three year old, started school last week.  He is so laid back and chill compared to his brother, that I have to remind myself not to treat his milestones as an after thought.  



He returned to the same school he went to last year, with the same friends, with the same schedule - 5 mornings a week.  The teachers are different of course, but he was already familiar with them.  He is in the same room Braden was in two years ago, and by coincidence, has the same cubby.  When I picked him up on the first day, I arrived a few minutes early and was able to spy on him playing on the playground.  Ahhhh, that kid.  He is so free.  So awesome.  So engaging.  So easygoing...   And all without even trying.  I think that may be the coolest thing about him.

He is just the coolest kid.

Braden started kindergarten yesterday.  I may be biased, but God, he looked so handsome.  

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Best. Summer. Ever.

When I was young, I used to go away for pretty much the whole summer, to Wellfleet, Cape Cod. This was possible only because of the fact that my father was a professor (with his summers off), and my mom was her own boss.  But to me, I thought this was normal. Didn't everyone take a vacation that lasted all summer long?

To me, summers have always meant relaxation.  Sun.  Water.  Swimming.  Ice cream.  Friends. Family.  Lazy days.

As I got older, summers shifted a bit.  Once I went to college, I cut down on the amount of time I spent on the Cape.  Eventually, I had summer jobs and internships.  Once I "grew up" and got a real job as a lawyer, apart from a weather shift, summers were pretty much indistinguishable from the rest of the year.  Which was kind of depressing.

When I became a stay at home mom, one of the things I was most excited about was having my summers "off."  My relaxing summers would be back (or so I thought).  We would travel and swim and eat ice cream and do all the things I did as a kid.  No more depositions or document reviews over the Fourth of July weekend.  I was free - FREE!

There were a few things I neglected to consider in this day dream of mine:

First, I have a husband, who works at a job outside the home.  And unfortunately, he doesn't get summers off.  So should I want to live a summer of vacation and leisure, I would have to do it without him.  With three kids, that wouldn't be easy.

Second, I forgot that my kids are a pain in the ass.  No more of a pain in the ass than any other kids, of course.  But they are kids.  They cry.  They tantrum.  They whine.  They wriggle and scream as I try to apply sunscreen.  They fight with each other.  They fight with me.  They run away from me. They swim away from me.   And when they do eat ice cream, it gets all over them and makes them sticky and dirty and hyper.

Lastly, I forgot that if I am "free" in the summer, so are my kids.  Aka, there is no structure, no schedule, NO SCHOOL!  When they wake up at 7am, they are all mine, ALL DAY.  And it's a long day.  A very long day.

After two or three of these "free" stay at home mom summers, I realized that summers aren't as relaxing and carefree as they once were.  But that doesn't mean they can't be awesome.  And through trial and error and some lessons learned, I managed to create the Best. Summer. Ever.

Here's how:


 
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