Thursday, April 27, 2006


Always in the mood to see what the blog buzz is on working moms, I did a brief technorati search on "Working Mom", and came up with my last entry on Working Mom listed several times. Strangely, it wasn't ME who was credited with the post, but several sites, all linking eventually to some "good morning little schoolgirl" place with what appear to be pornographic interests. I don't know for sure, as what photos there were on the site wouldn't load, but their titles were icky.

Suffice it to say, you will no longer be seeing any pix of the kids. Perhaps sketches will have to do. Yah, sketches of what should be done to people looking for pictures of kids for nefarious purposes.

It's about time I did this, anyways. I've been getting far too many hits on a pic of me and the girls with a burro, and that every-popular Barbie Vs. Sleeping Beauty picture.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Working Mom: Volume 1 Issue 3 - Birthday Parties

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away...

I remember birthday parties from my youth (I say youth, despite the smarmy magazine salesman at my door the other day asking me if he could talk to my parents. When facing three kids underfoot and a growing crop of grey hair, a salesman should know when to can the misled attempts at flattery). Kids, cake, balloons, happy times. I remember one somewhere in the woods in Ohio, it rained, we played Simon Says, and it was grand. Once I was very young and I cried because I had to take turns playing pin the tail on the donkey. It could have been my third birthday, yet I still remember that, and for some reason, it still bothers me. I'm not sure if it bothers me because I had such disregard for my friends at the time, or because I still want that extra chance to get the tail on right. Perhaps both.

Birthday parties for me have long gone the wayside. It's now all about The Kids. I'm fine with that, not many adults I know want to play pin the tail on the donkey, especially since I won't take turns. This weekend was N's birthday party. Despite her love of colorful frilly dresses and flowers in her hair, she wanted a Star Wars party. She's definately Daddy's Little Girl. I love how diverse her interests are.

(picture removed because of some believed-to-be pornographic link to here)

I am your daughter

Maybe it's different for other working moms, but birthday parties, as much as I love them, stress me out. First are the scheduling worries. I thought I did it right this time by scheduling the party for a Sunday. It gave me a whole day beforehand to gather stuff up, shop for food, make balloon light sabers, fill the pinata, create a few games, pack the truck, and relax enough to not scare the children with my frenzy. The weeknights were already packed with homework, karate, and baking light saber cookies for N's birthday treat to her class (picture added solely for Eric's curiosity)

light saber cookies

(yes, I am aware that they look very much like guitars)

I didn't know that Saturday would be beautiful, yet on Sunday, in southern Nevada, where it hasn't rained in over a month, it would shower. And be cold. And windy. (ok, I knew it would be windy, it's always windy in April here.... but the rain?). Not able to predict the weather, I thought Sunday noon was perfect. Little did I realize that Sunday 'round these heavily-SAHM parts is Family Day. Families only, no parties, no parks, no Death Star ball, certainly no sharing in any heretic child's heathen Jedi frolic. We invited N's entire kindergarten class, but less than half came, mostly because of Family Day. I can't help but believe that the SAHM crowd can schedule a party nearly whenever they want because they have the time and flexibility to plan, organize, conduct and *attend* parties on any day they want, and therefore save the sancrisanct Family Day. Our last birthday party we went to was on a Monday, held right after school (I went over lunch break). It was packed with kids, and it didn't rain. Yah, that's right, I just said that in addition to having a totally flexible schedule, SAHM's can also control the weather. I'm nothing if not irreverant.

My other Working Mom issue with birthday parties is commoraderie. Frankly, it's a good thing that over half the class couldn't come. Planning and executing a party, at a park, with props and a Death Star ball game to referee, with three kids under six to work for, feed, bathe, and watch, is difficult enough. Add another 30 kids and, well, it could have been too much for me. Fifteen was tough as it was. It may be different in other households, but in ours, Hubby isn't all that into parties. He leaves the planning and execution to me, he'll do some shopping, man the grill, and host the parents. Which is a big help. But that leaves everything else to me. In my idealized weather-goddess SAHM world, these moms have friends, specifically other mom friends who will be bringing their own kids to the party, and who over coffee while the kids are at school or playing together can help twist balloons and devise rules for Death Star ball, and at the party help pass out bags for the Use The Force Scavenger hunt, and even peek into the bags to see what all was found. I get this idea because as I drop N off at school, I hear them talk about doing just that. Well, ok, maybe not devise rules for Death Star ball, but getting together to help each other out for birthday parties, or births for that matter. Friday night, in desperation for some companionship outside of home, I called a friend of mine, whose daughter is graduating college next month, to come over and just shoot the breeze with me while I twisted balloons. Hubby and N were at Cirque du Soliel for her birthday present, and she and I hadn't had much of a chance to chat lazily in the past year. She had had a hard week at work and declined, not realizing I was in tears on the other end of the phone. I hear SAHMs talk about how they miss adult conversation throughout the day. Me? I miss any conversation.

The party was a mild success. It was a beautiful day in the morning, which caused everyone to be dressed for warm weather for the party. When it turned cold and wet about an hour into it, I had to rush it through so the kids wouldn't turn a shade of blue deeper than the fabric paint they used to put handprints on N's shirt. So, no Droid Bomb roll, much to N's distress. It was a game she thought up herself, she was really looking forward to it. Lightsaber limbo worked well, although I had to enlist (I didn't ask, I simply grabbed them) two moms to help. The scavenger hunt ended in chaos, but no limbs were lost. The shy kids didn't get much of a chance at all to do the more low-key activities I had planned for them. We rushed through the pinata and cake, and opened up only a few presents from the kids who *really* wanted to see N open theirs, and then, pop, everyone except Thor and his thunder were gone. A party N had been looking forward to for months ended in just under two hours.

I was brought back to my third birthday, and crying over pin the tail on the donkey. N was upset that it was all over so soon, but also was looking forward to the warmth of home. Hubby got two pictures, both of N blowing out the candles, and that was it. I have no pictures of A at the party at all, and frankly, I don't remember much of her being there, I was so caught up in running the show. Poor middle child, always lost somewhere. I remembered the party in the woods when it rained, and how we still managed to have fun, but I also remembered my Mom had lots of friends with her helping her out. That, and the shelter was bigger.

Most of us develop relationships through proximity. Oh, sure, there's, but for the rest of us poor slobs, we make friends the hard way. Most of my active friends I know through work. Most of SAHMs friends are probably from being a mom, either through playgroups, extracurricular activities with the kids, organizations they work with because they have the flexibility of time to do that, or maybe church where they meet other SAHMs to have playdates. Hubby's friends are from, well, he's a hermit. Were he to actually go out and socialize, I bet most of his friends would be from being a dad. The problem with developing friendships at work is that my friends work. Those with kids want to go home to their kids, have kid-centered responsibilities, and we have to schedule playdates months in advance in order to jive with our schedules. Those without kids don't really want to hang out with those of us with kids, with few exceptions, or at least go to a six-year-old's party, even if they can play Death Star ball. SAHMs and non-hermit SAHDs can develop relationships with people because of their kids; working parents develop relationships despite their kids.

Yes, the demise of the party had much to do with the weather, and not all SAHMs have control over low pressure systems. But were I to have had the friendships that every last SAHM I know in this town has, developed, I guess, by virtue of being a SAHM and therefore having the time and flexibility to be a part of Mom World together, I think I would have enjoyed the time I had at it more, and I think N would have, too. Certainly A would have. Luckily, we remembered to pack her up and bring her home.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

April 19th: A Day that will live in Infamy

Really. Waco. Oklahoma City. The day I learned we lost my first pregnancy, and the due date for my ectopic.

But, happiness prevails. My little N is six years old today. Happy birthday, Peebers!

Hubby and I stayed up until midnight cutting, baking, and decorating gingerbread light saber cookies for her class. 35+ cookies, all cut by hand, because try as we may, we could not find light saber cookie cutters. Go figure. The Star Wars franchise sells over $1billion of action figures, fruit snacks and underwear, but no cookie cutters.

Frankly, I'm stunned.

She skipped off to school in Heidi braids with roses, so excited for it to be her birthday. Last year, she did NOT, in no uncertain terms, want to turn five. She liked being four and couldn't see how it could get any better than that. This year, she must have accepted that change can be a good thing.

Six years ago, I was still in labor after an entire preceeding day being in labor. Since I shared A's story, I'll share N's as well:

N was born at 10:25 in the morning on April 19th, 2000, one week after her due date. She weighed 7 pounds, 7 oz, and was 20" long. She was just the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I woke up at 7:30 the previous morning with contractions 3 to 5 minutes apart, but they didn't hurt all that much. No contractions before that, unless they were in my sleep. I knew they weren't Braxton Hicks as I had back pain associated with them. But where were the usual ctx 20 or 10 minutes apart before that? I took a hot shower and walked around, but they didn't go away. We called the doctor, and they said come to the hospital if I felt like it. So we did, after stopping by the store for fruit and chocolates for the nurses. At the store, the ctx were getting stronger, and I had to stop on occassion to compose myself. Hubby was frantic that I go to the hospital NOW!

We checked in the hospital at 1 pm. I was only 2 cm dialated and 70% effaced, but since I was at nothing just a few days before that, they kept me there. By 4 pm, I was only 3 cm. By 7 pm, I was at 6 cm, and the contractions were starting to get painful. Really painful. N was facing sideways instead of forward or back, which was giving me incredible back pain. I started to fight the contractions - wrong thing to do, but I had three sources of pain going on - the pressure, the back pain, and the normal ctx. The monitor showed transition type contractions - hard and sudden. By 11 pm, I was still at 6 cm, and she had moved even higher. I was losing ground after four hours of transition labor. Ugh! The doctor was called, and we all agreed that I needed an epidural to relax. Otherwise, she almost certainly would be a c-section. I was really hoping for a drug-free birth to experience the whole thing, but I think I did enough experiencing for this birth!

By 1 am, I had the epidural. By 4 am, I was fully dialated, but she was so high they didn't want me to push - I would just wear myself out. The epidural was wearing off, and she was still sideways, so they upped the dose and let me try and sleep for a few hours hoping she would move down. The drugs didn't help the back pain during a contraction, so I was moaning every three minutes or so, but was actually able to catnap between ctx. By 7 am the next day, she was down to zero station and I started to push simply because the pressure pain was too much. She had turned during those early morning hours to the normal position, which helped alot.

At about 9:30, my doctor showed up and was not pleased. I pushed during a contraction and he felt no progress. He said we should consider a c-section since I had been in labor so long, and had been pushing for several hours. I said give me twenty minutes. He walked out, I repositioned myself from a sitting position to on my back, and let the epidural wear off so I could feel my pushes. When he came back, she was nearly out, and we kept going! I think I was a little afraid of pushing her out - how painful would it be, and wait, did I really want to be a Mom? But he definately gave me the impetus to get her out NOW!

Oh my word. What a feeling to have a baby come out of me. I couldn't believe it... here she was! One of the first words out of my mouth was, "Oh my! It's a baby!" Like, no duh! But it was so amazing - I had just given birth! Here was this whole new person - right there! Even after all that effort to get and stay pregnant, and an extended pregnancy to boot, somehow it seemed so sudden.

Which it is. One minute you're you. The next minute your somebody else's, forever.

It's good to be a Mom.

Happy birthday, little girl!

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