Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Exclusive Mom Groups

I am making a real effort to find new friends.  I have friends but few of them are moms.  At least, few of my Portland friends are moms.  I don't love you any less or think of you as less of a friend because you live somewhere else or work all day but let's be honest, you if you live in another state or have a job you aren't going to help me feel less isolated.

Making friends does not come naturally to me. Most of my friends have one thing in common, they are really outgoing and approached me first.  This time, I have been stepping out of my comfort zone and contacting mommy/play groups through meetup.com.  

You might think that publicly listed mom/play groups would be welcoming to lonely moms reaching out for friendship.  You'd be wrong.  

I've always felt isolated and unwelcome in groups of stay at home moms at story or music times but I always assumed it was my own neuroses that led me to feel this way. Get a group of stay-at-home moms who all already know one another and it's like a junior high clique. Apparently the same goes for those who gather on the internet.

After reaching out to a playgroup I found on meetup I got this response:  "We're sorry to tell you that our group is now invite only...If you happen to know someone in the group, that person can help you get in."

Help get me in?  Help get me in to what?  Your group trip to playgrounds or coffee shops? I thought by the time we became parents we were past that.  Or maybe not, I guess junior high kids have to learn that behavior somewhere. *sigh* 

What do you think? Is it unreasonable to assume that publicly listed mom groups, or even groups of moms in coffee shops, would be welcoming to another mom looking to make more friends?  Are these moms teaching their kids to have the same attitude towards friendship?  Have you had any similar experiences?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Time for Yourself

I am not very good at making time for myself.  I know it's important, I go crazy without it, but still I can't seem to get out of the house and do things for myself.  I used to do yoga but finances are tight and the money could go towards other things so, I quit.  As the months passed I began to miss that time to myself more and more but thought I should do something more social than yoga.  I do after all, spend most of my time with a two-year-old and though she never stops talking she isn't the best conversationalist. I decided I would try out a fencing club here in town.  I've always kinda wanted to try fencing and this place has a very affordable beginner's class. 


Tonight was supposed to be my first night but class starts at 6 and David doesn't get off until 5.  Getting there was going to be a logistical nightmare that would involve me riding David's bike home, in the dark and possible rain.  I know this is Portland and people do it all the time but I'm a little nervous riding on streets alone; I got hit once.  


A little disappointed in myself for not trying something new I have committed myself to 3 months of Yoga instead.  Tonight was my first night back and it felt great.  


How do you make time for yourself?  How do you choose to spend that time?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Everything is OK?

For someone who has anxiety about everything I think I do a really good job of keeping that anxiety in check when it comes to raising Flora.  I let her explore without hovering, I don't rush to her aid every time she falls and I don't freak out every time she has a runny nose.  The stress of today however, has left my stomach in knots.


I mentioned yesterday that Flora fell, skinned her knee, cried for over an hour and refused to walk.  At the time, I attributed her breakdown to teething.  When she woke up this morning and still refused to walk, I began to worry about her leg.


I called the doctor, made an appointment and brought her in.  Even though on the car ride over Flora promised me she would let the Dr look at her leg, she didn't and the Dr had to resort to a less gentle method of assessing her injury.  She took my already upset daughter out of my arms and across the room.  She then held Flora in a standing position on the floor to see if she would walk back to me.  Flora reached for me and screamed but she would not put her leg down to walk.  Dr decided if that wasn't motivation enough to walk then an x-ray was necessary.


We went upstairs to x-ray.  I used her love of the camera to my advantage and told her the nice man was going to take a picture of the inside of her leg.  We both put on our fancy leaded clothes, she posed for the picture just the way he wanted and she remained still while he took the photo.  Twice.  The x-ray technician was genuinely impressed, showed Flora her pictures and sent us back to the doctor with a sticker.


While the x-ray technician showed us her x-ray I noticed a little line across her femur and got nervous.  He told me he wasn't allowed to talk about patient x-rays, the doctor would do that, so the knot in my stomach just got tighter.


The doctor also saw the line and the knot got even tighter.  Can you imagine a toddler with a whole-leg cast?  She went to go consult with the radiologist and left me there, sick.  Finally she came back and we got the news:  Flora leg is NOT broken!  Thank goodness.  The line is called a growth arrest line and they show up in children's x-rays sometimes.  


I'm happy Flora's leg is not broken but I still wonder why she won't walk.  Now I'm worried about her growth arrest line.  Why was there an arrest in her growth?  Is that normal?  We're waiting to hear back from the doctor on that one.  By we I mean me.  My husband thinks I'm over reacting.  He's probably right. I hope.


I'm ready for life to return to normal.  I miss this smile.  


There have been a lot of tears and whining the last two days.  I'm ready for this girl to come back.  

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

My Birthday

I recently had a birthday and every year David makes me a card.  I look forward to his cards and though I'm not the sentimental type who has stacks of old holiday cards packed away, I always keep his.  

This year he really outdid himself:

Front

Inside

I bet you didn't know that I REALLY like Star Trek.  Most people don't.  It all started while I was pregnant and many, many seasons later I have watched every series except the original.  

Day 3

Day 3 of the worst ear infection ever.  David has gone back to work and I'm alone with the girl.  I tried to be strong and take her for a walk this morning but 1 block into our walk she fell down and skinned her knee.  She cried about it for over an hour.  I think that it was her teeth, not the knee, that really caused this breakdown.  We've spent the rest of the day napping and cuddling on the couch.  Flora won't put any weight on her injured leg and refuses to walk anywhere so it's been a pretty lazy day.  That's fine with me.  Hopefully we'll both feel better tomorrow.  

Ready to Walk

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Car

Flora has always hated the car.  When she was little and her car seat was still rear facing one of us had to sit in the back with her or she would scream the whole car ride.  Going somewhere alone was no fun. Oh how I wish she was one of those kids who falls asleep in the car.

Things improved a little on her first birthday when I turned her seat around but she would still rather walk everywhere.  Everyday when I tell her we're going somewhere her response is, "no car, just walk."  She's lucky we live in Portland because we do have a lot within walking distance: 3 playgrounds, the library, a kid friendly coffee shop, and a grocery store.  When possible, we do walk but sometimes we need to leave our neighborhood.

David stayed home again today because I'm still recovering from what I have decided is the worst ear infection ever.  I had no idea an ear infection could make your whole body feel so terrible but that's another story.  Near the end of the day I began to feel a little better and told David that if he took Flora to buy some avocados I would make guacamole and corn tortillas as part of our dinner.  They went and I stayed home to rest.

They drove because the grocery store with cheap avocados is not in our neighborhood.  (Did you know you can get avocados at Safeway for either 50 or 78 cents depending on the week?  The are ALWAYS on sale.)  When they were leaving the grocery store David jokingly asked Flora if she wanted to walk home.  Of course she did!  This kid would always rather walk.  Unfortunately, they had the car with them and they were too far away to walk so David explained that he was just kidding an put her in the car.  She was so upset they weren't walking that she screamed the whole car ride home and was still screaming when he got her out of the car.  It's hard being a toddler sometimes.

She was so angry I couldn't resist taking a picture of her sweet little face.

Home but still bummed she didn't get to walk.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Why do I love my husband?

I love David for any number of reasons.  Most recently, he stayed home from work today because I'm sick.  All day he's been taking care of our girl, cleaning up the house, doing laundry and to top it off, he made me a watermelon snack while I was napping.  

How sweet is that?

Pa

Growing up I was very close to my grandfather.  My mom was a young single mom and we lived in her parents house for several years.  Pa would pick me up from school, take me out for donuts, have me sit with him for hours in his "computer room," and let me eat chocolate covered graham crackers out of his desk before dinner.  When my mom was at work it was Pa, not my grandmother, who I remember taking care of me.  

Pa and me in 1984

As a young man, Pa fought in WWII.  He was part of the Army Air Corps 100th Air Group, nicknamed the Bloody Hundredth because they lost so many men.  On December 31, 1944 Pa's B17 was shot down over Hamburg, Germany.  He was the Navigator and one of the few survivors from his crew.  He spent the remainder of the war in Stalag Luft 1, a German Prisoner of War Camp. 

Despite this traumatic experience Pa's love of airplanes continued throughout his life.  He built his career around his love of airplanes and continued his pursuit of recreational piloting well into his retirement.  


Durring his career years Pa worked for Douglas, later called McDonnell Douglas.  His job as an airplane salesman throughout Asia put more stamps in his passports than even most well traveled people could obtain in a dozen lives.  His job kept him away from his family more than most and he missed out on a lot of things with his kids.  When I, his only grandchild, moved into his house I think he saw it as his second chance to be there everyday.

When I was eleven my mom got remarried and we moved out of my grandparents house; I was angry but continued to have a close relationship with Pa.  When I was 16 he died and I was devastated.  Then, as though he was giving me a final sendoff, on the day I receive the college degree that he paid for a B17 flew over my head in Olympia Washington.  I still miss him and regret that he never got to meet David or Flora.  As in love with me as he was, I can only imagine how he would feel about Flora. 

Despite his obvious absence in my life I often feel that a little bit of him lives on in Flora because at two years old she is obsessed with airplanes.  She points out every plane that passes overhead, even the ones no one else would notice.   She often talks about how the clouds are too high to reach and then goes on to tell me how, if she were in a plane THEN she could reach the clouds. There is almost a wistful longing in her little voice.  One of her favorite games is to pack up her suitcase and backpack and then get in her cardboard car so she can drive to the airport.  I can't help but feel like this fascination with planes was somehow passed on to her from Pa.  Who knows, perhaps she too will build her life around her love of airplanes.  Regardless of her future, I can't help but look at her now and see a little bit of my beloved Pa. 

Flora is in her car, headed to the airport.

Earache

Not Flora's, mine.  My girl never gets sick.  The only exception would be the fever and tummy troubles she gets while teething.  I however, have the worst earache.  The pain is unbearable and after giving birth my definition of unbearable pain is pretty narrow. David is taking the day off work today so I can rest and go to the doctor.  Thank goodness for good daddies.


Flora has never had an earache but after experiencing this I will have much more empathy when she does.  After crying and freaking out because it hurt so bad last night I took some expired vicodin I found in the bathroom.  Kids don't get to take narcotics so, next time you child is freaking out because her ear hurts remember that if the pain caused a grown woman to throw a fit your little one really can't help herself.  


Here's to healthy kids with healthy ears!  
Flora's lucky to have such a good daddy!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pants


Flora is potty trained early, by US standards, and she is very little for her age.  I'm happy that she is potty trained and I've come to terms with the fact that she's tiny; my problem is with her pants.  Unless she's wearing leggings her pants are always really baggy in the crotch.  I know it's shallow but I don't like the way it looks.  What size do they finally start cutting pants to fit the child and not the diaper?

Friday, August 20, 2010

I can't read!

I really enjoy the time Flora spends on the toilet.  It's some of the only time I get to myself during the day.  Sometimes she plays her drum machine, other times she reads.  I don't worry too much about what she does in there because I'm confident, that even at the age of two, she knows that smearing poop on herself or the wall is not an acceptable form of entertainment.  The other day, I set her up with several books then returned to the kitchen to finish cooking dinner.  I could hear her yelling something at me but didn't worry about it too much, she ALWAYS has something she wants to tell me.  When she didn't give up, I went back to see if she was having a problem.  I arrived at the bathroom door to find a flustered little girl with books sprawled in front of her.  She looked up at me and, in an agitated voice, said:  "I can't read!".



Thursday, August 19, 2010

Sleep

I spend a lot of time thinking about sleep. I've never been a great sleeper so feeling tired is nothing new but having a child, my child, is different. I do not exaggerate when I say that I haven't had a full night sleep in 26 months. On the very rare occasion that Flora does sleep through the night I am so programed to wake that I still don't sleep well. I hear parents talk about their amazing bedtime routine that keeps their 6 week old child asleep for 6 hour stretches and I laugh. There is nothing magic about their sleep routine; they just have an easy child. I don't know why my child doesn't sleep but I like to tell myself it's for the same reason she started talking at 10 months, charms everyone she meets and goes swimming at the beach in the middle of our living room. It's all just part of her being amazing. You can't always have the good without the bad and my bad is that Flora doesn't want to sleep for fear of missing out. So, i will soldier on knowing that someday my girl will learn to sleep through the night and then my husband and I will re-learn how to sleep through the night. Until then, I will just enjoy her amazingness and try not to get too frustrated when she uses me as a human trampoline at 630am after allowing me only 3 hour stretches of sleep.

Goodnight, little girl. I can hear you back there singing when you should be asleep.

Ready for bed?