Inside My Mommy Brain!

You never know what you'll find…

Cleaning House or Going Out to Play

The sun is out, the small fry seems to be in a decent mood this morning. I’m having a cup of pumpkin spice coffee.  The man and I have all day home together (I’m not really sure how that happened, but I’m not going to question it).  Now, for the dilemma. I’ve had a migraine for two days and this place is wrecked with a capital “W”.  So, do I spend the day cleaning the place with the man’s help and hope after that we feel like going to the farm market and taking a hayride, going to pick a pumpkin, or going apple picking or just say to hell with it, go out enjoy the day and I can clean tomorrow when he’s at work?

Then I wonder why am I even concerned? Until I had the Smidge, cleaning was something that happened once a week, except the kitchen. The kitchen always needed to be neat clean and ready to cook in.  The rest of the place, meh, who cared.  I worked to much to have company and it really didn’t matter. I think my not caring can be blamed on the fact my mom was a complete neat freak. It was part of my rebellion. She is the only woman I have ever known that was ever able to keep a white carpet, white. Especially with two young kids who played outside constantly and a coal miner coming home with coal dust everywhere.  To this day I swear she had magical powers of clean.

Now, for me, it’s a different story.  I don’t know if the cleaning bug happened when I had the baby. Did the pregnancy hormones rewire my brain into an almost OCD like, must have it all picked up by the end of the day, THERE CAN BE NO DIRT, nutcase. Seriously, I can vacuum two times a day and still feel like the carpet needs it again. What the hell is wrong with me? Having a clean house is wonderful, I feel better when I don’t feel like the tiny person clutter isn’t going to attack me when I walk by, I like the kitchen clean and the laundry clean (I have given up on being able to fold it) but, really does it need to be spotless everyday. Why am I even concerned today?  I have a rare opportunity for us to go out and be a family, make some memories, and here I am blogging about cleaning the house.

Well, I guess I have my answer. I’m going to finish my coffee, say good bye to my lovely readers, pick the house up enough that I don’t feel like its a danger to me or the family, and go out and enjoy the sunshine. Because in the end, the house will be dirty tomorrow but a day with the whole family and fall sunshine in upstate NY is too rare of an event to even care.

Happy Fall Days to All!!

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A Day Out With the Family

A Day Out With the Family

So nice, spending the day out with the family before work and getting to hear the small one giggle when the ducks took the bite of bread from her. Of course, that changed as soon as one ornery duck decided to nibble on her finger. Of course, when you’re expecting the nibble, it tickles. When you’re an almost two year old, getting nibbled on by a duck elicits a hand on the hip, finger in the air, “No, No, BAD duck” response. Yeah, you’re right, at that moment I couldn’t have saved her from a flock of wild nibbling ducks for laughing. Afterwards, anytime the duck got to close, he was given a stern, “Bad duck”. Moments like this make me realize there’s nothing better than being a mommy.

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Dear Coffee Pot, I hope you know there are days you make my mornings bearable.

I never really drank coffee on a daily basis until I had my first child. I’d have a cup every now and then, on special occasions or when i had to be at work at 6 am after working til 11 pm.

Now though, Coffee is my lifeline. That shot of caffeine first thing in the morning helps save some of my sanity.  Especially on days like today. At 6:00, I hear, “Momma, Momma, Momma, MOMMA!”

She usually doesn’t rise til about 8 and Momma was up til 1 am studying.  Need just 20 more minutes of sleep…please…no. The daddy goes and gets the small wonder and we tuck her in with us.  Please Lord let it go back to sleep, even for 15 minutes.  No such luck.  She’s awake and ready to play. I tried the cartoon alarm clock, nope, not today.  Even Elmo can’t keep the little sucker amused. I’m laying on the couch just watching her play at this point, I’m kind enough to let daddy sleep in this morning, his day off.  Then as I’m about to doze off.  She brings my empty coffee cup to me.  I left it a little to close to the edge of the kitchen counter.

“Momma, eat”, “milk, eat”, “EAT EAT EAT”

You know its going to be a long day when the toddler brings your coffee cup to you before she demands her breakfast.

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All is Right With the World

All is Right With the World

Beautiful. There are times I miss living next to the ocean and the beach. The tourists were terrible during the summer, but there’s nothing as peaceful, grounding, and wonderful, as sitting in the sand and watching the waves come in.

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I love staying home with my daughter

I’ve been thinking about stay at home moms and dads  a lot the last few days.  I’ve had a few people be rude and snarky to me because I stay home with my daughter and only work part-time.

Why do I stay home with my daughter and why is it anyone else’s business?  The short answer is because it’s the right thing to do for my family and for my daughter. My daughter and my other half are the center of my world. My daughter was a very pleasant surprise when I had reached a point where being a mom was not a reality. I love that little person more than I can describe. I have only one, she will be young once, if I miss any of the firsts, I will never get them back. I know my decision is not the best for everyone.

What I don’t understand is why a mom or dad staying home with their small child seems to be such a foreign concept to people.  I’m amazed by the derision from some women, “Oh, you stay home? Must be nice to do nothing all day…” Then, there’s the “Must be nice to be able to afford to stay home.” Then, I get snide comments from a grandparent basically telling me, it’s my “job” to work outside the home full-time and let her watch my daughter; that she worked full-time while her kids were growing up, they turned out fine.

To those that think I do nothing all day, are you nuts?  I’ve worked a full-time job, then picked another part-time job in my spare time.  I will tell you, I work harder chasing this small energetic heathen around and attempting to keep my house clean, food on the table, laundry clean and folded, than I ever did working 60+ hours a week for a company.  I also work part-time on the man’s days off and I’m a student.  Believe me the only moment of nothing I have is getting a 2-second drink of coffee.

To those snarky, “affordable” comments. When we calculated the costs of daycare versus what we were making, it didn’t make financial sense for both of us to work full-time and give a daycare provider, what would essentially be half of our paychecks.  When we made the decision for one of us to stay home, we knew we would be living lean. We have a place to live, we have food on the table, we pay our bills, we take care of our daughter’s needs, and there are very few luxuries. It’s affordable because we were and are willing to make material sacrifices to have one of us home with our daughter all the time.

To the grandparent, I understand that you want to watch the small one and enjoy being a grandparent.  However, this is my daughter. I understand you made choices that you had to to take care of your family, you missed a lot of the “firsts” and time with your children. I’m sorry for this; it still does not give you any special entitlements to my daughter. We will let you see her when we can, just like we do with all of her other grandparents.

Am I looking forward to getting back to work full-time and bringing home a bigger paycheck, sure; it will be nice to have a few extra things.  What I can tell you though is this, for me and my little family, there is no amount of money that can replace knowing that we get to hear her first words, that we get to see her personality grow, that we get to spend time as a family, that I get to see the world through her eyes, and knowing that I’m the one influencing her growth as a person.

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Retail Work Frustrations and Whiny Associates

If you work retail, you have only a few truly important things to do:

Do:

  • Be Nice
  • Be Polite
  • Be Helpful
  • Smile
  • Be Professional
  • Be knowledgeable

Do Not:

  • Be negative
  • Text on your phone in front of a customer, especially while your counterpart is juggling three other people
  • Complain loudly about a job you are doing to another associate while they are with a customer
  • Complaing to another customer how rude the person in front of them was
  • Be mean and rude to a customer in the line, just because you think they don’t like you
  • Be an asshat, douchebag, or any other name that goes with these categories

So, tonight was one of those nights were I had the urge to physically harm a fellow associate for being a complete asshat.

Seriously,  SHE really has one job to do.  BE NICE TO THE CUSTOMERS.  If that’s hard to do, then you need a new freaking (I much prefer another term here) job.  I get it; it’s been a long day, you’re tired, and you’ve had some people bitch at you because some else made a mistake. Shit happens, life goes on.  Again, your only job at this point is to be nice to the customer in front of you, who was being quite tolerant and cordial despite your bad behavior, take her order for copies, do them, thank her for her business, and be done with it.  Then, when you make this customer feel like she inconvenienced you and upset your evening because she didn’t understand how to make something work; I want to punch you. That probably doesn’t make me much better but honestly, nothing pisses me off more than a rude associate whether its retail, fast food or in any service based industry. This is especially true when I know you are a chronically rude associate. You better believe when the customer(s), you’re only reason to be there, actually leave, I’m going to chew your ass out and tell you why you handled that situation poorly. I will do it in a professional manner, even though on the inside I see my self secretly banging your head into the copier.  If you don’t like it, quite honestly I don’t care.

Why I feel this way…

I work retail; I have for more than 18 years.  I started as a cashier in college and worked my way up to management. I know for the most part that doesn’t sound impressive.  I’ll tell you, my precious few readers, why it was actually impressive for me another day.  I started working in retail to help pay the bills in college.  I worked in soft lines, that’s clothing for the retail uninitiated.  Now I work hard lines, things other than clothing and bedding etc. I tried to get a real tech job out of college, but I made a few mistakes my last semester of school; again, another story for another day.

Back to my work horror story.  Like I said, I’ve worked retail for more than 18 years.  I actually enjoy it.  I know, hard to believe. I like to help people, I like to solve problems, find a creative solution and offer ways to help someone with the problem they are having. I understand that the company I work for is paying me to do these things.  That’s what they hired me to do. As a business person, I do my job.  For the most part, the good times have outweighed the people throwing  5 year old printers at my head.  I’ve had a day were someone called me enough nasty names for no real reason other than she (a customer) was blaming me for something I didn’t do, I went into an office and cried.  Those instance are pretty far and few between.  When they occur, you take the incident, blow off some steam, out of ear shot of your customer, suck it up and go back to work with a smile on your face.  You do not whine and complain and bitch and moan and groan to anyone who walks up to the counter. Then you do not walk through the store whining to every other associate trying to work.  You do not get an attitude when they politely tell you they are busy and don’t want to talk.

Moral of the story, if you are customer and you have to deal with this mess in any situation, ask for a manager.  They need to know from you what is going on. Fellow associates can and usually do say something but coming from a paying customer it really motivates them to take care of the problem. It also helps them to start to remove said irritating moron out of their store. If you get a manager with the same attitude, Go to another store. Don’t forget the flipside, if you get someone who gives exceptional service, compliment them to a manager or write a nice letter to their corporate office.  They can use this to get a raise, or a promotion.

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The Mysterious “It”, Shaggy Dog Earns His Keep, and Epic Baby Poops

I tried to keep a journal chronicling  my early weeks as a new mom; I let a few friends read my work, some liked it some said to stick to my “day” job. Just the other day I had someone bring up the “IT!” moment. I thought I’d share it with you 🙂   I call my wee one Smidge, Smidegen, Smidgey, and any other variation that comes out of my muddled brain.

The IT!

Lesson learned, over tired baby equals cranky, upset, demon baby with the superhuman ability to cry for hours.

Luckily for me, my Smidge is a happy go lucky baby.  You have to really really try to piss off my Smidgey.  She’ll talk a bit, whine on occasion, and when she cries, she has a good reason.  However, on rare occasions (count 3), we have nights “it” happens.

We’re getting ready for bed. I have all the night supplies stocked and ready; diapers, wipes, absorbent covers for changing,  boppy-ish pillow, baby almost half sleep. Cliff is ready, has his chew bone (he always has it with him when he’s in one room for long periods of time), the man has Netflix queued to “Psych” I’m getting excited! There’s sleep in my future! We settle in, Smidgey is having her before bed snack, we watch an episode; have some snuggle time, she falls asleep, I put her in her little bassinet, Cliff is snoring, the man is snoring, I roll over snuggle up to my pillow, my eyes are closing, Mr. Sandman is there beckoning me, I’m almost there….and…..BAM!, “it” happens…I don’t know what “it” was or is, but “it” caused my sweet- natured Smidge to turn into an angry, crying, demon spawn.  Crying just doesn’t describe what was going on. I don’t mean the “waaa, waaa, gurgle, I’m irritated cry”; I’m talking full blown purple baby, worst day of my life, I hate the world, everything sucks, can’t catch my breath, baby screams.   Let’s say, if I ever meet “it” face to face or figure out what “it” was or is, I’ll find a way to strangle every bit of life out of “it” so no other baby (read sleep deprived mom) will ever have to suffer again!!!!

After the first 15 minutes of crying, I come to the realization my sleep isn’t going to happen and this episode is going to last for a while. I wave good bye to the Sandman, gather baby supplies and We, Smidge and I, head for the living room so at least one of the adults in this house can get some sleep.  My reasoning only one should suffer, is that he has to leave for work in the A.M. and we should probably have one adult that appears to be coherent and is functioning on more than 2 hours of total sleep for the night/week.  Not only that, but when we first brought Smidge home super dad spent most of the nights up with her as much as he could, so I could get some sleep and try to heal from delivery.  I can also cat nap during the day when Smidgey goes to sleep.

So, I try everything to figure out “it”.

I start with the normal culprits:

  • dirty diaper? Nope.
  • hungry?  Not a chance. She spit the milk back at me and screamed
  • itchy onesie?  No. To be sure, we had naked baby except for diaper
  • gas?  Maybe, no burp but, the kid can pass gas like a college frat boy after a bender
  • to warm?  See naked baby.
  • to cold? Nah…. naked baby wrapped in a blanket, warm hands, and warm feet
  • fever?  Nope, though the rectal thermometer may or may not have helped the screaming

Okay, normal stuff not working…on to the next level… is she sick?  Constipated?  Just being an angry Smidge?  Who knows….

Normally, during all of this my douche-bag, lazy dog would have stayed with the man in bed and slept, however, Fuzzy earned his keep during the “it” fiasco.  He decided to stay up and keep me and Smidgey company.  He followed me around while I was checking her and getting set up for a long night.  When I settled into my chair, he walked over and sat beside me, he put his paws on my leg and rested his head there so I could just pet him.  He would also change sides and give Smidge a lick on her head, make some doggy noises like he was telling her it was ok.  I think Mr. Fuzz was willing to try anything to get his humans back in the same room and get his little human happy again.  Cliffy went so far as to go get his chew bone drop it on my lap where I had Smidge sitting/laying, as if to say “This helps me when I don’t feel good, go ahead, I’ll let you chew on it for a bit”,  I thought it was very very sweet of him.  I gave him his bone back, and he laid in the floor at my feet for about an hour while we tried rocking Smidge. She would quiet down for about five minutes, just enough time for me and Cliff to share a “maybe?” look and then she’d start crying again.  Clifford would sigh, lick my hand, and start chewing on his bone again.  Every 30 minutes or so, he would also get up go check to make sure the man was ok, and then come back to me and Smidge.  Cliffy had a long, long night protecting his humans and just being a great dog.

As we started hour three or was it four? (everything started to blur after the first hour)  I have her over my shoulder pacing the hallway and super dog is right behind me, close enough that I know he’s there, and far enough back so I didn’t kick him or trip over him.  Every time we would make a trip he would still go in and check on the man. After a bit, I actually felt sorry for Clifford,  he looked about how I felt, exhausted.  I finally felt sorry for him and shut him in the bedroom where he stumbled to the bed, snuggled with the many, passed out asleep.  To this day, I’m not sure who snored the most; man or dog.

After many trips up and down the hallway….Finally, finally, finally…she stops crying, gets this look of intense concentration, makes a squeak/grunt combo and the ten pound munchkin let out an epic fart followed by the most epic baby shit ever. No, I can’t even say poo here, I mean this was an Epic Shit, Record book worthy, diaper full, trying to run out the sides, I was disgusted and the same time just wanted to cheer for her, if I had that much poop built up, I would have cried too.  There aren’t words to completely describe this poo, it would have been picture worthy, but even I draw the line at poo photos.

The best and worst, this poo opened the flood gates.  I’m not sure if I ate something that upset her stomach or what.  After that first epic crap, she at least stopped the angry baby cries and downgraded to just a sad, tired, whimper cry.  No longer angry screaming demon child, we were on the downside, Smidge had the most pitiful little face, the lower lip was quivering, and it was just a soft “waaa” sound coming out of her. She was completely exhausted and all I could do was kiss her and murmur sweet words, and offer comfort. The downside cry, as I call it, is the one that breaks your heart and makes you feel helpless as a parent because it is just plain pitiful. You know they don’t feel good, and in the end there’s not a damn thing you can do to take away the discomfort, but walk, rock, cuddle, and comfort and hope its good enough in the end.  At least I can deal with the angry baby cries because I know there is something causing them, its just a matter of time to find out what it is.  The sad baby cry, just ugh… 😦

After about 4 hours of baby misery, Cliffy earning his keep, epic poops, wearing a hole in the hallway carpet, changing several more poop diapers, my sweet little Smidge was back.  She finally fell asleep. I was able to put her to bed, snuggle in myself, have the man wake up enough to tell me he loved me, ask how Smidge was, and I finally was able to greet the Sandman for a short journey.  The best part after all of that she passed out for about five straight hours, woke up the next morning just happy.  Me, on the other hand, woke up every one or two to just make sure she was ok, and thanked God for coffee the next morning!

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9/11/2001 Where were you?

Like every American and most of the rest of the world, this is a date I will never forget. I’m sure everyone will be writing something about it.  I wanted to share my experience. I lived in Rochesters, NY at the time. I lived more than six hours away from New York City. I was on my way to work; I had volunteered to pick up a fellow associate. I didn’t turn on the news that morning.  I didn’t know what was happening. I thought it was a nice fall day, I was going to go to work, come home, and have an enjoyable evening.

I turned on the radio in my car and that’s when I heard the first reports from a local DJ. I remember hearing about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. At the time, it was thought that it was just a plane crash, some type of pilot error.  I was listening to the live reports until I made it to my friends house.  She asked if I had heard the news, I said yes, she invited me in to see the news coverage while she finished gathering her work items.  While I was there, watching live, she and I saw the plane hit the other tower.  We knew at that moment, this was not an accident.  I can’t even describe the sick feeling I had in my stomach, the fight to not cry, the worry for people I knew living in NYC, for friends who had loved ones living there.

Even though we wanted to stay glued to the television we went on to our job. I worked retail. I remember walking in and it was all anyone could talk about.  We had customers that didn’t believe it. People who had not see the news. So, many that learned what was happening and rushed out and home to check on their friends and family.  The phone lines were already jammed with people calling. We had an old television in our break room that we pulled to the front of the store so all associates and customers could see what was happening.  We watched as the news reported the strike on the Pentagon, the flight that crashed in Pennsylvania. There was such a feeling of helplessness…  Then, we watched as people terrified, bewildered, began to jump from the top of the towers. Then, I remember looking away from the live action and hearing the screams from the TV, as the first tower collapsed.  It was surreal. We all sat there just staring at the television trying to comprehend what we just saw. Many were in denial, this isn’t happening, we are going to wake up and find this was a bad dream.

Our store was eerily quiet that day, we had very few customers.  Some with tears, some angry at the world, everyone wanting to do something.  Except one woman, I’ll never forget her.  It’s one of the few times in my life I felt the urge to perform a violent act on a perfect stranger.  It was shortly after the second tower had fell. We were still dazed, confused, no way to express the sadness… and this woman wanted a box of envelopes, she had to have a box of envelopes.  We got her a box of envelopes.  She was rude, mean, and then said the words that made me start to doubt humanity even more.  She wanted to know why we weren’t smiling, and happy, that’s what we got paid to do.  That we should turn that “shit” off and do our jobs.  We weren’t getting paid to stand around and watch TV.  I asked if she had seen the news, that many of us were concerned for family and loved ones.  Her reply, “what do I care? I don’t have anyone there.  I have my own life, I’m too busy to worry about others.”

Really?  REALLY?  More than 3,000 people had just died in a terrorist attack, we didn’t know what else was going to happen, and this woman, was more interested in a freaking box of envelopes.   

Around noon that day, we finally got permission to close our store.  Most employees hadn’t shown up anyway. We were told to go home, hug our loved ones, try to contact our families.  

I remember getting home and thinking how quiet it was.  There were few cars on the road.  No planes in the sky,  just silence.  The rest of the evening was spent in front of television, the computer, listening to the radio.  Just trying to find out what else was going to happen. The entire evening, into the night was spent just listening to the quiet.  Nothing stirred.

I remember just sitting quietly, in fear of what the future was going to hold.  We all knew there was going to be military action, I had friends in the military.  I worried for them. I mourned for the people killed in the attacks and I mourned for the country.  I mourned for what was…there was an innocence lost that day. 

I still mourn for what was.

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“A two-year-old…

“A two-year-old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.”
Jerry Seinfeld

This. Is. My. Life.

This blog will be based on the antics, trials, tribulations, and the wonderful conversations that go on in my head as I battle to keep the house clean and my sanity intact and try to win the war with the toddler and the dog….

I hope you enjoy the read, writing may be the only thing that keeps me sane.  Well, that and coffee.

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