Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Leave a Message

I hate answering the phone.

I hate answering the phone so much that very often I let it go to voice mail and call the person back.  My stomach drops when the phone rings and I'm not sure who it is.  Mostly this happens at work.  On my cell phone, if I don't recognize the number then it's usually someone I don't need to talk to, so that doesn't bother me.

But at work, I'm supposed to answer the phone and speak to people.  I mean, that's not my main job, but I am the client in my industry and people who are calling me have questions that need answered and comments that need heard and issues that need resolved.  That is why I hate answering the phone.  I don't like being put on the spot.

I am an email kind of gal.  Send me an email and I can think about it, research it, compose my answer, read it 19 times and then give you what you need.  I can't do that on the phone.  On the phone I'm supposed to think on my feet, speak intelligently, banter back and forth.  I am not the bantering type.  I often feel like an idiot in spontaneous conversation.  I'm so worried about what I'm going to say that I can't always focus on what's being said.

I rehearse conversations in my head hours before they happen.  When I know I have to call someone or meet with someone, I play it all out in my head over and over again until I know exactly what I'll say.  But inevitably, a question or comment arises that I was not prepared for...and then that incompetent feeling seeps into my gut.

If I had my way, I'd do everything in writing, but that's not the way of the world.  So today I told myself that I would answer every single time my phone rang and just deal with it.

I made it half the day.

I'll try again tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

First Hair Cut

No not Freddie's.  Ainsley got her first hair cut last weekend.  Crazy considering she's 3.5 years old, but I'm sure most of you remember how bald she was.  I see other three-year-olds with long luscious locks...not our Ainsley.  Although she has beautiful hair, it has not come in as full as some of her peers.  So I never found it necessary to cut.  However, recently I was noticing some serious tangling at the very bottom of some of the longer pieces.  I was almost ripping out tangled little balls.  I figured it was time.

So, below are some tips on your first child's first hair cut.

#1 - If your child does not like getting her hair washed, most likely a huge green elephant will not help.

Ainsley does not like getting her hair washed.  She doesn't like water in her face and she hates when I have to rinse her hair.  Some nights it's almost impossible to get all the soap out.  She won't lie back in the tub, I have to use cups and then try to gently but forcibly push her chin up so the water doesn't drip to her eyes.  At the hair salon, there is a large green elephant mounted on the wall and the stylist uses the trunk to wet hair.  Although she was a trooper, Ainsley did not enjoy this and looking back I probably should have just said no to the shampooing.

#2 - Probably best to be prepared when the stylist asks what you want.

Or, you could, like me just stumble over your words.  Not sure what I want done, don't take too much, and please save all the curls, and not too short, and I'm not sure, bangs? well... Yeah, that's what I sounded like.

#3 - If you are PMSing...maybe wait for another day.
Or you could end up in tears...yeah, I'm a lunatic.  It became this huge symbol of Ainsley growing up and her baby essence just disappearing.  Which I guess it kind of is, but I expected it to be exciting and not so emotional.

#4 - Expect to feel like you over payed.
We were there for a total of 17 minutes from the time we walked in the door until the time we walked out...$19 later.  And I'm pretty sure I could have cut it the way it was cut.  But oh well, it's all about the experience and the certificate...which they were out of.  Most likely, I won't go back.

And here is the result...

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Boy

Since I posted about finding out if Ainsley was a boy or a girl, I wanted to do the same with Freddie.  I'm going to be honest, so don't hate me for it...

I never wanted a boy.  I mean, really, a boy just seemed like big time trouble to me.  If you would have asked me years and years ago how I pictured my future family, I would have answered Four girls, no boys!

I was so sick during those early months with Freddie.  That feeling of utter queasiness mixed with fatigue always reminded me of a Sunday morning hangover.  I had often had the same feelings with Ainsley, but I never actually got sick with her.  Freddie was a whole other story.  It was a welcome discomfort after a pregnancy where I never felt pregnant, which led to a miscarriage and 4 months of trying for another baby.

Looking back on those first 16 weeks of ickiness, I think I knew it was a boy, but I never wanted to admit it.  I would tell Clif that it was probably a boy because the pregnancy was so different.  The sickness, the heart burn, the gas, the way I instantly gained 20 pounds in my belly and rear end the moment I peed on the stick.  But I never wanted to commit to "it's a boy."  Most likely this was because deep down, I was really hoping for another girl.

Ainsley had been a dream child and I was so head over heels in love with her that I just couldn't imagine loving a boy the same way.  I wanted another Ainsley.  Also, I so bad wanted to give her a sister.  A sister close in age to her that she could grow up with.

Just like with Ainsley, I was nervous the day of the ultrasound but in a whole different way.  I was so afraid of reacting badly if it was a boy.  I didn't want to cry, I did not want to be that person, I wanted to not care, I wanted to want a boy.

The ultrasound tech got right down to business this time.  Did we want to know the sex?  Yes.  Well okay, it's  a boy.

I wasn't shocked, because a part of me knew...but I would be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed, and I'm not going to lie.  I was disappointed.  I had been hoping, hoping, hoping for another girl.  What would I do with a boy?  I felt so guilty as we called family members to share the news and I couldn't even fake excitement.  I kept thinking what a horrible person I was.  Here, I had lost one pregnancy and then tired for months for another, and now I had this healthy baby boy growing inside of me and all I could feel was disappointment.

I spent a lot of my pregnancy feeling guilty for that feeling.  Feeling sad that it wasn't a girl and getting used to the idea of a boy.  Boy clothes are not as cute.  Boy nurseries are not as stylish.  Boy toys are not as fun.

And then...

March 18th, 2010, Freddie came roaring into my world.  And I was completely. in. LOVE.  All of those insecurities about raising a boy were gone.  All of the disappointment just vanished.  He was this perfect, precious being and he was so different from Ainsley - yet I loved him because of those differences.  And the love was just so instant and surprising because I had spent so long worrying about my feelings.

And now...

When that little crooked grin spreads across his face or those little pudgy arms wrap around my neck or his small bow-shaped mouth opens for a big slobbery kiss, I wonder how I could have ever felt disappointment.

That feeling is so foreign to me.  All I feel for this troublesome little boy is pure, unconditional love.  I am his momma and he is my sweet boy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finding Out

I wrote this post as a response to a prompt at The Red Dress Club:  This week, we want you to imagine that after you have died and your daughter/son will be given the gift of seeing a single five-minute period of your life through your eyes, feeling and experiencing those moments as you did when they occurred. What five minutes would you have him/her see? Tell us about them in the finest detail.

The ultrasound gel they put on your belly isn't cold like you'd imagine.  It's actually warm and soothing, which is nice considering how on edge and jumpy I feel.  My mom is sitting at my feet rubbing my ankle.  I'm glad she's here.  I'm so nervous, I just can't get the butterflies out of my stomach.

Clif is sitting to my left side, with his mother beside him.  It's the first grandchild for both of them.  Excited does not cover the way they are feeling. 

We invited them both to be here and afterwards the three of us will go register based on the outcome.  I've wondered if we should have.  Should this just be a moment for me and Clif?  But now, I'm glad we did.  They'll always be able to say they were there when we found out the first time.

I know it's a girl.  I can feel it down to the bottom most trenches of my heart.  The moment I saw those two pink lines appear on the stick, I started thinking of girl names.  I've only looked at girl clothes and girl nurseries.  I've told anyone who would listen that it absolutely must be a girl because I've never felt something so deeply before...but what if it's not? 

What if right in this moment I have to completely change my whole thinking? 

What if all my instincts and all my thoughts have been wrong?

She moves the probe over my skin and begins speaking:

There's his heart.

His?  Did she say his?  Did she mean his?  Or does she just refer to all babies as "his/him/he" until the sex is actually known?  My heart is pounding even harder now and hot tears begin to blur my eyes.

I want to ask but I don't want to seem too eager...of course I care more about HER heart than I do HER sex.  But I just can't be wrong.  I hate being wrong.  Then she talks again:

Now I'm measuring his head.

There it is again...his!  I can't contain myself any longer.

So it's a boy? I blurt out, a bit too harshly.

She glances at me sideways.  She is definitely judging me.  She thinks I only care about the sex.  I don't only care about the sex, but seriously?  It's all anyone talks about.  Shouldn't you just get that part out of the way so I can really focus on the important stuff?

I refer to them all that way, until I know for sure.

My pounding heart calms a bit, but I'm wondering if here and now I should announce that it must be a boy...just in case. 

She continues through all the checks: head diameter, abdomen size, arm and leg lengths, umbilical cord.

So, are we finding out the sex? she asks dryly without making eye contact.

I can't believe she just asked me that.  Did we not just have that very awkward moment 2 minutes ago?

We all nod.

She turns back to the screen, pushes my abdomen to get the position right, clicks a picture and types G-I-R-L on the screen.

My heart leaps.  It seems surreal.  I've known all along but I can barely believe it.  A girl!  A sweet, pink, chubby little girl with bows and dresses and pink and purple.  My first baby will be a girl. 

I smile, look at my family and say Told you!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Are You Kidding Me?

I meant to write this post yesterday, February 12, 2011 - 6 years later, but between dance class, bridal showers, shopping and parenting, a post was virtually impossible.

Looking back on the weekend, I should have known what was coming.  I had never been to New York City.  I had always dreamed of being there. I had wanted so much to live that life. I had envied that fast paced, urban lifestyle.  So when Clif told me we were visiting his brother in Connecticut, I hoped that we would make it into the city.

Clif had more than just a surprise Valentine's Day trip up his sleeve.  After surprising me with Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, a hotel room in Times Square and dinner at the Rainbow Room, we were headed to the Empire State Building.

Getting to the top took some time.  There ware security checks and stairs and elevator rides and lines, but finally we stepped out into the brisk February night and looked down at the center of the universe.  At that height the wind was fierce and it was hard to stand still without shivering.  But I wanted to take in every angle, every detail.  For me, this was the highlight of the trip.  Standing on that balcony, looking over the edge, you could feel the pulse of the city below.  I took my time walking around the railing, stopping ever few feet to memorize the new view.

Before I knew it we were back where we'd started and I felt a little sad to say Well that's it, let's go to the gift shop.

Clif hesitated, Let's take a few more pictures.

I was cold and I had looked at everything, but I followed him to the closest corner.  He snapped a few pictures and stared down at the tiny cars and blinking lights.  A few minutes passed and I couldn't take the wind anymore Okay, I'm cold.  Let's go in.

I turned to leave, but the feeling of Clif's hand on my shoulder stopped me and I heard him say I have one more surprise.

I turned around and there he stood with a tiny blue box in his hand.  He said things that I remember, but I don't.  It's like trying to explain a dream.  You remember it and how it felt, but putting it into words is impossible.

He knelt down and said Will you marry me?

Are you kidding me? was the first thing that spilled out of my mouth, but eventually I said yes.

Sixteen months later we vowed for better, for worse, in sickness, in health, for richer, for poorer.  Six years later, we've seen most of those come to pass.  We've experienced the heartache of miscarriage and the joy of child birth; scary high fevers in the middle of the night and shrills of laughter at the dinner table; the uncertainty and fear of unemployment and the stability and relief of new jobs.

We'll celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary this summer and I look forward to the next 50.

Clif, thank you for being an amazing husband and a wonderful father.  I'm so lucky that 6 years ago on a cold winter's night, at the top of New York City, you picked me.  I love you.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Best Part of My Day

My commute to work in the morning is long, but my commute home always seems much longer.  I find myself racing the clock...can I get there quicker today than I did yesterday?  If I make these lights I'll beat my best time.  Maybe there's a shorter route, a quicker cut-through, a less traveled path.  I'm always trying new roads, new ways, new directions all to get to the same place.

In the evening the radio station is replaying the exact same talk show I listened to that morning, so normally it's just background noise that fills the silent air.  My mind wanders to chores that need to be done that night, what I'm making for dinner, bills that need to be paid, things that need to be done in the Richmond house...but mostly I think about them.  I think about the moment that I see them.  It's always the best part of my day.

Ainsley will be telling her teachers stories of our plans for the night.  She'll go into great detail about visiting aunts and uncles or dance class or going to Richmond.  Freddie will be with a toy.  Pushing it, shaking it, pounding it or whatever is most fun and loud to do with that particular toy.  Then they'll see me and they'll drop whatever they're doing and make their way to me.

Those thoughts push me to get there sooner.  They're the reason I hate the traffic and curse the other drivers.  My life with them is crazy and hectic and forever on the move...but any time I spend away from them, I spend missing them.

I park along the curb and walk up the driveway to the large house on the corner.  This is where they spend most of their day.  I let myself in and slip off my shoes allowed in the daycare portion of the house.

I walk down the stairs and I hear them before I see them.  They are happy, I hear it in their voices and laughter.  I emerge into the spacious basement.

Hi Ainsley!


She runs to me and wraps her thin arms around my upper thighs.

Did you have a good day? I ask.

By this time Freddie hears my voice and he is squealing like we rarely hear him laugh.  He toddles toward me, faster every day.

Hi Freddie! I say as I scoop him up and give his soft, squishy cheek a big kiss.  He giggles and wraps his chubby arms tightly around my neck.

The three of us are one giant hug of laughter and love.  Yes, this is definitely the best part of my day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The Decisions We Make

I often think about the decisions I make.  I wonder about little every day decisions that change our lives.  I won't lie, normally I think about these things when something bad happens rather than something good.  For example, I got into a fender bender about 6 years ago. I was working as a bank teller and I had stayed 10 minutes late to help clear out a line in the lobby.  I left and rear-ended a super sweet elderly couple 20 minutes later.  As I sat in my car, I thought...

If I had left on time, would this have happened?
Would I have hit someone else?  
Would it have been worse?
Would I be home by now, accident free?
Would these people have been hit by someone else?

Just random questions as to how the universe connects us all.

The other night, I had a similar experience.  A series of tiny, unimportant decisions that led me to these universe examining questions.

First decision: I gave the kids a bath, a day late.  They were due for a bath Sunday night, but it didn't happen for whatever reason and when I thought of it, I decided to wait until Monday night.

Second decision: The water got cold fast, so I decided to add warmer water which made the water deeper than normal.

Third decision: I didn't pick out towels before the kids got in.  I decided that since the linen closet at my in law's house is right next to the tub I could grab them when I needed them.

It's the third decision that sticks in my mind most.  The smallest decision.  The seemingly most insignificant decision.

I had washed their blond hair and their tiny toes and their chubby bellies.  I was ready to take Freddie out, so I turned to the linen closet.  My eyes were off of them for maybe 2 seconds while I reached for the towels.  When I turned back, Freddie was under water.  There was no splash, no crying, no warning.

In that moment, I just grabbed him and pulled him to me.  Hugging him close as he screamed in fear.  It wasn't until then that the scene started playing out before my eyes: his arms and legs thrashing about, but too short in the deeper water to break the surface and cause a splash; his mouth and eyes wide open crying for me, but my head was turned to the closet; his small body rolling under the rippling water trying to find stability.

It wasn't until I had pulled him out and my heart started to calm that the thoughts of 'what if' started playing through my mind.  Those thoughts that belong in places that we don't allow our minds to go.  Those thoughts that make us realize how fragile the universe is, how quickly everything can go bad, how one little decision can change our lives forever.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Look Who's Walking

This is the second time that he did this.  And it happened about a week and a half ago...but I was in the middle of computer issues.  So here is our little man taking his second steps.


Saturday, February 5, 2011


Her body is limp and warm as I pull off the PJs and dress her in yoga pants and a flowered shirt.  Her fever has come way down but it’s still lingering.  We should have left for Richmond hours ago, but I couldn’t bear to wake her.

Now fully dressed, she folds herself into my lap and I reach for the comb.

I work the teeth through her soft curls, careful not to pull at the tangles.

As I come to each little knot, I hold the hair close to her head and work gently at removing it.
She doesn’t normally let me do this for so long.  Usually she is up and running before I can get the comb through half of her hair.  But today is different.  I am in a hurry, but she is sick and just wants to be close.  She’ll put up with anything to stay in my lap.  So I push Richmond off for a bit and just comb her hair.

I pull the bow and small rubber band from the bag and she doesn’t argue.  Most mornings I would hear No Mommy!  I don’t want anyfing in my hair, but today she holds the bow for me and sits patiently while I comb her unruly locks back into a ponytail.

When she was smaller and mostly bald, I daydreamed about the braids and pig tails and bows and curls that are par for the course when mothering a little girl.  Then once her hair started growing, she let me put it up and comb it and play with it until about 6 months ago.  Then, like most things in childhood, that ended and she stopped letting me do it.  Wanted nuffing in her hair.

So during these times of surrender from her, I just eat it up.

I finish the ponytail and add the bow.   On any other day she’d probably yank on it until it was half out and the bow was on the floor.  But today, she sits and leans her soft head into my chest and I let her.

Friday, February 4, 2011


Please note that the following suspects are armed and deadly.  Do not try and apprehend them on your own.  Call for professional help.

Parent Enemy #1: Brinkley - the repeat offender
He seems so cute and harmless. Look at that puppy face, but do not get pulled in.  Do not let his cuteness break down your defenses.

This suspect has been known to hold his poo during walks only to leave it on the foyer carpet.  He has been known to chew chair legs, stuffed animals and newspaper.  His most recent chewing endeavor...the brand new mud room rug.

However, by far his most daring and unfathomable action...peeing on the den carpet.  Normally, this would be merely an annoying clean up, but what makes you want to kill him is the timing.  Not only had he just come from outside, but the carpets were LITERALLY cleaned within 24 hours of the episode.

Be afraid, be very afraid and do not leave him in a room alone.

Parent Enemy #2: Ainsley - the mind eFer
Also cute, but so, so cunning and intelligent.  So intelligent that you'd think there's no way she'd have potty accidents.  Oh but you'd be wrong.

Since attending a new school, Ainsley appears to have a potty accident every single day.  This is evident in the fact that she is in different pants every night when her mother arrives to pick her up.

When asked Ainsley, why do you have different pants on?

Her answer: Ummm, I just have an accident and pee in my underpants.

Most recently she pulled an unbelievable stunt.  While her mother put her baby brother to sleep, Ainsley was tasked with going potty on her own.  This is something she's done on her own many times before.  Upon returning to the room, her pajama pants were removed and her underpants had been changed.

Ummm, mommy?  I just changed my underpants, cause I just peed in my pants.

Ainsley?  Why did you pee in your pants?

BEcause mommy, I just peed in my pants.

But why did you pee in  your pants.

(Large, heavy sigh) I just peed in my pants so I need new underpants, but it fine mommy.  I got underpants out my dresser and I have new princess underpants now.

(Large, heavy sigh from mommy) Okay, well where did you pee?  Did it get on the floor.

(Nodding) I pee in the bafroom, I kweened it up.

Show me...

She leads her mother into the bathroom and points to the small area between the toilet and the bathroom matt.

A bit baffled, her mother asks So you came into the bathroom, stood next to the potty and peed on the floor?  Just stood right in this spot and peed?


Why would you do that?

(Large, heavy sighs) I tell you mommy, because I pee in my underpants!

Please note that this suspect is extremely skilled in the art of mind games, confusion and psychological warfare.

Parent Enemy #3: Gatsby - the Keyser Söze
Just when you thought that your oldest dog, your first baby, was the only being in the household that couldn't disappoint you.  You thought that he would never fail you, never disobey you, that he would always do as he was told...or really just that he's always good...BAM, you would be knocked on your rear with reality.

Though he doesn't have as many offenses as the other suspects, his one episode makes up for his lack of regularity.

Imagine entering a dimly lit room, Brinkley asleep on the floor, Ainsley asleep on the bed and Gatsby at full attention.

What's wrong buddy?

He's skittish too, his nerves are not the best.  Immediately you are aware that he's probably done something wrong.  Then you sit on the bed only to feel a slight wetness on your leg.  Turning around, you realize too late that there is a massive puddle of urine in the middle of the comforter, pooled in one of the valley's created by Ainsley's legs.

Yes, that is his MO.  Wait until no one's looking and then attack with all your might and glory and hope that they blame Brinkley!  Because really, do I have proof it was him?  No, I don't. 

Please note, there is also some suspicion that many of the chewing instances have been at least aided, if not lead by Gatsby.

Parent Enemy #4: Freddie - the up and comer
He's only 10 months old, so he really can't be blamed for peeing and pooping all over the place.  That's what he wants you to think.  He wants you to think "Oh he's so cute and innocent.  He can do no wrong."  But believe me, he has an agenda.

He's currently planning his big heist, just waiting for his moment.

Really though, because of the cloth diapers, poop and pee are just a part of everyday life. Plus, we couldn't leave him out because he's sure to produce just as much chaos in the next couple of years as his older sister and dogs.

So if you wonder why I'm not always on the ball, not quite at the top of my game, not extremely with it...remember that I'm up to my eyeballs in poop and pee and I am totally plotting my revenge.

Thursday, February 3, 2011


Ainsley has known how to spell her name for a long time.  If you don't believe me, click here.

It's always been the same..."A - I - N - eSSS - eeL - E - Y."

She also puts that little drawl on all words ending -ell and -ill.  I'm sure you all remember the "What the Heel!" incident.

Hill = Heil
Hell = Heel
L = eel
And so forth...

So yesterday, we are driving home from daycare and Ainsley is talking...she's always talking and her vocabulary is just growing by leaps and bounds.  She uses words like "actually" and "suddenly" these days.

She says Mommy?

Yes Ainsley?

I don't know how to make the "N" in my name. I know how to draw A and baby i, but I don't know how to draw baby n.
I smile and say Well how about when we get home, I'll show you how to write them.  How about you just say the letters for me now.

A - I - N - eSSS - L - E - Y

Wait, say it again...

A - I - N - eSSS - L - E - Y

Who told you to say L that way?

No answer, just a blank stare.

Don't you say eeL?

Laughter.  Mommy, that is so silly.  You don't say eeL you say L.  Silly mommy!

Is it wrong for me to want her to keep that little drawl forever?  Just one more little thing that slips away as she grows into a little girl.  Not sure I'm going to make it to adulthood.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tiny Dancers

We are late.

I so didn't want to be late.

I'm not sure how we ended up late, I really thought I was on time, but something always creeps up.

She will probably be late to most things in life, as long as I'm in charge of getting her there.  Most likely this will result in many arguments during the teenage years, but right now she lives in a world where time doesn't exist and she smiles happily from her carseat, excited about what's in store.

We've been talking about it for weeks, her first dance class, and to say she is thrilled is an understatement.

I whip into the parking spot quicker than I should and Ainsley says Whoa mommy! from the back seat.

We rush inside, where the tiny dancers are already filing into the studio.  I hurriedly buckle Ainsley's little tap shoes and pull off her yoga pants.  She is pulled off by the teacher before I have a chance to wish her good luck.

I make my way to the crowded one way viewing window.  I don't want to be rude, but I also want to be where I can see and yes, take pictures.  So I slowly and strategically make my way to the front.

At first, they are all sitting in a circle on the floor.  From their muffled voices I think they are introducing themselves to one another.

Soon the teacher and assistants are putting them in three lines.  Ainsley, being tall for her age, ends up in the back.  As the teacher begins giving simple directions that highlight the differences between left and right, heel and toe, I am watching Ainsley like a hawk and suddenly I realize that I have entered a new phase of motherhood.


Not fear that something will happen to her, not fear that I won't be the mother they deserve...but fear that she will have her feelings hurt.  And that breaks my heart.  What if she's not good enough?  What if she can't keep up?  What if she's embarrassed?  She's so tiny and frail looking in the body hugging leotard and pink tights.  Although I can't hear everything that's being said, I can tell by the way she stands that she is nervous and timid.  She is not the normal energetic, full of confidence, little girl that we all know and love. I am worried that her little ego will not be able to handle rejection or failure.  Then I try and remind myself that this is a 3-4 year old tap/ballet class and most likely she won't be auditioning for anything anytime soon.  But my fear is more about what lies ahead.  School is just around the corner and that means new friends and new activities...but it also means little girls who are not friends and activities that she will not be good at.  I worry about how I will console her when the heavier bumps in life send her stumbling.

She is not following along with the teacher at all.  She forgets to put her hands on her hips.  She's not quite getting the whole left - right thing.  But as the hour comes to a close, I do notice her understanding a bit more and doing as she's told.  She always listens - to other people, that is.

The teacher tells them goodbye and they all file out of the studio to go get measured for the costumes they'll wear in the summer recital.

As she passes me she is beaming, her head held high and that confident glow shooting out of her eyes again.

Mommy!! Mommy, did you see me!!  I am a drate (great) dancer!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The New Girl

As I walked back to my desk I could hear my cell phone ringing.  I dug it out of my purse just in time to see the "missed call" alert flash on the screen.

My desk phone began ringing and I recognized the number...Clif.


Hey, it's me.  Daycare just called.  Freddie has a fever.

And just like that it happened.  The thing I had been stressing over and worrying about was real and happening.  Three weeks into a brand new job and I would need to leave early and take the following day off.  I knew it was coming.  Freddie's cough had started Sunday morning and had only gotten worse.  Last night, in my semi conscious state, I thought he may have been warm.

This morning I had battled over what to do.  Even without the fever, the cough and his clinginess were enough to keep him home...take him to a doctor.  The fever only confirmed what I knew.  And if I were in Richmond,  I knew exactly what I should have done.  I should have called into work and taken him to his pediatrician as soon as they opened.  But we aren't in Richmond.  Which means I haven't been at my new job long enough to accrue leave and we have no pediatrician.  I haven't found one yet, partially because I've been too busy with other things and maybe mostly because I love our Richmond Pediatrician so much that I can't bear the thought of taking them somewhere else.

I gathered my things and apologized to my new boss.  Getting out of DC to my sick child is not like leaving Richmond.  In Richmond, I could be to the kids in less than 15 minutes.  Not so here.  We chose a daycare closer to my in-laws, mostly due to financial reasons.  I wish that weren't what we had to base so many decisions on...where to live, where to work, where to send our kids.  I wish money weren't such a deciding factor.  So because the daycare is closer to the house and because I park 1/4 of a mile from my office (also a financial decision), it's almost an hour before I arrive.

It's 4:30 when I buckle the kids in and get back in the car, headed for...well, I'm not sure where.  Clif and I had discussed just going to an urgent care.  It could cost us a bundle, but how in the world could I possibly get in to see a pediatrician that I had never seen before so close to closing time?  So I head for the closest urgent care.

I unload the kids and drag them inside.  Freddie is miserable.  They take one look at us and say "We don't see children under 5."

This is where I come dangerously close to loosing my mind and telling the woman behind the counter exactly what I think of her medical facility.  My mind starts racing and I don't know what to do.  There's a part of me that wants to get in the car and drive to Richmond and never come back.

I take a deep breath and ask them if they know of any pediatric facilities near by.  They give me a number to a pediatrician's office...but now it's 4:50.  So I strap the kids back in the car and call the insurance company.  She was very nice, but she can't tell me if a place takes kids or not.

So I just start calling, because honestly, I haven't been to an urgent care facility since I was in high school and I have no idea if any of them take infants.  Luckily, the first one I call does, and they're right around the corner from Kip and Denise's house.

So after a missed exit on the beltway, 5 o'clock traffic and my wallet forgotten in the car we are finally waiting to see a doctor.  It's an ear infection.  His first.  Ainsley had had 4 or 5 by this age.

And that was that.  We filled the prescription, got pizza and made it home by 9.

So the thing I had been stressing over and dreading happened and I made it through.  I can't tell you how many times moving back to Richmond went through my head.  I felt so completely lost and Richmond is just so comfortable.  I know what to do, I know where to go.  I don't have that confidence here.  I'm always worried I'm doing something my job, during my commute, with the kids...but I figured it out.

It kind of turned a bad day into a better day.  So maybe this whole move will not beat me, maybe I'll still come out on top.  For the last three weeks I have not felt that way, I've felt the exact opposite.  I guess that's how it happens, little victory by little accomplishment until you forget that you were once the new girl.  I just hate being the new girl.
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