Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dental Disaster

Little did I know how much my son's last physical shook him up. It shook me up at the time, since he had to get two booster shots and a blood test. Apparently this is what happens when a child turns five. He cried and cried,understandably so, but when it was over, I felt he had conquered a major hurdle and would not be needing shots for quite some time now.

Yesterday, however, proved to be a different challenge. He was scheduled for his routine six month dental cleaning. We arrived in the office, and Seth quickly proclaimed he loves coming to the dentist. Sure....that was his opinion of the waiting room. They have a super cool indoor building the kids can climb into. He can't get enough of it.

We were quickly called in to see the dentist. The dental assistant asked what flavor toothpaste he'd like his teeth cleaned with. He happily requested watermelon. Then he canvased the room, looking for the toys usually strewn about to distract the kids. There were none to be found this time for some reason.

The dentist walked in and cheerfully engaged Seth in a discussion about pre-K, his summer plans, etc. It worked for a while when Seth was in the dental chair, until he took out "the hook." The "dreaded hook." Who knew!? Seth bolted from the chair, requested a kiss from mom, and refused to return to the chair. He started crying, explaining that he is afraid of "the hook."

I was stunned. This never happened before.

The hook tool is used by the dentist to lightly tap on/check Seth's teeth for cavities. The dentist, himself, proclaimed Seth's teeth looked fine, but this was standard procedure. It's used on adults too to scrape off tarter, etc.

I took Seth out into the hall and tried to calmly have a talk with him. My persuasion didn't work. I ultimately threatened punishment back home. No tv. No ice cream....if he didn't cooperate. He didn't care.

The dentist even suggested I sit in the chair and try to hold Seth on my lap. But, being that I recently hurt my back, I was in no position to lift or restrain Seth as he moved about and take the chance of getting further injured.

So, the doctor said we should just come back another time...and next time, his dad will take him.

I felt kinda mortified. I didn't see this coming. The dentist was very kind and reassured me that it often happens when kids turn 5. They are more aware of medical procedures and after getting so many shots, etc., they become cautious about doctor, dental visits.

I can understand that, but at the same time, certain things in life are necessary.

I'm scheduled to get my dreaded mammo/breast sonogram tomorrow. And, as much as I hate and fear it since I have "complex" breasts, it's not something I would ever skip. Do you get anxious about your mammos?

I tried to explain that to Seth, but given that he was agreeable to skipping ice cream, you can imagine that what I had to say likely when in one ear and out the other.

Have you had this experience with your child?

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Monday, May 19, 2008

Child Psychology

Saturday night was a challenge in our house.

We had dinner plans with two close (single) girlfriends who adore Seth. Before we all went out to a local family friendly restaurant, they played with Seth in our front yard with his baseball set. He is a little slugger-in-the-making, and all were having a fun time.

Until....for some reason, as Seth walked toward our front stoop, he decided to give our whimsical flying pig a whack. (Those who know me, know that I collect pigs, and Seth is aware that the pigs mean something in our household. Plus, he enjoys them too.) I heard a crack, and the spike supporting the pig broke in half.

What was so upsetting about the situation was his total lack of regard. I know he didn't intend to break the pig stand, but it was a totally unnecessary move on his part. We have said to Seth in the past "don't hit the pig." And, to make matters worse, it happened in front of our friends. Everyone witnessed his blatant carelessness, and the mood quickly went from playful to serious.

This of course led to a heated discussion between Marc and I re: how to best teach Seth a lesson. Clearly, it was evident that Seth is not aware of the ramifications of his behavior. At age 5, he is not thinking that if I hit the pig, it could break. He just followed an impulse, as most kids his age would. So, it's our job to communicate this message to him.

I immediately told Seth he would be punished for his behavior. That saying I'm sorry is not enough. Not everything can be fixed.

Now I had to think quick on my feet and decide what the punishment would be. I marched into the living room and started speedily scooping up toy after toy and putting them into a large garbage bag. I told Seth he would be without his prized toys for some time, including his Spy Kit, Game Boy, multitude of trucks, etc. There would be no television the next day, and no dessert for a week, including no ice cream when Mister Softee comes ringing his bell at the park or in the neighborhood.

Seth is so tough and smart. He turned to me and said "I love you mommy. I'm glad you're taking my toys away because I don't like them anyway," and he proceeded to help pack them up. And, "I'm glad I can't have dessert because it's sugar and not healthy."

I was somewhat stunned. I said to Marc....are we not being tough enough with Seth? Or is he just using reserve child psychology on us and trying to get us to believe that our punishment is not affecting him? That he's not upset by it. So then, what's a mom to do? Do we punish him more, or just let time take its course this week and know that as the days go on he will miss his toys and ice cream? That is our hope. It remains to be seen.

Perhaps someone should create a Discipline Chart?! It would make suggestions to parents as to modes of discipline they might consider for their child. I realize that all kids are different, and what is upsetting to one isn't necessarily to another. But, it's not so easy to pull a punishment plan out of your pocket at the very moment an unexpected incident occurs. Amazing how wise we are asked to be as a parent, when you are raising a wise child!!

Have you had an experience like this with your child? How did you handle it?

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Friday, May 16, 2008

The Hellacious Day or Why Working From Home Isn’t Cake

Originally posted on WorkItMom's Entrepreneur Mom blog.

It is nighttime, but in Alaska, it is still light. I’m exhausted. Then suddenly, I remember that I forgot to post to this blog today. Where did the day go? And how did I run out of time?

If you are like me, working from home has its pros and cons. I still firmly believe that the positives greatly outweigh the negatives, however, if I look back at my day today, there were several times that working out of the home would have helped me get my work done.

By default, being in an office - especially with other people around - creates a different sense of urgency to your work, a need to adhere to the timelines of others, a strong sense of responsibility that others are depending on you and they are right there in the same office with you.

I’m not saying that because I work from home that I’m not motivated to do the work or that I ignore other’s people’s timelines or even that I don’t have a powerful sense of responsibility toward my colleagues and clients. But when I’m home, I can’t deny that the pull of life and family can sometimes be stronger than the needs of a client in another state or even another part of town.

If I worked in an office with others, I’d be torn by a pressing family need, however, I might not just drop everything at work and rush to take care of things. I’d set more boundaries. I’d have a steady schedule. Oh so I imagine.

To illustrate what I mean, here’s a sketch of my day today.

4:30am - Woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. I was literally composing client proposals and blog posts in my head. “Go work on it if it will help,” said my husband. I did.

6:30am - Showered, made breakfast.

7:00am - Did some client work, answered emails, edited transcripts for my new podcast. Also Twittered off and on (would I be Twittering if I were at the office?).

8:30am - Baby wakes up. Feed baby. Wash baby. Dress baby. (Clearly if I were at the office now, someone else would be taking care of baby at this time or I’d have woken her up and she’d be at daycare by now.

9:30am - Made baby’s lunch, tried to get out the door for a good 20 minutes.

10:10am - Dropped baby off at daycare late. Rushed home.

10:30am - Did last minute promotions for a live event in Second Life with author Taran Rampersad.

11:00am - Moderated the live author chat in Second Life.

12:00pm - Finished editing podcast transcripts and printed them out. Set up baby’s bedroom as my makeshift studio because it is the only carpeted room in the house with the most things on the wall such as books and a zebra skin. (If I had an office, I’m sure I’d have a nice studio set up for podcasting, right?)

12:45pm - Check emails in between rehearsing podcast. The reporter from USA Today was trying to reach me to talk about my new podcast. I didn’t hear the phone ring at 12:30pm but there’s a message from her, too. Call her back immediately. (If I were in an office, I’d get her call, of course.)

1:15pm - Finish phone interview. Suddenly remember that I have an appointment with my acupuncturist at 2pm to address some bothersome health issues I’m having, and I haven’t started recording my podcast yet. Best laid plans. (If I were working in an office, I’d probably be scheduling my acupuncture appointments on the weekend rather than leaving work early. My health might end up taking a back seat to the work on my office desk.) Record my first podcast but cannot get to the second one.

1:55pm - Rush to appointment. Get a treatment and advice to get some blood work done through my nurse practitioner immediately.

3:00pm - Leave appointment and call my nurse practitioner. “Can you come in right now?” she asks. I quickly head across town to see her. (If I were working in an office and left mid-afternoon for an appointment, chances are I’d hurry back to the office immediately after and save a second appointment for another day).

3:45pm - Leave nurse practitioner’s office. What time is it? Time to pick baby up from daycare because husband will be at an all-day conference rest of week.

4:15pm - Pick up baby. Go to store for bread. Head home.

4:30pm - Clean up mess in kitchen from breakfast. Check emails in between, laptop on kitchen counter.

5:00pm - Start dinner. (If I worked in an office, I’d be leaving about this time.) Answer emails.

5:30pm - Husband home. Sneak a few more emails in then close computer.

6:00pm - Dinner with family. (This is a great thing about working from home - I’m always home for dinner.)

7:00pm - Fold laundry. Totally drained from the day. Chug Emergen-C vitamin drink. Try to lay down to rest.

8:00pm - Realize I forgot to post to this blog. Bring laptop to bed and start to write.

8:30pm - Must go find an image for blog post now. Want to go to sleep but every Tuesday night my husband and I watch a TV show together after the baby is in bed.

(If I worked at an office, I might bring work home with me. I might ignore my baby and my husband because the pressure to get the work done is too great.)

I’m almost done with my work today. I want to record my podcast but don’t think my brain will be able to handle it.

I can hear husband reading to baby in the living room.

I’m afraid I’m ignoring them.

The fantasy of working from home - the flexible schedule, the ability to spend more time with family - comes crashing down around me.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Recommended Reads & Music: for Kids & Moms

Decided to take a departure from my typical blog post, and share with you some new books and music worth-noting that have come to my attention of late. You might enjoy checking out the following:


Personalized CDs for Children
They make music compilations personalized for each child. Your child's name is a feature part of each song. It's super cute, and a great gift. Seth can't get enough of his.

by Melissa Errico
The music is really beautiful. Melissa has a gorgeous voice. She is a critically acclaimed Broadway performer and mom, and this is her first CD for children.

by Audra Rox
I love this super cool kids band. They perform a lot in NYC, so you can see them live, if you like their sound. Seth & I love them.

by Princess Katie & Racer Steve
This is their latest CD. Another really great kids band. Have seen them in concert in NYC, and they totally rock. Very hip lyrics and catchy beats. Seth wants to be like Racer Steve when he grows up.

by Jeanie B! And The Jelly Beans
Clever, fun, entertaining tunes that kids and moms will love. Amusing lyrics, celebrating a mother's special relationship with her kids.

Books on CD:

Billy Brown -- various tales available
Kiddio makes an adorable series of stories on CD about Billy Brown, a fun-loving bear every kid will embrace.

Books for Kids:

by Todd Parr
Todd Parr is for sure one of the coolest kids authors/illustrators on the planet. This is his latest title, a special World United Edition with process benefiting athletes and programs of the U.S. Paralympic Team, of which the Hilton Family of Hotels is an official sponsor. Fabulous colorful illustrations, and a positive message, teaching kids about being hospitable.

by James Martin II
Ths is the first book in a new series featuring William the Garbage Truck. William learns about conservation, makes friends, shares lessons, and transforms into a green hybrid recycling truck committed to the fight against global warming. A really meanigful message for kids. Seth, being the truck love that he is, enjoys this tale.

Books for Mom:

by Hogan Hilling & Jesse Jayne Rutherford

MARGARITA MAMMA: Mocktails for Moms-to-Be
by Alyssa Gusenoff

by Mikki Morrissette

by Jo Frost
"What you Need to Know for the First Year from America's Most Trusted Nanny"

SMOTHERHOOD: Wickedly Funny Confessions from the Early Years
by Amanda Lamb

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Look at me - I'm Homer Simpson!

Ever since I got pregnant and had a baby, I crave beer. Good, cold, fancy imported beer. A substance that used to make me nauseous at the mere smell of it (a residual effect of my college days when I used to go to fraternity parties). It started in the middle of my pregnancy and I thought it would stop after I had the baby. But it hasn't. In fact, it's gotten more pronounced six months after giving birth. My husband and I are big wine drinkers and typically have a glass of wine with dinner every night. But now all I want is beer - and all that it symbolizes: a nice pick me up, transition from work day to evening relaxation (yeah, right, like that's possible with two young children), adulthood, etc.

The other thing I really craved and still do is donuts. The apple fritters from Starbucks are my particular favorite. I don't allow myself to have too many donuts now. But I do have a good beer a couple of times a week.

I realized this newfound love for beer and donuts has turned me into Homer Simpson. Who have you become since you had children?

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Pat Benatar, Concert for KIDS?

The other night, my husband and I finally found the right rock concert for our three young children to enjoy.

Our oldest at 9, Robert’s entrée into the concert arena had been to see Peter Frampton at the same theatre during the summer 2006. I’ve actually had people ask WHO? when I waxed poetic about the infamous Frampton Comes Alive album of 1976 that made A & M records a gazillion dollars and put Frampton on the map. But now, it was our girls’ turn.

So, off to the theatre-in-the-round we went, literally 7 minutes from our house, to our daughters’ first real rock ‘n roll concert ever.

No one has to ask when you mention Pat Benatar, the four-time Grammy winning megastar, named “Best Female Rock Vocal Performance” for 1980 and 1981. A Lindenhurst native, now 55 with two daughters, Benatar rocked the house with her just left of “over-the-top” 80’s, epic pop music. Building to a moving, demonic fever pitch on “Hell Is For Children,” she explained the lyrical origin came from a New York Times article on child abuse that Neil Giraldo (second husband of 16 years) “made the guitar cry to.”

My husband, Tom, and I were amazed at Giraldo, a.k.a Spyder’s musical talent that has been under the radar. And after almost 30 years, the lyrics still held up. We Belong to the sound of the words we’re both falling under, whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better, we belong, we belong together…

I felt it, hugging my two daughters, Kelly next to me and Melanie on daddy’s lap, as Robert craned his neck around the 40-something-year-old ladies in front of us clearly out for a reminiscing evening, arms linked swaying together…We Belong!

It occurred to me as Benatar commanded the stage both with her tough, theatrical presence and strong voice, how empowering she and her music are. I remember countless times in my life growing up on Long Island driving with groups of friends pumped up for a night out at Rum Runners, or the Dublin Pub or days baking in the sun on Jones Beach or Centre Island, listening to Benatar. Times after a breakup when I leaned on her for support and sang at the top of my lungs … …Promises in the Dark…never again, isn’t that what you said, you’d been through this before and swore this time you’d think with your head… you go girl, that’s how I feel. She would dust me off and set me on my merry way, again.

Benatar said it best at the Friday, April 11th concert, “In 1979, there was only one woman allowed on the radio at a time. And now, things have changed that a woman and black man are running for the White House.”

Times have changed and Benatar had much to do with shaping the pop culture.

After performing in amateur nights at Catch a Rising Star in Manhattan in 1977, Benatar formed a band with Giraldo. When she exploded onto the scene in ‘79, with “Heartbreaker” reaching #23 on the charts, there was a lull in women’s music where Joni Mitchell and Joan Baez had died down. We were left with sickingly sweet Olivia Newton John and borderline Linda Ronstadt. Thankfully, women’s attitude finally cleaved its way into rock n’ roll with Blondie’s first US hit “Heart of Glass” in ‘78, Chrissy Hynde and the Pretenders’ “Brass in Pocket,”in ’79, then Joan Jett’s “I love Rock ‘n Roll” and Madonna’s “Everybody” both in 1982…

Benatar’s stream of hits throughout the 80’s: “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” “You Better Run,” “Treat Me Right,” “Precious Time,” “Shadows of the Night,” “Invincible,”…paved the way for the Suzanne Vega and Tracy Chapman “acoustic” women of the late ‘80s.

It was fitting that Pat Benatar would be my daughters’ first concert.

Priceless Kodak moment as our six-year-old, Melanie, sang along with the crowd and Benatar You’re a heartbreaker, dream maker, love taker don’t you mess around with me. And believe me, you wouldn’t want to mess with Melanie and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Another generation of women is touched by Benatar’s voice still strong after all these years. Thanks for decades of music Pat. Bravo!

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Friday, May 02, 2008

Communal Germs

Let me start by saying we had a really nice trip to Boston. We went away last week, during spring break, with Seth, to Beantown. There is so much to do there, and we totally lucked out with the weather, so all was great, for the most part. I highly recommend it as a destination. That said, the tide changed radically once we got home.....

We returned Sunday night, and I felt immediately swamped. Mail to read. Tons of emails. Calls to return. Appointments to make. Unpacking...etc. Vacation was surely over. I did what I could and turned in early (for me)....glad to be sleeping in my own bed again....and at 2AM, major stomach discomfort kicked in. I wound up spending most of the evening in and out of the bathroom and was in bed all the next day. Some kind of stomach flu hit me big time, and I was feeling nothing but pain. My back hurt...legs ached, stomach churned. I lived on saltines, jello and other super light food for the next few days, and still feel like my energy is seriously zapped.

The day after I took ill, Seth started complaining his throat hurt when he yawned, and he wondered if that was normal. He's not one typically to complain, so we listened up. We kept him home from school that day, and Marc took him to the pediatrician the following morning. I'm so glad he did. Were it up to me, I would have thought that Seth just had a sore throat. But, shockingly, I got a call from Marc on his way to the pharmacy with Seth, and he said Seth had strep throat. My first thought was....Yikes! I already had it this not again....strep germs in the house.

Then, the day after, Marc announced that he didn't feel well and came home early from work. He then spent the entire next day in bed, as I had, and went to the doctor with a scratchy throat. Luckily his isn't strep, but the doctor didn't want it to develop. Both he and Seth are now on antibiotic...and I wait with baited breath...and pray that it won't catch up with me.

I do feel somewhat sniffly today, so I'm popping extra Vitamin C and Echinacea and hoping for the best. Must go to bed early, or at least try to.

We have weekend plans that can't be cancelled, and I have to rise to the occasion.

This week has been unreal. This is my first experience with all of us being ill at the very same time. And, not even exactly with the same virus. Crazy!

I'm wiped out from it all...not to mention feeling behind in some things I expected to get done. Oh well. Such is the life of a parent.

Next week will hopefully be better. And, if weather permits, I'm going to open all the doors and windows and air out the house....and pull out the cans of Lysol and disinfect like a mad woman. And, get out my hand sanitizer and use it religiously. One of my mom friends, knowing how sick I've been this winter with miscellaneous bugs, suggested I get myself a surgical mask for protection. that's a thought. :)

Have you ever had this experience?

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