Friday, August 29, 2008

The Inappropriate Behavior of Strangers

We're driving down Broad Street when this voice calls out to us from the next lane. I turn to look, and it's a man in a white commercial van. Here's a transcript of the conversation

Driver: "You have a beautiful baby back there. Just beautiful."
Me: "Thank you, thank you."
Driver: "And what are you doing up there? You should be in the back seat with her."
Me: "She needs her alone time, too!"
Driver: "You don't need to be up there with him. It's all about her now!"
Me: "Aww, she's alright. She enjoys her alone time (fake laugh)"

Here's what I'm thinking:
Look, dude. I don't know how many children you have stashed in the back of your van. But my baby aint gonna be one of them. So do us both a favor, and keep your eyes on the road, Chuck.
Don't be looking in this car at my baby...shiiit....

Who does this? Who operates a moving vehicle and feels compelled to talk to a stranger about the baby in her car? Clearly this man felt it was his civic duty, but he really needed to keep his eyes straight ahead. The man wasn't that concerned for her, cuz a few minutes later he cut us off. Jackass.

Then there was the waitress we had at IHOP. She gushed for five minutes about how cute the baby is, she's got one around that age, her children are mixed too - aren't they the cutest? Meanwhile, my husband and mother are starving, and I'm getting ready to pass out from fever. She even takes out pictures from her apron to show us, then takes our order. When she dropped the check, she asked to hold the baby. I had to shut that down- I told her Tallu was sick, which was true. I couldn't let another waitress hijack my baby. Did I tell you all about the one who scooped up Tallu from her grandmother's arms while asking: "Oh, can I hold her?"

I don't know what possesses people to behave like this.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Home Economics

Now that I am a stay at home mom, it is my job to maintain the apartment's cleanliness and well-being. This requires a level of organization I have never aspired to, nor was interested in attaining. I started creating a list of everything that needs to be done in the house. I typed it on the house computer. The printer is acting up, so I couldn't print out the list to finish working on it. This is how lazy I am- I let a printer malfunction prevent me from completing the chore sheet I started to create for myself!

I hate schedules, I abhor chores. But if I am going to be at home I have to be organized so I can take care of Tallulah and this house. And prove to my husband and myself that it was a good idea for me to quit working. I could write a brief essay about feminism and motherhood in the 21st century, but I don't have time to wax philosophically, my sink is full of dirty dishes and there are mountains of clothes that need to be washed.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Family Down!

Everyone in my house has been felled with some illness for nearly three weeks. It started with Tallu having a fever and accompanying cough. Last Sunday my husband and I felt a little off, and later that afternoon I went down with a fever and slight cough. Two days later, my hsuband joins the high fever club.

Tallu's cough was not really improving, so last Wednesday I took her to the doctor, after I quit work (see last week's post.) There was no medicine I could give her, and the doctor sent us home with a plan to see her on this Monday, and to call if she took a turn for the worst.

We returned to the doc on Monday, and Tallu has bronchiolitis, or bronchitis lite, as her father and I called it. Bronchiolitis is an inflammation of the bronchioles, the airways that lead to the lungs. It is a virus that affects children under 2, and is more common among children who live in close quarters.

Going to a daycare where a child already has bronchiolitis helps spread the virus.

That's right. Tallulah was sitting in a room with an infected baby. The daycare workers said nothing to me about one of their children being sick, which pissed me off. Knowing a child was sick would not have prevented mine from becomming sick. It just would have been nice to know. How do I know there was a carrier? One of the workers, whom I happen to know, told me one of the children was sick. This was after Tallu had her fever, of course.

Bronchiolitis is a common childhood illness, but it can develop into something more serious. An article I read online says children who have had bronchiolitis may be more likely to develop asthma. More research needs to be done to clarify the relationship between asthma and bronchiolitis.

Tallu is doing better, her cough is sounding drier and is much less frequent. The doctor prescribed only Tylenol if she was very uncomfortable and to lower her fever. We bought a cool mist humidifier to soothe her at night, and did lots of sucking snot with the baby nasal aspirator.

The moral of this story: babies + daycare= sickness. If your child is sick and she's enrolled in daycare, do the rest of the parents a favor and keep your child at home. If you work for a daycare and you recognize a child is sick, do the children a favor and send that child home. And let the parents know someone was sick. You don't have to name names, but just communicate, please.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


I quit my job today.

Let's take a moment to let that settle...

I spent the weekend in the Poconos with four friends and their children. We all had a good time, but there came a point Saturday night where I had to put Tallu to bed. I could have nursed her, set her down, and rejoined the party (which I heard was mad fun, yo), but I chose to turn in with her. Why? First, we were sleeping away from home, and I wanted to make sure she slept. Second, when she woke up at her usual feeding times, I would have to get up with her. That would have been a bit tougher if I stayed up to hang out with the crew. I chose to meet my child's needs instead of playing fun drinking games until 4 in the morning. This was a wise decision, because Milady decided to wake up at 6:45 Sunday morning, smiling and ready to play.

By the end of the weekend I had spent a lot of time with my baby, and I was heartbroken that Monday morning I would have to leave her. I was not at all pleased with the daycare she was in, and I couldn't bear to send her anymore. Her dad and I toured a center a block from work, and although it was better place, it just wasn't good enough. These women were not me, and no one could take better care of my Tallu better than I. So, why am I putting my baby in someone else's hands?

I told my husband I want to stay home with Tallu, and he said okay. The budget would be tight, but I was prepared to go in today to give my two weeks notice. This morning- 5 am, actually- she woke up congested, coughing, and crying. I had to suck the snot out of her nose with the aspirator. All the while I'm thinking "Okay, I'm not sending her to daycare today, I've got to get her to the doctor, and I'm giving them my notice today."

This was definitely not my most professional moment, but Tallulah is my number one priority. I promised my daughter that I would never put my job before her again, after pushing a flatbed from the basement to the first floor elevator at 36 weeks. I broke that promise when I put her in a daycare that displeased me to fulfill my contract for this organization. Consider my resignation as an apology to Tallu.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


103.3, to be exact.
Tallu had a fever Monday morning, which meant I stayed home to take her to the doctor. The heat was radiating from her head, she was whiny, and once she refused to nurse. I decided to check her temperature after I changed her diaper. Once the thermometer passed 101 I started crying. Yes, I know that's silly. Her leg was on backwards at birth, but I got a wigged out because the baby had a fever.

Obviously she's fine now, I gave her acetomeniphin (with the doctor's permission, of course.) The doctor said to watch her temperature over the next 48 hours, and if it didn't return to normal, or if she behaved unusually, to bring her back. This morning her temperature was normal, but it did rise to 100.3 this afternoon. No big deal- more meds, fever's down again. I'll check it before we leave home tomorrow, to make sure she's well.

For the past two days she's been nursing like she'll never nurse again. That's actually a good thing. Nursing is always a good thing, but keeping a baby hydrated is important, especially when she has a fever. But being home for the past two days (well, three- she was starting to go downhill Friday) was good for her, but bad for me.

I realized that I have no interest in working anywhere for the next eight months except with Tallu. Given the hell that I just went through with my various debtors, you'd think I'd be clawing at my job's doors. I'm simply not interested in being there. It's been three weeks now- that schpiel about returning to work being a good thing was just to convince myself to get there in the mornings.

The desperation has worn off, and I realize the place she's at now is not so hot. I picked her up Thursday and one of the caretakers said to me: "I am exhausted. We had fifteen babies, and two of us this afternoon." The ratio of infants to adults in such a facility is supposed to be 3:1. That's not negotiable. A woman I know started working at Tallu's daycare yesterday. She gave me the inside scoop about what she saw happening there during the day she interviewed, which was last Friday. I won't share the details here, but it did not inspire confidence. I cannot confirm that the two boo-boos on the back of Tallu's feet happened while she was in daycare, but I'm sure they didn't happen while she was at home.

The reality is that I need money. But my daughter needs to be taken care of, which is more important than money. Speaking of which, I need to pump so she'll have food for tomorrow. So no matter how much I want to stay home with her, I cannot. Even if I leave my job, I'll have to work somewhere else, since no one's gonna pay me to stay home. I really can't get much more than an hour or two of work done- believe me, I've tried.

Caring for a feverish baby was not easy, but it was nice to be home with her again. Now she's well, and playing mommy is over- I gotta get back to work tomorrow.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

An Ugly Confession

No one is reading this blog except my husband and myself, so I can "speak" freely.

My family is religious, but also superstitious. My mom would say things like "Don't eat standing up, you make the house poor," and "If your right hand itches money is coming to you." My dad swept my foot one day, and demanded that I spit on the broom. When I asked him why, he said if I didn't I'd go to jail. I also had to burn or flush hair from my comb lest someone get a hold of it and do voodoo on me, according to him.

They also have superstitions around babies. You're not supposed to let them look into a mirror before they turn a year old. I forget what happens if you do. You're not supposed to call a child pretty, lest death should come for the child. Sounds awful, but according to my family, this has happened.

My father had a sister about a year or so younger than him, and they were playmates, but she died when she was a toddler. My great-aunt says she was a beautiful child, so beautiful that my grandparents would fight over which one of them would hold her. One day the child fell ill, and my grandparents and aunt got in a cab to take her to the hospital, but she died in my aunt's arms before they reach the emergency room.

I know it's awful, but I've started to cringe when people focus on the baby's appearance. No one wants to be told their child is homely! But I am starting to cringe when people say how beautiful she is. I am quick to raise the canopy over her when we're walking down the street. I even turned her stroller away from a lady who was staring at her in the mall today. I didn't do it maliciously or overtly, I don't think.

I have thought of fashioning a little paper bag to put over her head when we leave the house, with air and eye holes, of course. Mainly I think "Don't look at my child!" when we're walking down the street. I will accept the compliment, because I don't want to be rude. This fear that these compliments will result in losing my baby unsettles me.