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30
Jun, 2010

All The Single Mommies! All The Single Mommies! Put Yo Hands Up!


OK, single moms… so we’re probably NOT at the club, but here’s my shout out to you and your total amazingness. Most mommies in the blogosphere are awesome ladies, but we single mamas deserve some extra lovin from time to time. Check out my latest (and probably last) post for LAMomsBlog. Let me know what you think:

Now, I’m off to pick up the little turkey from preschool! It’s gonna be ALL KINDS of crazy in my house for the next hour. She’s always insane after school. Overly tired and stimulation overload. Ahhhh… good times. Today, one of her teachers told me that they thought they should get a clipboard just for Aubrey so they could write down all the funny things she says every day. She said there were so many things, that they knew they would forget them. Apple doesn’t fall far people. I think I have a class clown on my hands! I’ll write more about this later.
Have a great afternoon!

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28
Dec, 2009

No Christmas For The Weary


Many of my friends and family have been following my crappy Christmas saga via my Facebook updates. This truly was a rotten Christmas for Aubrey and me, but it’s never to late to celebrate…

Christmas 2009 officially goes down in the books as the WORST Christmas ever. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, Christmas hasn’t even happened yet.

Aubrey’s father, my ex-partner, and I live about 26 miles apart from one another. It was her turn at his house but this year we co-purchased her “big” Christmas gift and both wanted to be with her when she opened it. Our plan was for me to drive to the ex’s house Friday morning and do Christmas morning gifts together. Our nanny is on vacation until Monday, so it would be just the three of us.

Well, Thursday during the night, Aubrey woke up with a fever. By the time I arrived on Christmas morning, she had a high temp, sore throat, cough and was listless. When we decided she needed to see a physician, our pediatrician’s office was just closing shop. It was nice of them to have Christmas morning hours available, but there was no way we were making it from Westlake Village to Santa Monica in fifteen minutes. Stupid far away Ventura County.

So we spent Christmas day in the emergency room doling out a small fortune to be told something along the helpful lines of, “it’s probably viral but could be bacterial”. Thanks Dr. Holmes. The doctor didn’t say a thing about her ears and just that her throat was a little red, but not bad. He wrote a prescription for amoxicillin and never ran a strep test. When you’re in the heat of the moment with your one and only, never been sick like this before, screaming, feverish child, you don’t necessarily think to ask questions, like, “Should we run a strep test?” Or “Are you sure you didn’t see any inflammation in her ears?” Or “Tsk tsk,” the doctor for writing a prescription for an antibiotic when he’s guessing whether or not your child has a viral or bacterial infection. You kind of hope the doctor would think of these things on their own in a professional, doctory way.

The night got progressively worse as Aubrey went into her first ever barf-fest, vomiting five times during the night and her sore throat getting worse. The next morning, Dec 26th, we made the 40 mile trek (Did I mention that I HATE Ventura county?) to our pediatrician’s office and finally discovered that Aubrey had an ear infection. The first one she’s ever had and the first one I’ve experienced as a mom. It’s late afternoon now and she finally ate some chicken broth and water without yerping it all back up and has been napping her little life away. I think the worst is behind us and she’ll start her antibiotics as soon as she wakes up.

So is this piece about the incompetence of some physicians? The heartache and helplessness of seeing your child suffer from illness? Or the TOTAL funky weirdness of having to hang out at your ex’s house all day and spend the night because you live so frickin’ far apart from each other but you want to make sure your child is well taken care of without having to cart her all the way back to your house in Sherman Oaks and risk her barfing all over your leased Honda? No. Well, actually, yes. It’s about the latter, but let me restate that in a kinder, gentler, not completely jaded way…

This piece is about setting differences aside and doing the right thing. I can’t say that my ex and I have had the best of times since our split and even recently had a bit of a flare up over some personal issues. And while we have fairly different parenting styles and immensely different personalities, we do both love our daughter and want the best for her. That is why I am sitting in my ex’s house in Ventura county, co-watching over our sick child. Making sure she doesn’t choke if she vomits in her sleep, helping to keep her hydrated, making Tylenol and Pedialyte runs. We are not best friends and we don’t spend time together in any other way, but tonight I’ll eat leftovers from his fridge and sleep in his guest room in case she has another episode during the night. For now, we are working as a team because our third member needs us. And, as much as I hate to admit it, he and I need each other right now too. It is too much to do alone and as I sit here typing in a dimly lit living room while my baby sleeps on the floor next to the Christmas tree, my heart goes out to every parent out there who has had no choice but to do it alone. You deserve a purple heart.

The saddest part of this entire holiday fiasco is that poor Aubrey has been so sick, she still hasn’t opened her Christmas gifts. We have asked her if she wants to open them several times and the answer is always a feeble little, “no”. It is almost December 27th and maybe tomorrow will be the morning my little one wakes up feeling well enough to smile and dance and sing again. Maybe tomorrow, it will be Christmas.

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17
Nov, 2009

My Toddler, The Basketcase



October was a really trying month for my little Aubrey and me but we made it through with a little help from Skype, Nelly the snuggler elephant and cabernet…

I know everyone thinks their kid can do no wrong and for a while, mine was pretty darn close. I’m totally aware that this sounds SO stuck up, but in the great scheme of things, she really was a textbook “good” child. Especially for a two year old. Very few tantrums, likes to share, naps and sleeps well, potty trained like a champ, eats almost anything you put in front of her, never gets sick, plays well alone or with others, intelligent and kind. And beautiful… because she looks like her mother. I was kind of living on toddler easy street until – dum dum dum dum (you’re supposed to sing Beethoven’s 5th there) – my ex, her father, went on a three week business trip out of the country.

Neither of us had ever been away from her that long and I truly underestimated what a traumatic effect it would have on her as she had always been such an easy going child. My ex – let’s make up a name for him so I can stop referring to him as “My Ex”. How about Lex. It rhymes with ex and also reminds me of Lex Luther. Lex and I split when Aubrey was still an infant. We have shared custody and a full time, live-in nanny between our two homes so Aubrey is accustomed to a back and forth lifestyle but she had never gone without seeing one of us for more than a week at a time.

During the first week of Lex’s trip, things were pretty normal, but slowly, sneakily, the anxiety started to seep into my child’s behavior. First were the sleep disturbances. She woke during the night crying, completely inconsolable. She fought naps, crying for over an hour at times until she finally gave in to exhaustion.

Next came the potty regression! NOOOO!!! Suddenly, there was no more interest in going pee pee on the potty and forget the poo. She didn’t even want to try anymore and I had just gotten her to about 90% potty trained. Whenever I asked her if she wanted to try a pee on the potty the answer was always a sad frowny faced, “no”. Sigh.

Then the mini hunger strikes began and then the aggression towards the dog. Pushing and kicking poor Bob Barker. This is the first time I’ve had to work with her on saying “I’m sorry,” and it wasn’t pretty.

There was also the expected increase in separation anxiety from me. It got to the point where I just walked in the next room and she would start crying for me. You can only imagine the drama when I had to actually leave the house for real. But of all the manifestations of Aubrey’s daddy missings the weirdest of all was this – a video of the Happy Hippo singing The Lion Sleeps Tonight on YouTube.

Aubrey’s old nanny used to play her this video over a YEAR AGO when she was a baby. She used to like to watch it and it made her laugh. She literally hadn’t seen it since then and we had never talked about it. Then one day, out of the blue she said to me in a sad little voice, “Hippo? Wi-mo-weh song?” I thought she wanted to see the video so I pulled it up on my iPhone and she began screaming in terror, covering her ears! “No no no no no no! I don’t want it. I don’t want it!”

After this incident, the mere utterance of the word “hippo” would send her into a panic attack! Eventually, we had to turn it into a game and joke around about hippos:

Aubrey: There’s a hippo in my room?
Me: Noooooo! There’s no hippo in this house. Is Mommy a hippo?
Aubrey: Nooooo!!!
Me: Are you a hippo?
Aubrey: Nooooo!!!
(And then, much laughing would ensue. Hi-LAR-ious. I may use the hippo bit in my next show.)

So we figured out how to Skype Lex and we had a daily Skype appointment which helped quite a bit, but I can’t tell you what a treat it was for me to have to see my ex and his girlfriend Skyping from their hotel room in bathrobes every day at 6pm. It was a little weird, but hey, this is my child’s mental health we’re talking about.

Oh and it’s worth mentioning that to top all of this craziness off, Aubrey had a cold the ENTIRE time he was gone. Yes. Three weeks of coughing, sneezing and runny nose. I’m grateful it was nothing more serious, but it certainly contributed to my stress level.

Aubrey has a wonderful nanny who came up with the idea to buy her a calendar so she could decorate it and cross of the days in a count down until daddy came home. This was… not very helpful. Oh well. We just kept trying. At a certain point I realized that a two year old just can not grasp the concept of how long “three weeks” is. No matter how many times I told her that daddy was coming back in X number of days, she just didn’t believe me. In her little toddler mind, she truly believed he was never coming back. It was so heartbreaking to see her this way. To see your child suffering and not really be able to help them – it’s one of the worst feelings in the world.

The end of the three weeks finally came and I never thought I’d say it, but I couldn’t wait for Lex to come home! I had never been so relieved to have him back and Aubrey was glad to see him too. This was a real trial for Aubrey and me and I think we both barely made it through with our sanity in tact. Lex has been back for about a week now and had promised to not take another trip that long while she’s little. Aubrey is still working through a lot of separation anxiety. She still gets very worried when one of us has to go and she still doesn’t want to use the potty for me or her nanny. A new twist is that she has also exhibited some anger towards Lex. She’s a little mad at him for leaving her for so long. Complex emotions for a little person, huh?

Trying to look on the bright side of all of this, it has given me a new appreciation for Lex. As much as most people don’t LOVE their ex’s I will say that I’m very glad that Aubrey has a daddy that she really loves and that he is in her life, actively caring for her and helping provide for her. I know so many single mom’s who don’t have this basic need met and my heart goes out to each and every one of them. I don’t know how they do it alone.

Also, it has reminded me how intense and sincere a toddler’s emotions can be. I think twice before I laugh at little things she says and I really listen to her when she is trying to express herself. I’m lucky that I have a very verbal child. She was using full sentences by 18 months, so communication has been pretty simple for us, but we all too often dismiss our young children’s emotions as child’s play or toddler manipulation. Sometimes we even think they just don’t know what they’re talking about – but they do.

My father was a commercial airline pilot (side note: he was one of the pilots of the DB Cooper hijacking!) and when I was right around Aubrey’s age, he was flying international routes and would be gone for several days at a time. I went through the exact same trauma that Aubrey went through, thinking my daddy was never coming back each time he left, and I remember it vividly. I went through many of the same anxieties – minus the hippo – and I think I turned out all right. I had a loving mommy who helped me through it and my daddy always came home, just like my mom told me.

Aubrey is at her dad’s house today and I’m enjoying my alone time. I’m going to go to the gym, watch some grown up tv, catch up on some work and have a nice dinner with my boyfriend. Bob Barker is also enjoying her alone time.

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