I told one lie. I had one drink.

What a day. Did I really sleep until close to noon this morning? You bet your tush I did.

Pachanga Fest was really cool. Los Bad Apples were great, as was Gaby Moreno. I still have the beats from Los Bad Apples running in my head. It's a band I would have much, MUCH rather preferred to hear at night, in a club, with a few drinks under my belt and *not* with my boss so I could have freed my hips to do as they pleased. I may have to catch them at a bar one night ...

What also rocked was VIP status. Dan noticed the VIP area, and lo and behold, the armbands the event production guy left for us at the gate got us into the land of free food, free drinks and air conditioned comfort. And, bonus - real potties, not porta-potties. In this mystical land, I was introduced to a Michelada - which they prepared as essentially a bloody mary with beer instead of vodka. It doesn't sound fab, but it actually tasted really good. And as I had quite the buzz from a couple Austin Ambers out in the sun, it was nice to sit, stuff my face with yumm-o food and drink something with less alcohol. Dan said they were supposed to have soda water, lime and hot sauce instead of bloody mary mix, but that got a big old what-ever from me- I thought they were just fine as is.

I had fun with my coworker, Linda's, family as well - very nice people, with a very sweet Basset Hound. Linda's sister, Jinnifer, makes gorgeous jewelry from beach glass. I sprang for a cool silver necklace with a silver-wrapped hunk o' green glass. I slowed down on beers and paced myself here, then stopped for Starbucks iced coffee on the way home. All sweet and nummy.

As I was driving home, I was thinking about going out again. I know, I said it was a long-ass drive and I didn't want to make it after drinking. But I really, really wanted to take my comfort zone and stretch it to the max ... And besides, this is kinda what I need to get back into. Not necessarily the drinking part, but the social scene. Especially when I get these whole weekends off, right?

I did what I said I wouldn't and came all the way home only to go back out again. And I didn't shower, either. And I drove all the way *back* downtown to go out.

The band was totally worth it. Julia, Cindy, Shirley - they're playing on July 4th again and y'all have got to go with me. The band is called The Spazmatics and the are an 80's new wave cover band. They're funny as hell and play songs we all know by heart. With the exception of being hit on by some generic creepy guy (who I totally lied to and told I wasn't there alone), it was a blast.

And Kelly, I missed the hell out of you, especially when they played "Blister in the Sun". I mean, seriously. Were we not just talking about that song? We totally need to find an 80's cover band to go see when I'm in SRQ next month.

So now, after lunch with Shirley, I am beginning my "do nothing weekend" at 2:00 on Sunday. I'm tellin' ya - it's a rough life sometimes ...

I've got to learn to just do the damage and leave town. It's the stay-'n'-gloat that gets me every time.

I am taking my usual reservedness and turning it on it's head today.

I'm meeting my boss at Pachanga Latino Music Festival today. Not in a totally fun/social capacity - we've been guest-listed to meet the guys that put it together and to see how they do things. I know, it's a tough gig I've landed myself. It looks like a pretty cool event, and if I had the kiddos this weekend, there is a ton of kid-friendly stuff as well. Since it's going to be 90+ degrees, I'll be arming myself with sunscreen and a tank top for this work function ... and I imagine a few cold beverages as well. I've gotta keep cool and not dehydrate, people!

After that, I'm off to my coworker's house to meet her family and sample smoked salmon her sister brought back from Alaska this week. Her sister also makes some beautiful found-glass jewelry that I want to check out.

By the way, I've been listening to one of the Pachanga Fest bands, Los Bad Apples, while I blog and the music is totally addictive.

I am also considering - considering - going out tonight with some folks from a local single parents meetup group. Part of the consideration is thinking about just booking a hotel room down south so I don't have to drive home if I do all this. Especially the night thing. Pachanga + coworker's house, it's okay to be a little less than dolled-up. But there's no way I can do Pachanga and the get-together without showing and changing - and by the time I drive all the way home around 6-7:00, it'll be hard to motivate me back out. But if I just brought a change of clothes and stayed downtown ...

I know, it's a tough life. I really should just come home and relax, get caught up on sleep, etc. I've got next weekend off too ...

This may sting a little just at first

I am fixated on getting a tattoo.

I know, I know, I've talked about this before. But it hasn't gone away, it's been lurking in the back of my mind and just popped back to the forefront.

I'm trying to decide between a phoenix and a wolf. The phoenix for the whole 'rising from the ashes' symbolism bit, and the wolf because it's my totem animal. Yeah, I'm not exactly Native American, but I do have a few cc's of it mixed into my 6 liters of European white girl O negative, and I totally dig on some of the symbolism and animal totems.

I had long vacillated on where to put it, shying away from my number one choice, the lower back, because people refer to tats there as tramp stamps. But you know what? I'm going to embrace my inner tramp and put the tat where *I* want it, so lower back it is. I've gotten to a point, figure- and weight-wise where that portion of skin is sometimes showing anyways, between shirts that actually fit and pants that ride on my hips, so it's a good place to put it. I can keep it covered if I want, or I can let it peek out.

Ive heard a lot of good things about Chris Gunn down at Southside, and he's my first choice, but since there are barriers to an impulse decision - he wants to meet clients first, discuss what they want, and then his waiting list is around a month long - if anyone in the area wants to recommend someone else, I'll look into it. Because y'all know me: if there are too many hurdles between me and something I want, I am pokey as hell about clearing them. But I'm not willing to go somewhere that isn't well-recommended. And my understanding is that Chris is really good with newbies and that he does quality work.

I'm working on sorting through the kajillion tat pics on the web to build up a few choices of wolf and phoenix, but if you have a preference or a linky to one you love, go ahead and share it in the comments. I don't want something huge, or that will take a billion hours. I'm torn between the simple, black tribal-inspired tats like this one and a more arty, stylized one like this.

Whaddaya think? Good idea? Will I actually do it? {wink}

Woman of leisure? Isn't that just British for unemployed?


Miss O is killing me on sleep, but this is a very short mommy week - Dave gets them back again tomorrow night and then I get four nights of quality sleep. I'm actually considering laying in supplies on my way home tomorrow night and then not leaving the house all weekend long. Just being a woman of leisure. I can sleep, get caught up on reading, not spend any money ... I mostly need to buy a lounge chair for the deck and some low-SPF sunscreen so I can get some sun and read some books outside. Yeah, yeah, yeah ... the sun is bad. I know. But I spent too many years living near a beach (and too many of those years with a kick-ass tan) not to *need* some kind of tan in the summer.

Actually, before my weekend of Zen, I think I'm going to indulge in a massage. My sciatic nerve is all wonked out again, and my neck and shoulders are just screaming for some deep-tissue work. The people I work with use Kisma Salon, and the prices for massages, hair cuts and color look really good. And it's an Aveda salon, which rocks. I had been considering one of the $49 massage places, but my office mate is a licensed massage therapist and she confirmed my suspicion that a $49 massage was akin to a $12 haircut - you might get a good one, but there's a reason that person isn't charging the big bucks.

As we lay in bed and let Miss O toddle around and be a goofball, Bean and I talked a bit about why she doesn't like going to daddy's. Besides the obvious that mommy isn't there. I also told her that she was never going to have her mommy and daddy in one house again, and that I was sorry it was such a hard thing for her to go through. I told her she could always call me when she's at her daddy's, and she could call him when she's here. Her response? "I don't ever want to call my daddy. I only want to call you!" Sweet and sad at the same time.

I got pretty much the same response when I was talking to her about how she loved her daddy and would miss him if she didn't see him often. Apparently I am the alpha and the omega and Dave is chopped liver in her book, at least to hear her talk. I don't believe for a second she wouldn't miss him, but for whatever reason, mommy trumps daddy these days.

A few Beanisms from her playtime this evening:

The attached-tail horses are mine and the not-attached-tail horses are Miss O's

When Miss O cries like that, she's going to make herself vomit. Just like I vomited at school that day. You didn't realize I was sick.

These horses love each other. They really do.

Don't fear - it's fishies. They don't bite.

And this, from when she spelled her name with refrigerator magnets, and noticed it sloped downward while she was sing-songing the letters:

I sing each letter lower because the letters are leaning down like that.

She's so damn clever sometimes ...

You smelled the smell?

In case you've missed the fab site, Awkward Family Photos (and if you have, prepare to set aside some time to peruse every picture there) get thee to this URL: http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/?p=1459

Legen - wait for it - dary. Seriously. They thought this was a great idea when they did it ... it's no full-body fur suit with genitalia, but it's definitely a ... ... well, it's a choice.

Yay. It's back.

That funky smell that only I smell and that follows me everywhere. And, of course, the accompanying eye burn/watering and mild headache. The fact that my eyes react too makes me a little less concerned that I'm crazy or I have a massive brain tumor (because google olfactory hallucination and I'm either a total nutjob or, you know, on death's door), and makes me wonder if there's some type of allergen in the air that I'm just acutely sensitive to. Maybe it's mold. Whatever it is it's eve.ry.where.

I borrowed Bean from Dave to take her to a BBQ at a friend's yesterday, and everything was fine until it came time to leave. Bean freaked out and melted down, hitting and screaming. Got her loaded in the car after more hitting and an attempt at running of and she whacked me in the face. Good times. She finally mellowed enough to tell me she wanted to stay with me and not go back to daddy's.

So I talked her down and told her that I was sorry that having two homes was so hard on her, yadda, yadda, yadda. Becuase that's what it seems to be to her - just Dave and I blowing smoke up her ass and her life, on occasion, sucking beyond the telling of it.

It breaks my heart that this has become so hard for her. I'm not sure why, or what can really be done except to empathize without apologizing too much. By that I mean I think it's okay to tell her "I'm sorry this is so hard for you" but I never say "I'm sorry your dad and I got divorced". Seems an odd distinction, I guess, but to me there's a difference between validating her feelings (the former) and apologizing for something that, one, I don't really have to apologize for and two, I don't think *should* be apologized for. At least not in the context of conversations with Bean.

If I apologize for the divorce, that casts it in an even more negative light, if that makes sense? That it's something to apologize for gives it weight, in a bad way. But if I empathize when she feels bad, it's giving what she feels weight, and that's good. It makes a lot more sense in my head than it does when I'm trying to explain it ... maybe it's my insane brain tumor talking ...

I like to be as forthright and honest with her as I can be, but I hold back a bit when it comes to this kind of stuff. Maybe 'hold back' isn't the right choice of words, but you know what I mean, right? When she asks "why did you have to get divorced?" she doesn't need 'the truth'. She needs the mutual decision party line of "sometimes grownups can't live together anymore/stop loving each other/whatever."

Does that make sense? I hope I'm doing this right ...

I'm probably the only girl in school who has the coroner's office bookmarked as a favorite place.

My eternal gratitude to the men and women who have served and are serving our country in the armed forces - not a day goes by that I don't think how lucky I am to live here, but today I'm saying it out loud. Your sacrifices and the sacrifices of your families are appreciated by all. Thank you, and please stay safe.


What a difference a day makes.

Yesterday I was up before 4:00, today I got to sleep until close to 10:00. And when I woke up, I got to lay there in that "I'm awake, but only marginally functional and in no hurry to get up" state that parents never enjoy.

Saturday evening, Bean asked to invite friends over for an arts-and-crafts playdate the next day. I cautioned her that everyone probably had plans, but fortunately Shirley and Cindy were able to bring their girls over and Bean hosted her first playdate since mommy returned to work. The girls glued collages together (Miss O included), and then donned princess dresses to run around like crazy people. O tried to keep up with the big girls, and since they all have younger siblings, they were all pretty good about including her and not being *too* rough with her.

After Miss O's 3:51 wake-up, it took until around 1:00 to get her a nap, and that was 30 minutes, up for 15, asleep for another 45. Thankfully, Dave was picking them up about an hour after her final wake-up. I'm tellin' ya - I have infinite patience for wake-up through bedtime hijinks, but the sleeping stuff annoys the hell out of me.

Getting up this late is confusing. I never sleep past 7:00, so it feels like it should be 8 or 9, latest. It's after 11.

We continued the Journey of the Macabre yesterday, with Bean requesting to stop and look at a dead deer that the vultures were finishing off. I got out and looked first, but it was pretty much bone and hair. And stink. But she wanted to see it anyways, so I scooped her out of her car seat and held her in my arms as we surveyed the carcass. I can only imagine what the folks driving past must have thought - some little soccer mom holding her daughter as they looked at a dead deer. I'm sure more than a few thought I was a freakin' loon ..

So what do y'all think. Am I too open with her about this stuff? Kids, people and animals die - it happens and there's no stopping it. I don't see the point of shrinking from it all or describing it all in fluffy kitten language; but am I missing something? Why is it okay for a 4 year old to hear "Jesus died for our sins", but not know that people die? To me, someone being killed because my kid is inherently bad seems far ookier than her knowing that some babies are born too sick to live, but maybe that's just my prejudice against religion showing again ...

Have your kids brought up death like Bean has? How do you handle it? I don't think I'd be here if the PT at her therapy place hadn't died and opened the door to this line of questioning, but because she's so damn inquisitive, once we start down a path, there's no detour. I could have tried to route us down a flower-filled path, I guess, but I'm such a WYSIWYG kind of person - you ask, I'll tell you. It's impossible for me to imagine not being equally open and honest with my own kid ...

No more butt-monkey, check.

There is just nowhere in the *world* at which 4:17 is an acceptable time to begin your day. Nowhere. But as Miss O fell asleep in the car around 5:00 last night and rather than make it a brief nap, I let it just be 'down for the night', I anticipated an earlier-than-usual start. And would have been prepared for it were it not for that magical hour of awake-for-the-hell-of-it that occurred around 1 a.m. Bean joined O in that hour of being awake and making me want to drown myself in the bathtub, so I was hating on both kids last night with equal fervor.

I'm going to propose to Dave a new custody arrangement - he gets them at night, I get them during the day. My daytime patience is infinite, but O sleeps for crap here. I think his daytime patience is slightly more limited, judging by Bean's repeated "I don't like daddy because he spanks my butt!" (which, I have no doubt, is more drama-ho'ing and making a case for always being with me than it is an actual reflection of amount/intensity), but they sleep well with him. So he can do the nighttime stuff where less patience is required, and I can tap into my deeper reserves and do the daytime stuff.

Think he'll go for it?

I took the girls to breakfast at McD's, a cemetery, Toys-r-Us, the mall, the park and Target yesterday. Bean wanted McD's breakfast, and it's so cheap to feed the three of us there I have a hard time saying no, tho I do forbid the playscape. I don't do any indoor playscapes with my kids - personally, I consider them festering pits of cooties and sickness. And I'm a mom who extends the 5-second-rule to include the unwashed, straight-from-the-container blueberries that fall on the floor at the grocery store. I've just seen one too many obviously ill and contagious kid at those places, and once I read Julia's story about watching some kid slide down one and leave a poop trail, it's a completely closed case.

After breakfast, where the girls entertained the masses - Bean with her antics and O with her tiny cuteness - I took Bean on her much-desired cemetery field trip. We talked about burial versus cremation, and what one can do with the powder from cremation, as well as discussing who is buried at this cemetery. This particular one is over-represented by 'Cluck's, so Bean ID'd all the Cluck headstones.

Then she noticed the very small headstones and graves.

Thus began a discussion about why babies and kids die. She wasn't happy about there being kids and babies there, but didn't seem profoundly saddened, just a little sad and thoughtful. I thought to myself then, and think now, that this will likely be a recurring discussion for a while to come.

Bean: That's a baby's headstone
Mommy: Actually, it is. It's a baby that died a long time ago.
B, in her most empathetic and sad voice: Oh! That's so sad!
M: It is. Sometimes babies are too sick to live very long, and they die very early.
B, noticing another small grave: There's another one
M: Yes.
(We proceeded to pick wildflowers, with Bean looking at all the headstones, and stopping at any she thought were kid or baby graves. She wasn't super sad, but seemed to get that it was sadder than adult graves)
B: Miss O, this is a baby's headstone
I kid you not, O stopped and placed the flowers she had been holding down near the headstone.

But overall, Bean really enjoyed her trip there. When I noticed the grave of a veteran, I noted it, and explained to Bean that this weekend was a special weekend where we said thank you to the folks who have served our country. I said "you can say 'thank you for serving our country' because they were soldiers who protected us." She proceeded to thank everyone, babies included, for serving our country.

When I asked her her thoughts afterward, she was focused mainly on how pretty cemeteries are, and how you bury dead people in boxes. She paused and said "when we talk to dead people, can they hear us?" I said "some people think they can, and some people think they can't. Do you think they can hear us?" She thought for a minute and said "Yes. I think they can hear us." So I told her "then that's what you should believe. We'll never know for sure, so the only thing that matters is that what you believe makes you feel good."

Miss O dozed off in the car, so Bean and I chatted and drove around for awhile. She was complaining incessantly about her shoes with orthotics hurting her, and I recalled a sale at Stride Rite, so I planned a stop there. Miss O snagged a 45-minute nap in the car, we did some shopping, got both girls' feet measured (O's actually a size 5 now, Bean's an 11), scored a new pair of sneakers for Bean, then headed home for naps. That totally didn't pan out, so we went to a new park and then to Target. Miss O fell asleep on the way home, and now we're full circle to my first paragraph.

I'll leave ya with a couple conversations with Bean. The Toys-r-Us one, which is not for the easily embarrassed, occurred with someone in the stall next to us.

Bean, pointing at some scribble: Do you know what this says?
Mommy: No. What does it say?
Bean: It says 'Loving mommy. We love you. You're the best mama in the whole world. Thanks.'

Bean, leaning over to whisper in my ear at the park: This is *awesome*. Thanks!

Bean, at Target, to an unsuspecting mom with two kids: When we were at the cemetery today, we saw a baby's grave. It was sad.
Mom, fixing me with a special look: I'm sorry. I bet it was sad.
Me, trying to explain: It was a field trip that she requested!

Bean, in the bathroom with me at Toys-r-Us: Mommy, why do you have hair on your butt?
Mommy, laughing in disbelief: You just asked that, didn't you?
B: Yes I did.
M: Well, when people grow up and go through puberty they get hair in new places. And it's not on my butt.
B: Well, why do you have hair on your bulba?

It's funny how the Earth never opens up and swallows you when you want it to.

Miss O woke up twice, I patted her back down pretty easily, so a decent night. Except it was like 8:30 by the time she finally fell asleep and she was up at 5.

She woke up at 4:30 and I got her back to sleep, thinking "yay! She should sleep until at least 6, maybe 7, since she was up so late." I think my giddiness had worn off and I had just fallen asleep when I heard her again. At 5:00.

So I went in and she was standing up doing the gesture and sound that mean "I'd like to go out and play now, please". I spent a good half hour trying to get her to go back to sleep, but at some point Bean woke up in my room and came barging in, asking "Why is she crying so much?" Before I could answer, she cut me off and said "I want to talk to Miss O. Miss O, do you want to come out and play with me?" To which Miss O gave a delighted "mmm-hm!" And mommy surrendered gracefully to the unstoppable force that is children in collusion.

It's going to be a looonnngg day.

Thankfully, Julia's fab website, Little Austinite, is chock full of events and places to go, so even on days that start at 5:00, I can fill the hours with kid-friendly shopping, dining, outings and home-based learning that should keep everyone but me from reaching for the bloody mary mix. I think we'll be doing a park this a.m., Lakeshore Learning in the afternoon and grabbing lunch at one of the many restaurants around town that make dining solo with two kids ... well, not exactly enjoyable, but better than it could be. If you are in the area and have not checked out Little Austinite, I do NOT know what you are waiting for - even the kidless set has something to gain, as the restaurant, venue and dining reviews come from grown-ups with stellar taste (if I do say so myself).

I'm still looking forward to doing 'Science at dinner: Anatomy of the Rotisserie Chicken' - Julia took something we can all lay hands on and, using her ginormous brain and years of high school AP biology, created a way cool science thing we can do at home for the littles. I know Bean is going to crap kittens when she sees all that stuff.

Random Beanisms:

Miss O, I wanted to show you how I became a rattlesnake.

Mother, I have a surprise for you (points at a picture of the colon) this is where the poop comes out.

I'm thrilled to see you alive, mommy. That means happy. I'm happy to see you alive. Animals think alive means dead, cuz some animals think it's a different way of designing what alive means. They sometimes think people mean alive means dead. But that doesn't make sense.

Bean: All the kids were screaming and hurting my eardrums
Mommy: Where were they screaming?
Bean: In my eardrums.

Can you cry? Sometimes I feel better when I cry.

Miss O, meet Dr. Ferber. Dr. Ferber, Miss O.

When after an hour and fifteen minutes of O refusing to go to sleep I found myself too close to the edge, I turned her crib/toddler bed to face the wall, carried Bean to my room and closed the door. She's screaming bloody murder but it's either this or me spanking her and screaming at her because I. have. had. it. with this sh*tty sleep. Had it. I am not going to spend the teeny tiny little window of free time I get patting her ass while she fusses and babbles and refuses to sleep. I've spent 17 months kissing her ass and I'm done.

Can you tell I'm mad? And frustrated as hell? If she slept for crap everywhere else, my fuse probably wouldn't be quite this short, but knowing she falls asleep easily and stays asleep at Dave's and at daycare really doesn't add to my patience.

Bean, out of the blue: I think it was a boy that crashed Paul
Mommy, in aural double-take mode: Ummm ... why do you think it was a boy?
B: Because Paul is friends with Kelli, but he isn't friends with the person who killed him
M: ... ... ... Noooo, he probably isn't friends with the person who killed him. But why do you think it's a boy that crashed into Paul?
B: I think it was a boy that killed him because boys are allergic to other boys

Well you just can't argue with that, can you?

It's been quiet in O's room for awhile, so she's either cried herself to sleep or is playing possum. And of course, idiot me is going to check ... hold please ... she's asleep.

I still really don't like the idea of letting infants cry, since under 9-12 months or so, they may still be waking because they truly need to eat. But since O has proven, time and again, that she is capable of falling to sleep quickly, and staying asleep all night, I just don't know what else to do.

And since this post has been as 'all over the place' as my moods this evening, I'll leave you with a website I discovered a few days back, forgot to share, and was reminded of again tonight via MissSingleMama's Tweets: Awkward Family Photos.


Not everything has to be creepy and supernatural, you know.

Conversations with Bean:

Bean: If that was your last one and you used it, you have zero left
Mommy: That's awesome. What happens if I had two left and only used one?
B: Then you'd have one left. And if you used that one, you'd have zero left.
M: You're really good with numbers. Did you learn that in school or is it something you figured out on your own?
B: I figured it out on my own.

B: (grouping her animal magnets) These guys are all together because they have hoofs. Pigs have hoofs, goats have hoofs, sheep have hoofs, zebras have hoofs and giraffes have hoofs.
M: You're right - the all have hooves.
B: Cows and horses have hoofs too, but they aren't here. If they were here, they could join in the hoof party.

B: Can we go to a cemetery?
M: Not right now, maybe this weekend, though. I'll find one where you can walk around and look at the headstones.
B: And find Paul. (For those who don't remember, the death of Paul, a PT at Bean's therapy place, is what began the death/dying/cemetery thing)
M: Well, I'm not sure we'll find Paul because I don't know which cemetery he's in.
B: Can we try to find Paul?
M: Sure, I'll look. Maybe I can find a pet cemetery, too.
B: Maybe there will be horses.
M: Probably not horses, but dogs and cats.
B: What other kids of pets?
M: Maybe birds, hamsters, bunnies ...
B: If they just died that's okay, but if somebody killed them that's *not* okay.

So now I'm busily searching online for local cemeteries, for the cemetery field trip this weekend. I was hoping to find a pet cemetery locally, but there doesn't seem to be one. It's Memorial Day Weekend, so I'll be able to wrap a good message into the field trip, and we'll stop to buy some pink flowers for Bean to randomly distribute. See how I take something that's kind of ... oooky, and I make it into something kind of nice? It's a skill. A gift, really.

Stefany, I can't believe it's been a year, either. Time really flies ... Late April was the official year since I'd moved out, so that was a kind of rough time for me. And I still have moments of regret - not really for anything I could have changed, but regret that he didn't make his case earlier and regrets that our marriage didn't get the effort it deserved. And, I'll say it, I do miss him; or, more accurately, I miss all he was in my life - my best friend, my confidant, the person who knew everything and told me everything (except, apparently, the really important stuff ... sigh). That romanticized, rose-colored-glasses view of the past that makes us better at nostalgia than at carrying a grudge.

Dave and I have a very good post-divorce relationship. Currently. It wasn't always that way, but I've come to understand enough about why it wasn't that my more magnanimous side gives him a pass. The Catty Catterson side has a few snide remarks, but usually only when I'm in my cups a little and feeling all snarky. Going forward, we may have a few more rough spots, although I'm hopeful that the good relationship we're cultivating now will see us through.

One thing I'm thankful for is that even when we were smacking each other around verbally, we somehow managed to keep the kids on a completely different *planet* and never made it difficult for the other to have the relationship and the time they wanted with the girls. I know it's not always easy to put children first in a divorce, but because we were successful with that, I think it made a lot of other stuff easier.

The fact that Dave is an involved, fantastic father and I'm a great mom is another huge plus for us - often one parent makes it hard to respect their parenting skills and their commitment. I can count on one finger the concerns I had about Dave's parenting choices, but I'll let y'all guess the finger. Without that rock-solid faith in him as a father to the girls, I think the divorce and the fallout would have been much harder.

So a year after moving out, and 18 months after finding out my marriage was in trouble, I'm in a good place. And it seems like it's a place I've been both forever and for just an instant ... a kind of "I can't believe it's only/already been this long." I'm wondering if that's a pretty typical way to feel - it seems like it almost should be, especially in the first few years ...

That's okay, Mom ... we don't need anymore snacks.

Yaaawwwnnn ...

After two pretty good nights of sleep, O hooked me up with one of those 'up every couple hours' nights that leave me absolutely exhausted when morning comes. At 5:00. Joy. But, it's Thursday (can I get a w00t! ??) so at least I have a decent nights' sleep to look forward to. I'm pretty sure her problem last night was gas, as she'd wake with quiet (for her) screams and a lot of back-arching. She had a bit of soda with dinner, so the carbonation might have gotten to her.

Work is still going really well and I'm still really liking being a working mom. Miss O is doing really well at daycare, generally only getting upset in the late afternoons, and then mostly because of a classroom change. But she's eating and napping well there, playing with the other kids and enjoying all the arts and crafts. Bean is doing great with full-time school, as well.

Grandma and Grandpa wanted to come over for dinner one night and see the girls, so
I asked the to pick up the girls from their school on Tuesday. Miss O treated them to her "I cannot possibly be separated from mommy" routine, screaming any time she wasn't in my arms. When I screamed back at her, I'm sure my folks were impressed with my control and mad parenting skillz, but whatever. Sometimes you just need to scream. And for that reason, I'd give O a free pass on *some* screaming, but when it's just a non-stop thing, it wears on me.

Speak of the Debil, I can hear her coming. Unlike my toe-walking Princess, Miss O is a whole-footer. 'Course, she says less than 10 words, so there's always a trade-off. But you can hear O coming for miles as those chunky little toddler feet slap on the tile and laminate floors. This time she needed more to eat. She and Bean scarf down Flat Earth chips and bananas in the a.m. And share a piece of dark chocolate.

Bean just Id'ed my cousin Rebecca on Facebook, and said "She lives in Wiscaansin. That's how you say it." Ummm ... "Who told you that?" "My dada. I tried to tell him it's Wisconsin." *Did* he now ...

Bean's been having a really hard time with the 'two homes' thing lately, and acting out a bit as a result. Dave and I have both noticed it, and heard comments about it, and it's really nothing that can be fixed - it's a simple physics problem of the two of the three people she loves most in the world never occupying the same space. She can have me, Miss O and her, or daddy, Miss O and her, but not mommy and daddy and her.

We talked a little about how in the future, we can both attend things like games, recitals, etc so Bean has us both there, but now here's little opportunity for those more informal type things. And I'm not even sure if having both Dave and I at, say, a park with her right now would be a good thing or just make the vast majority of the time when we aren't in the same place that much harder.

Divorce, and two homes, is a hard thing for a kid. For Miss O, it's been her reality since she was, like, 5 months old, so she really doesn't seem that affected by it. I think the separation from mommy is hard, but it's hard when she goes to daycare, when I leave her with grandma and grandpa or when she stays with her dad - that's just an age-appropriate, is-what-it-is type thing. But Bean remembers one home, remembers mommy and daddy together. And maybe, for her, it's really becoming real, now that it's been a year that we've had the two homes deal, and she's accepting and mourning on a subconcious level, and acting out about it on a conscious level.

Is it a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?

Party Planning 101, a la Bean.

Mommy: We're going to invite C, Rachel, Ayssa and Mathias. Do you want to invite anyone from school?
Bean: I want to invite all the girls from my class, but none of the boys.
M: You can't do that - you either have to invite everyone or just pick 4 people you want to come to your party.
(Mommy making arbitrary rules because I don't want to plan for that damn many kids, especially as most won't RSVP or show but I'll still have to have food, supplies, etc for all of them in case they do.)
B: I want to pick 10.
M: How about 6?
B: Okay. I want to invite Ella A, Ella D, Nathan, Caden and Jackson.
M: You can pick one more person.
B: I pick ... Sophie.
M: Okay, that's 6.
B: Ayssa, Rachel, C, Ella, Ella, Sophie, Nathan, Caden, Jackson and Mathias.
M: Do you want to have cake or cupcakes?
B: I want a pony cake.
M: No problem. Where do you want to have your party? At home? The gym? A bounce place?
B: I want to have it at the soccer place.
M: We can do that.
B: All the girls will sit at one table and the boys will have to sit somewhere else. And only Ayssa can sit next to me because her birthday is in July too.
M: Okay.
B: Only kids with birthdays in July can sit next to me.
M: {pauses, not wanting to break it to her that it's possible one of the boys she's inviting from her class has a July b-day}
B: And even Miss O ... Miss O can come too.
M: What about all the other little brothers and sisters, can they come?
B: Yes. All the babies can play soccer with Miss O.
M: That will be fun. Do you think they'll enjoy that?
B: Yes. But Miss O will run the fastest and beat the other babies because she's the oldest. The babies can play soccer and the big kids can eat cake. Only, the girls will have cake and the boys can have cupcakes.
M: Sweetie, there's cake *or* cupcakes, not both.
B: {thinks} Cake. But the boys can have pieces without frosting and the girls will have all the frosting. And the girls can sit with me but the boys will sit on a different bench.
M: Everyone gets frosting.
B: But no boys can sit with me.
M: Okay then.
B: And then I can invite everyone back to my house to play with me. All day.
M: Look at the dog! {because the joy of the party continuing all. day. is just too great to contemplate}

I got Miss O to fall asleep sans nursing last night. It took a good 30 minutes plus, but she slept until 5:30. She woke a couple times, but settled herself down. Bean's still asleep, and we've got a good hour and a half or so before we have to leave for school. I want enough time to talk to Miss O's teacher a bit and to stop at Starcracks. Because y'all know I did *not* get to bed early enough to not be tired when woken at 5:30.

I'm so excited about two My Little Pony parties in the span of a month or so. My friend's daughter is obsessed with the Ponies as much as Bean is, so she asked for a Pony party. Bean's been digging on the Pony party idea for awhile, and no amount of 'how about a Princess party?' can distract her from her Pony party. If my place wasn't so small (and my backyard such a dirt pit) I'd have it here, but I just don't have the right-sized house for a party. Now I have to make a reservation for Soccer Zone.

Another bedtime without nursing, this one a little smoother than last night. Let's hope she can do this ... although typing it pretty much assures me that it won't last ... le sigh.

I believe that's the dance of a brave little toaster.

Things that can boil a mommy's blood. Getting this via email:

"Believe it or not, Debbie told me that O is the first one she puts down for a nap - in the middle - because she is the quickest and easiest to go to sleep for her."

When the Junior Turdburger being discussed fights mommy for 30 minutes before finally acquiescing to a 30-minute nap. But at daycare, she's easy and sleeps about 2 hours. Every day. On a damn little mat on the floor. This same Jr. TB sleeps through the night at her dad's, but keeps me up for an hour or two in the middle of the night for shiggles.

Grrr ... she's lucky she's so damn cute.

Yes, that's Henry Rollins she's dancing to. Bean can name that tune in about the first four beats. Ditto for his "Your Number Is One". My kids rule.

I just returned from a fab dinner at Cafe Bleu on Lake Travis. There is just something so ... centering about being near the water. It's something I've been missing a lot lately, without even realizing how much it does for me. The food was great, the views wonderful and the atmosphere absolutely perfect - that kind of beachy-casual meets fine dining that I was so used to when I lived in a beach town.

And that hankering for the beach and the beach town - and the need to reconnect - has me roughing out plans to attend my class reunion in Sarasota. Not for the school I graduated from (errr ... *would* have graduated from), but for the school I attended from 4th-10th grades. I've already cleared the weekend swap with Dave, and I just need to double-check about taking a long weekend at work.

Even better than the reconnecting, is the chance to see my BFF, Kelly. I haven't seen her in almost nine years - not since I attended my goddaughter's baptism. I asked her if she could be in Sarasota that weekend. Her response? "For you I'd move mountains." I'm so loved :)

Now I just need a date for the reunion dinner and I'll be all set ... maybe I'll do the evening cocktails thing instead, since flying solo for that won't be as obvious (or lame).

There are books on computers? Isn't the point of computers to replace books?

I use a 24-inch iMac at work, and am trying to convince myself that I do not need to replace my home PC with a home iMac. I have my happy little MacBook, just bought a 1TB external HD for the PC to really boost my storage ... there's no need for something this glorious, is there?

There are two things that would push me past the tipping point on this - if I knew I could reformat my external HD from PC to Mac, and if I knew I could suck everything I needed off the PC and onto the Mac without having to pay someone to come do it. Because right now, it's only my sub-par tech savvy that's holding me back. I'm the type that knows enough to be dangerous, and it's a minor miracle that I haven't gone through and purged everything on the PC by accident when I do my file-by-file cleanups.

My Mac is reaching capacity, so I need to start shifting some photos to the external HD, too ... but that's an archaic game of load photos from Mac to USB key, dump photos from USB key to PC's external HD. And if I ever figure out how to reformat the external HD, I'll have to migrate everything back to the PC and MacBook anyways.

I'm tellin' ya - reason #1 I miss having a hubby is that all I would have had to do is buy the iMac and then one night everything would just happen for me and I'd wake up, like a kid on Christmas, to a magical new world.

And to that, an extreme 'see you later.'

Was listening to NPR on the way home and caught a broadcast of PRI's The World. What a cool show.

I caught an interview on The World with a woman, Sahar Gabriel, who recently moved from Baghdad to Detroit. Sahar was a translator for the NY Times in Baghdad, and moved the the US to live with her favorite uncle as she didn't feel like Baghdad was her home, and she was concerned for her safety since she worked for and with Americans. Her perspective on American and Americans is refreshing and a little naive, but in an enjoyable and guileless way. She still blogs on the Times' Baghdad Bureau site.

In her interview, Sahar told the show's host that the conversation she was having there was the first real exchange she'd had with an American. Her experiences living in Detroit have been kind of insular, in that she's living with relatives and the area she's in is, to paraphrase her, basically like living in Baghdad. I commented on her blog that I'd welcome starting a conversation with her; not that it's likely it will happen, but her story and experiences really stayed with me long after I was done listening.

Work is going really well. I've been kicking a$$, cranking out tons of good work and really enjoying my days. The time flies by, especially on the days I leave early to pick up the girls. I like what I'm doing, I'm meeting tons of interesting people and I'm feeling really fulfilled and happy. Don't tell Dave, but in a way I wish a I had started work long ago. In a lot of ways, I'm glad I had that year to stay home with the girls, especially for Miss O's sake, but I much prefer finding a work-life balance to finding the 'drown myself in a bathtub' - 'enjoy watching the kids grow' balance.

I'm going to go relax with a glass of wine and watch some TV. It's a mommy-flying-solo weekend and I plan to enjoy it :)

Enjoying the refreshing sanity and so forth?

TGI Thursday. Why Thursday? Dave has the girls tonight and my sleep-deprived self can get some sleep.

Tuesday night and Wednesday night both featured marathon, middle-of-the-night nursing sessions that kept me awake at least an hour until I had had enough, stopped Miss O and then spent 30+ minutes trying to get her to sleep. Tuesday night she woke up several times *before* the nursing session, but last night she at least slept solidly until the session. Idiot mommy stayed up until 11:00 reading, as they typically sleep until 6:45 or so nowadays. Except today, when they woke up at 5:45. Actually, Miss O was up a little before that nursing. Again. So maybe 5 hours of fractured sleep for me? Like I said - TGI Thursday.

Here's how Bean woke up - I was laying and nursing O, and heard Bean pass gas. She sat up and said: "Mommy can you say Pootle? Poo-tle. The first letter is P and the fifth letter is T. Pootle is a funny way to say gas."

At least I can start my day with a smile. And plenty of coffee, as I have an extra hour of pootle-around time.

Sleepiness aside, I'm doing really well. It's a bit of a mad shuffle to get the girls out the door in the morning, and fed at night, but I'm finding my groove. Clara, thanks for the crockpot suggestion - I'll be using this kid-free weekend to look at menus and meals and do some shopping and pre-planning. I can do that and bag some frozen meals to throw in the fridge to thaw and then heat when I get home, too. I need to buy a smaller crockpot, I think. My parents very kindly gave me their hugantic one, but it's just too big for daily meals. It cooked the ever-loving crap out of the homemade mac and cheese I attempted once, I think because it was spread so thin on the bottom.

But I really am liking being back at work. My brain is actually hitting on all cylinders most days, and I knocked out a ton of stuff yesterday. Still working on a Twitter handle for the boss, but we may be making some progress - thanks to everyone who gave me input when asked :) It's so nice to be a grown-up for such a big chunk of the time now ... being a single mom, I think, makes the stay-at-home part even harder as there is so very little grown-up time. And when the other parent has the kids, it's hard to get grown-up time because that's when all your friends are doing family things. Throwing work into the mix means 40 or so hours of guaranteed grown-up time a week, and that's pretty cool.

The gym right by the girls' school is running a "$9 to join, $9 a month, no contract" membership drive and I'm very tempted. I could do M/W/F pretty easily ... assuming they have showers there. It'd be a pain to come all the way back home. Not impossible, but a pain. I guess I could just as easily get my lazy tookus out for a power walk/run every morning that the girls aren't here. I just need something for my upper body .... hmmm ...

A couple Beanisms for y'all before I hit the showers and get this show on the road.

Mommy: Bean, would you like some crunchy strawberries and bananas?
Bean: Well, my brain thinks it's okay ...

Bean: C had macaroni and cheese and broccoli for lunch
Mommy: mmmm. That sounds good (totally lying thru my teeth). My favorite way to eat broccoli is raw with ranch dressing.
Bean: My favorite way to eat broccoli is that nobody eats broccoli.

Bush Sr. would be so proud ...

All monkeys (and ponies) are French. You didn't know that?

I'm waiting for the full report from Dave, but the one-liner was that Miss O did great on her first full day at 'school'. She's officially 17 months old today, too!

I had a relatively nice Mother's Day, especially for the two hours Bean was asleep :) I'm sorta kidding, but sorta not - she was in rare form yesterday, with hysterical screaming hissy fits at the least provocation. We're talking the kind where the kid is coughing and retching and almost throwing it. Legen. dary.

Wanted to share a photo of the Mother's Day goodies I scored from the girls crafty adventures at Lakeshore Learning the other day. Missing from the picture is a lovely pipe-cleaner bracelet that Miss O made me - I held the cleaner, she put on beads until she was tired of it. It looked fab with my black suit today.

Cool, huh? If you look closely, you'll see the doll Bean made has sleeves drawn on. And boobs. Magical.

At the store with Bean yesterday, she said: "That's a girl. Look at her boobs." I know those of you with kids are totally jealous of Bean's knowledge of boobs and cemeteries. And cremation. It's okay. Not every kid can be this ... ahhh ... this ...

Moving on.

She also told me yesterday: "Don't open the bathroom door because I need my privacy." Turns out she had to "poopie" and wanted the time alone. I didn't realize that at first, and nothing makes a mom move faster than "don't open the door ..." I got put in my place and left her to do her bidness in private.

Julia, you'll appreciate this. After a day of randomly bursting into the My Little Pony song - but only the first few lines, as that's all she knows - she modified the lyrics for me. Instead of :
My Little Pony
My Little Pony
How I love to play with you

She sang:
My little mommy
My little mommy
I love her so much and then

Everybody now: awwwww!

Just got the full report from Dave - O did really well, ate all her food and, according to her daily sheet: "had a very good day back! She played well with all her new friends!". Because pick up is after the teacher in the 12-18 month old room leaves, O ends up in the infant room for the last hour or so, and the teacher there assumed she had been in daycare before because O adjusted to her so easily. Hopefully this trend continues, even when mommy has to do the drop off. Because, knowing O, she'll make me work harder than she makes Dave work.

She who hangs out a lot in cemeteries

Happy Mother's Day to all my mommy readers. Whether you have one or twelve, whether they're four-legged, two-legged or no-legged (I'm thinking fish and rocks here), enjoy your day!

I am still in shock over Miss O sleeping through the night. I fell asleep with them last night and woke around 11:00, stayed up for an hour farting around on the Interwebz, then laid down in my room. Miss O woke me once around 1:30, but she did what Dave said she does at his place: made a few sounds, then went back to sleep. It wasn't until almost 6:00 that she woke up and meant it. A friend suggested I view it as a Mother's Day gift, and I definitely will. Now to just keep the disappointment at a minimum when it isn't replicated tonight ...

My parents and sister hooked me up with some sweet cards for Mother's Day, and my folks thought to get a card for me from the girls, so I didn't miss out - thanks guys!! Bean has informed me that the drawing inside is a "googly-woogly-boo-goo-goo. That's a silly picture."

I took the littles to Lakeshore Learning yesterday and they made me some cute stuff, including a fabu construction paper and sparkly sticker purse that Bean wrote her whole name on by herself. (Well, except the "B", but she nailed the "S", which is far more complex in my book.) She said "that way you know it's from me!", in case I confused it with a gift from a grown-up, I guess :)

Miss O got two naps yesterday, so she wasn't quite the mess she has been - 45 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the car in the afternoon. We capped off a great day with dinner at Chipotle, and both girls ate really well.

I've captured a few great Beanisms so far this weekend:

Bean: I want to look at the inside of a morning glory flower
Mommy: We'll look in the morning, it's time for bed.
Bean: Will you remember that I want to look?
Mommy: Yes, I will.
Bean: Can you write it down so Olivia doesn't take it out of your brain?

Mommy: One of the cats threw up, be careful
Bean: It looks like vomit, mommy.

You took me to a cemetery! THANK YOU mommy!!

One day, Miss O will die and she will be buried at the cemetery. And I will die, and mommy and daddy and we will all be buried together.

Look at all the headstones!
My macabre kid ... And my favorite:
Every day it's hard for me to concentrate because it's too amazing for me.
I know exactly what you mean, Bean.

Tweet, tweet, tweet

I've succumbed.

I'm on Twitter - @vickwrites ... Julia, I added you, but everyone else needs to follow me so I can follow you :)

Ponies, ponies everywhere

Pony-related Beanisms of the morning:

Thank you for buying me all these pink ponies. Once they see their homeland they will be happy.

They still like Rainbow Dash, even though she's not pink.
All the ponies are saying they have their brand new island. Now, Rainbow Dash doesn't have to go in anymore. Flower Butt has to go in though.
I now have like 10 My Little Ponies sitting on my mousepad - their island - and they're making me feel a little claustrophobic. Miss O has liberated a few, but I'm still being stared down by a handful of flat, expressionless eyes. And it's a little creepy.

I've given up on not nursing Miss O at night. The screaming is just Legen -wait for it- dary. And I can either have her working herself into hysterics, waking Bean and eating away even more of my fractured sleep, or I can let her work on reestablishing my milk supply as I drift off. Which one do you think I prefer?

Well, *prefer* might not be the right word, but there's one that makes my life easier in the short-term, and you're damn Skippy that's the route I'm going. It's either that or me spending a half hour at a time trying to make her be quiet and resenting the ever-loving heck out of her. To the point where at 2 a.m. I'm thinking "I wonder if I could modify the custody agreement and just give O to Dave forever and just keep Bean ... "

We've been hosting a career fair and career-related workshops at work for the past few days. Turnout has been awesome, and it's great to be doing something to help people with their job search. We had close to 200 people show up for the career fair on Wednesday, and each of the 12-13 companies there had at least 5 jobs available. I know that at least one of the participants already has an interview scheduled.

Yesterday one of our workshop speakers was a no-show, so the guys who were doing the videotaping stepped up to the plate with a presentation they had with them on using social media. If there's anyone local who needs some filming work done - or speaking on social media - think about Reel social Media. Their presentation was funny and engaging, and provided tons of useful info. And they're just really nice guys.

They also made me realize I am going to have to start Tweeting ... I've been resisting, but it's time for me to be assimilated ... I know you're all waiting with baited breath, so I'll post my id as soon as I sign up. 'Course that'll mean not falling asleep with the girls again tonight :)

Day three

Melissa, I like the talking head thing, so feel free to comment away :) But let me know if you do start blogging - I'll definitely want to read it!

My parents have been on babysitting duty all week, and will likely finish the week as the girls' day care providers. Sorry guys! I just sent an email to the real daycare, showing them this link from the local paper about state lab testing for H1N1. It's entirely possible that my results will be indefinitely delayed as they work through their backlog, and if the school maintains their "we need your results" stance, who knows when the girls will be able to go back. So I suggested we just go with Monday.

I really hope they are on board ... the girls need the structure of school, I think, to make sure they're napping an eating well. My parents are doing a great job, but having a hard time with napping and getting the girls to eat; and when I'm getting home to two exhausted kids at 6:30, I can't exactly whip up a full meal. So they're in this cycle of carb loading and exhaustion. Miss O is sleeping for crap at night and I am just wiped out!

Miss O is one strong-willed little bugger ... is it wrong that I like Bean a bajillion times more sometimes? O will sleep all night at Dave's, and nap for an hour or more. With me, if I get her to nap on her own, the most I can hope for is 45 minutes, and she is back to waking up 4-5 times a night. And screaming when she does, partly because I'm not nursing her (mostly, by the last wake-up I just let her latch on. I don't think she's getting anything, but whatever). But I think part of it is just that she's so chronically overtired.

With my folks, she won't nap at all unless my dad walks her to sleep, then lays down with her asleep on him. Even so, they get maybe 30 minutes from her. Her one day at school, she slept on a mat for 2 stinkin' hours. And Bean naps almost every day at school. But never at home.

Le sigh. I wish I knew where they got this pig-headedness from. Probably their dad, as I'm as flexible and easy-going as can be ...

When I'm at work, I am loving being a working mommy. The evenings still suck, from a time management perspective, but I envision this as being really good for the three of us once we really have a routine down. And being a single working mommy has some real benefits, as far as after-hours work stuff goes - if I have some notice, I can just coordinate with Dave and not have the kids for the morning or evening. It's kind of nice ... you know, sometimes I think that I may never get married again ...

Two days down, a kajillion to go ...

Bean and I were talking yesterday, and I can't remember exactly what she said first, but it was something silly. When I said she was being silly, she followed it up by saying "I was just kidding around. I just wanted to set up a joke material for you."

Better yet was when I was giving my mom the run down of things she could do with the girls while they were all here yesterday, and I started talking about painting. "You can always let them p-a-i-n-t if you want. There are brushes and stuff in the closet and both girls like to do it." My mom may better recall what exactly Bean said, but the gist was: "You're talking about paint. That's what you keep in the closet."

So, no more spelling if there are context clues involved.

When I left for work yesterday, Bean flipped out - crying and screaming and running out to the garage. It was the first time I'd left her after being reunited with the kids, and she was not happy about letting me out of her sight :( I held her and talked to her, got her calmed down and promised I'd be back. Hopefully by my keeping that promise, she'll be fine going forward.

It's definitely tough juggling everything at night when I get home from work, and getting them to bed at a decent time. My parents aren't really able to get good naps for the girls, so hopefully when they return to school, they'll be napping again and the evenings won't see me coming home to exhausted kids :) But getting into a real routine, instead of this kind of suspended animation of my parents pitching in and helping (a ton!), will be nice when it finally happens!

Those of you who have done the working parent(s) thing for awhile, how long does it take to feel comfy with the routine?

Of course this is just temporary, until my inevitable stardom takes effect ...

Ahhhh ...

All is right with the world. I went to work - yes, I still have a job - and went to pick up my girls at grandma and grandpa's afterward.

You read that right, the girls are home. I don't think I've ever seen two people happier to see me than they were. Bean was ecstatic when Dave called to tell her I'd be picking her up; my mom said she screamed "my mommy's coming to get me!!" And Miss O ... she came walking over to me with this huge smile that didn't leave her face until bedtime. Just beaming up at me, and reaching up to hug me over and over.

Bean announced to me: "I worked really hard and I earned you back, mommy."

This is the email she dictated to grandma today:

Dear Mommy,

Feel better soon and have me come to your house soon. And you always have to have a dog again and make sure you never forget that you will never make your dog leave. And please I really want to come to your house today and I really want you to be married to grandma and you always can stay with me all the time and stay with me overnight. And you are supposed to clean everything in your house and make sure your house stays alllll tidy and dusted up and when you make a recipe everyone can come to your house. Make sure you buy all the toys your kids want.
So when Dave sent me an email asking if I thought I could take the girls tomorrow night, I said absolutely! We went back and forth a bit about what the girls' school would say if my test for H1N1 comes back positive and the girls are now with me, but we decided that even by the most conservative estimates (me getting H1N1 the very day I tested positive for it), today is 8 days later and the CDC says people are only contagious 7 days. So then the discussion switched to is it okay for me to have them starting tonight, do I feel like I've recovered fully, etc. Dude, wild horses could have trampled me nearly to death at lunch and I'd still have said "I'm fine!"

I am so, so happy to have them home. And since they're still not "allowed" back at school (no test results for me yet), it'll be a slightly easier transition to working mommy, because my folks are willing to come here and watch them for the next day or two.

Work went well today. My brain was actually firing on all cylinders and I had a good day. More on that after I have a few days under my belt, but so far, I think I'm going to be happy here. And I think I'm going to like being a working mommy ... tho after 10 days without my kids, I'd like nothing more than to spend the day with them tomorrow. Oh well - that's what weekends are for, right?

News-induced hysteria? Check.

Okay, first, I know I should be thankful that the girls' school is so proactive. If this were something really scary, their diligence would be something I really appreciated. Especially if I wasn't their Patient Zero. So kudos to them for being proactive.

When I found out, on Monday, that I was positive for Type A influenza, I'll admit to feeling a bit of fear. This was early in the 'pandemic' hype, and all I knew was that there were a lot of folks in Mexico dying and only a handful of cases in the US. Early on it was thousands of cases and over a hundred deaths in Mexico, numbers that are being sanitized by testing and numbers that keep dropping. But on Monday, after several days of feeling like I'd been run over by a truck, I was worried that it was something that could possibly kill me.

As the week wore on, and the real numbers started showing up, it was less fear and more annoyance that I was feeling. Eh, maybe not annoyance, but some rueful 'whatever'-ance. I've had the flu before with absolutely zero of this kind of hoopla. No antivirals, no warnings to stay home, no thoughts of keeping the kids and people away. As the news kept blaring the "we're all going to die!" horn, my pragmatism was rapidly overtaking my fear.

Mexican officials are now comparing the mortality rate of H1N1 with seasonal flu; in the U.S. and other countries, the mortality rate is below that of seasonal flu, as only one death (sadly, an already ill toddler from Mexico) has occurred outside of Mexico. I am hoping that by Monday some of this hype will die down and, regardless of my test results, the girls will be allowed back at school. They tested negative for Type A on Tuesday, and Dave and I have decided that until my results come back, they'll stay with him or my parents (more on this in a minute), so the likelihood of them bringing anything into school is minimal.

And honestly, unless every student, teacher and parent that's associated has tested negative and is living in isolation, how much riskier are my kids than any of the other kids? Since we know it takes like 10 days to get results, how many potentially positive people are out and about, or were out and about before testing positive for Type A, now? I know I won't be living in a bubble until my test results come back, but I was good enough to stay home until I was asymptomatic and fever-free for 48+ hours - do you think everyone who tested positive for Type A did the same?

Okay, mini-rant over. I just find the hysteria a bit much for something that turns out to be less scary than the regular flu. I'm actually hoping I did have it, as flu season is fast winding down and some experts are saying this could come back in a more virulent form next flu season. A part of me wishes my kids had it this time around, too. Natural immunity and all that. Especially because I am *not* going to be enthusiastic about a vaccine they rush through production. I imagine Dave and I will go round and round about that one, as he's more vaccine-happy than I am.

So, here I sit, annoyed by the overreactions and missing the hell out of my kids. I haven't seen them in like 10 days. Poor Miss O. At least Bean can call me and knows what's going on ... as far as O's concerned, mommy has abandoned her :(

Cowering in a closet is starting to seem like a reasonable plan.

At least from a preschool director perspective.

I called the girls' school this a.m. to bring them up to speed on the girls' health, as Miss O left early Monday because she was sick and neither of them has been back since. The school sent out a "School Flu Policy" email today, and I just wanted them to know, mostly, that the girls were still ill, but negative for Type A.

And then idiot me mentioned I tested positive for Type A.

Hand to dog, I spent 10 minutes talking to the director and the owner detailing when I was last there (5 days before I tested positive for Type A), when I tested positive, when the girls tested negative, my doctor's contact info ... only to be called back and asked to keep the girls home until I get my test results back. You know, sometime next week.

I was hoping the girls were coming back tomorrow, but now Dave is being all devil's advocate-y and saying "well, what if you're still contagious? That would mean this whole week of isolation was for nothing." Well, yeah, if you're going to go and use logic.

Gah. I miss my girls. I haven't seen them in a week and while it was really nice while I was feeling like death, now that I feel pretty good, it's lonely. And boring. I mean, seriously - how much HGTV can a person watch without calling upon the powers of darkness and doing tons of decoupage? Do you know I actually watched TMZ this evening? And found it funny.

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