Monday Morning Open Thread

Congratulations to our baker baker and our programmer extraordinaire Matt for the birth of their baby girl. Woot! The deets are on Facebook! -Elisa

What’s up?

First, a recognition of all of our veterans, past and present, who have served our country. Happy Veterans Day!

I am still on Cloud Nine after the elections last Tuesday. To top it off, I learned that President Obama was the first presidential candidate from the Democratic party to win over Cuban-American voters in Florida. A fellow cubana blogging friend had this to share about it. Eso!

Rachel Maddow had the best round-up of what happened and why Karl Rove walked off FOX News when Ohio was called for the president.

Now onto business: here is an excellent blog by California Rep. Judy Chu, on how cutting spending also means job losses and poorer future prospects for our children. Amen.

Finally, if you are interested in posting on the front page of MotherTalkers, please let me know. It would be a great way to continuously update with new content. Many thanks!

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?

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About Elisa

I am a journalist and online organizer who is the co-publisher of this blog. When I am not online, I am shuttling around my two kids, an 8-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter.

54 thoughts on “Monday Morning Open Thread

  1. Ladies, I just need to take 1 second to whine. Last night my cat peed IN my black “patent leatherish” (they’re from Target) shoe. IN IT. It was full of pee! Thank goodness I never spend more than $25 on shoes like that. This was after a week of me catering to her after she’d fallen at the vet and injured her foot. For an entire week I carried her to her catbox, I gave her wet food (which must be like having an ice cream sundae for dinner) mixed with her meds and chicken broth for fluids since she refused to drink water. She repays me by ruining my shoe.

    Then this morning I got my giganto-sized coffee from Starbucks, placed it on top of my car while I help DS climb in, and the entire cup tips over and spills all over me and my car interior. Waaaa.

    This totally needs to be an entry into White Whine, but I’ll use you all instead : ).

      • Hey, at least it’s 37 degrees out, which means I don’t have to rush to clean the milky latte spill out of the upholstery. Our Chicago climate has its bonuses.

      • Yeah, maybe she heard DH before we went to the vet last week. “Should we tell the children they should say their goodbyes?” Mind you, I thought something was growing in her belly because she is so huge, but her day-to-day behavior was perfectly normal. That guy’s trigger finger is itching.

        • It might just be the closest she can come to saying, “foot”. That’s the kind of thing my cats would do. She might be telling you her foot is worse.

          My cat peed ON ME when he had a UTI and I wasn’t getting his hints.

      • My favorite cat story: When we were in grad school there was a postdoc in my roommate’s lab with MS, and when an attack sent him to the hospital she took care of his cat. When he came home a week later he had lost much of the use of his left arm.

        He had a university position lined up, and that summer she house sat for him while he traveled to get ready for the new job. She was a little scared of his cat, though; he was a big old tom and she wasn’t a cat person. The second day she called me to say, “Xeno’s limping. I have to take him to the vet but I don’t think I can manage him. Can you come help?” But soon called back to say don’t bother; as soon as she got out the carrier, Xeno hobbled in and laid down.

        The vet found nothing wrong, but Xeno continued to keep his weight off his left front paw. After a few days my roommate realized that Xeno would often forget to be injured; he would jump up or down using both paws, then resume limping, or he would put weight on both while eating. He continued to limp until his owner returned. To this day I am convinced that Xeno decided his owner had had another MS attack. His owner had come home smelling of the hospital, smells he recognized from vet visits, so he decided to feign the same injury – left front paw – so he’d be brought to the vet where they could be reunited.

  2. I am coming down off of what was possibly the most stressful week of my entire life.

    DH (stbx DH, I suppose) and I decided early last week that we would tell the kids this past weekend that we were separating. So I had that hanging over my head like a sword all week.

    Then it was Book Fair, which I chaired, and which required hours of prep, set-up, and take down time.

    We had a very busy week of work combined with all new duties for my new/evolving position.

    And then the first time seeing DH’s sibs since they found out we were separating. So potentially awkward family gathering, wherein I am filled with irrational fear of rejection.

    I also had/have an absolutely terrible cold which makes it impossible to sleep since every time I am horizontal, everything drains into my lungs and I cough incessantly. So add major sleep deprivation to the above.

    In the end, I survived Book Fair, finished the financials, have work a little bit under control even though I am still feeling a bit out of my depth (which is a good thing … room for growth), and most important, the discussion with DS went down as good as or better than anyone could ever have imagined, and I attribute that not just to his amazing maturity, but also in my and his dad’s careful planning and skillful framing.

    I wasn’t sure how on earth we would tell our sweet boy, and I wanted DH to handle it, but in the end he is hopeless with words, so I broke the news. We did it Saturday mid-morning–we were thinking Friday night but everyone is soooo flippin tired on Fridays, it seemed wrong. Plus we had an event for DD’s preschool and I ended up hanging out with a neighbor friend, drinking some wine, crying, and watching Magic Mike. But I digress.

    As it was, we told him, he cried for a very short time, we hugged him, I told him several times we would always be a family, his family, just a different kind of family, and that he could say/think/feel however he wanted for as long as he needed, and we would handle it and take care of him, because we are the grownups and he’s the kid. After absorbing the information, he said, “Well, I don’t suppose it will be that different since I only see Daddy on the weekends anyway.” Wisdom from the mouths of babes for sure. Later in the day when we talked about furniture and stuff, he kept saying, “Well this will be interesting …” in a neutral-positive sort of way. DS was back to his normal, goofy, happy self within an hour. DD didn’t really get it but she was completely unphased, perhaps because we were.

    We all visited DH’s new place, which is very nice and has a pool (it’s a townhome), went to a movie, and tried the new pizza place in town. This morning DS asked me, “When do we get to go to IKEA to pick out my new bedroom furniture for Daddy’s house??!!” I think we’re all going to be just fine.

    Even though breaking the news went better than I could have imagined, I still felt god-awful terrible. Like, heart palpitations, nausea, and tears that kept coming every time I was out of sight of DS. And the negative voices in my brain (you know the ones) were like, SCREAMING. I couldn’t get off the anxiety loop. I kept thinking of the shit trainwreck that was the day my parents told me they were getting divorced–I was 7. We went out to dinner and Red Lobster, my dad told us in the car on the way home, and didn’t even get out of the car when he dropped us off–just left me and my mom sobbing in the living room. WTF, asshole.

    I lay down on my bed and thought and thought: why do I feel like this? Why, when DS is in his bedroom, laughing and clearly just fine, do I still feel awful? I realized, duh, it was PTSD. I was having flashbacks. Once I realized, hey, this bad feeling is coming from the past and has nothing to do with what is happening now, it was like a fog lifted. The present is OK and the past is behind us. My kid will have this memory of the day he heard his parents were getting divorced: hugs, reassurance, and a nice day with his parents. His experience isn’t mine, because I looked at what my parents did and did the opposite.

    And the brunch with all my husband’s family went sooooo great, they are sooo nice to me. I am not losing my MN family…

    And after all this, I only lost my shit on one person. True, it was my son’s principal, but I’ll apologize when I see her Thursday, and better her than anyone else in this scenario, I suppose. When they say “Be gentle with yourself,” I still have to work out exactly what that means but I think it means not to self-castigate re: PTO too much.

    Also, I am being converted from FT contractor to FT employee with a brand new title and superfun duties involving lots of power points and spreadsheets. I have company health care, 3 weeks “vacation” (hah), and other paid time off. Also, I get to work from home 3 days a week now. It’s a slight pay cut from being a contractor but that’s the economy. Feel lucky I was basically able to drop out of the work force for three years and rejoin when i felt like it at a cool new job with lots of flexibility.

    Now time to go back to spreadsheets and take deep breaths.

    • Wow–that’s so much to deal with all at once. It seems like you and DH are handling this so well to make it as easy on the kids as possible. I actually have one couple of friends from church (they are actually Clara’s godparents) who are at the same point, just a few months in. They are impressing me SO much with how they are handling it, and how well they co-parent their 4 year old. I know that circumstances are different sometimes, and some people just don’t have the skills, maturity, whatever, but your example and my other friends’ makes me wonder why so many divorces and parenting arrangements are so darn messy and harder on kids than they need to be. Good for you for doing this in a way that puts the kids needs and feelings as a top priority. I know it’ll have its hard moments, but what care you are showing. Yay you.

    • What a lot to be dealing with! I’m glad it went well with the kids. Your having been so thoughtful about it has got to have been a really important part of why it went so well. Hugs and hope for a more relaxing next couple of weeks!

    • Wow – what a week! I agree with others that you (and stbxDH) have handled this separation amazingly well!

      I’m also glad to hear that work things are going well – congrats on negotiating a new job and feeling challenged in it!

      Be good to yourself means every once in a while (at least a few times a week) do something that makes YOU feel better….and don’t feel guilty about it!

    • You did well MM. Congrats on how you handled teling your kids, and congrats on the new job. Sounds like things are looking up for you and I’m so happy for you about that.

    • Hugs. I’m glad the kids are ok. You are doing a fantastic job with all of this. You are wonderful parents. Hard as I’ve tried, I can’t find any bubble wrap to keep my kids from the hurts in life…but you are making this time as safe and normal and loving for them as is humanly possible. I hope this is a new chapter for you now that you don’t have this stress looming.

    • You should be very proud of yourself. This is so hard and you are really being wonderful about it. Divorce does not have to be terrible and messy and angry – you can have those feelings, of course but there’s no need to take it all out on the kids. You are doing it right.

    • I’m holding you in the light. What a tough weekend. You and your stbxDH did great. I’m sorry, but I’m also glad for you – this sounds like a right move for you.

    • Good for you. I always admire people who can handle this with grace and keep their children’s world safe and secure no matter what they are going through themselves.

  3. We’re right back in, “do we need to pull Clara out of daycare” mode. Beyond the bedbug incident with her classmate on Friday, Clara came down with a nasty cold this weekend. This is a weird one which is making her eyes all red and puffy and teary and her nose run like a faucet and she’s very very low energy. No fever to speak of. She woke up pretty happy after a good night and we sent her to school, but they called a couple of hours later to say that she was lethargic and lying on the ground in the middle of the floor. She didn’t have fever then, either but…now she does. So, though her 9 day old ear tubes look okay, she now has a virus and probably a sinus infection and we’re right back on antibiotics for that. So much for cutting down on the antibiotics with ear tubes.

    Poor baby. I am feeling a lot of guilt about continuing to send her back into the germ factory day after day after day. And it’s only November. We can’t afford a full time nanny, so our only solution would be to get one maybe 3 days and then for me to stay home a couple of days a week (thus screwing me out of all of my writing time). Not ideal, but maybe I could do that for spring semester until next fall when she’s 22 months and maybe less likely to put every little thing into her mouth? IDK. It’s just so so stressful and hard on us to have her sick all the time, let alone how it feels from her perspective. Realistically, this semester I’ve hardly done any writing on my writing days, because I’ve had to provide so much sick kid care on those days. And I’m woefully behind on grading, because that keeps getting pushed off. Like today, for example, when I have a presentation to give at a conference on Thursday afternoon on a paper I haven’t even looked at since I submitted it in March. Basically, I’ll throw the presentation together on the airplane. And I’ll stay up most of the night grading a big assignment to hand back before I leave, since my plan to work on that all day got jettisoned. I know I’m lucky to have a job where I even have this sort of flexibility and I can consider trying to work from home a couple of days. Realistically, I’ll be able to get about 2 hours of work on those days because that is all she naps.

    Do we hang in there or do we start looking for a nanny? Clara’s been sick pretty much constantly for 4 months, with just a clear day here and there. She’s been through hell and we have, too. When is enough, enough?

    • Poor kid and poor you!

      If you can swing it I think it would be worth looking for someone to tide you through the winter/spring at least. It is so much easier when they aren’t sick all the time. I have been there, that first winter with my DS1 was just awful.

    • Well, I guess i am of the opinion that no matter when they go into a group care/school situation the 1st winter is awful. But how about a nanny share situation? Maybe get the days of care you need but fewer kids/fewer germs.

      • Someone suggested that before (maybe you?), but I don’t know anyone else who needs to nanny share. Our friends are either staying at home with kids (and don’t want to take on Clara, also) or else doing full time center care.

        I know we have to go through the building the immunity thing. It’s just so awful to live through right now–we’re 4 months into constant sickness and winter is just starting.

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