Saturday, May 29, 2010

Summer checklist

I wanted to make a list of things to do this summer. I know, that sounds really boring...

Deliver seven crowns and a pair of dentures
Do two root canals
Finish all my surgery requirements

I have a ton of school stuff I want to accomplish this summer, before the clinics fill up with the incoming class and things get crazy with boards and the countdown to graduation. But that's not what I wanted to make a list for.

I want a list of fun things. I want to have an amazing summer, like we did last year. I know that it's going to be tough, because I'm going to be caring for Caroline alone and doing the dental school thing. (I am doing that right now, in fact, since Tyler has been away for over two weeks already and won't be back for almost another week... I'm pretty tired, but hanging in there.) So I want to make sure I keep in mind all of the fun things I want to happen so that they don't get lost in the shuffle.

I tend to forget sometimes, in the midst of the craziness and stress of school, that I shouldn't just be surviving these years. I, we, should be enjoying them. I still need to be the mom I want to be, because neither of us are going to get this time back again. Caroline reminded me of that today. We had been up most of the night because she's been working on three new teeth. I'd had a long day and was lying on the floor of the nursery, watching her play after dinner. She figured out how to climb up on her little armchair and then climb off again. She was so excited. She must have done it about 20 times in a row, laughing hysterically, and crawling to me and smushing her face into my face and then crawling back to the chair to climb up again. I thought, wow, when was the last time I was that excited about anything? I have no idea. But I want to be excited about little things like that.

This may not be making much sense because I am actually so tired that I feel like I'm high. But I want to see things through Caroline's eyes and be excited about this summer, rather than just getting through it. Here are a bunch of things that I want to do:

Go to the farmer's market instead of the supermarket for groceries
Finger-paint with Caroline, and make a giant mess
Nap by the pool under an umbrella
Bring Caroline to the aquarium where Tyler and I had our wedding reception
Picnic by a waterfall with another mama/baby friend
Go strawberry picking
Have a girls' night out, and wear something fabulous
Take Caroline to the beach for the first time
Splurge on a spa treatment
Take an afternoon off from school and spend it just hanging out with Caroline
Go to a fair
Take a trip to the zoo

That's all I can think of at the moment. It's going to be a great summer!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Material girl

Parenting a toddler is a lot different than parenting a baby. I guess I knew that it would be. Overall, I like having a toddler a lot better than a newborn. She understands things, communicates, can do more fun stuff, and in general is just easier for me to figure out. But I admit that sometimes I look back and think, damn, it was kind of simpler when I didn't really have to know how to "parent" and all I had to do was keep her alive.

The thing about these little people is that you might say or do something and not think it's a big deal, but then later it comes back to haunt you and you suspect that you probably should have handled it differently, and by that time it is too late because you are really embarrassed in the middle of the grocery store checkout line and there is no going back.

In case you were wondering whether or not it really matters what you do and say in front of a toddler, let me go ahead and clear this up for you right now. They are watching you. They are watching you, and they are waiting for just the right moment to proudly show off to the world what they have learned, in a way that you never intended.

Let me back up for a second.

I have this pink Coach wristlet-wallet-thing. Caroline loves it, probably because it is shiny. She loves all things shiny, in fact. She is definitely a girly girl. Every time she sees the wallet, she grabs for it, and I say "oh, Caroline, is that your Coach?"

So, the two of us are in the checkout line at Stop and Shop. We are alone because Tyler is in South Africa for three weeks, by the way, which sucks big time. I'm trying to put our groceries on the conveyor belt while also trying to keep Caroline from climbing out of the cart and/or stealing seven copies of People magazine. I hand her my wallet to keep her calm, because that never fails, right? She shows it to the lady behind us and declares, "Coach."

The lady (who seems to have a stick up her butt anyway) looks at me disdainfully and says "you taught your baby to say Coach??"

Me: "What? No."

Caroline: "Coach! Coach! Coach! Coach!"


Then she manages to unzip the wallet and pulls out my credit card. She waves it around, yelling "I got! I got!" and then she starts slamming it against the credit card machine like she is trying to swipe it. How in the heck do they learn these things?? I take the card from her and she melts down, of course, so I pull her out of the cart and put her on my hip while I attempt to continue to purchase my groceries like a normal person. She twists around and grabs for the magazines again, and the magazine stand teeters and comes crashing down, narrowly missing the uptight lady, and hits the candy/gum stand so that that also crashes to the floor, like dominoes. It was like they were toppling over in slow motion and I was diving for it (with Caroline still on my hip) yelling in a deep, slowed-down voice, "NOOoooo..."

So. I am mortified. Caroline squeals in delight. The lady behind me heaves a big sigh and looks at us like we are something disgusting she just scraped off the bottom of her shoe. She starts packing her groceries back into the cart so she can head to a different, less disastrous, checkout line. I wildly start scooping up candy and gum while apologizing profusely to the cashier, and she rolls her eyes and says "we'll get it. Just go."

I decide that this is the best course of action (before my child somehow manages to burn down the store, killing everyone inside) and go to stick Caroline back in the front of the cart so I can actually push the thing. She stiffens her legs and locks her knees, which she has NEVER done in the entire history of her life, which is the entire reason we are starting physical therapy, and refuses to get back in the cart. So I am awkwardly taking forever to stuff my kid in the cart while my ice cream is melting and the maintenance people are coming to clean up the huge mess and I am still apologizing.

I did get out of there eventually, in case you were wondering. Thank you for asking. I may or may not still be beet-red from mortification, though. And I am pretty sure we might have to switch grocery stores.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

May 16, 2010

I had looked forward to this day for years. But I didn't end up doing what I thought I was going to do.

I didn't put on a cap and gown and a lilac hood. I didn't cross the stage holding a diploma. I didn't shake anyone's hand, and no one called me "doctor". I didn't smile for any pictures with my classmates.

But you know what I did do?

I woke up and brought Caroline into bed and listened to her sing-song "ma-ma! ba-by! da-da!" while she played with my hair. I tickled her tummy and laughed when she laughed. I took her grocery shopping and read her books. We passed toys back and forth and learned to say "tank-yoo". I kissed her forehead and rocked her in the glider while she laid her head on my chest.

All in all... it wasn't graduation day, but it was still an awesome day. And I'll still get that diploma in exactly one year.

And in the meantime? I've got my baby. :)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Well, frick.

Caroline's early intervention appointment was on Friday. We had different people than last time. Nicer people. They always send a physical therapist and a speech therapist. The physical therapist was this girl who couldn't have been older than 23 or so, and she was super nice and cute and Caroline seemed to like her a lot. So I hope we get her from now on. Because Caroline qualifies for physical therapy, which means she is under the 3rd percentile, a.k.a. "severely delayed".


(I used to use the actual f-word all over the place here and everywhere, but I am trying to watch my potty mouth since I am now a mom of a toddler and all, even if she doesn't actually "toddle". A toddler who gleefully repeats any kind of dirty word as if she senses that she is not supposed to be saying it and neither am I.)

Anyway, she qualifies. Technically that is good news. There is no denying that we need some help, because there is no way she will be walking by 18 months without it. It's also good news that gross motor is the only area of concern. Once you get into two or more areas, you start having to worry that there are bigger developmental problems lurking around.

I try not to read about what she should be doing because it makes me get all uptight and worried and batshitcrazy (oops, sorry, I had to), so I am not sure exactly what level she is really functioning at. But I will just say that she can pull up to her knees but not her feet, is not at all interested in standing with help (her knees buckle), and it's only been within the past two weeks that we would go into her room to find her sitting in her crib, or in any position other than lying flat on her back.

It sucked to hear that she is so delayed. I try not to feel like it means that I've done something wrong, or not done enough for her somehow, but I can't help but let those thoughts sneak in. I'm also a little irritated with her pediatricians, because every time I ask about it at visits, they push on her legs and bend her knees and stuff and say that her muscle tone is fine. But the physical therapist said she is low tone, and I know another physical therapist who agrees, and she certainly doesn't bear weight on her legs very well, so you tell me.

I'm all about the run on sentences, tonight. It keeps me from swearing like a trucker. Sorry if this is unreadable. I'm still a little upset.

I just have to keep repeating to myself, this is good, she needs the help, and we are getting it. That's what really matters. She's going to be fine. It's just the one area. We are doing everything right.

So we'll be seeing a physical therapist once a week for 45 minutes. It sounds like a good program. Connecticut's program charges fees on a sliding scale, which means we won't go broke, and they will even come to daycare to work with her, which means I won't get kicked out of school for missing a day every week.

This is good, she needs the help, this is going to be fine.

Oh... and I can't close the post without saying happy Mother's day to all you mamas out there!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Just GRADUATE already!

You guys, I saw the craziest patient that has ever existed this morning in the screening clinic. I desperately wish I could tell you the story. Sigh. I hate you, HIPAA. You ruin all my fun.

In other news, my former classmates are in their last week of school right now. I am so jealous that it's kind of obscene. I know, I know, I had that wonderful year off and I have my beautiful baby. But listening to them talk about senior week events and graduation and where they're going next year and how they're done with all the bullshit of dental school is pretty much killing me. I was supposed to be graduating now, too. I'm supposed to be Dr. L in a few weeks. But I'm still just Julia, with a crapton of work ahead of me for the next year, and it'll be without all my friends around to commiserate with.

It'll be fine, I know. But even though I'm going to miss them all, I'm at the point where I'm ready for them to just graduate already. I don't want to be reminded of where I "should" be or wonder what life would be like if I had somehow managed to stay in my old class. I just want them all to get outta there so I can keep plugging along and not wish I were them.

Okay, I needed to get that out of my system. Thanks.

Caroline is doing pretty well these days. Well, to be honest, she's kind of in one of those phases where you repeatedly tell yourself "this too shall pass". This is the golden rule with babies/kids, I am finding. Just when you think you can't take another minute of the whining and crying and temper-tantrum-throwing and clinging, the tooth pops through or the chest cough heals and you have your sweet baby back. I know this will be just like the rest of those times and it will end, but for now I am tired.

The gross motor stuff is the same as ever, so we are having birth to three come to our place this Friday to do another evaluation. Part of me hopes that she will qualify for PT just so we can get some help (I really can't see her walking by 18 months), but another part of me hopes they smile and tell me she's perfect and everything is fine. Not pulling up by 15 months isn't a great sign, but a mama can dream, right?

Hmm, this post is kind of a downer on all counts. Oh well. Can't win them all. Here's hoping for a more positive one after Caroline's EI evaluation on Friday!