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By Robin Dearing
Friday, August 24, 2007
I had a rookie mom question last week about parking at my daughter's elementary school at the frenzied hour of 3 o'clock, so I called my neighbor, whose daughter is a first grader.
I didn't call the school office because Lord knows with 700 students they have enough nervous, first-time mamas to deal with.
My neighbor was my BTDT (Been There, Done That) Mama for the day.
I learned early on that the BTDT Mamas were my best source for helpful advice. Despite the small library of pregnancy and parenting reference books I collected when I was pregnant with Miss C, and that collected dust when I was pregnant with my second daughter, the best information I got was from the BTDT Mamas. They could tell me in 10.2 seconds what I needed to know, while the equivalent knowledge gleaned from a book would have taken me 10.2 minutes. We all know real mamas don't have that kind of time!
They didn't bother to impress me with fancy medical terms or parenting lingo. They didn't sugar coat things. And I was all the more grateful for their advice.
Perhaps, like me, your BTDT team includes your mother, your mother-in-law, your best friend and your sister-in-law. I'm thankful for their advice and insight. Because despite the litany of parenting Web sites and message boards available today, nothing can replace the advice of a mom who's BTDT.
Do you have a BTDT Mama (or mamas) that you turn to for advice?
Read more from Blonde Mom Jamie here, here and here!
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Apparently everyone loves a good birth story ... I wouldn't have ever guessed this but I watched some cable while lazing around the hospital and they have hours and hours of birth stories on Discovery Health. It's weird to be lying in bed holding a new baby and watching other people give birth on TV. Sorry folks, there'll be no video here but I'll share a condensed version of my most recent delivery events for your voyeuristic pleasure.
I don't know when labor started because it felt like it started days and days before. I was hot and grumpy with intermittent pains. I had a fitfully sleepless night because every so often I'd wake up with stabbing stomach pain. I kept telling myself that if I was indeed going into labor that I had better just try to get some sleep.
In the morning I wasn't really sure if I was in labor or not so I took a few Tylenol and went to work because I'm a dedicated employee. I had time to introduce myself to the new gal then started watching the clock as each pain gripped my abdomen. My head really wasn't into it that day what with someone stabbing my innards so I went home after just a couple of hours. And, I totally felt guilty for leaving the new girl to swim on her own and knowing that my leaving just ruined my cubbymate's whole week!!! I'm so so sorry Tammy.
At home I tried to rest. I ate something. I paced the house. I told all callers that I would be unavailable as I was in labor. The contractions came at strange intervals, 45 minutes apart, 20 minutes, 3 minutes, then back to 30 minutes. My water never broke and progress was pretty slow.
I realized we needed some oatmeal and some yogurt so I forced the family to go to Vitamin Cottage with me. I figured it was a safe place to pass some time as nobody will talk to or offer to help us there anyway. We shopped, stopping occasionally to feign interest in the potato chips while we waited for a pain to pass. We bumped into some friends and compared shopping notes while I tried to grin and bear labor politely.
I was determined to stay home as long as possible. By 5 p.m. the pains brought tears to my eyes. I had a smoothie while sitting in the bathtub. I can't remember if my family ate dinner because I was busy being crippled over whatever chair or table that was available. Still the pains were unpredictable.
By 9 p.m. they were 5 minutes apart but hurt like hell. I could no longer stay home, or walk, or do anything but cry on my hubby's shoulder. I was less than stoic.
A nurse sauntered into the deliver room to check my progress. She looked at me surprised and announced, "You are at a 7 or 8 ... we have to get ready for this baby now." And a crowd of nurses came into the room pushing various stainless steel trays of sharp things.
"Can I have an epidural NOW?" I breathed out.
"We'll try," she said.
Oh MY GOD ... she did not just say the word "try." I thought to myself as total panic set in.
"Tell him (the anesthesiologist) to run," I said in all seriousness although everyone in the room except me laughed.
It's already taken me three days to write this entry and Jonas just let out a little warning squeak. So to make a long story short, I did get an epidural and within minutes of doing so he was born. I'm sparing the weak of the really gruesome details. You can watch TV for that. There was some scary stuff with the cord, Jonas needing oxygen and an Apgar of only 5 or 6.
But, after only an hour of arriving at the hospital, I was holding my beautiful healthy and really alert baby boy and enjoying some honey nut Cheerios. It just doesn't get any better than that unless you're Robin and you can push sans drugs. All in all I think I weathered it like a champ and I'm pretty proud of the trophy I got at the end.
A note from Robin:
We here at The Daily Sentinel were treated to some very special visitors yesterday. Richie brought in baby Jonas for everyone to ooh and ahh over. He's the sweetest little nut — really strong and calm and as cute as can be. Lynn got to enjoy him the most as he seemed to be really comfortable with her.
So thanks to the Ashcraft family for giving us yet another adorable little boy to dote on!
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
I wrote once before about how occasionally, just before I am fully awake in the morning, thoughts will drift through my semi-conscious mind. They are like
waking-dreams and I’ve learned that there are important messages in them. Yesterday morning I awoke to my internal voice talking to me about my perspective on my life.
So it’s the first day of school. How do you feel about that?
Hmmm, mixed feelings, but glad it’s a new beginning. A rough summer really left me doubting my abilities as a parent. Am I doing enough? Too much? Am I brave enough to get us through it?
You’re doing the best you know how. It’s not all up to you anyway. There is another party involved who is responsible for himself you know.
Yeah, good point. And really, things in my life are pretty darn good.
I have a smart, handsome son, a man who adores me, friends and family who support me, my health, a great new house, and a job to pay for it all.
Yeah, so what are you b i t c hing about?
I’m not really. Not right now anyway.
I think maybe you need more peace of mind, and heart. And you know how to get it.
And . . . ?
Alright, alright. I got it. Can I get up now?
Yes, but remember what we said.
Geez, and Alex thinks I nag him
By Robin Dearing
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
As I raced out of work early yesterday, I heard the sound that all Daily Sentinel employees dread, the train whistle.
I was on my way to pick up Margaret from her first day of school and a train was coming. Since construction for the Riverside Parkway closed off our escape route over to the Fifth Street Bridge, we're virtually trapped here when a train comes.
I began to panic. If it was a full coal train, I could have to wait up to 20 minutes. Mar's first day ended in 10. I sat with my finger hovering over the speed-dial number of her school. I'd tell the secretary and she'd keep Mar until I got there (I love the secretary at Mar's school, she's so wonderfully practical and helpful).
Fortunately, it was a short train and I had enough time to park my car at home and walk to the school. After the bell I walked into Mar's classroom and she ran over talking a mile a minute about all things school.
She was totally excited about her class and seeing her friends again and her new teacher.
I was so relieved that I wanted to cry (again).
She happily did her chores and then settled to watch a TV show while she ate a snack.
I peeked in on her while she relaxed in her pink, feather-lined Barbie chair. I exhaled ...finally and thought to myself, "It's all going to be OK."
By Robin Dearing
Monday, August 20, 2007
As we walked down our street this morning, our neighbor called out, "First day of school?"
"Yep," Margaret called out.
"Awesome," he replied.
She was all ready for her first day of second grade. She had her backpack filled with school supplies and her new school clothes.
As we walked into the building Margaret was cheerfully greeted by the teachers and the staff. She waved and said hello easily. She didn't appear to be very nervous.
Bill and I walked Margart to her classroom and got her desk set up. Then it was time to leave.
As we walked home, I got a knot in my stomach. I feel completely discombobulated and out of sorts.
Are we doing the right thing sending her back to this school?
This year she's in a combined second and third grade class. There are seven second graders and 11 third graders. 18 students. That's a small class size for a district that is increasing exponentially. Where else can she be in a class that small?
She's comfortable there. She's learned so much so far. She's happy there. She loves her school.
Why would we ever consider sending her anywhere else?
Friday, August 17, 2007
It was a moment all mothers dread. My palms were sweaty and my heart was pounding. I silently prayed, “Dear God, this is in your hands. Please protect me and my only begotten son. Watch over us and keep us all safe.”
Alex and I sat in the waiting area and didn’t say much. He was a little nervous about the outcome of the test he was about to take. I was more than a little nervous, but tried my best to put on a happy face. Finally, they called his number and he stepped up talk to the lady behind the desk.
“OK”, she said. “Are you ready?”
“Yep, as ready as I’ll ever be,” Alex replied.
After the obligatory paperwork and passing of id, he picked up a pencil and walked over to the test area.
In approximately five minutes and 25 questions, he could walk away with his learner’s permit.
As he pondered the questions, I paced the waiting area. Half of me was rooting him on and the other half was thinking he is really not ready for this. Correction, I am really not ready for this.
He finished the test and took it back to be graded. You’re allowed to miss 5 and he missed 6. I had to bite my tongue to keep from cheering. I mean really! What kind of mother hopes her son will fail?
However, the good state of Colorado allows you to take the test again right on the spot, which of course Alex did.
Which of course he passed with 100%.
He whooped and carried on like, well, like some teenager who had just been handed the keys to the golden gates of freedom. He had to pry them out of my tightly clenched fist first.
I actually let him drive home. My car. For which I paid a lot of money. And I have to hand it to him, he did a good job! Little heavy on the gas and light on the brakes, but we’re working on that.
And I’m still praying the same prayer.
You should too.
By Robin Dearing
Thursday, August 16, 2007
Earlier this week I wrote an entry for my personal blog
about how Margaret has decided to go into the field of crime fighting.
Yes, siree, she wants to be a crime fighter and fight crime with a costume and tool belt full of unspecified tools and accessories.
After much deliberation, she decided she wanted to be called UnderMargaret ... which I think is pretty funny, but she takes this all very seriously.
Upon reading the earlier entry, a friend and former co-worker e-mailed and said she was reminded of the book written by Louise Fitzhugh, Harriet the Spy.
I, too, read this book as a little girl and loved it.
I remember spending one summer vacation with a pad of paper and a pencil mapping out my neighborhood and planning excursions to spy (fortunately for all involved, I was better at the planning than the execution).
Because Bill was out of town, I decided that after work I'd take Margaret to the book store to get Mar her own copy of Harriet the Spy. Then we'd read the book together each night. I couldn't wait to pick her up that day.
When she got in the car, I told her about the e-mail from our friend, about the book I loved so much and how I wanted to share it with her.
"Uh, I already have a lot of books. Maybe we should wait until I've read more of the books I already have," she suggested in a tone that seemed to be just a touch reproachful — as if my idea was too whimsical.
At first, I was a bit frustrated and disappointed, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that she just wasn't into the idea. And then I realized that trying to force her into having an experience just because I wanted it, was silly.
She was tired and wanted to go home. I was too. And we spend our evening happily ever after.
Funny how things work out sometimes.
By Robin Dearing
Wednesday, August 15, 2007
My oldest daughter started kindergarten on Monday. She marched through the school doors, weighed down by her pink backpack, ready to take on the world.
In many ways, parents of kindergarteners have as much, if not more, to learn than their children. I've witnessed an array of parent types this week:
Their goodbyes run into overtime and they are often asked to leave the building, just as they are plotting ways to spy on their child through the classroom window.
Project Management Parent:
Equipped with enough nervous energy to map out every detail of their child’s back to school experience, they plan out their child’s lunches and wardrobe on Excel spreadsheets.
Environmentally Conscious Parent:
While you worry about petty things like the shortage of khaki jumpers in your daughter’s size, they ponder such lofty things as whether or not the school cafeteria should enter into a co-op program with local farmers.
Family Historian Parent:
This mom or dad snaps photo after digital photo of their child, typically holding a handmade sign for posterity, and shoots enough video for a documentary.
Is She a Porn Star or Isn’t She Mama:
This suburban housewife’s high heels, short skirts, and Bratz makeup make you question whether or not she does a little work on the side.
Rah Rah Rah PTO Parent:
Future volunteer parent of the year material, with enough enthusiasm to fundraise like a Trump.
Somebody Needs a Time Out Parent:
Lacking in anger management, this mom or dad is always irate at the school administration over something.
All kidding aside, most parents have the same well intended concern over the well-being of their child. It’s our job to guide them and reassure them, even if we leave our video camera at home or don’t sell enough band booster tickets to meet quota.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
My back aches.
My knee hurts. Make that both knees.
The muscles I thought I no longer had in my shoulders are sore.
I have this funny twitch in my side under my rib cage.
You could play connect-the-dots with the bruises on my legs.
I am foggy-brained from sleeping only about three hours a night. (I know that's more than Richie is getting!)
All because I moved three blocks up the hill, and I have spent literally almost all the past four days packing, lifting, climbing, walking, shoving, pushing, dragging, all my crap up and down two flights of stairs in the car, out of the car, out of the house, into the house, blah, blah, blah.
It makes me envious of the homeless bums that usually just irritate me. They spent the weekend sleeping in the shade in the park. I’m starting to re-think my priorities.
OK, I’m done complaining. For now.
We’re moved in and now it’s mostly just the devastation in the garage that needs to be dealt with. But that is totally boy-work. So when my dear, sweet, honey Dan gets home form his six-day boondoggle I know he will be thrilled to take care of that for me. Right, honey? I’m sure Alex will be happy to help! (Since you were both on vacation while I was doing all the (literally) dirty work.) I did get lots of great help from lots of great people and I am really grateful for that.
Plenty of beer has already been drunk on the back deck, and I’m looking forward to lots more! And I gotta say, it’s nice to be in the office today where the only heavy lifting I have to do is picking up the phone!
By Richie Ann Ashcraft
Monday, August 13, 2007
Richie wrote this post the week before Jonas was born. It was supposed to be posted last week but we had a technical glitch.
I decided to post it even though she's now at the post-pregnancy state — mostly because I love the picture that Chris Tomlinson took of Richie just days before she gave birth.
Although she was tired and had a lot on her plate, Richie breezed through her pregnancy with a grace that I envy. I never heard her complain much about her aches, pains or fatigue despite working full-time and having a very active toddler at home.
What I love about this entry is her honesty and her sense of humor. And when I look at that picture of her, she looks so happy and beautiful. Even though she claims to be "generally just done" with being pregnant, you can tell that she thrives on the joys of motherhood.
It's been nine really long months. It's such a long time to wait for a little one. This time it has been a tediously long time. I'm hot, achy, tired and generally just done!
I'm down to my last few outfits that still fit. I'm breaking dress code and wearing flip-flops because none of my shoes fit. I don't really care that I've worn this pink dress twice this week or that my other outfit has been seen weekly for nine months.
Last week's Charm
page gave helpful hints to pregnant mommies about how to dress for nine months of fashion
. Most of it was pretty good advise except for the part about buying a "showstopping accessory." That part made me laugh ... it was like suggesting you just give up and try to distract people from your giant belly with a lovely bracelet. Yeah, that's not gonna work! My suggestion is buy everything WAY bigger than you think you'll ever be ... because trust me you're going to be THAT big.
But, the part that really cracked me up and made me simultaneous roll my eyes and sigh was this picture:
What is she ... two days late? As I said before
maternity clothes have come a long way but obviously our pregnant models have not. No wonder women have such distorted body images. Nobody shows it like it is and then women are horrified when they reach the ninth month. I'm pro "Pregnant is Beautiful"
but it's about time the advertisers start showing it like it is.
And this friends, THIS is how it is: