Side-car Sally.

I have been co-sleeping since the wee one sprung forth from me.  Even when the nurses bitched about it, I co-slept (and then lied).  In retrospect, I think they KNEW I was lying.

It started with being moved from the delivery room to my shared-recovery room.  I had a foot or two on either side of my bed before the curtain and the other inhabitant’s bed space.  A complete stranger lay with-in arms reach of me.  The nurses waddled me in there and said- Put the baby back in his bucket before you go to sleep.

For me, this is un-natural.  For one, this was the first time I’ve not had another adult with me to hand me the baby.  Your body gets sore after the effects of the epidural (yes, I’m one of those moms) and adrenaline wear off.  The idea of shuffling around to get the baby, yeah, not fun. For another, I carried this baby in my stomach for nine months.  He was breach up until the last week or so.  He slept wrapped in the warmth of my body, listening to the sound of my heart.

For me, it seemed cruel to take him from his warm and safe environment and banish him to four cold, plastic walls.  So, I held him in my arms to sleep.  And when the nurses came in, I used my quick-wake voice to make it seem like I wasn’t sleeping.  I do think, though, that at some point they came in and saw us sleeping together him curled up in my arms, because those very few plastic formula bottles used in those early moments of life disappeared (I’m assuming that they came and threw them away since they’re only good for an hour after opening, and the baby would only take half an ounce at a time).

I only tolerated the hospital no-co-sleep law for 24 hours (we were released within 24 hours of the wee one’s birth).

At home, it was a given.  The baby slept in my arms.  Not to be thought of as rocking, cradling hold, but pressed against my body with my arm encircling him.  Everyone says that it looks uncomfortable, but really, it’s wonderful.  I am CERTAIN I wouldn’t have gotten as much sleep or have been as successful at breast feeding if he had been in a crib or playpen.

The baby is on the eve of ten months old already.  I stare at him, shaking his fist in the air and kicking his legs around cheering ‘YAY’ (his fourth word) thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s gotten so big.  When did that happen?’

And still, we co-sleep.  All of the other kids have been out of my bed (and my arms) by 6 weeks old.  The me of now wants to run to the me of then and shake her.  I missed out on so much.  Sure, sometimes the baby gets grabby-pinchy and I have a few pinch-shaped bruises on my arm and stomach, but for the most part it’s such a wonderful experience.  Any of his needs that arise in the middle of the night, I can address them without either of us having to fully wake up.

He used to solidly nurse from the time we went to sleep until we woke up.  Now, he gets a little thirsty around 3AM and is fine with being popped off when he stops drinking.

He’s getting bigger, though, and up until recently, I would flip him over me when I’d roll over.  I doubt that his dad would ever roll over on him, but to be certain, I’d have him tucked between my arm and body.  I’m just not one who can just sleep on one side and stay there.  I move around a lot.  Before, I’d worry about rolling towards the inside of the bed and he’d fall off the bed.

I’ll admit, I’m not perfect.  He’s fallen off before (usually under his own power trying to follow me out of bed).  Luckily, I usually am a bit of a slob and there was a pile of laundry on the floor by my side of the bed.  Soft landing.  We used to have the crib with the short side pressed up against my side of the bed.  I learned quickly to stuff the gap full of pillows when he got stuck (he’s kind of wide) and I worried he’d kill himself.

To which we come full circle to Side-car Sally.  In effort to give us more room in bed, we took the crib side off and secured it to our bed.  Our bed is perfect height with the highest setting on the crib, and some adjustments, we have a side-car.

This is what worked for us.

We took the broad side of our drop-rail crib off (yes, I’m well aware of the dangers of a drop-side crib).  We bungee-corded the side closes to the head of the bed, making the crib fit securely against our bed.  On the foot of the crib, we used one of my husband’s spare military belts.  These things are strong and tight-holding.  They’re meant to be make-shift tourniquets.  This crib isn’t going anywhere.

We moved the crib mattress up against my mattress to have a seamless transition.  There is a gap between the mattress and the crib (which is dangerous).  Personally, if I was at home, I’d go to a store and buy a foam insert to make it into an almost ‘couch-like’ arrangement.  Since we’re limited, I decided to make due.  I took the crib bumpers and folded them up into the space and kept shoving until they were tight, then put a blanket around it.

This is not safe, I will point this out, especially for high-risk for SIDS babies.  If not done right, it could cause entrapment, or suffocation, but I feel confident in what I’ve done.  It’s packed tight…

Everyone must decide for themselves what they’d do to fill the gap.  This is what worked for us.

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Played, but no pay.

Where I live, the military is life.  You get used to seeing soldiers dressed in their ACU’s, wielding AK-47, M-9, and other guns.  You get checked at the gate coming in, possible have your car searched if you time it wrong.  You have ID cards and must have a ration control plate to even get into the stores, never mind buy anything.  We have Constantine Wire (like razor wire) atop the perimeter walls.

It truly feels like prison.

Cameras are on you everywhere you go.

Where I live, if the government shuts down, that means no American groceries, or services, and we are at the mercy of our host country.

So, the government shut down sounds like it’d be awful (and let’s be honest, who really wants to work but not get paid right away?).

But the thing that gets my goat is all these families here flipping out because if they don’t get paid, then oh my GAWD! How will they ever survive.

We have savings, and while I’d be pissed if we had to dip into it, it’s life.  Everyone should have savings.  And before anyone starts in on the- But we’re low ranking… we have kids, I say STOP right there.  WE are low ranking (we’re down near the bottom of the pole, kiddies) and as for having kids… I have LOTS of kids (less than ten, more than four).  And we still manage to have savings.

Granted, we don’t have credit card debt, but that’s because we don’t have any credit cards (not even an emergency credit card, that’s what our savings is for, in case of an emergency).

Even some of my closest friends are freaking out… two income families are freaking out… everyone’s freaking out.  Fact of the matter is, you should have savings just in case, and the only person you have to blame for not is yourself.  Living above your means.  I hate it for my friends, but the thing is… you were the one who HAD TO HAVE the nice shiny new car… vacation in Hawaii… you are the ones who married me with tons of children from a previous relationships…

You were the ones that decided to do this and that… and go shopping.

The only person I feel bad about this whole situation is the children, because they all seem to suffer the brunt of it all…

Granted, as idiotic as my kids are being right now, they might deserve a little brunt.


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Normally, I don’t think much about my children’s health to the degree that I have been forced to over the last few months.  Between my seven month old being in the ICU of a grown up hospital not really meant to treat anyone but wounded soldiers, to my five year old being shuffled out to a hospital where no one seems to speak or understand my language, I’ve been forced to think about it.

Yesterday, my five year old went in for a sedated brain MRI because they believe she has a brain tumor on her cerebellum.  It was hard to see her so scared and upset.

But while we were there, there was a woman with a baby probably just a few weeks old if even.  The baby never cried.  She laid in her mothers eyes, screwed up her face, opened her mouth to cry and nothing.  No cry.  Instead, there was a horrible sucking and gurgling sound coming from a wide tube shoved in the baby’s throat.  Not DOWN the throat, but IN the throat.  Barely even born, and the baby had a tube as wide as a my thumb through her throat.  They kept suctioning her through the tube in her neck, holding oxygen to the tube, and when they were done, they plugged it with a cap.

And I felt for the mother who was so great, holding it together because I wanted to cry when I saw that.

So, I count my blessings.

Every cough and cry that my babies, every one of them, at least I can hear them.  As sick as my babies have been, I think that there are others out there with children who are sicker.


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Crunchy or Smooth

I don’t really know anymore, what kind of parent I am.  Everywhere I look, I see it- Crunchy Parents.  Recycle! Cloth diaper! Breastfeed! Organics! No TV! Home school!

Don’t get me wrong.  I breastfeed.  I prefer it over formula feeding.  I don’t do it because it’s the whole ‘Breast is Best’.  I don’t do it boost my child’s IQ or anything.  I mainly do it because I’m cheap (hey-hey-hey!) and I’m lazy (really, really lazy!).  The idea of getting up in the middle of the night to fool with a bottle- No Thank You!

I use disposable diapers.  I really wanted to cloth diaper, don’t get me wrong.  I care about the environment.  10-15 diapers a day for 2-3 years is a hell of a lot of funky gel stuff, plastic, and poop just filling up the landfills (10950-16425).  That is only if you manage to only diaper for 3 years.  With my first, I never thought he’d get potty trained!

Frankly, I already have enough laundry that I’m behind on (haha, behind).  The thought of lovingly scoop the poop from my son’s diaper into the toilet.  Just no.  I know that people say that we should do that with disposables, but they can kiss my butt.  I fold that little diaper up into a ball and aim for the trash can (it’s a bummer when it bounces off the rim).

Then there’s the television debate.  No TV moms. Only educational TV moms.  Then there are moms like me that find myself laughing at SpongeBob and the kids aren’t even in the room, or waiting in the pediatrician’s waiting area saying ‘Oh, I saw this episode of Tom and Jerry this morning’.  Mind you, the only person home with me during the day is my eight month old son.  I know that the AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) say NO TV UNDER TWO (to which I say my 8 month old LOVES TV!). We don’t have cable.  It’s not for noble reasons, just because where we live, cable doesn’t exist (at least in English).  I love watching television with my kids.

I will not home school my kids.  I love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but the idea of being their SOLE source of education scares the crap out of me.  I did good in school, great even.  Even getting pregnant in my freshmen year, I got a GPA of 3.7 (out of 4.0, and no, my parents didn’t help).  I pay taxes (first when I worked full time outside of my home, and then every time I buy something at the markets and stores).  Those taxes should go towards my children’s education.  I also have to special needs children that get a ton of extra services that I doubt I could provide for them.

I don’t expect the school systems to provide 100% of their education, and I think that is where a lot of people fail.  They expect their teachers (some who are fantastic, and some who are nothing more than glorified baby sitters) to get them from five years old to eighteen learning everything that they need to go on to college or the ‘real world’, meanwhile the parents do nothing to encourage a love of learning and reading.  There are opportunities everywhere to learn.

Something as simple as a grocery trip could be a learning experience tailored to the child.  Very small children can be taught shapes and colors, memory games, and simple math, while older kids can work a budget and figure out things like conversion for the best price per ounce (I do this and it drives my husband nuts because math is NOT my strong suit, so I use my fingers to count things up).

But, I need my alone time.  Since having kids they’ve become my full time job.  Before I worked a comfy desk job with the occasional ultrasound guided needle biopsy making enough to support us while my husband got his degree.  I had adult conversations and enjoy my co-workers.  Then one day I retired to care for my kids and never looked back.  My days are spent juggling the schedule of seven plus everything else that demands precise times (for example, the management company of our high rise is sending out workers to deal with a faulty ballast in the kitchen).

The days they are in school (the older children) I get some much needed me time.  With two special needs kids, there are a lot of various therapy and doctor’s appointments I have to attend to, meetings I must schedule, attend, and work the logistics of where the other kids will be during these things.  Often times, my husband is away on business and it’s just me.  Me and my little red book.

So, no.  I do not home school.  It’s not because I don’t love them enough to be their parent and their teacher, to come up with wonderful creative things to do with them or field trips to attend.  Instead, I send them to school (and public school at that) because for all of us to exist harmoniously, I need for them to away for a little while.  We all need a break from each other.

Which brings me to my last thing.  Food.  Specifically organics.  I have a pseudofriend that only feeds her child organics.  I get it.  She’s a first time mother and we all want to do things right from the get go.  Her baby doesn’t eat puree peaches.  Her baby eats organic foods.  And that’s great.  But the way she expresses.  I would just say ‘My baby eats peaches’.  But she’s a little more, er, descriptive.  Her baby doesn’t JUST eat peaches.  Her baby eats peaches planted in virgin soil off the coast of a deserted island devoid of human contact (aside for the harvesting, which is done by blind monks and Peruvian virgin nuns all sworn to a life of silence under the light of the harvest moon).  My peaches cost $.43 a jar and hers cost $11.89 a jar (same 3.5oz size).

This is what I have learned about organics.  I went to the store a while back and purchased two packages of pureed bananas.  One was ‘regular’ standard bananas.  I paid $.93 for it and it held 7oz of banana puree.  The other was ‘super magical-power inducing awesome organic banana grown in the strictest conditions as determined by the FDA to be considered organic’.  That same sized container was $1.42.

I opened them and peered inside.  They were both mushy, tan-colored ‘soup’ that smelled like, well, bananas.  I did the responsible thing and licked the foil seal (like a pudding cup).  The organic, well, tasted just exactly like the regular bananas without superpowers.

I grabbed two identical spoons (I use a spoon I found in my host country that I totally love).  I positioned my naked (sans that disposable diaper) in his hand-me-down high chair and pulled him up to the couch (dinner is served!).  I started with the ‘superior’ bananas.  He opened his mouth and took it, swirled in in his mouth like the baby food snob that my 8 month old is.  He swallowed and paused.  I offered him a sip of his water (you know, to cleanse his palate), to which he sipped and then let dribble out of his mouth.

I went on to the regular, super-power-less (thus made with less love, I suppose) bananas.  Again, he opened his mouth, took the spoon into his mouth and swirled.  I then placed both containers before him (unmarked so that he couldn’t use his bias) and asked him which of the two were superior.

He decided he needed to do a few more tests, to which he decided to check the tactile texture of the bananas, placing his fingers in both jars, then licking his fingers.  He then scooped them up and rubbed it on his face (hey, perhaps he’s on to something, he’s 8 months old but has the skin of a 5 month old).

These are the things that I learned from his experiments:

*Bananas do not make a good skin cream.  It just doesn’t absorb into the skin quickly enough.

*Bananas, while making the hair quite delicious smelling, do nothing for the body or sheen of the hair.

*To really get a good idea of the true potent of the scent of bananas, it’s best to apply straight up the nose.

BUT… here’s the kicker.

Organic versus Regular… he couldn’t tell, and I couldn’t tell.  It all becomes poop.  Yep.  Expensive baby food just makes expensive poop.  So, no.  I don’t feel the need to feed my baby organic food.  I don’t knock those who do, but to the moms out there who do…

Really, I don’t need to know those parents.  You know the ones.  The ones that make a point to ‘prove’ how GREAT they are.  Their babies don’t just eat bananas.  They eat homeopathic organic bananas grown on an unmanned island in the south pacific that are hand picked by Peruvian nuns under the glow of the harvest moon.  And anything less is akin to feeding my baby dog pooh.

Dog pooh.


Well, my baby will continue to eat dog pooh then.

So no, I’m not a crunchy mom.  But I’m not smooth, either.  Squishy, yes, but that’s a whole different story.  I blame that on Ho-Ho’s and cake.



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From Formula to Breast

I never was one of those ‘crunchy moms’.  I doubt I’d still be considered one.  All of my babies have had (at one time or the other) formula pass their lips.

I went into parenthood with the best intentions.  I would breastfeed.  It was simple as that.  I would breastfeed.

My son was born the day after I turned 18 years old.  I was in shock (and a bit of grief).  My little daughter, my Rachel Abigail, had been born with a penis (good thing now, because he’d be one ugly girl!).  The scans had been wrong and I was in shock.  But still, I would try to breast feed.  The nurses tried to put the baby to breast in the delivery room.  They said for me not to worry when it didn’t work out.  So, I tried again.  And again.  And in the middle of the night, in tears, I called down to the nursery while my baby screamed and I sobbed.

Formula passed his lips.

The lactation consultant tried to help, but my nipples… well… they were retarded.  They were inverted and tied.  Like a belly button on each breast.  No matter how I tried, shields and devices, the nipples just wouldn’t point in the right direction.  A nurse came in, carrying heads of cabbage and said to me- Honey, it might just be better for you bottle feed.

At home, I tried.  Formula on hand, but I tried.  I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mom while she tried to manually pump my breasts to pull out the nipple, tried to get the baby to latch. This was huge, as not but a month before she was kicking me out for being pregnant and keeping the baby.  She told me to give up.

So I gave up.

When my second son came around, I decided to just bottle feed in the hospital.  I don’t think he even got a drop of expressed breast milk.  He got really sick around 8 weeks old (Pertussis and Failure to Thrive) and was in the hospital for a week.  I often wondered if I had breast fed, would he have gotten so sick.  We nearly lost him.  Even to this day, he’s very small.

My third son, I went into determined to get as MUCH as breast milk as possible into the little guy.  I pumped.  I pumped and I pumped and I pumped.  I was able to give him 2 weeks of on and off breast milk.  It was a little victory.  I was a little wiser, a little older, and I was happy to have given him what I could.

Then there was my daughter.

I was a pumping machine.  Other than the first days of life when she was in the NICU, I was able to pump enough to exclusively feed her for the first 4 months of life.  I was selfish, though, and quit when I went back to work.  Still, I was proud that she got SO much milk.  She didn’t need formula until I went back, and I was SO proud.

Years passed and I read.  I read and read and read.  I was trying to have my fifth and final baby.  I was at peace.  I was totally at peace with pumping exclusively for my future fifth baby.  But secretly… I wanted to breast feed.  I was envious of those women who were able to put their babies to their breasts and do it so naturally.

I had learned from my first that it really wasn’t that easy.  Breast feeding wasn’t always easy.  It sometimes hurt.  It sometime wasn’t fun.

I got pregnant (after six rounds of fertility treatments).  I continued to read.  I talked with lactation consultants and mothers who had been successful.  And all the time, I told myself that I would be okay if all I could do was pump.  I would do it.

I knew that there was no way (NO WAY) I would formula feed.  It wasn’t because I thought that formula was bad, or poison.  It was something else completely.  See, I had my baby in a foreign country.  I worried about water purity (we’re advised not to drink anything but bottled water).  I worried about natural disasters (in just the last year we have had Typhoon, Monsoons, Earthquakes, Snow Storms, Flooding. etc…).  I worried about war (we’re in an ‘at-war’).  I worried about recalls (we have access to only three types of formula, and two types were recalled).  I worried about supply (our demand out weighs the supply).

So, I would pump.

Then my baby was born (five silent pushes because I joking challenged everyone that I would).  I laid on that delivery table, legs in the stirrups with oxygen mask on my face, bleeding to death.

I was bleeding to death… blood rushing and pooling on the floor, my little Asian doctor covered head to toe in my blood.  The oxygen was all-on full.  My own husband (a combat medic) was squeezing the Pitocin bag with all his might to stop the bleeding.

My baby.  I watched him dazed as they worried over him.  He was big.  Huge.  And they worried about him having diabetes.  They needed to test him.  They needed to feed him and test him, so I told the nurse to just feed him a bottle of formula.  And they did.

They fed him formula.  Those itty bitty plastic 2oz bottles of thick beige formula.  And my supply dwindled in those hours after he was born.  When I was looking at the bottles thinking that I would pump when I got home and all would be well.  I would take the Reglan and increase my supply, and he would get the best.

I called to the nurses to get some more of the little bottles of formula.  She said she would bring them, so I waited.  I waited, and waited.  I called for them, and I waited.  And the baby woke hungry in his few hours old self.

So, I put him to my breast and he latched like a pro.  I sat in awe and pride.  I thought it was a fluke, but I put him to the breast and put him to the breast, and every time he fed like it was meant to be.  I was in awe.

The first few weeks were hard.  I alternated between feeding him from the breast and bottle feeding him breast milk.  I stored about 200oz in the freezer, and eventually moved away from bottle feeding him any breast milk.

He will be 9 months old in a few days.  He’s huge (22lbs, 29in).  He’s had Pertussis and bacterial pneumonia (shortly after six months old).  He stayed in the ICU (and I stayed with him).  One of the nurses came in and commented that he breathed better, and all of his stats were better when he was on the breast (or at least at them).  I truly believe breastfeeding saved him.  Yes, he was very sick but he could have been sicker.

I breast fed him through my own case of Pneumonia.

I was content with only being able to pump and feed him, and the gift I have been given is so much more.  I tell everyone… I wish I had known.  I wish I had been more successful with the other kids.

Formula was easy until I actually breastfed.  I don’t have to wake up in the middle of the night, stumble around in the dark to make a bottle or warm a bottle.  I don’t have to do anything.  When my son wakes in the middle of the night, I don’t do anything.  He helps himself.  Neither of us wake up fully.  I don’t have to wash bottles.  I don’t have to carry a cooler of bottles, or make sure that I keep formula.  I truly can walk out the door with just a diaper and a few wipes in a bag.

I sit in awe when I look at my son thinking that my body worked to grow him from sperm and egg to birth, then delivered him, pushed him from me.  My breast fed him and feed him.  My breasts provides everything he needs from 8lbs 8.8oz to the delightful little boy he is now of 22lbs, as he edges closer to 9 months old.  My breasts feed him so that he has the energy to stand and cruise along my furniture and get into everything within reach.  My milk has helped his brain grow to already learn three words (mama, dada, and nigh-nigh… which is his word for nursing).

I’ve had formula babies, and breast milk babies.

If I had to do it again, should there ever be a baby number six in my life, I am confident that I could breast feed my baby.

I am still in awe.

I did this.

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No nuts.

I was reading an article today.  It’s not important what the article was, exactly, because it was the comments that spawned this, not the actual article (which was about food).  It discussed the fact that a lot of schools are ‘nut-free’ because there are so many kids allergic to nuts.  It made me think of my oldest son’s class and how his teacher sends reminders every time there’s to be a function with food included, to remember not to send anything in that has been cooked with, near, or includes nuts.  All for one child.

I know the child.  I love the child (he is one of my best friends’ sons).  I want him to be safe and would hate if anything happened to him.  When he gets into peanuts, he swells up and starts itching, breathing becomes difficult, and if left untreated, he very well could die.

I would never want my little buddy to die.

That being said, I don’t think it’s right to ban a product just because it’s an allergen.  I get the peanut allergies are very serious (as are dairy allergies, pollen allergies, bee allergies, etc…) but we’re not about to ban dairy, pollen, or bees.  That would be like banning the wind… or the rain.

Parents with kids who are allergic should teach their kids what they can and can’t eat or be around.  If they’re not old enough to manage their symptoms, then the parents need to keep their kids in a bubble.  My child shouldn’t be denied bringing in a peanut butter sandwich for lunch because someone might be allergic.

In our school, we have a peanut-free table.  While I hate the idea of a kid being sequestered to a table, much like I wouldn’t want to have all kids in a wheel chair moved to all sit at the same table, or all kids of a certain race or religion, but I think that if they’re that allergic, then it’s for the best.

If someone was allergic to wool, you’d expect them to avoid it.  If they rolled in it, it’s their own fault.

I say, don’t ban nuts just because you’re kid is allergic.  If that’s the case, I’m allergic to BS and let’s ban that.

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Mother, please

Woman, know your place.

So many women complain that they don’t have the time to do everything in a day that they need.  Their houses are messes, their children are messes, their marriages are messes.  There are not enough hours in the day, days in the week, or weeks in the year.  There are appointments and activities.

But I also see how many of them work outside of the home, so many of them.

Ah, but you say, “I have to work outside the home.  We need two incomes!”

Well, no, you don’t really!

But then you follow up with, “Yes, really!  We do!  How would we survive on just one income alone?”

It’s easy.  My family (a larger than the average family far) has been doing it for years.  The most important thing to remember is… simplify!  Reduce, reuse, and recycle.  If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.

My schedule is hectic, to say the least, and I don’t even have half the crap going on my life that others do.  My kids play outside, not on teams.  We dance to music in our living room, not on stage.  I don’t begrudge the parents that want to give their child every outlet possible for creativity.  But when you tell me you don’t have time for life, that you’re oh-so-busy, I don’t want to hear about your child’s social calendar.

I truly believe that we, as women, are focused too far out our front doors that our homes and houses crumble in the wake of our own need to climb the corporate ladder.  Do you think, honestly, that your child will find himself thinking- I wish mom had made VP today?  No, probably not (and if he does, man do you have a screwed up kid).  More plausible will be the little boy who wished Mommy read him a good night story or played blocks with him.

I’m not perfect.  I once had this awesome career.  I made enough that yes, we were a one income family… my income… but I was miserable, my children were miserable, and you know what?  My house was a mess.  But at the time, I couldn’t see that.  It was- rush, rush, rush… I rushed through the first years of life for my son and daughter, and missed the world.

I saw my daughter’s first steps on the compute screen between patients.  I allowed myself only a second to go ‘awe’ before I headed into my next patient’s room.  I pushed the images of my daughter on the screen aside for images of cancer (in this case breast cancer) on the ultrasound machine.

I was afraid.  I realize that now.  I was afraid to close my eyes and open my hands, to let go to the control and hand the reigns off to the person who should have rightly had them, my husband.

It’s not a religious thing.  I don’t think that Moses and God had a pow-wow with Jesus, the followers, and the three wise men and said- “man shall toil the earth while woman should keep the hearth”.  I’m not particularly faith-filled (kind of hard to believe in something you can’t see… like ghosts…).

To say that he’s a good provider is an understatement.  He had shown me that early on in our marriage.  I only got a job because I erroneously believed that we had to be a two-income house hold.  I wanted things… oh so many pretty shiny things…

And so, for a time, we both worked.  We paid an ass-load in childcare for our then three children (including the two conceived and the one born before our wedding).  We were lucky to find cheap care considering how much it could have been.

When my daughter was born, we decided, enough was enough.  I was supposed to take off 3 months from work to recoup after having her, but I barely made it 7 weeks.  After all, I was busy.  So I went back to the practice, and my husband hung up his cleats, and we tried to make it work with one income again, and we did.

It wasn’t easy.  No.  There was sacrifice, no doubt.  We didn’t have the biggest, baddest TV or the best couch.  We owned a house with a leaky roof and no HVAC.  But we survived.

We stayed that way for a few years, until one day, I took a week off and spent it with my then youngest child who didn’t really understand who I was.  A week of trying to figure out how we fit in each other’s lives.

I returned to work and put in my notice.

By then, we were determined to always have one of us home.  Why work if you’re going to have to pay someone else to raise your children?  Why have children at all?

It’s taken some adjustment, certainly, and I did try to re-enter the workforce last Spring for a time, the kids we had then were all school-aged creatures, just to have my house made of cards start to crumble.  So I again found myself pulling back into home life.  And it’s good.

I have a new wee one to care for.  I’m still a little miffed that he could never run for president (he’s an American citizen, but was not born in America), but who’s to say he’d want that life?

I balance our complex lives out on a single schedule, and know I couldn’t be the mom I am now, if I had remained the person I was when I worked.  I get reminiscent sometimes, thinking of all the things I could be doing and seeing now, but I also know that for every amazing moment I spend with my children, I wouldn’t trade it for all the shiny things in the world.

I know my place.

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